Project information

Assisted Placement Scheme at Dorton House Nursery

Our Assisted Placement Scheme will provide life-changing opportunities whereby any visually impaired child aged 2-5 can access the specialist education on offer at Dorton House Nursery, regardless of their financial situation. To best support a child’s development, early intervention is essential.

This is an on-going project.

Charity information: Royal London Society for the Blind

Royal London Society for the Blind logo
  • Need


    Government nursery provision is available for children aged 3 - 5. Local Authorities (LAs) are not obliged to support visually impaired children under the age of 3 and when they do, the children are often placed in mainstream nurseries. These nurseries are usually not able to provide disabled children with the specialist education essential to ensure that they get the best start in life. Some LAs run special-needs nurseries, but none provide specific facilities for visually impaired children.


    Occasionally LAs do fund places at Dorton House Nursery but this is rare, so the financial burden falls on families. Most families struggle with the payments and are often hand to mouth, fundraising on a weekly basis to provide for their child. The Assisted Placement Scheme has been established to provide life-changing opportunities, whereby a visually impaired child aged 2-5 genuinely in need of funding support, can access the specialist education our Nursery has to offer.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Our long-term aim is to offer 30 part-time (2-3 days per child) Assisted Places at the Nursery.


    » Systems in place for the Assisted Placement Scheme - application process, means testing, legal process, fundraising support and marketing tools.

    Success will be seen through the number of applications we receive and places we are able to offer.

  • Impact


    The project will ensure visually impaired children have access to specialist education from an early age and ensure the Nursery operates at full capacity.
    We will demonstrate the success of this project by monitoring the number of applications made and places offered. Success will be a 70% increase in the number of children attending the Nursery. We will also continue to assess each child’s development with regards to both visual and physical abilities and monitor their personal achievements.


    Insufficient applications made to the scheme – we are in close communication with parents of recently diagnosed children and have secured many expressions of interest. We also have strong referral links with specialist hospitals.

    Budget restrictions - we are keeping a close eye on the number of places offered and the amount in the fund at any one time, adjusting the number of places available as we receive new information.


    Donors to this project will receive regular reports detailing the progress of the child/ children which will include key milestones and work produced by the children during their time at the Nursery. Donors will also have the opportunity to visit the Nursery to see the project first-hand.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £295,795

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £222,921 Specialist staff and equipment Including physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, light sensory room and Braille equipment
      £51,514 Facilities Including education support services, building and grounds maintenance and upkeep of garden
      £21,360 Overheads Organisational resources including IT, HR, finance and catering

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trusts and Foundations £7,000 Guaranteed
    Events £43,600 Guaranteed
    Corporate donations £3,500 Guaranteed
    Individual donations £4,500 Guaranteed
    Trusts and Foundations £5,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Opened in 1987, Dorton House Nursery is based on our Sevenoaks campus in Kent and is now housed in the purpose-built Brian Johnston Centre. It’s situated near 3 motorways and 4 local stations which have excellent rail connections to London and the South-East.


    Children come to Dorton House Nursery from a wide area; from Brighton to London, Chelmsford, Oxford and Ashford, and in the past families have moved from abroad specifically for their children to attend the Nursery. Predominantly we attract families from London and the Southeast due to travel time between their home and the Nursery.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have over 20 years experience providing specialist education to children who are blind and partially sighted. Our specially-equipped Nursery is staffed by experienced, dedicated professionals; other specialist therapists are on-site and paediatric nurses are on duty five days a week. This setting accommodates learning, physical and sensory impairments ensuring each child has the support they need. Ofsted rates the Nursery as ‘outstanding’ for both education and care.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Tom Pey

    Our Chief Executive will promote the scheme locally and nationally as part of his role and through his extensive network of contacts.

    Maggie Bindon

    Our Nursery Manager & Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired will oversee allocation of funds and support parents through the application process.

    Mandy Harling

    Our Deputy Nursery Manager will be involved in assessing children to ensure that the money is used to support those who will benefit most.

    Emma Shaw

    Our Major Gifts Manager, will oversee publicity and fundraising, to ensure funds are secured for continuity of the scheme.

I feel my daughter would be ‘lost’ within a mainstream school and her full potential never achieved.