Minister accepts petition

Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt MP, recently visited a special school in South London to learn more about our Children in Focus project, which delivers sight tests and dispenses glasses to children with learning disabilities.

Our aim is to make sight tests available in every special school in England.

He was given a tour of Perseid School in Morden, recently given its third ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted. He heard from headteacher Tina Harvey about the school’s work, met some of the pupils who have benefitted from the sight tests and saw them in action with SeeAbility’s optometrist and some pupils.

Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have serious sight problems than other children and we have found many children have never had a sight test, as they cannot easily access these in a high street optician. Others are having more costly tests at hospital instead, meaning time out of school.

Pupils Ellie and Naana (pictured above with their mums far left and far right, head teacher Tina Harvey and Alistair Burt) were two of the first children seen when the project began in October 2013 and were delighted to hand the Minister a petition with more than 3,000 signatures, calling for a national sight testing program for special schools in England.

Suitably impressed, he tweeted from his account @AlistairBurtMP: “Deeply impressed with sight tests @PerseidSchool and @SeeAbility Happy to accept petition today. Thanks for visit.”

Perseid School was the first school to launch the project so it was fantastic to host the Minister’s visit. Our pupils can’t necessarily tell us what they can or can’t see in the classroom and now thanks to SeeAbility’s sight testing programme we have that information. Parents no longer have to worry about how to get their child to yet another medical appointment outside of school, said Perseid head teacher, Tina Harvey.