Making Schools More Inclusive In The Education State

Schools across Victoria will receive a funding boost to support students with disabilities and special needs, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman today visited Jackson School in St Albans to announce that a further 17 schools will receive funding under the $20 million Inclusive School Fund.

The fund is helping government schools better support the social and education needs of young people with a disability. In December last year 24 schools received funding in round two of the scheme, sharing in $3.6 million.

Today it was announced that a further 17 schools would share in an additional $3.4 million in round two funding to build projects including  sensory gardens, learning and wellbeing centres and innovative play areas.

Jackson School, which is a Special School for students with a mild intellectual disability, will be replacing an existing playground with a new multi-sensory playground. It will include fast growing plants for visual stimulation, a small cubby and hiding space, colour and lighting effects and a “peekaboo wall” to help students with social interaction.

Mr Merlino and Ms Suleyman also launched round three of the Inclusive Schools Fund and encouraged schools to present creative and innovative ideas in their applications. Details of how to apply are available at: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/inclusiveschoolsfund.aspx

The Inclusive Schools Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools, which is ensuring that students with disabilities get the same opportunities as other students.

This includes the annual Accessible Buildings Program, which provides government schools with funding for facilities to support students, parents and teachers with injuries or disabilities.

The Inclusive Schools Fund grants are also in addition to funding of $155.8 million announced in the Victorian Budget 2016/17 to improve the facilities available to students with special needs, including $58.5 million to upgrade 20 special schools across Victoria.

More information about these projects is available at: www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“Inclusive education is about giving students with disabilities the same opportunities as everybody else so that no one misses out.”

“This funding is about helping children with disabilities, while giving extra support to their teachers and parents.”

Quotes attributable to Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman

Jackson School does an incredible job each and every day supporting kids in our local community”

“This funding will allow the school to create a multi-sensory play area for almost 300 students, which can also be used for counselling and wellbeing sessions.”

Successful schools in round two of the Inclusive Schools Fund: 

School Project
Barwon Valley School Sensory Playground
Carranballac P-9 College Sensory Garden
Chelsea Heights Primary School Sensory room and garden and accessible toilets
Dandenong Valley SDS Refurb pool to create sensory aquatic centre
East Gippsland Specialist School Redevelop playground to make it inclusive 
Epsom Primary School  Sensory play area
Fountain Gate Primary School Outdoor sensory learning area
Heywood District Secondary College Inclusive learning space including ‘aquaponic’ area
Jackson School Replace existing playground with sensory play space
Maryborough Education Centre Inclusive, sensory and environmentally sustainable play and learning space
Melton Specialist School Outdoor sensory area based on the ‘Seven Seasons’ into which the year is divided by the Kulin people.
Menzies Creek Primary School Multi-purpose, inclusive outdoor area
Mornington Park Primary School Running track to share with nearby Mornington Special Development School.
Mornington Secondary College Learning centre and wellbeing garden
Mount Dandenong Primary School Outdoor sensory play area
Swan Hill Specialist School Inclusive play area and sensory garden
Yarra Road Primary School Inclusive play area

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