STA service for vision impaired students

Our team provides support for children and young people with vision impairment from birth to 25 years. Our team works in partnership with families and professionals at home, early years settings, schools and colleges to achieve high outcomes for children and young people with visual impairment.

Vision impairment can have different levels: mild, moderate, severe or profound. The National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) provides information and facts about children and young people with vision impairment.

Our criteria

We support:

Children from birth up to the age of 25 years whose eyesight can't be corrected with glasses including:

  • a diagnosed vision impairment by an ophthalmologist (Eye Hospital)
  • a moderate, severe or profound sight loss (with a visual acuity of 6/12 or worse on the Snellen eye chart)
  • a significant field loss (tunnel vision)
  • a degenerative eye condition

The child or young person does not need to have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

We also support children and young people who have a multi-sensory needs. For example vision impairment and deafness.

We cannot support children from birth up to the age of 25 years with:

  • monocular vision
  • visual processing difficulties
  • colour vision deficiency (colour blindness)
  • squint

If your child has a degenerative condition, we may place them on request and see them if there are any changes to their vision.

Our commissioned Qualified Habilitation Specialist supports children up to the age of 25 years.

Policy for referral to the Specialist Teacher Advisors (STA) Team - Hearing and Vision


We can only accept referrals made to our service by an NHS ophthalmologist (Eye Hospital). 

If you are worried about your child’s eyesight, talk to your health visitor or GP if they are under 5 years old.

If they are older than 5 years, take them to be assessed by an optician. The optician may refer your child to the eye department at the hospital.

An ophthalmologist will assess the child's eyesight and make a diagnosis. If they are found to have a vision impairment, the hospital will refer your child to us if they meet our criteria. You will be told if your child is being referred to us.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) provides information on what happens at an ophthalmologist appointment and how people are certified.

When we receive a referral we aim to contact you within two weeks to arrange a visit. We work term time only so our timescales may extend during the school holidays.

If we confirm your child meets our criteria, we will write to you to request your consent to us seeing your child and to share medical information.

If we don't receive your consent, we can’t provide offer support.

Next steps

After receiving consent we will offer support depending on your child’s level of need. We will review this with regular assessments.

STA assessments for vision impaired students

Discover the support we offer vision impaired students