In September 2014, Westbrook Primary opened its doors to the new Centre for Visual Impairment (VI). The VI Specialist Centre can cater for up to ten students who have visual impairments. The aim of the Centre is for inclusion into the mainstream class for all subject areas. Children will only be withdrawn for extra VI curricular areas such as Braille, mobility, independence skills, life & social skills as necessary. We use technology where possible to link i-pads with Smart boards so the children with VI can access everything on the board with the vision they have. We have on-going staff training to raise awareness of visual impairment and to provide equal access to learning.
We warmly welcome visits to the VI Specialist Centre which can be arranged by prior appointment through the school office.
We have been accredited 'Centre Of Excellence' in 2016.
Parents of children within the VI Centre can come along to sessions with the Centre Manager and other outside professionals every half term. These sessions are tailored to help parents with any support they feel they need both inside and outside of school. We recently invited a family engagement officer from RSBC (Royal Society for Blind Children) to discuss the services that they provide for families. It proved very successful and parents were able to meet and discuss their own personal experiences or difficulties.
World Sight Day 2016
In October 2016, we celebrated another World Sight Day with fun events across the school. The children and staff wore dots to represent the dots used in Braille. We raised over £800 which went to two charities; Guide Dogs and the RNIB. We were very lucky to have a visit from a guide dog named Quince. We learned a lot about guide dogs and the very important work they do for blind people. We also learned about Braille and famous people who have a Visual Impairment. Lots of the children got to use the Simspecs which simulate having a visual impairment. Everyone learned lots about visual impairments while having a fun day.
World Sight Day
At Westbrook School we are constantly raising awareness of visual impairment and blindness. Recently we celebrated World Sight Day and raised almost £600 for our schools chosen charity Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA). Our building contractors Galliford Try raised almost £500.
We have done activities using Simulation glasses which give an experience of what it is like to be visually impaired. The students and some teachers experienced being guided with blind folds around an obstacle course with cones, a slope and a small step.
We also played blind folded hockey and practised ball skills. In class we have learned about guide dogs, Braille and famous blind people.
There is a weekly lunch time club for children wishing to learn braille. They learn the basic alphabet, numbers and punctuation. We also teach braille to Year 3 as part of their wider curriculum. The children really enjoy it and are becoming very confident in writing braille.