Chelsea Heights Primary School

Mr RICHARDSON (Mordialloc) — I raise a matter for the Minister for Education. The action I seek is for the minister to visit Chelsea Heights Primary School to hear about its application for an Inclusive School Fund grant and the important work the school is doing to support all students.

The grants program provides schools with funds for innovative projects that promote inclusive school environments and support the social and educational needs of children with disabilities. Chelsea Heights Primary School is in a period of significant growth, with student numbers edging closer to 400 students on site. This is testament to the work of the principal, Jane Satchwell, and her assistant, Pia, who have a wonderful vision for the school. One of the key attributes of the school is the promotion of excellence in everything it does in all areas. The school is striving for excellence in all areas and particularly in supporting children with special needs or with learning difficulties. It is about the needs of each individual student and how the teaching group can maximise the educational outcomes for the kids to allow them to reach their potential.

Last year I had the opportunity to visit Chelsea Heights Primary School and receive a comprehensive briefing on the support its teachers and teaching assistants are providing to all students, with increased focus on children who need additional support and assistance. As an overview the school has undertaken an innovative project around the sensory experiences and responses of the students. The notion put forward by the school in this initiative is to try to assist students who have difficulties regulating their sensory experiences, which ultimately affects their education, and other students, with targeted and tested strategies. The teachers at Chelsea Heights Primary School have established sensory rooms which can help children to regulate their emotions and behaviours by providing them with the tools or activities in a targeted sensory environment. This is complemented with an approach to all the senses — being auditory, visual, smell, taste and touch.

Hearing about the personal experiences of teachers and the benefits they have been able to achieve in the classroom was inspiring. I left thinking of the benefits that could be derived from rolling out these projects across all schools. However, to take this initiative forward the school has submitted an application to the Inclusive School Fund to establish an indoor and outdoor area which will support sensory activities and incorporate teachers and support staff, including psychologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists, in a multipurpose learning area for all students. I fully support this concept and will do all I can to make this a reality.

I was hugely impressed by the school’s innovative approach and the benefits to learning this could provide to other schools across Victoria. As a government we should be looking towards initiatives like the one being put forward by Chelsea Heights Primary School. In conclusion, I seek that the minister visit Chelsea Heights Primary School to hear more about its application for an Inclusive School Fund grant and the important work it is undertaking.