About this report
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) commissioned
NatCen to report on the educational attainment of blind and
partially sighted secondary school pupils in England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In all four countries, we found that pupils with visual impairment performed less well than pupils without SEN - but generally better than pupils who had other SEN. You can read our main findings here or download the full report as a PDF, below. For the full report in Word format please see the RNIB website
Potential policy impact
Our study highlights problems with the Government's published
figures on educational attainment of pupils with Special
Educational Needs (SEN).
The Government statistics are based on the pupil's primary SEN. A major factor affecting the GCSE results of blind and partially sighted pupils was whether or not they also had other SEN not related to their vision.
In this study we defined blind and partially sighted pupils as
those who have Special Educational Needs (SEN) due to visual
We distinguished between pupils with visual impairment as their only SEN and pupils with visual impairment as well as additional SEN.
The GCSE or equivalent results of these young people were compared with the results of pupils without any SEN and pupils with other SEN that did not include visual impairment.
We used pupil information held in the National Pupil Databases for England and Wales, the Northern Ireland School Leavers Survey and the Scottish Annual Pupil Census. And we used regression analysis to look at the effect of special educational needs, and specifically visual impairment, on secondary school attainment.