Henry Smith MP has pledged his support to children and young people with a vision impairment through Guide Dogs’ ‘All Things Equal’ campaign.
At a parliamentary event hosted by the charity Guide Dogs, the Crawley MP met children, young people and their families to talk about the challenges they face in the education system.
“I’m always pleased to meet with Guide Dogs and it was fascinating to learn more about the ‘All Things Equal’ campaign.
“Education is so important for our children and it’s vital we work to improve academic attainment for young people with vision impairment.
“Greater support in the education system for people with sight loss will lead to enhancing the life chances of more and more young people.”
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.
The Head of Policy, Public Affairs & Campaigns at Guide Dogs, Blanche Shackleton, commented;
“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.”