Bath calls on Education Minister to action Latrobe SDS at the opening of parliament

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has used the opening of the 59th Victorian State Parliament to continue her campaign to advocate for Latrobe Special Developmental School (Latrobe SDS).

Ms Bath said her first adjournment debate on day one was aimed at Education Minister James Merlino.

“The Minister and government must confirm that Latrobe SDS will retain their special developmental status, be purpose built with proper consultation with the school community,” said Ms Bath.

“The school community’s voice must be heard.

“Latrobe SDS council do not support any form of co-location with Traralgon College and want to ensure they are provided with funding that meets their needs.”

The Andrews Labor Government previously announced $6 million of joint funding for Latrobe Special Developmental School tied with Traralgon College.

“The Latrobe SDS community have been adamant from the beginning that any new school must be standalone and are incredibly concerned they will be forced to co-locate.

“The initial consultation undertaken with the Education department has done nothing to allay the fears of the school council, parents, many staff and teachers.

“This week the school council has written to the Premier, Minister Merlino and local members stating this,” said Ms Bath.

Latrobe SDS caters for children in Latrobe Valley with moderate to severe disabilities aged between 5 to 18 years of age with an IQ of 55 or below.  A significant number of children attending the school have mobility difficulties with many wheelchair bound.

“The new school must be designed to deliver an individualised learning environment which enables Latrobe SDS students to thrive and move towards independence.

“This issue is too important to not follow through and it is imperative Latrobe SDS achieve the right educational outcomes.