The story of Positive Eye so far…..
By Martin McCormack, Director – Positive Eye
Using knowledge and experience gained over eighteen years as Teacher of Vision Impairments and Head of Service in peripatetic local authority services, Positive Eye was established by Gwyn McCormack nine years ago and has since evolved as a thriving business supporting educational practitioners working with children and young people with vision impairment.
From the outset the heart of Positive Eye’s brand and mission was to teach, support, equip and build confidence in professionals to meet the educational needs of children with VI. Feeling that a large proportion of training materials focussed on the academic and theoretical side of learning Gwyn set out to deliver courses and develop creative resources which are practical with a capital ‘P’, logical, bite sized and step by step.
This principal continues to drive all of Positive Eye’s training, products and consultancy work. In 2008 our first course had three delegates from our local area, but within the year Gwyn had developed a small range of key products starting a trend of easy to use, fully customisable products which address the practical and logistical challenges of supporting children and young people with vision impairment.
In the first year Gwyn had her first taste of international work when she was asked to review the provision of support services in Iceland. This has led to a close working relationship with Iceland and firm friendships. Positive Eye was also engaged to develop a paint scheme to enhance the environment in Tameside College to make it more vision friendly which made full use of her artistic background and skills.
As the business became better known Gwyn was asked to be the lead tutor on the mandatory course for teachers of vision impairment in Wales held at the University of South Wales. This has again led to friendships and ongoing links with practitioners in the field.
Gwyn is currently a guest tutor on the mandatory course for Teachers of Vision Impairment at University of Birmingham. She always shows students the “how to” practical side of teaching which means that her car is always packed to the roof with ‘hands on’ resources. Her enthusiasm and passion led in 2015 to Positive Eye needing to take 2 cars worth of resources to show and talk about. This definitely needs a rethink!
This sharing ethos and keen desire to support means time is regularly spent sharing a range of resources. On Positive Eye’s website, resources are available free on the Resources Page and Positive Eye also shares information on external websites such as ‘Paths to Literacy’ and ‘Through Scarlett’s Eyes.’
The sharing ethos has led to Gwyn being asked to present at the ‘Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference’ in Albuquerque, USA in November 2015. This was a great success, firm friendships were established and more recently Positive Eye has hosted a webinar for Perkins School for the Blind in America on ‘Theme Based Approaches to Literacy.’
On the product front the range has now expanded to over 30 items. Our flagship product Positive Looking 1 is used across the country and internationally. It has been fully embraced with the backing of an Ophthalmologist and Specialist teachers of VI who are using it in different ways to support their work. Its customisable approach has proved to be extremely popular and effective, recently witnessed at a special conference of 50 professionals who came together to share best practice based around the template set out in Positive Looking 1.
Product development continues apace with Positive Looking 2 which looks at developing visual perception skills. Other products developed in 2016 are the Reasonable Adjustments Charter and Positive Solutions for Braille Maths.
In March next year, we will be launching Positive Outcomes for Children with SEND which will support class teachers to individualise national curriculum outcomes and understand the additional curriculum outcomes the child needs to also achieve
From its small beginnings Positive Eye is now well known in the UK and internationally. So far the story has been exciting. Continuing to look at processes and methodologies that are practical and cost effective, delivering courses, training and consultancy which are taught and modelled with an enthusiastic, committed and passionate approach to build confidence, inspire, equip and enable practitioners is the cornerstone of Positive Eye’s brand.
So what next for Positive Eye? We are excited to be re-launching to a wider SEND audience with the introduction of our new product ‘Positive Outcomes for Children with SEND’ plus existing courses and products which lend themselves to other children’s needs.
But above all, making a difference to children and young people continues to be at the very heart of Positive Eye and it is what drives the business forward. I know that Gwyn is set to lead us forward with the same drive, energy, passion and enthusiasm she started the business with nine years ago.
We thank you for your loyal support and custom and behalf of Gwyn and I we wish you all a Happy, Positive and Peaceful New Year