Taught course

Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments

University of Birmingham · School of Education

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally required to have a first degree or diplomas or five years of relevant professional experience, training or other relevant qualifications.

In addition to the general entry requirements, applicants should have:

  • Department for Education (DfE) Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or equivalent;
  • normally, a minimum of three years’ teaching experience;
  • mentor support from a qualified teacher of vision impairments (QTVI);
  • either paid employment, or a formalised volunteer role with a view to employment as a QTVI, in a capacity that involves regular and ongoing teaching of children and young people with vision impairments throughout the duration of the two year programme.

As well as those requirements already listed you will be expected to have:

  • access to a braille machine for the duration of the programme;
  • internet access from home and/or work;
  • appropriate resources, commitment and a line manager’s agreement to allow full engagement in all the required components of the programme (e.g. attendance at residential study weekends and regional tutorials/study day; agreement from line manager for release for educational visits and teaching placements; a mentor who is a QTVI).

All applicants will be interviewed by phone to confirm that they meet the programme requirements.

Months of entry


Course content

This two-year distance learning course is open to teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or equivalent, seeking the Mandatory Qualification (MQ) for specialist teachers of children and young people with vision impairments.

This MQ vision impairment course has been approved by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). An alternative course (Education of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments) is also open to teachers (as well as other professionals with appropriate qualifications) working with children and young people with vision impairments who are not seeking the MQ.

  • Approximately 100 specialist teachers of children with vision impairment are trained each year, making the University of Birmingham the largest teacher training provider in the area of vision impairment in the United Kingdom.
  • The course is strongly rooted in practice and makes strong links with mainstream settings, special schools and settings, and sensory support services to help keep provision up to date and relevant to practice.

You will be required to attend University based study-weekends and regional tutorials as specified throughout the course. Details of the study weekends may be found in the Teaching and Assessment section.

On successful completion of the PG Diploma you may transfer to the MEd (Education of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments). This is usually undertaken as an additional year of study and requires completion of a research methods module (4,000 words) and a dissertation (15,000 words). An additional fee is payable for this period of study.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    123 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Delivery of the course is mainly through online learning although you will be required to attend study weekends and tutorials as specified throughout the course. The course includes an assessed braille component, a teaching placement and a negotiated programme of visits to specialist provision. As most of the module content will be delivered online you will require suitable internet access prior to commencing their studies and a laptop or computer that is not encrypted. The course and individual modules draw upon a range of learning and teaching approaches, a number of which are structured around the principles of enquiry based learning (EBL). You will be tutored by recognized experts in the field who work in the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching And Research (VICTAR) and will have access to extensive research materials.

Course contact details

Vision Impairments