What is SchoolScreenerEZ?

Few would argue that children who cannot see or hear properly will be disadvantaged in the classroom. Research suggests that approximately 15% of school children have a vision problem and a further 20% some hearing loss. Even in schools where screening is provided, this is usually limited to a single screening on school entry, so children developing vision of hearing problems subsequently, may well go undetected.

The longer problems go undetected, the more a child’s social and educational development is likely to be impacted. This in turn places greater demands on school remedial support resources.

SchoolScreenerEZ, developed at City University London, is radical and proven software designed to allow non-specialists (including school support staff or even parents) to carry out fast, efficient, sensitive and specific vision and hearing screening.

Pupils

Isn’t School Screening done by the Local Authority?

A programme of vision screening was introduced in UK schools over 100 years ago. Screening was usually carried out by school nurses at various key stages throughout the school years.

However, this programme has been drastically cut over the years and nowadays local authorities are only obliged to provide one vision screening on school entry (aged 4-5 years). In some areas this screening is done well but in other areas it is done poorly or not at all. As a result, some children do not receive any form of vision test at school while others receive a very cursory check. Even where vision screening is conducted well, many vision problems develop after the age of five and therefore go undetected.

As the national screening programme has been cut, many schools have started to offer their own vision screening programme. A vision check only takes a few minutes and it is clearly in the best interest of the child and the school to detect vision problems before they start to affect a child’s social and educational development.

However, at first schools were a little reluctant to take on vision screening without professional supervision by a nurse, optometrist or orthoptist.

In response to this challenge a team of vision scientists led by Professor David Thomson of the Department of Optometry and Visual Science at City University developed a computer program for managing vision screening in schools. In addition to allowing teachers, teaching assistants and other personnel within schools to perform the vision tests without professional supervision, it also automatically generated personalized reports for each child and maintained a database of results. Launched in 1998, the software was an instant success and was soon adopted by hundreds of schools.

Who can use it?

SchoolScreenerEZ is very simple to use and does not require any prior knowledge of the eyes or vision. It may be used by anybody prepared to spend a few minutes familiarizing themselves with the system. Teachers, teaching assistants, admin staff or even parents are successfully using the program across the country.
Laptop

Who can be tested?

The software is designed to be used with children between the age of 4 and 16. In some schools, vision testing is carried out in every year. In others, screening is carried out at certain key stages, for example 5, 7, 11 and 14 years.
Kids

 

What do I do if I find that a child has poor vision?

The software will reliably detect children will poor vision. However, there is little point in detecting children with poor vision unless the child then goes on to be investigated further and some form of treatment or intervention is offered. The majority of children with poor vision will simply require spectacles. Most optometrists in the UK welcome children and eye examinations for children are free under the NHS.
In some areas, special clinics run by orthoptists are available to test children.
The reports produced by SchoolScreenerEZ can be easily adapted to fit with local policy and facilities.
Eye exam