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Royal Blind School
Craigmillar Park, EH16 5NA, UK Edinburgh
+44 (0)131 667 1100

Royal Blind School

The Royal Blind School is a national school offering the highest quality provision to meet the needs of children and young adults with a visual impairment. The school offers both residential and day placements for pupils from throughout Scotland and the UK. The school is located on two sites in Edinburgh: Canaan Lane Campus and Craigmillar Park Campus. Departments include a pre-school unit (early years and nursery), primary and secondary.

The school is inclusive, supporting pupils across the full ability range. Provision includes:

  • Units, courses and clusters up to Advanced Higher Level
  • Programmes of study for those with Additional Support Needs (ASN)
  • Programmes of study for those with Multiple Disabilities and a Visual Impairment (MDVI)
  • Specialist training
  • A range of therapies
  • Residential respite

The teaching philosophy employed at the school is based on the understanding that low vision creates unique educational needs. Vision is the primary sense for learning and consequently the sense on which most traditional educational programmes are based. Loss of vision requires the development and use of imaginative and varied teaching approaches. In addition, it also demands that pupils receive an additional essential curriculum. This includes tuition in orientation and mobility, Braille, assistive technology and independent living skills.

It is the goal of the Royal Blind School to enable all young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society.

You can download our prospectus here

(Note: 5.25 Mb file. Requires Acrobat Reader)


Disability Equality Scheme

The RBAS Disability Equality Scheme is now online and can be viewed here. (Requires Acrobat Reader)



Gender Equality Scheme

The RBAS Gender Equality Scheme is now online and can be viewed here. (Requires Acrobat Reader)


Statement of Aims

S3 pupils

To create a caring and positive environment in which all pupils and all staff are valued, and know they are valued as individuals and for their contribution to the life of the school.

To offer a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum that enables all pupils to fulfil their potential intellectually emotionally, spiritually, physically and socially.

To develop all pupils as individuals so that they can become as independent as their ability will allow.

To prepare all pupils so that they are able to contribute positively to the community to which they belong.

horse ridingTo work closely with parents and outside agencies for the benefit of all pupils.

To create an ethos whereby the school is recognised as an integral part of the local community.

making sconesTo develop the school as a local and national resource for
pupils, parents and professionals.


The Barrie Nursery

Barrie Nursery is a partnership nursery with the City of Edinburgh Council and is based at the Canaan Lane Campus. It features:

  • Small group and individual teaching
  • High staff ratio
  • Flexible and split placements
  • Elaborated and adapted 3 - 5 curriculum for Visually Impaired
    - Select this link to go to Learning Together
  • Therapists as an integral part of teaching team –
    - Occupational Therapy
    - Physiotherapy
    - Speech and Language Therapy
  • Access to specialist teaching for all pupils in –
    - Mobility
    - Music / music therapy - Physical Education
  • Established link with St. Peter’s nursery group
  • Integrated nursing support
  • Adapted and accessible outdoor play area Barrie House Nursery is subject to regular inspection by HMIe, Care Commission and Edinburgh City Council Partnership.

Early Years Play Group

  • Meets weekly in the Barrie nursery
  • Toy library
  • Access to hydrotherapy pool for families session at weekends
  • Services of Parent Counsellor

young girl learning


School Provision
The Canaan Lane Campus of the Royal Blind School is a
purpose built educational and residential facility for children
and young adults with Multiple Disabilities in addition to their
Visual Impairments – MDVI.

The facilities include:

  • a purpose built school for MDVI up to 19 years of age
  • 54 places for MDVI young people
  • residential facilities in 6 purpose built houses
  • a purpose built nursery for visually impaired children 3 - 5 years of age with places for 12 children with a visual impairment
  • an early years play group based at the Barrie nursery
  • two hydrotherapy pools
  • an assessment suite with a video studio and editing facility
  • acces to our neighbours - St Peter’s Primary school

classroom learning

Key Characteristics of the School:

  • small classes – maximum six pupils
  • excellent staff pupil ratio
  • elaborated and adapted curriculum for MDVI
    - Select this link to go to Learning Together
  • development of innovative teaching methods
    - early communication for pupils with a Visual Impairment
    - adapted tactile signing system – Canaan/Barrie
    - active learning
  • therapists as an integral part of teaching team –
    - Occupational Therapy
    - Physiotherapy
    - Speech and Language Therapy
  • access to specialist teaching for all pupils in –
    - Mobility
    - Music / music therapy
    - Physical Education
  • integrated nursing team support
  • teaching staff deliver courses on MDVI education both ‘in house’, locally, nationally and internationally
  • a comprehensive baseline assessment for all new pupils with their first year following admission to the school
  • the opportunity to be part of the Leavers’ programme based upon a purpose built Leavers’ Unit with an adapted Leavers’ curriculum to facilitate transition to adult placements.


Our Aims:
To provide a happy, supportive environment which helps our pupils:

  • grow in confidence and self esteem
  • achieve the maximum level of independence
  • realise their potential educationally
  • make friendships and become responsible citizens

Where are pupils taught?
There are seven large, bright classrooms, a kitchen and some small rooms which can be used for individual or small group teaching. Classes are small - up to six pupils - and are ideally suited to any child who may have additional barriers to learning.

Who works with the pupils?
Qualified and experienced teachers of the visually impaired work with pupils in a multi-sensory environment. Teachers and pupils are supported by nursery nurses and classroom assistants. As well as the class teacher, specialist subject teachers are involved in the teaching of Expressive Arts, (P.E., Swimming; Music; Drama; Art and Design) Technology and Word Processing. A multi-disciplinary team of therapists, medical staff and care staff also provide support.

What is taught?
We focus on pupils' needs and each child has an Individualised Educational Programme and also a Care Plan if he/she is residential. We follow the Scottish Guidelines and all the 5-14 curricular areas are taught - Maths, Language, Expressive Arts, Environmental Studies, Religious and Moral Education and Health. In addition our pupils will be prepared for independent living by receiving Mobility instruction and practice in food preparation, personal care and organisational skills. Our young people learn best through direct experience and studying topics in Environmental Understanding/Studies will involve visits outwith the school.

Transition to the Secondary:
As the Secondary Department is on the same campus and S1 and S2 follow the 5-14 curriculum there is a smooth transfer to secondary education and progress is maintained.

Accessing the curriculum:
Braille is taught to pupils who are not print users. The school has up-to-date technology; there are computers in each classroom and special programs and peripherals (e.g. switches and special keyboards) mean all pupils gain skills. Pupils are also provided with any equipment (e.g. large print materials, computer, sloping board) necessary for them to access the curriculum. If a pupils uses a low vision aid this is reviewed on a regular basis by a visiting optometrist and training is also given on the use of the low vision aids supplied.

classroom learning


Requesting a Placement for a Child

To create a caring and positive environment in which all pupils and all staff are valued, and know they are valued as individuals and for their contribution to the life of the school.

  • By making one or two visits to the school in the first instance – either parents alone and/or the relevant professional person(s). It is usually recommended that the child should visit on a second or subsequent visit.
  • Then request for placement would be made to the Local Education Authority who would then make application after following its own procedures.

In most applications for placement, it is the child’s educational psychologist who makes this formal request as most placements and transport are funded by the child’s LEA. Sometimes parents are unsuccessful on an application and they may then require to take the application to appeal.

Special arrangements exist when making application for placement when private funding is involved, for example, when the child comes from a country outwith the UK.

student working at computer

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