Free glasses to be trialled in schools to tackle poor eyesight

The government has said that thousands of pupils will benefit from an expanded programme that provides two free pairs of glasses to improve reading and writing by tackling poor eyesight.

Data shows that 30 per cent of pupils who need glasses have not been to an optician, alongside disadvantaged children being less likely to get, or wear, the glasses they need. Now, the Glasses in Classes scheme aims to level up outcomes and will be adapted for five disadvantaged areas in England, under the Opportunity Area programme. This will reach more than 9,000 pupils in at least 225 schools.

As part of the plan, children and their families will receive support from a vision co-ordinator, usually a teaching assistant, to attend follow-up eye examinations, get their prescription glasses and wear them regularly.

The scheme is backed by Opportunity Area funding and will now be available for pupils in Doncaster, Derby, Durham, Norwich and Breckland, and North Yorkshire Coast.

New Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “As a young boy shortly after arriving in this country, I sat at the back of the classroom with poor language skills and low confidence, struggling to engage with my lessons. Back then, I could never have dreamt of the opportunities this country would give me and I am determined to help every young person overcome obstacles, just as I was supported.

“Too many children still struggle with the literacy skills they need to make the most of their education. Simple steps like providing free glasses to those that need them so they can clearly see words on a page, for example, can help close the literacy gap and foster a love of learning.”

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