More School Support For Students With Disability

21 March 2024

The Allan Labor Government is delivering High Intensity Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) at more specialist schools across the state – giving hundreds of families across Victoria the extra support they deserve.

Minister for Education Ben Carroll today visited Western Autistic School in Laverton to announce that 15 new OSHC services are now open at special schools around the state free of charge to families – delivering on the promise the Labor Government made to Victorians at the last election.

Building on a pilot program at five schools, 20 free OSHC services are now operating across Victoria – offering more activities, excursions and school holiday programs which are tailored to the needs of children with disability.

This program is being delivered after listening to families of special school students, who told us one of their biggest challenges is finding outside hours or holiday care that gives their kids the level of care they need – and if they can find a service at all, it’s rarely affordable.

The results from the pilot are clear: a significant improvement in both the educational achievement of kids, improved wellbeing of both students and their families – and a huge 92 per cent of parents saying they had either taken up, or were planning to, extra work or training.

Services at pilot schools Bendigo Special Developmental School, Jackson School, Kalianna Special School, Officer Specialist School and Yarrabah School will continue this year – with a further ten schools set to incorporate these services in 2025 and 2026.

The additional services deliver on the Labor Government’s election promise to build on a pilot program established in 2018.

Currently there are six OSHC services across regional Victoria – with two services in Bendigo and one each in Ballarat, Geelong, Colac and Leongatha.

The Labor Government is making education across the state even more inclusive – upgrading every specialist school in Victoria and delivering more support to students, so that every child gets the chance to play, learn and grow, no matter their needs.

Education for students with additional needs is all about choice – while we’re making sure there is a great specialist school in every corner of the state, our $1.6 billion Disability Inclusion initiative means there is support for all students in mainstream schools too, so kids can go to school wherever they will best learn, grow and thrive.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Ben Carroll

“We know that finding care outside school hours is one of the biggest challenges parents and carers face – and these new services will allow children with disability get the tailored care they deserve.”

“We’re making sure families have more time for work or study knowing their child is cared for and supported.”

Quote attributable to Member for Laverton Sarah Connolly

“This is huge for our local specialist school families – it’s great for kids’ learning outcomes and gives families some respite so they can work and study, making sure time with their kids is quality time.”

Quote attributable to Member for Point Cook Mathew Hilakari

“This investment will give families peace of mind knowing that their child is receiving the necessary support – while allowing parents extra time to work or study.”

Reviewed 05 April 2024

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