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Question for Department for Education

UIN 24422, tabled on 3 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of trends in the number of people with fluency in braille on the ability of (a) visually impaired and (b) blind people to communicate.

Answered on

11 March 2020

We do not collect data on levels of braille fluency. However, we recognise the importance of children and young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), including those with vision impairment, receiving a world class education that sets them up for life, no matter what challenges they face.

Local authorities are responsible for developing a ‘Local Offer’ of support services and provision for children and young people with SEND in their area, including those with vision impairment. This should be co-produced with children and young people and their parents and carers, to provide a genuine sense of co-ownership.

The Department for Education provides local authorities with funding to enable them to fulfil their statutory duties towards children and young people with SEND, including those with vision impairment. We recently announced £780 million of additional high needs funding for the next financial year, bringing the total high needs funding to over £7 billion. Local authorities are responsible for determining how they allocate their high needs funding to support children and young people with SEND in their area.

Schools also have an important role to play in supporting pupils with SEND. Every school is required to identify and address the special educational needs of their pupils. Schools also have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that disabled children are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers. The specific type of support provided to individual pupils will vary, depending on their needs.