The Royal Blind School played host to the Deputy First Minister on Wednesday 22 February.

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, was invited to the Royal Blind School to see how it delivers education and care to young people with visual impairment, including some with complex needs.

The school is run by national visual impairment charity, Royal Blind.

Mr Swinney talked with students and staff as he toured the campus in Morningside.

He was invited to see the wide range of curricular areas covered by the school and the attainment of pupils, from those with significant additional support needs to those who can undertake advanced higher level.

Pupils demonstrated a range of assistive technology equipment to Mr Swinney. This included a BrailleNote, an electronic device that can be used in a similar way to a lap top, and video magnifiers that allow partially sighted pupils to access educational materials.

As well as dropping in on lessons, Mr Swinney visited the Royal Blind School coffee shop, which run by pupils to enable them to learn valuable life skills through baking, serving and banking.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney said: 

“I very much enjoyed my visit the Royal Blind School and meeting the staff and pupils. It was very interesting to see assistive technology being used in lessons and the student-run coffee shop. This learning project gives young people the chance to develop life experiences and skills that will help them succeed and fulfil their potential – which is my ambition for every child in Scotland, no matter their circumstances.”

Royal Blind School Head Teacher, Elaine Brackenridge, said:

“We are delighted that the Deputy First Minister visited the school. It was an excellent opportunity for us, as a grant-aided school, to show how we use our specialist facilities and staff to provide individualised education and care for all of our pupils.

“Many of our pupils have additional support needs as well as visual impairment and benefit from the smaller class sizes and a campus specifically designed to provide independence for the pupils. The pupils were very excited to welcome such an important visitor to the school.”