Welcome to the VI Resource Base

I would like to introduce myself and the team here at Plantsbrook school.

My name is Helen Maltby and I am the new QTVI Head of the Vision Resource Base. I am hugely excited about this role and working with the staff and students here at Plantsbrook.

I moved from New College Worcester, a school for the Blind and visually impaired, where I worked for 7 years. Prior to that I worked in a range of mainstream schools across the West Midlands. Coming to head up this Resource Base center is a really exciting opportunity to bring together these skill sets and support students with VI in a fully inclusion setting.

Here at Plantsbrook we are hugely privileged to have this specialist resource base that supports students with VI. We have an amazing team of specialist Teaching Assistants who between them have over 60 years of experience of working with students with VI. Support is available within the classroom – should the students need it and on a 1 to 1 basis to do some pre and /or post teaching. It is already clear that the TA team has a passion for what they do. Their knowledge of the students is acute and this, without a doubt, means that learning can take place effectively.

We are housed in a suite of rooms where students can access the necessary support that they may need in order for them to fully participate in their learning and become independent successful young adults. All of our students have access to IPads, braille- note touch or laptops, depending on which they prefer. All of the TAs are skilled to support them in their chosen medium of work.

We work very closely with the Birmingham Sensory team who provide excellent support to both staff and students. We have a weekly visit from the mobility department to support our students with VI, instructing them on their cane skills and how to be independent within the wider community.

Resources are modified by our specialist team in advance of the lessons so that the students are able to fully participate and learn alongside their sighted peers. We adopt the policy that all students can access all aspects of the curriculum and this is reflected in the range of subjects that the students take. All students access the full range of subjects in Years 7 and 8 and then in year 9 take their GCSE options. Most of our students with VI stay onto the Sixth Form and then move into higher or further education. Over the last three years we have had over 60% of our A level students going onto degree courses ranging from criminology, psychology and English Literature with another student about to start a degree in Modern Foreign Languages.

At Plantsbrook we have an excellent Pastoral system to support our students but in addition to that our students with VI are allocated a key worker from our TA team who they meet on a regular basis to discuss any issues that they may have or just for an informal chat. Through this we can identify if there are any further interventions or support that we can provide the student.

We want our students here within the Resource Base to feel empowered and able to face the demands of the world beyond school and it is our job to support them through that journey and enable them to be able to live a full and active life in the sighted world.

If you would like to know any more about the Base or come in and see what we do please get in touch on 0121 362 7310 or email h.maltby@plantsbrookschool.co.uk

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