Students to get new sensory space

Officer Specialist School will put the funding towards a new sensory space for students.

By Danielle Kutchel

Officer Specialist School is among those to have been granted funding in the latest round of the State Government’s Inclusive Schools Fund.

The school received $199,000 to build an inclusive, wheelchair-accessible learning and sensory space.

It was one of 53 projects funded in round five of the scheme, which aims to help government schools better cater for the social and educational needs of young people with a disability and additional needs.

Denise Munt, principal of Officer Specialist School, said they hoped to begin construction on the space next year.

The space will involve two sensory gardens: one featuring natives and natural wooden structures, and the other featuring fixed musical instruments for students to interact with.

The areas will be able to be used as learning spaces as well as for social activities, to help promote learning outdoors, and have been designed in conjunction with allied health staff like occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech pathologists, to ensure they cater for the needs of all students.

Meanwhile, Eastern Victoria MP Harriet Shing said round six applications of the Inclusive Schools Fund were now open for local schools to create inclusive spaces.

An additional $20 million was allocated for rounds six and seven of the Inclusive Schools Fund in the 2020/21 Victorian Budget.

Past successful projects have included accessible kitchen gardens, wheelchair-friendly playground surfaces, quiet musical areas, a bush playground and sensory zones with a range of tactile surfaces.

Applications for round six close Friday, 19 February. For more details, go to https://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Inclusive-Schools-Fund.aspx

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