Specialist Centre for the Visually Impaired
Oxted School has had a Specialist Centre for the Visually Impaired since 1988. The current Specialist Centre for the Visually Impaired is housed on the ground floor of the Meridian Building and comprises a suite of several small teaching and equipment rooms and two offices.
The main body of the department is fitted with the resources, technology and specialist equipment which enables the VI Team to adapt all the resources for the students we support. The level of adaptation will depend on whether the resources are required in large print, or in a tactile version, such as braille.
The Specialist Centre supports both blind and visually impaired students and is one of five such bases in Surrey – three in secondary schools and two in primary. It can currently accommodate up to twelve students. All students will have a Statement of Special Educational Needs which details Visual Impairment as their primary need.
Some students come from bordering authorities such as Croydon, Bromley, Sutton or Kent. The students are fully included in mainstream lessons and are withdrawn from some lessons to focus on specific skills such as mobility, life skills or Braille Maths.
The school encourages positive inclusion of all students with a Visual Impairment in all aspects of school life. VI students have taken part in school productions, become members of the School Council and have joined school trips to Europe, the USA, Year 8 camp, and recently to Costa Rica. Students participate in school clubs and Inter-House activities which have included rock climbing and rugby. Many of our students have gained Duke of Edinburgh Silver and Bronze awards. One of our students has represented England in the VI cricket series against India. In addition, students have benefitted from specialist visits and trips for the wider VI community and have been invited to talks from “Blind in Business”, and “Guide Dogs”, and been on touch tours to London shows such as 'Memphis' and 'The Railway Children'. The department runs a strawberry tea each year for former, current and future students.
Students make good progress at Oxted School and many stay on into sixth form where they study AS and A-levels. Recent student have progressed to Cambridge, Universities in Birmingham, Exeter and Chichester, and Performing Arts Colleges.
The whole school community benefits from having a specialist centre on site. New staff and NQTs are offered training in working with VI students and new tutor groups are offered peer awareness. The department also contributes to articles in the school newsletter and gives talks in assemblies. An ethos of positive inclusion is embedded within the school and the school site is specially adapted to accommodate its community of Visually Impaired students.
“An impressive example of resourced provision”
PSSS joint monitoring visit, November 2014