Helen Newman, Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments, 2016

What made you choose the Vision Impairment course? 

As part of my job as a Science teacher at Exhall Grange Specialist School I taught children with a visual impairment and wanted to follow the school’s ethos of supporting the education of children with a visual impairment in order that I could pass on such skills to others in the department. 

What advice would you give to potential students looking to study this programme? 

Be prepared to work hard and have good time management and organisation skills to ensure that you keep on track for all the assignments and completing the Braille tasks.  Particularly completing the Braille set yourself target completion times for each level and stick to them. 

What are the key benefits of studying the Vision Impairment course?

To learn about different visual impairments;  how to support students to become successful both academically and emotionally; to understand the need to help young people become independent individuals who are valued members of society. 

What are the benefits of distance learning?

The tasks set can be completed in your own time when best suits you.  It allows you to continue working and gaining experience whilst studying. 

What was the highlight of your time on the programme?

I enjoyed working with my team on the group tasks and being able to share ideas and experiences with them as well as support each other when necessary. 

Describe how this programme has helped you in your workplace? 

My career has taken a different pathway.  I have moved from being Head of science at Exhall Grange to working within the Vision support Service based at the school, supporting students with a visual impairment across Warwickshire.  I feel pleased that I am still able to support the students at Exhall Grange and the staff working with them as well as support students and other staff across schools in Warwickshire. 

What support did you receive from academics or other staff at the University of Birmingham during your study? 

All the people involved with the programme are approachable and happy to help.  My personal tutor was brilliant she provided support both academically and on a personal level; she was always just an email away or even a coffee as she actually didn’t live too far from me!  Emails regarding the course were regularly sent out and the residential weekends were organised well in advance. 

How do you see this programme enhancing your career prospects?

Following completion of the course I have been able to join the Warwickshire Vision Support Service as a QTVI and move from a classroom based teacher to a peripatetic one.    

Find out more

Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments