Charity concern over rising attainment gap for blind and partially sighted pupils

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Press Release | 25/02/2020

Today Royal Blind has raised concerns over new figures which show a widening gap for pupils with visual impairment progressing to positive destinations compared to pupils without additional support needs.  The Scottish Government’s new figures on leaver destinations published today show that there has been a decrease in the number of pupils with visual impairment who progress to higher education, training or employment. 

Overall 92.1% of pupils with visual impairment progressed to positive destinations in 2018/19, compared to 92.7% in 2017/18. This shows a continuing attainment gap for blind and partially sighted pupils compared to pupils without additional support needs, 96.5% of whom moved on to positive destinations in 2018/19.

The charity has also expressed concern over the fact there has actually been a reduction in the number of pupils with visual impairment progressing to Further Education. In 2017/18 42.4% of pupils with vision impairment progressed to Further Education, but for 2018/19 this number fell to 34.5%. 

Responding to the figures, Mark O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind said:

“While these figures show increases in the number of pupils overall who move on to positive destinations, this is unfortunately not the case for blind and partially sighted pupils for whom there is an increasing attainment gap.  We are particularly concerned that there has been a decrease in the number of pupils with visual impairment progressing to Further Education. 

“We all want to see equality in education provision for blind and partially sighted pupils and those with other additional support needs, but these figures show we still have a long way to give all our disabled children and young people the life opportunities they deserve. That is why we have joined with other charities who work with disabled young people to call for urgent additional investment in the Scottish Government budget for specialist education support.  Today’s figure make it clear just how important action in this area is for young people living with visual impairment.”


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