Please be assured that I understand the importance of this issue, having an adult member of my family who has lost her sight in later life and I also think we need to make sure we look after adults who lose their sight as well.
Furthermore, a 2018 report showed that there were more than 25,000 children with vision impairment aged 16 and under in the UK so I welcome that Ministers are committed to ensuring that children with sight loss are properly supported.
Most blind or partially sighted children are educated in mainstream schools, or in special schools that do not specialise in vision impairment. I understand that this brings with it challenges so I support the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014 which established Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans. EHC Plans are legal documents which describe the special educational needs of a child or young person. They also set out the support that the child needs and the outcomes they would like to achieve. I welcome that EHC Plans provide a framework for further support and that they give parents and young people more choice about which school to attend. I am encouraged that the 2021 Spending Review announced £2.6 billion in funding for new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities. This will provide sufficient high-quality places that are suitable for a range of needs and ensure no child is left behind.
The Government has also ensured that parents and guardians of blind or partially sighted children aged up to 15 may claim Disability Living Allowance on their behalf. This can help to mitigate some of the extra costs of a disability.
I will be sure to follow this issue closely going forwards.