Alun Cairns 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, Alun Cairns 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, Alun Cairns MP said:
"It was obviously fantastic to be welcomed by such wonderful guide dogs in Parliament this week, but I am also very proud to pledge my support for the all things equal campaign. We need to provide children with the right support so they can reach their potential. Guide Dogs is the UK’s largest charitable provider of services for children and young people with a vision impairment and helps provide specialist professional support and the work they do is totally invaluable!"
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.”