Funding enables school upgrade

Swan Hill Specialist School students C J Gross, Tyrone Hunter, Liam Curtis and Anthony Jones jumped for joy after it was announced the school would receive funding to upgrade their school grounds. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN.

Swan Hill Specialist School students C J Gross, Tyrone Hunter, Liam Curtis and Anthony Jones jumped for joy after it was announced the school would receive funding to upgrade their school grounds. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN.

Swan Hill Specialist School jumped for joy this week when the state government officially announced the school would receive $200,000 to create more inclusive play areas for its students.

The funding is part of the government's $20 million Inclusive Schools Funding pool. 

Principal Jodi Walters said the school had been told about the funding over the summer holidays.

"We threw some ideas to the Department of Education," Ms Walters said.

"We put in a wish list that was way out of the realm of possibility but we figured it was best to ask for too much than not enough."

Swan Hill Specialist School is one of 17 schools across the state to receive funding from the state government's $20 million Inclusive School's fund.

Minister for Education James Merlino said the funding would help support the social and educational needs of young people with a disability.

"Inclusive education is about giving students with disabilities the same opportunities as everybody else so that no one misses out," Mr Merlino said.

"This funding is about helping children with disabilities, while giving extra support to their teachers and parents."

Architects have visited the Swan Hill Specialist School through the Department of Education to help design the space.

"What we mainly want is a creek bed with quiet running water," Ms Walters said.

"It will be a place where children can go to if they need to have some peaceful time away from others."

The school is also hoping there will be a sandpit with accessibility for wheelchairs. 

"We also desperately want a fully accessible swing," she said.

A running track is another item on the school's wishlist, which the school hopes to fund over time.

Earlier this week middle school students created a video to persuasively ask their principal what they wanted for their new play area.

The video was posted on Facebook and currently has 3700 views.

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Friday's Guardian (March 17).

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