High Attainment Low Employment: The How and Why Educational Professionals are Failing Children with Visual Impairment

By John Ravenscroft.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the major problems facing professionals involved in the education of children and young people who are visually impaired is the employment/further education rates of children leaving education services. Research shows that there is a high unemployment rate (in the United Kingdom) of people with visual impairment. However, a low unemployment rate should not be automatically equated with levels of educational attainment. If pupils with visual impairment and with no other additional support needs are achieving only slightly less in attainment than their sighted peers but have a higher unemployment rate, what could be causing the disparity between the two? This paper suggests that part of the problem is the delivery (or not) of the mobility and independence curriculum. It is not visual impairment “per se” that causes the difficulty; it is the lack of mobility and independent living skills. The two are separate issues. What could be a possible solution to ensure VI children are able to access a curriculum that includes developing independence and daily living skills within a mainstream school? I will suggest that for some pupils, especially those who should be accessing independent living skills lessons, it may be appropriate to focus less on academic attainment and concentrate mainly or even wholly on developing independence living skills. If this suggestion is accepted in schools then the training of independent living skills must be supported by appropriately trained habilitation workers, employed by local education authorities, and supported by a collaborative professional framework. This model of delivery ensures that all aspects of daily living needs are catered for not only at school but within the community as well.

Keywords: Visual Impairment, High Attainment, Low Employment, Independent Living Skills, Multi-agency Working

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 12, pp.135-144. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.882MB).

Dr. John Ravenscroft

Head, Institute of Education, Teaching and Leadership, School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh, UK

Is currently the Editor in Chief of the British Journal of Visual Impairment, and is the Head of Institute for Education, Teaching and Leadership at the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. He was also the Director of Visual Impairment Scotland and the Scottish Sensory Centre and has also been the Chair of various committees including the Children’s subgroup of Vision 2020. He currently lectures on Visual Impairment as well as Childhood Practice and also lectures on the Nature of Enquiry.


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