This distance learning course is aimed at teachers with Qualified Teacher Status who work with children and young people with a visual impairment.
The aims of the programme are:
Students will be required to attend University based study-weekends and regional tutorials as specified throughout the programme. The programme includes a taught Braille component, an assessed teaching placement and a negotiated programme of visits to specialist provision. Most of the module content will be delivered online and as such we recommend that students have suitable internet access prior to commencing their studies.
On successful completion of the PG Diploma students may transfer to the MEd programme (Education of Children with Visual Impairment). This is usually undertaken as an additional year of study and requires completion of a research methods module (4000 words) and a dissertation (15000 words). An additional fee is payable for this period of study
Download a flier for the Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Children with Visual Impairment programme (PDF opens new window)
You may also be interested in two of our other programmes: Teachers of Children with Hearing Impairment and Multisensory Impairment (Deafblindness).
Why study this course
The School of Education at the University of Birmingham has an international reputation for Special Education and offers distance learning programmes in visual impairment, multi-sensory impairment, speech and language impairment, deafness and hearing impairment, learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties and autism as well as full and part time modular programmes in many areas of Special Educational Needs. The visual impairment programmes are well established and have been offered for over 25 years as both full time and part time options.
Tutors on the programme are aligned to the Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR). The aims of VICTAR are to:
undertake social and educational research in the area of visual impairment;
offer training in the area of visual impairment and education through high quality and relevant professional development programmes;
disseminate our work to ensure it has positive impact.
Underlying this work is the belief that:
'Through education, through research, and through access to appropriate resources, the barriers to learning and participation that may be experienced by people with visual impairment can be better understood and reduced'.
The Centre is part of a broader Sensory Team and works directly with colleagues in the fields of Deafness and Hearing Impairment, and Deafblindness / Multi-sensory Impairment.
Module 1 (20 credits):
Assessment of Children with Visual Impairment: Understanding and Meeting Individual Needs
This module is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of vision and visual processing, as well as the possible effects of ocular and cerebral visual dysfunction for learning and development. It examines issues involved in assessment, as well as in interpreting assessment information, within both clinical as well as functional settings. This includes knowledge and understanding of the use of a range of approaches for information gathering, including observation techniques and related forms of assessment. Participants will also be expected to develop knowledge and understanding of the choice and use of approaches to the assessment and enhancement of visual function and the provision of Low Vision Aids (LVAs).
Module 2 (20 credits):
Inclusion of children with Visual Impairment: Policy and Practice
This module has been designed to enable participants to relate their experience to the overall developments in provision for pupils with visual impairment at both regional and national levels. A key emphasis will be on roles and responsibilities within the context of inclusion and the changing role of the specialist teacher and other professionals. The module includes a negotiated programme of visits for participants to observe different types of provision for children and young people with visual impairment. Participants will be expected to keep a reflective journal and undertake a series of focused tasks during these visits.
Module 3 (20 credits):
Curriculum Access for Learners with Visual Impairment
This module explores the range of methods available for children with visual impairment to access the curriculum. The module will focus on the possible implications of a visual impairment for access in a number of curriculum areas, including communication/literacy and numeracy. Participants will have opportunities to examine the role of specialist technology in widening access for individual learners with visual impairment, and analyse their own role in the design, implementation and evaluation of appropriate educational programmes.
Module 4 (20 credits):
Social and Emotional Development in Children with Visual Impairment
Children with visual impairment often require additional opportunities to develop independence skills, including mobility, orientation and daily living skills. Professionals who support children with visual impairment will need to understand therefore how such input can be provided in order to reduce potential barriers to learning and participation. The focus of this module is to offer participants opportunities to develop and evaluate forms of intervention most likely to support the social and emotional well being of the children they work with, as well as to consider the role of the different professionals when working within a multi-disciplinary team.
Module 5 (20 credits):
Special Studies in Education
This module provides students with the opportunity to investigate a particular professional issue and assess its educational and practical significance. The module is supervised and assessed by Regional and/or Programme tutors.
Module 6 (20 credits):
Effective Teaching of Children with Visual Impairment
This module focuses on the application of existing teaching strategies and the development of new approaches to meet the specific needs of pupils with visual impairment (including those with multiple needs). This module aims to enable participants to identify and meet the learning needs of pupils with visual impairment by:
identifying the range of barriers to learning and participation experienced by pupils and devising appropriate strategies to reduce these barriers;
evaluating assessment criteria and selecting from the range available to meet pupil learning needs and styles;
adapting and evaluating their own teaching strategies to promote full curricular access;
responding to the needs of pupils within the context of the whole class, specific forms of groupings within a class and as an individual;
analysing and evaluating their own practice with reference to the relevant National College for Teaching and Leadership standards for the mandatory qualification in visual impairment
Fees and funding
Fees Home/EU 2013-2014
Code 5791 BPhil £3,185
Code 5793 PGDip £2,945
Code 5795 BPhil £3,185
Code 5801 PGDip £2,945
Code 5803 MEd £2,945
Fees are based on students studying 60 credits per year on part-time programmes. Students who complete more than 60 credits in a year will be charged an additional fee.
The fees shown above are annual fees for students starting their courses September in 2013. Please note that where courses last more than one year, the annual fees for subsequent years on the course may increase due to inflation.
Fees Overseas 2013
Please view our fees for international students page for further information.
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More details may be found on the international scholarships page
For further information contact the School directly or the Student Funding Office via online enquiries.
Please refer to the School of Education entry requirements webpage for general entry requirements. In addition, it is a requirement that applicants are teachers with DfE Qualified Teacher Status (or equivalent) and will normally have a minimum of three years teaching experience. They must also demonstrate that they will have access to children with visual impairment throughout the duration of the programme. Applicants who are not currently working with children with visual impairment will be required to undertake a programme of visits as directed by the programme tutors, and/or to align themselves to an appropriate school or service prior to commencing their studies.
We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
How to apply
When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages