The name of the young person has been changed to maintain confidentiality.

This is a genuine example of how technology is helping young people to participate fully in mainstream school activity. Here’s how Kyra, who has a visual impairment, is benefitting at a primary school in Oldham.

The school is a smaller than average-sized primary school for pupils located in one of the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas. The Oldham Social Mobility Action Plan focuses on the following priorities:

  • Ensuring all children are schools ready by age five
  • Raising attainment for all, particularly for disadvantaged pupils
  •  All children and young people to be ready for life, learning and work

Why technology

The school aims to ensure their pupils are equipped with the skills needed for life. They believe technology can be used effectively to help develop transferable skills such as independence and to ensure access for all.

And it is shown here through the experience of Kyra who is registered at Severely Sight Impaired.

The impact the technology has had

The school has implemented its use of technology through collaboration with Oldham’s Visual Impairment Team (OVI), which is part of the Oldham Additional and Complex Needs Service. This joint-working approach allows them to identify the needs of a pupil, develop a plan to support the pupil with technology, implement the technology-enabled support plan, review it, and then transition to less intensive support as the child becomes more independent in their use of the technology. 

Kyra was known to Oldham VI prior to joining the school in KS1. When Kyra entered KS2, specialists at Oldham VI advised the school that technology could be used to further support Kyra; it was decided that Kyra should have access to a device so that she could type and view text in large font size.

Kyra trialed two devices (lent by the OVI team) and decided to go for the iPad as it made her stand out less among her classmates. Peer awareness sessions were arranged to ensure Kyra’s peers are aware of the implications of her visual impairment and the reasons why she uses technology to support her learning.

She is now able to screen share with a projector during assemblies, allowing her to sit with her peer group rather than right in front of the projector.

Through a network of great teachers and the use of technology, Kyra is meeting the expected standards in all key areas. She has learned that she can use technology to help her communicate and interact with her peers outside of school. It has allowed her to access learning and reading materials in her own time, and she is now able to read for pleasure.

The confidence of the school’s staff to effectively use technology to support Kyra has increased, allowing the skills and knowledge gained to support other pupils.

Kyra said: “I use my iPad so that I can be independent but know that I can ask for help if I need it. I like sitting with my friends in class and assembly and am happy that I will be using an iPad at secondary school.”

Kyra’s teacher added: “As a school, we feel that we are now able to provide the best learning environment for children with SEND and children with Visual Impairment (VI) needs.  This, alongside the continued support from the VI team, will allow us as teachers to use the technology confidently.”

Using technology to support the inclusion of an individual child is a valuable opportunity to build school-wide capacity, increasing the school’s readiness to support other SEND pupils with technology in the future. Collaborative working is key to success. This includes teachers, technical staff, school leadership and specialist services. Technology for SEND students should be chosen with the goal of independence in mind