Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My adjournment matter this evening is directed to the Minister for Education and relates to recreational space at the Barwon Valley School in Geelong.
A concerned parent of a young man attending his last year at the school recently wrote to the Geelong Advertiser expressing concerns about the lack of recreational space in which to play games and kick the footy at the school. Barwon Valley School is the only government school in the Geelong area that caters specifically for children with an IQ of less than 50.
Hon. D. M. Davis interjected.
Ms TIERNEY — Barwon Valley School, it is called.
The article details the issue of Barwon Valley School students being denied access to adequate playground facilities due to portables being continually allocated to the school to cater for the increased school population. The student’s mother, Michele Denham, stated in the Geelong Advertiser that her son, Brett, was one of several students unable to move freely at the specialist school, which had fast outgrown its space. She said:
“They’re denied what every other kid in Victoria has access to, and that’s a playground …
The only place for them to play kick-to-kick was in the bus bay, which is extremely dangerous. I’ve been complaining to the education department and I’ve basically been told it’s the school’s problem.”
These issues are being raised at the same time as this government is about to evict 85 special needs students from the Hendy Street, Corio, campus of the Nelson Park School, another specialist school in Geelong catering for students with needs different to those of the students at Barwon Valley School. The campus site is up for sale, forcing the school to house all of its students at the Libau Avenue, Bell Park, campus. I urge the minister to address this important issue of the lack of space for our specialist schools in Geelong and to meet personally with representatives, including parents, to understand the issues affecting these schools and their students.