Welcome to the VI Resource Base

Our secondary age Visual Impairment Resource Base, which is unique in the Birmingham area, provides support for young people with sight loss, allowing them to access a broad and balanced mainstream curriculum at Plantsbrook School.  We work closely with Birmingham Sensory Support Service and offer places to those students who require a consistent and adapted approach to learning across all subjects in order that they may access and achieve to the best of their ability, whilst engaging fully in a social and academic education with their peers.  Applications for places from other Local Authorities are also welcome.


All students in the Base have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) reflecting their specific needs and which informs specialist staff of how additional support and modification can encourage engagement and independence in learning.  Base staff also work closely with class teachers and Subject Heads to identify the most effective approach to student centred learning.

The VI Resource Base is staffed by a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired, (QTVI) and 10 Teaching Assistants who have a background in working with young people with various eye conditions and levels of sight loss.

The Teaching Assistants undertake various roles including providing pastural support as key workers for each student, modifying work in preparation for lessons and providing in class support.  Where appropriate, staff will also support students through pre and post teaching of knowledge in one to one or small group activities.

Students are also supported by a weekly visit from a Habilitation Specialist who offers appropriate mobility training both on and beyond the school site, including travelling to and from Plantsbrook.  Independent living skills (ILS) including food preparation, self-care and life skills are also delivered and further incorporated into the school day alongside the academic curriculum under the guidance of the Base Teaching Assistants. 

In addition to withdrawn sessions for subject focussed work and independent living skills, the QTVI and Teaching Assistants also provide personalised learning opportunities for students relating to their specific visual and tactile needs.  This may include the teaching of Braille and recognition of pictorial images, the use of speech software to navigate and interpret text and using ICT equipment to support improved access to visual information.  

The use of ICT equipment is fully integrated into the student learning experience supporting academic learning in school and access to extended work and social interaction at home. This currently includes the use of Braillenote Touch devices, electronic tablets and laptop computers, all of which have specialist software to further encourage independent use.  The Base is supported by the on-site ICT Team who maintain equipment, resolve issues they occur and look to future development of access.

As part of their studies, students are encouraged to look toward future education and employment both in the mainstream and specialist sector, although many remain at Plantsbook Sixth Form to study ‘A’ Levels before moving onto University or further education. 

Our aim is to provide a ‘Happy, Safe and Friendly’ environment where students with sight loss can participate, engage and achieve in a mainstream curriculum in preparedness for life beyond Plantsbrook.  If you would like to find out more about what we do please contact the school on 0121 3627310 or by email at s.turnbull@plantsbrookschool.co.uk

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