Sports and PE outside the classroom

Sport at school

Your QTVI should advise, train and liaise with school sports staff to ensure sports and PE are made as accessible as possible for a vision impaired pupil in school. Some practical tips and solutions are outlined below.

Some of the tips below come from the excellent Vision Friendly Schools book which is now out of print. Consequently, some of the web addresses and references may now be out of date, but we will do our best to keep the information up to date.

Equipment and Strategies

  • Ask your QTVI about audible / larger / bright / tactile sports equipment
  • Use bright tape to mark out edges of apparatus
  • Use cones to mark the edges of a pitch / area
  • Child may need to wear glasses for PE or swimming; prescription goggles can be purchased from Specsavers
  • Individual instruction of ball skills is important
  • Move closer in for ball throwing and catching exercises
  • Use larger, audible, slower bounce balls
  • Use bounce passes in Netball
  • Use a tennis racquet for rounders instead of a bat
  • Personal challenges or skills practice may be more appropriate than a team game
  • Provide a guide for running and a strap if appropriate
  • Consider safety in team games


  • Allow for more space for pupil if appropriate
  • To help gain an idea of size, if appropriate, count the number of strides across a room or strokes in a pool


  • Take time before activity starts to explore the environment and any identifying features
  • Allow for more time to complete activities if appropriate
  • Let the child familiarise themselves with the Sports field before Sports Day
  • Pupil may need more time at the beginning and end of a PE or swimming lesson for independent changing


  • Place pupil with a supportive peer group
  • Place pupil in a team ahead of children picking team mates

Audible equipment

British Blind Sport

The work of the charity enables blind and partially sighted people to have the same opportunities as sighted people to access and enjoy sport and recreational activities in the UK. BBS also provides publications and equipment.

Youth membership (17 years and under) is free until 31st December 2018.

British Blind Sport provides opportunities and advice for the following sports:

  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Judo
  • Tennis
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Cricket
  • Football
  • Target shooting
  • Ten pin
  • Goalball

British Blind Sport Guide to Visually Impaired Friendly Sport


RNIB Guide to VI friendly Sports

RNIB Document on Physical education and vision impairment: Overcoming obstacles

This document includes simple tips on how to make PE more inclusive

RNIB Article on The Tennis Foundation and How tennis can enhance the lives of children with vision impairment


Sports outside school


Below is a list of sporting charities, multi activity clubs and organisations who work with vision impaired children, young people and adults. Sports offered by these organisations will give visually impaired children and young people the chance to socialise with peers with a vision impairment. This list is a suggestion only, is not comprehensive and is subject to change.

This list does not include mainstream local sporting opportunities. There will be many available to children and young people in your area. Always consult your local authority’s “Local Offer” for sporting organisations local to you. Please let us have details of local sports opportunities and organisations you know about that might benefit other parents and families.



A comprehensive list of Sports and Sports organisations which offer sporting opportunities to vision impaired children young people and adults.

British Blind Sport

As above.Blind Cricket England & Wales (BCEW).

The BCEW have been working in partnership with British Blind Sport and the England and Wales Cricket Board since 2006 to deliver competitive cricket for those who are blind or partially sighted running national and international competitions. Find out more about blind cricket from youth development, the national league and cup competitions to the England team. Find out more on the BCEW website.

Blind Sailing is a guide to organised sport and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities at both local and international levels. Our mission is to facilitate access to disability sports by providing information on a wide range of sports and sports organisations focusing on people with hearing, visual, physical and intellectual impairment.



Scuba diving is one of the few sports that crosses many barriers and it is fun to participate regardless of your abilities. You can find out more about diving and how you can get involved on the Scubability website.

Goalball UK

Blind Golf

England and Wales blind golf is a registered Charity, with the principle aim of providing registered blind people with the opportunity to participate and compete in the great game of golf. Blind Golf is played strictly to the Royal and Ancient Rules of Golf with the exception that players are allowed to ground their club in a hazard.

Scottish Blind Golf Society

The Scottish Blind Golf Society is the only registered charity which is a voluntarily run organisation, providing quality competition and training in golf for registered blind and visually impaired people in Scotland, recognised as a governing body by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Off- road driving

Off-road driving for young people who are blind or partially sighted proves to be a very popular event. Many organisations provide the opportunity for young people to spend the day driving different vehicles and also taking part in other adventurous activities. Find out more about Off-road driving on the Action for Blind People website. (Now part of RNIB).

Metro Blind Sport

Metro is a London-based charity; our aim is to open doors to sport for all vision impaired people, regardless of age or sporting ability.



Parkrun and Sport England run a project to get more people with visual impairments participating at Parkrun. They can provide running guides. Contact Parkrun on the web address above to see if they can help.


Riding for the Disabled Association


This organisation provides a copy of the 124 page Sailing Site Guide, showing all sailing clubs approved to cater for visually impaired. This shows hundreds of clubs using rivers, lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs and the sea throughout the UK. Get your copy to find your local sailing club. Call 08445569550 or visit the website.

Visually Impaired Sailing Association of Great Britain

VI-SA-GB is a membership organisation led and operated by an executive committee for all members and its underlying philosophy is that the world of offshore sailing and blue water exploration is for everyone.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Snowsport England

Snowsport England is the Governing Body for English skiers and snowboarders and is recognised by Sport England, the SRA (Sport and Recreational Alliance) and the British Olympic Association. Most ski slopes and clubs have facilities for disabled skiers and there have been many advances in equipment in recent years which has made the sport even more accessible. Find out more by visiting the Disability section of the Snowsport England website.

Outspan Rebels VI Ski Team

The Outspan Rebels is a collective of Visually Impaired Skiers from across the UK, brought together to introduce visually impaired skiing onto the able-bodied indoor ski race circuit, making the sport more inclusive for Visually Impaired Skiers.

For more information please visit the Outspan Rebels Facebook page or contact us for details of the next Nystagmus Network Outspan Rebels Snow Camp.

The Tennis Foundation

The Tennis Foundation aims to make tennis a sport which is inclusive and accessible to all people and communities. The charity works with schools and colleges to help more young players take up the sport, including children with vision impairment.

Swimming – Level Water

Level Water provides free one-to-one swimming lessons for children aged 4-11 with physical disabilities and sensory impairments. They work in partnership with local pools to provide free one-to-one swimming lessons for children with disabilities. The aim is to teach your child the basics of swimming and, if possible, get them successfully integrated into mainstream swimming lessons.

Lessons are available to children aged 4-11

– Who cannot currently swim ten metres
– With a physical disability or sensory impairment (visual / hearing)
– Who do not have a substantial learning, social or behavioural difficulty (e.g. Downs, Autism or ADHD)


Homework and revision

Many children with nystagmus will be visually tired when they get back from school and then still have to do their homework or revise for tests or exams. Always ask your QTVI for advice.

We hope the tips below will help:

  • School to provide homework in appropriate font size as advised by QTVI.
  • Printed homework to be given in A4 format where possible. A3 is hard to scan visually, hard to manage physically and also awkward to file. When enlarging A4 work onto A3 paper, each individual letter becomes less defined and therefore harder for a child with nystagmus to see.
  • School to use homework ‘sampling’ where appropriate. Homework should test the learning objective and skill required. The volume of work can be adjusted according to these criteria. For example, complete 3 instead of 4 paragraphs, do 9 selected questions instead of 12 questions as long as the objective and skill is tested. Always ensure that the harder questions are included in the sampling!
  • Check accessibility for ‘online’ homework resources such as Mymaths.
  • Use RNIB Bookshare to access electronic books at home once account has been set up at school. (See reading resources).
  • Look for large print or electronic study guides. (See reading resources).
  • Consider using audio books where appropriate as a way of reading and reducing vision fatigue. (See reading resources).
  • Touch type homework where possible. It is faster, less tiring and easier to read and edit.
  • Consider using voice recognition software or iPad voice to text option on iPad or computer to reduce vision fatigue.
  • Consider revision via voice recording.
  • If appropriate, consider doing some homework in the morning before school to ease fatigue in the evenings.
  • Provide good ‘task lighting’ at desk. Good lighting is important. OTT lights, for example, provide a natural light with no glare.
  • Promote good posture. Use bookstands and slopeboards.
  • Teachers to mark homework in writing that is large and clear enough for pupil to read.
  • If school uses a mark scheme where comments are written in certain colours –ie Red for ‘action that needs to be taken’, Green for ‘Got It’, consider asking school to write in black and highlight over the comment in the appropriate colour. Highlighting should not make it harder for a child to read – but red / green pen can be
  • Ensure that you are aware of the built-in magnification software on your home computer / laptop. By pressing the CTRL key and either + or – at the same time, the size of the page enlarges or becomes smaller. To reset it to standard size, press CTRL and 0 (zero).
  • OnWindows, magnification and speech options are available under the ‘ease of access’ centre.
  • On an iPad, the accessibility functions are under the ‘General’ tab.
  • If possible, consider being your child’s scribe for homework on days when fatigue is a problem. Do ensure that you make school and your QTVI aware that you are having to do this so that adjustments can be made to the quantity of homework, if necessary. This may also become part of your child’s ‘normal way of working’ which will then be used as evidence when deciding access arrangements for public exams. Acting as a scribe means writing only exactly what your child has said!