Skip to main content

Visual Impairment Service - Inclusion and Specialist Support Team

Hackney Education (SEND),
1 Reading Lane,
E8 1GQ
Telephone: 020 8820 7620


Who we are... 

This service is part of the wider Inclusion and Specialist Support Team and a part of Hackney Education's enhanced support for children with additional needs. This specialist sensory team supports children and young people with:

  • Visual Impairment
  • Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI)/Deafblindness

The team is made up of:

  • Two Qualified Teachers for Visual Impairment (QTVI)
  • One Qualified Teacher for Visual Impairment and Multi-Sensory Impairment (QTVI/MSI)
  • A Habilitation/Mobility Specialist
  • A Specialist Portage Worker for Sensory Impairment

What we do..

Our specialist sensory team offers advice and support to families and children from diagnosis and beyond.

We help monitor and support children and young people's progress in early years and throughout all stages of education.

What support do we provide to children and families outside of school...

  • Support for families at home after diagnosis
  • Liaising with medical professionals
  • Advising on toys, play and resources that support skills development

Do you offer a drop in session for families?

Yes. The service runs a monthly term time drop in session for families with children who are visually impaired and aged 0-4. Theses take place in a sensory room at Linden Children's Centre and offer access to specialist sensory equipment and toys. Parent-carers can come and get support and advice from the team and meet and make friends with other families and children.

Call the service if you need to check dates for the next session.

What support do we provide for children in education?

  • Information on school options; mainstream, additionally resource bases in mainstream schools and specialist schools
  • Advice to schools and settings on how to include visually impaired children
  • Support for children and young people in their learning
  • Monitoring school placements
  • Contributing to planning, reviews and reports

We monitor children’s progress when they start at an early years settings and through their time at school.

We can advise and support families to explore different options for their child’s development and education.

Advice can be offered to both families and education settings.

The service works with other professionals and services working with visually impaired children. We contribute to plans at important stages in a child’s education also referred to as transition. This includes providing advice on transition to further education.

What support can we offer for Children and Young People who have Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI)/Deafblindness? 

Our team includes a teacher who is a qualified MSI teacher who can offer deafblind/MSI children and young people :

  • Assessment of their needs as deafblind/MSI learners
  • Advice to schools on including children and their specialist curriculum requirements
  • Support for intervenors in school settings
  • Environmental assessments
  • Support and advice to families about communicating with and supporting their child’s development
  • Training for teachers and professionals providing services to deafblind/MSI children and young people.
  • Contribute to planning and reviews, including reports
  • Deafblind Guidance Assessments as part of an overall social care assessment

The  Visual Impairment (VI) Team and Elective Home Education

If a parent-carer decides to educate their child at home, they take on responsibility for their child’s education. This is called Elective Home Education (EHE). If this is a choice you are making we advise that you register for EHE when your child reaches compulsory school age. This is the term after their 5th birthday. Information and instructions are included in Hackney Education's Elective Home Education (EHE) Policy.

The VI  team will monitor the home provision with a termly or annual visit, depending on the nature and extent of sensory impairment.

If the child has an EHC Plan, a personal education budget can be requested from the EHC Planning Team.

A timetable of education activities, with any costs, must be provided. This is sometimes called provision mapping. Personal Budget applications and activities will be considered by the EHC Planning Panel or EHC Plan Management Team.

This team and panel makes the final decision to agree the personal education budget. Parent's have a right of appeal through the tribunal process.

If the education provision a child is receiving is not considered to be suitable, attendance procedures will be followed.

Record Last Updated on: 19/01/2021

Other Details

Who is eligible?

This is a specialist service for children and young people who are visually impaired or have Multi-Sensory Impairment / Deafblindness 

Referral required?


Referral Details

Self-referrals are accepted from parents and carers (or young people)

Referrals can also come from service providers in health, education or social care services

What to do if you have a complaint

How you feel about having used or experienced a service is important. Services often ask for feedback to help them understand how to make sure people they work with have a good experience.

If you have feedback about this service, something you liked or were not happy with, you can talk to the person who worked with you or, if you feel more comfortable, a service manager. They will try to help sort out any problems.

If you are still not happy with the service you can raise your concerns formally. This means someone who is not part of the service will look at your feedback or concern and see if anything can or needs to be done to help make things better.

If you need to make a formal complaint you can use the London Borough of Hackney complaints procedure.

How to Get Here

Buses: 30, 38, 55, 106, 236, 242, 253, 276, 277, D6, 388,

Train: London Fields, Hackney Central, Hackney Downs

Your Feedback | The Likes & Dislikes from real parents

Sign in to add feedback

Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

Hackney's Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

Help & Advice

Back to top