Access for all at Bellarine Secondary College

February 20, 2020 BY

Bellarine Secondary College in Drysdale will undergo several building modifications to make the school more accessible. Year 9 student Claudia Murry with principal Wayne Johannesen outside the current library entrance, which is not easily accessible. Photo: JESSICA NICOL

ELECTRIC doors would mean more independence for Year 9 student Claudia Murry, who presently relies on the assistance of others to access several buildings throughout Bellarine Secondary College in Drysdale.

Last week, Bellarine MP Lisa Neville announced the college would receive funding from the state government’s Accessible Buildings Program, to improve school facilities and infrastructure that supports students and staff with disabilities.

Bellarine Secondary College is a great school and these modifications will ensure every student and teacher has better access to the school’s facilities,” Ms Neville said.

“I congratulate school principal Wayne Johannesen and his team in working hard to continually improve and upgrade the school for all.”

The college was allocated funding from the Accessible Buildings Program to promote inclusive learning environments, through improved access to modern and functional learning spaces.

The funding will assist the college in making modifications to its buildings – including bathrooms and ramps – to ensure students and staff where necessary, have better access to the school facilities, in line with their peers and colleagues.

For Claudia, who has Dejerine-Sottas Syndrome and relies on an electric wheelchair for mobility, the funding means she can move freely about the campus.

“At the minute an aide has to come with me wherever I go, if there were electric doors it would mean if I wanted to go to the library and get a book, I could,” Claudia said.

“It just means that I have a bit more independence and freedom to move around.”

The program adjusts existing facilities to meet the needs of those with existing disabilities, as well as disabilities that occur as a result of an accident or the deterioration of existing conditions.

Ms Neville said since 2015 the state government had invested more than $6.1 billion to deliver new primary and secondary schools, and upgrade more than 1,400 existing ones.

“The Accessible Schools Program helps to ensure all Victorian government students, of all abilities can get a great education and have access to modern, functional learning spaces, giving them the best chance to succeed and thrive in school and in life.”

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