Early years

You may wish for your child to attend pre-school or nursery before they reach school age to give them the opportunity to learn outside the home and support their development. Finding the right early years setting for your child with a vision impairment is an important first step in their education, so we've outlined some guidance to help you make the right choice.

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Funding support

If you would like your child to attend a pre-school provision, you may be eligible to receive funding to help with the costs. There are currently three government-funded childcare schemes that offer free childcare for children living in England aged two, three, and four.

Before your child starts at an early years setting

Once you have decided on an early years setting for your child, a meeting should be arranged between you, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) and any other key professionals working with your child, such as the Qualified Teacher of children with a Vision Impairment (QTVI), to work on a transition plan. In that meeting we recommend you consider:

Will my child have the opportunity to have some transition sessions in the pre-school/nursery before they start?

  • How many transition visits will there be?
  • How long will each session last?
  • Will I be able to accompany my child on these visits?
  • Will my child have the chance to meet key staff members who will be working with them?
  • Will my child have the chance to meet some of their new peers?
  • Will my child need additional support and how will this be provided?

Also, it's important to think about the support available after these transition sessions, for example: 

  • What kind of day-to-day support will my child receive from the pre-school/nursery?
  • Will there be any additional support from external professionals (for example, QTVI, Habilitation Specialist)?
  • Will my child receive support under the ‘graduated approach’, or will my child need an Education, Health and Care plan?

How can we help new staff working with my child to understand the vision impairment and how it affects my child?

The QTVI or other organisations may be able to help with this, for example:

  • Can the QTVI offer staff training before your child starts?
  • Are there any information leaflets about the condition available? (Our guidance on eye conditions in children may help.)
  • Can the QTVI provide a recent report to the early years setting?
  • Are there any other specialist organisations that can offer information and guidance to the setting? For example, you can contact us via the details below for our advice and support.

What needs to be considered to ensure everything will be safe and accessible for my child? What reasonable adjustments can be made?

  • Can the QTVI carry out an environmental audit to highlight any potential hazards?

What specialist resources will my child need?

  • Who will provide and maintain these resources?
  • Can these specialist resources be used both at home and at the pre-school/nursery?
  • Are there any local or national charities that may provide specialist equipment on loan?

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Get in touch

We can offer you independent and impartial information, advice and guidance to help you navigate your journey through the education system.

0800 781 1444