Jamie Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has pledged their 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, Jamie Stone met children, young people and their families to talk about the challenges they face in the education system.
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.
Supporting the campaign, Jamie Stone MP said:
“From my visit to the Guide Dogs event and going by the stories told by the guests sharing their personal experiences, it is clear that we must do more to educate teachers and learning staff on the needs of children with visual impairments.
“I hope to see the UK and Scottish Governments working together to champion this cause for children in my constituency.
“There are not enough resources, nor do the majority of our teachers feel confident in providing these young people with the support they deserve.
“I am delighted to support the ‘All Things Equal’ campaign.”
Blanche Shackleton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs said:
“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.”