Vision Impairment (0-25)

Team contact details

Please use the contact details below if you need any help or support with your child’s learning or if you have any other questions  

Julie Metcalf    T: 0151 511 7065 or M: 07500 818147  julie.metcalf@halton.gov.uk
Specialist Teacher of the Deaf and Teacher for Visual Impairment
Ian Hebborn    T: 0151 511 7199  or M: 07818 046349  ian.hebborn@halton.gov.uk
Specialist Teacher – Visual Impairment


Click on the headings below to see how we support children and young people in Halton who have a vision impairment


Introduction to Halton Vision Impairment Service (0-25)

The aim of the service is to support children/young people (0-25 years) with a vision impairment living in Halton. Working together with parents, schools and other agencies, we provide specialist educational support to assess and meet the identified needs related to vision impairment.

We support families and the child/young person both in and away from school. The support will vary according to individual need and may include:

  • Home visits to families of pre-school vision impaired children to support with implications of a vision impairment. This may be through adaptation advice and vision development programmes.
  • Assessment of functional vision
  • Advice/Inset to settings regarding the nature and implications of vision impairment – strategies for effective inclusion.
  • Support/advice to all educational settings. There is a strong emphasis on capacity building for families, settings and schools to enhance their ability to meet the needs of children/young people with a diagnosed vision impairment.
  • Liaison with all relevant professionals such as; Ophthalmologists, Orthoptists, Portage Team, Physiotherapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists and Social Care
  • Environmental audit of settings to provide advice to promote vision friendly environments.

The service works with children and young people 0-25 years with a diagnosis of a vision impairment whilst in education. This includes children and young people with additional and complex needs whose vision impairment is not the primary need.

The service consists of qualified teachers of the vision impaired and a specialist teaching assistant.

Referral Process
The service operates an open referral system, medical information is used as the baseline for initial assessment. Referrals need to be accompanied with medical details which may include Orthoptic/Ophthalmologist report. In most situations, this is automatic as most of our referrals come directly from a medical source.
Parental permission is always needed.

If you have concerns about your child’s vision.

If you feel that your child has a visual difficulty, an eye test will help to check if there are any problems such as being long or short sighted, squint or lazy eye. Routine screening is carried out in school normally during Reception year. But please don’t wait for this if you are concerned. Make an appointment with an Optician for a free eye check or speak to your GP. The earlier the problem is noticed the better.

If a problem is found that can be corrected with glasses, a prescription will be provided together with an NHS voucher to help to cover the cost of the glasses or as a contribution to the cost.  If there is a more serious problem which cannot be corrected by glasses, the Optician will suggest a referral to your GP or Ophthalmologist.

If you have concerns about a child in your setting.

Nursery/school staff with concerns should share their observations with parents so that medical advice can be sought. Parents should be advised to visit their GP or Optician for a full eye health check. This is free for all children under 16 years and those under 19 and in education.

Once diagnosed with a vision impairment.

If your child has been diagnosed with a vision impairment and is attending a nursery or school setting, please speak to the nursery manager or school SENCO – who will contact this service.

Referrals from a school/setting can be made with the appropriate medical information using the Referral Form for SEND Service/Specialist Teachers (Named Child Referral Form), available on the Education Support Services page.

We also welcome referrals from parents – please call or email one of the specialist teachers, you can find our contact details at the top of this page.

Websites and Links

National Organisations

  • VICTA ‘empowering children and young adults who are blind or partially sighted’
  • Royal Society for Blind Children A national charity working with blind and partially sighted children and young people, and their families
  • RNIB Children, young people and education section
  • Guide Dogs Help for children and families
  • Nystagmus Network a national charity supporting people living with nystagmus

Special Schools and Colleges

  • Henshaws College Check out their ‘Knowledge Village’ section – full of articles, videos, tips, tricks and useful information
  • St Vincent’s School – Liverpool, a specialist school l for sensory impairment and other needs
  • Royal School for the Blind – Liverpool, supporting children with a visual impairment, sensory and other additional needs
  • RNC – the Royal National College for the Blind


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