RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning

Special needs catered for

At RNIB Pears Centre, we offer fully personalised support to children and young people with complex needs and vision impairment from birth up to the age of 19.

Our services include: Education in our school; 24-hour care, all year around; Therapies; Health support; A national outreach service.

Needs we cater for include: Vision impairment; Multi-sensory impairment and deaf blindness; Learning difficulties and disabilities; Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC); Physical disabilities; Communication difficulties; Additional medical and health needs, including long-term ventilation or life-threatening or life-limiting conditions; Additional emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Specialist facilities

Amenities include:

School: versatile classrooms, each with space for teaching, physiotherapy and mobility equipment; multi-sensory environments, music room, movement and therapy rooms.

Bungalows: five single-storey homes, each with six bedrooms, three bathrooms and a lounge, dining room, kitchen and gardens; outdoor play areas and pedestrianised zones.

• A new hydrotherapy centre.

Our school is well equipped with specialist resources which will help your child to access learning in a variety of ways. Switches enable children and young people to operate a range of equipment, and communication aids support alternative ways of interacting. We make extensive use of assistive technology (AT) and low-vision aids (LVAs). We offer a good provision of computers, including iPads, and students are able to access the internet to enhance and extend their learning.

Support services provided

Our range of therapies enable children and young people to access the curriculum and play/leisure activities more effectively, and help to maintain and extend their skills and capabilities.

Our provision includes: Physiotherapy; speech and language therapy; music and creative therapy; occupational therapy; habilitation and mobility; proactive behaviour management; clinical psychology; water therapy.

We also offer specialist care as a step-down from hospital for children and young people with high health and medical needs (including long-term ventilation or life-threatening or life-limiting conditions).

Our outreach service offers practical support to individual pupils and educational advice and guidance to professionals and parents. Our team can also carry out a range of assessments, reviews and reports to facilitate and improve learning, such as functional vision assessments and provide braille tuition.

If you’re a parent with a baby or a young child, our early years sensory sessions offer the chance to meet up with other parents of children with additional needs. Weekly activities include interactive signing, music and sensory games with light, sound and textures.

Home school links

We work closely with parents, carers and families to ensure that they are involved at each step of their child’s journey and to continue a consistent approach at home.

Our transition service ensures that all young people get the very best start to their adult life. We are able to help with transitions to other services, such as college or supported living accommodation.

General environment

Our facilities are purpose built and modern following a recent redevelopment. Many features are designed to facilitate and improve independence and minimise the impact of disabilities. All areas are accessible for wheelchair users or people who have restricted mobility.

Aims and philosophy

Building on over 50 years’ experience, we offer a stimulating, creative and supportive environment for children and young people. We aim to enable children and young people reach their full potential for learning, independence and fulfilment.

Children and young people are actively encouraged to make their own everyday choices, to develop independence skills and to achieve their goals.

Staff qualification and selection

The majority of our teachers are Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired (QTVIs), or are working towards this qualification. Teaching assistants also undertake additional studies to become specialists in supporting children with complex needs and vision impairment to learn.

Social care workers in our children’s home are supervised according to the Care Standards Act (2000) Regulations, and National Minimum Standards Requirements for Children’s Homes.

Care staff follow the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) induction programme integrated with in-house training and development. For the first six months of employment and until they pass their probationary period, they are gathering evidence towards their diploma in social care. This qualification should be gained within 16 months of employment. A core group of staff have achieved the NVQ level 3 caring for children and young people. Our existing team leaders and deputies are training to develop their skills in observing staff who are undertaking their diploma.

We operate an equal opportunities staff recruitment policy. All staff hold appropriate qualifications.

Visit us!

We welcome visits from parents, carers, children, other family members and professionals.

To book your visit, call us on 024 7636 9500 or email [email protected]


RNIB Pears Centre for Specialist Learning
Wheelwright Lane,
Ash Green,


024 7636 9500


024 7646 9501


[email protected]





Teaching staff



Angela Farrell

Residential care staff


Special needs support staff

12 plus 10 therapists

DFEE Registered number


Length of school year

38 weeks (on-site specialist care is available 52 weeks)

Age range


Number on roll


Type of school


Based upon assessment of needs


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