On this very sunny morning, I was pleased to make my first post-pandemic visit to Pentland Field School in Ickenham.
The visit was arranged by the team from SeeAbility, a charity supporting adults with learning disabilities and sight problems, who also work to provide sight tests for children with more profound disabilities. As one of the highest risk groups for having a sight problem but who often miss out on going for regular eye tests, the charity has been campaigning to highlight the value of regular eye tests in early childhood, particularly for those with SEND.
The team explained how they have been using an NHS contract to be able to carry out these tests in special schools across London, but concerns have been raised about a potential reneging on the commitment for the contract to be long-term. As such, I will raise concerns with the Minister to gain assurances that services that have already been established in day special schools are able to continue and not taken away from pupils who need it most.
Whilst at the school, I was also given a tour of facilities by Jo Beckwith, Assistant Head, and was glad to see some welcome additions since my last visit that I know will contribute enormously to the pupils’ educational and emotional development.
Lastly, I took the opportunity to have a useful catch-up with Ivan Talbott, Head of School, where we discussed exciting plans for the Trust’s future provisions and what support I can offer to help facilitate these.