Re-Development of Royal Blind School Begins


Press Release | 15/05/2013

One of Scotland’s oldest specialist schools begins a year-long re-development project this month to merge its two campuses into one.

The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, which has supported blind and visually impaired students for 178 years, begins work this month to adapt its campus at Canaan Lane in Morningside. The re-development of the school will see its excellent facilities at Canaan Lane enhanced to take pupils across the whole curriculum and range of needs. The building at Craigmillar Park, which has housed pupils since 1835, will be marketed for sale by Summer 2014. By this time the Canaan Lane campus will be ready to house all the school’s activities, pupils and services.

The merger of the two school campuses is part of a long term plan which will see the school become even more highly specialised in its work with children and young people who are blind and have other educational support needs. In modern times, single disability blind children and young people with little or no additional support needs are mostly catered for in mainstream schools and special units in their home areas.

The Royal Blind School aims to further develop its services and become a National Visual Impairment Education Resource Centre to support the education of visually impaired pupils in schools throughout Scotland. The Centre will provide pupil assessment and support, as well as advice and training for the education sector on working with children and young people with a visual impairment.

Richard Hellewell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind, said:

“Although the number of pupils is decreasing gradually to a lower level, the Royal Blind School will remain a national specialist school for visually impaired pupils, with the ability to support children with a range of abilities including those that local authorities are not able to place in mainstream classes. We are able to offer a full range of subjects under the Curriculum for Excellence, as well as having specific expertise in additional support needs and specialist communication.

“The School will increasingly specialise in educating and caring for children with a visual impairment who also have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders, motor or learning disabilities. 

“Current pupils will be able to remain for the rest of their school careers and we will continue to accept all children who are referred to us.”

The re-development work at the Canaan Lane Campus includes building specialist subject classrooms, including music, art, home economics, science, computing, mathematics and craft, design and technology.

The Royal Blind School will continue to serve both day pupils and those that need weekly residential care from one to four nights a week. The School also provides respite care one weekend in three during school terms.