They say 'never work with children and animals' but's precisely what we did on 20 April at the House of Commons when nine families and nine dogs met with MPs to talk about the challenges faced by children with sight loss.
Over 140 MPs joined us, our families and our amazing dogs to help spread the message that every child deserves the same chances at school. Recent research conducted for Guide Dogs found that 69% of teachers lack confidence that they have the right skills to support disabled children, including those with a vision impairment, to reach their full potential. This is reflected in outcomes for children with sight loss, who are significantly behind their peers in terms of academic attainment.
Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign is calling for greater recognition of vision impairment throughout the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system. The critical role of specialist professionals needs to be prioritised, and more support should be given at an earlier stage to help prevent young people with sight loss from falling behind.
“Children and young people with vision impairment tell us they want to grow up enjoying the same opportunities as their classmates. But all too often, they are being let down by the education system that fails to give them the support they need.
“We know that the lack of support in childhood can have a far-reaching impact. Just one in four working age adults with a vision impairment are in employment.
“That is why we are calling on the Government to make all things equal for children and young people with vision impairment, so that they have access to the support they need.”
Blanche Shackleton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs
New research released by Guide Dogs has revealed that two in three primary and secondary school teachers lack confidence in teaching children with a vision impairment.