Help a special school get the resources it needs to continue to make a difference.
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The Pavilion School is a state secondary school which provides a cohesive environment for educating children who have been disengaged from any form of education. These may either be children who come from financially struggling families, or children with learning difficulties who do not fit into the mainstream schooling system, but are also unable to access special needs schooling due to their IQ levels.
The school has been operational under the Charles La Trobe College administration since 2007 and has been instrumental in allowing children, such as my own son, to access education and not feel burdened by their prior academic history. The school has attempted to detach itself from Charles La Trobe College in order to bring more attention to itself as an individual school rather than a division of another school. However, this request has been denied by the Department of Education, Victoria.
Currently, at the East Preston campus, the school has three classrooms on its second level which are occupied by staff members not affiliated with the school. These staff members are employed by the Department of Education to provide health and wellbeing support to students in the city of Darebin, which is where the campus is located. However, as the school itself comes under the administration of Charles La Trobe College, which is located within the City of Darebin the school has no access to the services these staff members provide.
While we respect that the services these staff are providing are important, this arrangement has meant that students must use a detached portable building which is inadequate as it lacks bathroom facilities, does not provide a conducive studying environment and is isolated from the main building. This portable building also poses a health and safety risk to students as the building is very old and contains asbestos. Furthermore, the building is almost running at capacity and is not large enough to cater for additional students.
These three classrooms currently being occupied is restricting the school from expanding. It is unacceptable to prioritise staff, which have no affiliation with the school in which they work, over students.
The Victorian State Government's Targets Factsheet for Education show that the proportion of students leaving education early, between years 9-12, aims to drop by 50%, and the proportion of students who report 'high resilience' aims to increase by 20%.
It is crucial that the Department of Education provide assistance to The Pavilion School in relocating its wellbeing staff and allowing the school to utilise the three extra classrooms. This will not only provide much needed support for the school to continue doing the remarkable work it is doing, but also show that the Department of Education is doing all it can to keep in line with its targets.
I am calling on The Hon. James Merlino, Minister for Education, to assist The Pavilion School in accessing these three classrooms in order to provide a better environment for its students to learn, so that the school may continue to help students thrive.
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