The Trustees are pleased to confirm that funding has been awarded to Chailey Heritage Foundation to purchase “Eye Gaze” equipment. Chailey Heritage Foundation is a pioneering charity which provides education, care and transition services for children and young people with complex physical disabilities and health needs. Each year they support over 270 young people and their carers. Their provision includes a non-maintained special school for 2–19year-olds; residential and short stays provision; a life skills centre; therapeutic horse riding; a therapy farm; holiday clubs; fitness sessions in their adapted gym; cookery and art workshops; and support at home for the young people and their families. The specialist teachers and highly trained teaching assistants are dedicated to providing the very best education and opportunities for learners.
The School currently uses “Eye Gaze” equipment in the classrooms. This equipment enables pupils who do not have control of their hands, and often cannot communicate verbally, to operate a computer by eye movement alone to access a wide range of specialist educational and communicational software. The computer is fitted with an eye tracker; this follows eye movements so that the eyes effectively become a virtual computer mouse. One of the limitations of the equipment is that it currently uses desktop computers and as such, it isn’t portable. The funding will provide for mobile “Eye Gaze” equipment that the children will be able to use outside of the classrooms, for example in the school’s therapeutic farm. This will allow the children to ask questions and indicate choices whilst out and about, promoting their independence and maximising learning opportunities.