Educating young people who are blind or vision impaired


At NCW it is the belief that everyone can succeed in Art, and it is our role to enable students to realise their creative potential.

Tactile or visual learning plays an important part in a holistic education. The creative process is taught through practical projects – from concept and design to making and evaluation. This process is important in art and is also beneficial for a student’s general education. Art is a popular subject at NCW and we work to make lessons informative, creative and fun.

The Art and Design courses at NCW are tailor-made to individual students and designed to accommodate their particular vision impairment. The challenges of the art curriculum for a student with VI can include:

  • Difficulty in accessing art, museums and artists
  • The visual nature of most of the art curriculum
  • Difficulties in researching a topic on the internet
  • Limitations in the incidental learning which is acquired through sight.

Interim Head of Department:

Mrs Rachael Kings
Mrs Rachael Kings

Examples of adaptations for vision impaired students

  • Enabling access to art and artists – direct access to the work of artists is provided through a visiting artist programme. In this scheme professional artists bring in their work for students to handle and explore and they then teach the students specific art skills. Our students have had direct access to the work of professional ceramicists, photographers, print makers and jewellers.
  • Providing opportunities for both tactile and visual learning with appropriate resources – Course materials have been developed which are 2D, 3D, tactile and print, all adapted to suit the needs of the particular group. For example, for a lesson on the proportions of the head and face students have access to print drawings, swell paper drawings, ‘Yorick’ the skull, ‘Hairy Mary’, a hairdresser’s dummy and ‘Miss Polly’, a polystyrene head.
  • Assistance with researching a visual topic – Students are given guidance about how to access art resources for themselves to develop their independence skills. This can include advice about helpful websites, the provision of VI friendly topic sheets and one to one support when appropriate.
  • At Key Stage 3 the Art Department has the opportunity to work with the Music and Drama departments on joint courses so that students experience a subject in a multi-faceted way. An example of this is a new project based on the Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Here students explore the relationship between the different Arts and create their own tactile pictures to accompany the music.
  • At Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students decide on their chosen area of study in order to develop their personal interests.


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