SUPPORTING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS

Schools across Victoria will be better equipped to support more students with disabilities and special needs thanks to the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Inclusive School Fund.

Round two of the Fund will see 24 schools sharing in $3.6 million, which helps schools build new facilities to better support the social and educational needs of students with disabilities and special needs.

Schools are encouraged to be creative with their ideas to make interesting and stimulating learning and play spaces that will benefit all students, including those with special needs.

Minister for Education James Merlino today announced the successful grant recipients during a visit to Gladesville Primary School, which won a grant of $117,300 to create a calm room and attached outdoor space.

Gladesville Primary has a high proportion of students who have come from a background of abuse and neglect. The school has a strong focus on removing barriers for students with disabilities, trauma history and special needs.

Facilities will provide a welcome sensory environment for students with disabilities, including children with trauma history.

The project will also feature gardening and outdoor play, weighted blankets which help students relax and “therapy swings”.

The Inclusive Schools Fund grants are on top of the $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.

The Fund is one of nine initiatives in the Special Needs Plan for Victorian Schools to ensure that students with disabilities get the same chances as other students.

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

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“Building the Education State means making sure everyone can access a great education – no matter their circumstances.”

“Many schools across Victoria have creative ideas about how to improve their facilities to make them more inclusive and the Andrews Labor Government is helping those schools bring these ideas to life.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Mordialloc and Ambassador for the Special Needs Plans Tim Richardson

“The Inclusive Schools Fund assists students with injuries or disabilities access mainstream schools.” “It makes a real difference because the right facilities can not only increase participation but help students improve their learning outcomes.”