A ROYAL OPENING AT THE ROYAL BLIND SCHOOL

Royal Blind Press Release – For Immediate Release

Thursday 27 November 2014

In a historic day for the Royal Blind School, the re-developed school building in Morningside is today officially opened by the charity’s Patron, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester.

Guests attending the event include Scottish Government Minister Dr Alasdair Allan MSP and Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Provost for the City of Edinburgh.

The guests will watch performances by pupils of the Royal Blind School, introduced by Head Teacher Elaine Brackenridge.

A plaque commemorating the school’s re-developed campus in Morningside will be unveiled by His Royal Highness, followed by a tour of the new school facilities.  

The Royal Opening marks the beginning of a new phase for the Royal Blind School, which has been providing specialist education for children with visual impairment since it was founded in 1835.

In Autumn 2014 the school merged its two campuses, moving pupils from the 179-year-old Craigmillar Park campus to the buildings in Morningside.

The modern, accessible facilities include wide corridors with contrasting colours to enable independent navigation for pupils with low vision, specialist classrooms, a multi-use games area (MUGA) suitable for children and young people with disabilities and a flat for visiting parents and carers.

The school is developing its outreach programme to provide additional tailored support, training and advice to education professionals who teach children with visual impairments in mainstream schools across Scotland.

Richard Hellewell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind said:

“We are delighted to welcome His Royal Highness to officially open our new facilities today. This marks another important milestone in the long and proud history of Royal Blind, and the Royal Blind School in particular.

“The school has undergone a very thorough refurbishment over the past year, to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our pupils in a changing landscape.

 “The re-developed school offers the unrivalled knowledge and experience of our teachers in a modern, accessible setting.

“Going forward, Royal Blind is seeking to share our expertise within mainstream education as well as those who attend our own school. We are developing a National Resource Centre for launch next year that will enable us to provide support and training to teachers that work with visually impaired pupils.

”We are grateful for the support provided today by His Royal Highness, as well as the ongoing support of the Scottish Government and Scotland’s education authorities.”

Head Teacher Elaine Brackenridge said:

“The pupils have settled very well into their new school and are enjoying the benefits of the inclusive educational environment offered here at the Royal Blind School.   The school ethos is very positive and vibrant and it is our aim to provide all pupils with the necessary experiences to optimise their learning opportunities.” 

Minister for Learning Dr Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“I am delighted to be able to be here today to join pupils, staff and honoured guests to mark the transformation of the school and witness how practical changes will improve daily life at school for these children.

“The Royal Blind School makes an invaluable contribution to Scotland’s education for children and young people with complex additional support needs, not just for those attending the school itself, but by sharing its expertise with other schools across the country.”

For more information please contact:

Davina Shiell, Marketing and Fundraising Manager, Royal Blind

Tel: 0131 229 1456, Mobile: 07713 987797, Email: davina.shiell@royalblind.org

Notes to editors:

• Royal Blind is Scotland’s largest charity supporting people with visual impairments. We run a number of services for blind and partially sighted people, the largest of which is the Royal Blind School. Our vision at Royal Blind is to make a significant contribution to building a community in which blind and partially sighted people, including those who also have other disabilities, are fully included and lead fulfilling lives. www.royalblind.org

• The Royal Blind School is a national grant aided special school that educates and cares for pupils who are blind or have a visual impairment, as well as those with additional support needs. www.royalblind.org/education

• For further information about the school’s history see www.royalblind.org/education/history

• For further information about the school’s re-development programme see www.royalblind.org/education/our-strategy

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About Us

Our vision at Royal Blind is to make a significant contribution to building a community in which blind and partially sighted people, including those who also have other disabilities, are fully included and lead fulfilling lives. We work towards fulfilling this vision, empowering blind people to achieve their potential and a brighter future. Royal Blind operates four distinct services: The Royal Blind School, Forward Vision, Braeside House, and the Scottish Braille Press.

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