Toby Perkins MP backs Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign
Toby Perkins MP backs Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign

The MP for Chesterfield has pledged their support to children and young people with a vision impairment through Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign.

At a Parliamentary event hosted by the charity Guide Dogs, Toby Perkins met children, young people and their families to talk about the challenges they face in the education system.

Recent research conducted for Guide Dogs found that 69% of teachers lack confidence that they have the right skills to support disabled children, including those with a vision impairment, to reach their full potential.

This is reflected in outcomes for children with sight loss, who are significantly behind their peers in terms of academic attainment.

Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign is calling for greater recognition of vision impairment throughout the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system. The critical role of specialist professionals needs to be prioritised, and more support should be given at an earlier stage to help prevent young people with sight loss from falling behind.

Supporting the campaign, Toby Perkins MP said:“It was a pleasure to attend this event for the “All Things Equal” campaign. As a longstanding supporter of the work that the Guide Dogs UK, it was great to talk to those affected by sight loss and learn about the incredibly work that the charity does in raising awareness of the difficulties many face along with the work they do to train up new guide dogs and match them with suitable owners. It is important sight loss isn’t a barrier to opportunities that increased support is given to those who suffer with the condition. I’m sure many across Chesterfield and Staveley will continue to fundraise and campaign for this important charity and will join in the campaign to remove those barriers.”

Blanche Shackleton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs said: “Children and young people with vision impairment tell us they want to grow up enjoying the same opportunities as their classmates. But all too often, they are being let down by the education system that fails to give them the support they need. We know that the lack of support in childhood can have a far-reaching impact. Just one in four working age adults with a vision impairment are in employment. That is why we are calling on the Government to make all things equal for children and young people with vision impairment, so that they have access to the support they need.”

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