Vision Impairment Service

The Vision Impairment Service is a regional specialist education service, hosted by Torfaen County Council.  The service provides its support to the five local authorities in the South East Wales Consortium through a Service Level Agreement with the Local Education Authorities.

Its aim is to support the successful inclusion of children and young people with vision impairment (VI) or multi-sensory impairment (MSI) in their local communities, nurseries, mainstream and special schools. Pre-school programmes are also delivered in pre-school settings, at the GVIS Centre or within the home.

The service aims to ensure that all children and young people achieve their potential within their local schools alongside their siblings and friends. There is a commitment to the child/young persons’ needs, which is regarded as the primary focus of their work.

It works in partnership with children and young people with VI/MSI, parents, schools, education/career services and medical agencies to meet individual needs as identified through the assessment process.

It welcomes enquiries and referrals from anyone involved with children and young people who may have concerns regarding a possible visual or dual sensory loss.

Following a request for an assessment of visual or multisensory functioning, one of the VI qualified teaching and learning co-ordinators will assess the child/young person’s needs.

Consultation with parents, education and medical professionals may take place following the assessment to ascertain if there are any additional concerns or needs.

A determination can then be made if support is needed for the child or young person.

Support varies according to the individual needs of each child or young person and this can range from weekly support to fulltime classroom support for a child or young person with very little/no sight who uses Braille to access the curriculum.

Advice and guidance to schools is provided on a termly or annual basis.

Services offered by the VI include (as appropriate):

  • help and advice from birth in managing children’s visual/multisensory impairment
  • a weekly ‘opportunities group’ for pre-school children, held at the Centre where children receive structured programmes.
  • parents/carers meet informally and this helps to alleviate the isolation so often experienced when a child has a low-incidence disability
  • advice on educational placements
  • mobility and sighted-guide training
  • provision and maintenance of specialist equipment
  • liaison with other statutory and voluntary organisations
  • setting realistic and achievable learning objectives
  • assessment of children’s strengths and individual needs
  • links with other agencies (educational psychology, medical, health, social and voluntary services) so that the total needs of the child/young person can be addressed
  • support to the child/young person in school to help them develop the skills and confidence to access the curriculum independently
  • provision of opportunities for children/young people to have social contact with others with similar needs
  • sport and leisure activities, holiday schemes, music and social events throughout the year
  • after school clubs and holiday clubs – held at the Centre where children/young people with VI/MSI meet to take part in a variety of fun-based extra curricular activities
  • open days and parents’/carers’ meetings at the Centre. These focus on a particular subject or theme and are usually led by members of the team or outside speakers.

The Vision Impairment Service aims to provide a comprehensive package of support, tailored to meet the different needs of children, wherever they live and whatever the circumstances.

Contact Details:

Sensory & Communication Support Service
Brecon House
William Brown Close
Llantarnam Industrial Park
NP44 3AB

Telephone: 01633 648888

Sensory and Communication Support Service


The service comprises of the Vision Impairment Service, Hearing Impaired Service and the Communication Intervention Team, and is hosted by Torfaen County Borough Council.  It comprises specialist advisory teams for children whom are deaf, vision impaired, have a communication and interaction difficulty or who may have a multisensory impairment. The service provides its support to the five local authorities in the South East Wales Consortium through a Service Level Agreement with the Local Education Authorities.

Roger Thurlbeck, Head of Sensory and Communication Support Services took up his new post in September 2015.


Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Inclusion Service

Tel: 01633 648888

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