Joint Media Release with Bruce Billson MP, Member for Dunkley
Commonsense has prevailed and plans for new classrooms at the Frankston Special Development School have been changed to ensure they actually meet the needs of the students intended to use the facilities.
Local Federal MP, Bruce Billson and the Coalition’s spokesman on Disabilities, Senator Mitch Fifield joined forces with the Frankston SDS school community and parents after it was revealed that the standard template design the government had selected for the school under the Building the Education Revolution program did not include the toilets needed for students with disabilities.
The school had requested that toilet facilities be included in the new classrooms to cater for the specific needs of their students with disabilities, only to be told the new rooms might not even be connected to water, despite the school being prepared to pay for the cost of installing the necessary toilets.
“After highlighting how the ridiculously rigid rules meant that the Frankston SDS was going to be ‘fitted up’ with a template building that ignored the special needs of the student at the school, commonsense has prevailed and the government has finally agreed to the changes the school community has been seeking,” Mr Billson said.
“The school has now been given written confirmation of the government’s belated change of heart and the BER project will now be a permanent building revised to included the toilet facilities, high impacts materials, wider doorways and pathways and ramps that the school community has been seeking.
“This is another classic example of how a far better outcome can be achieved if the government sets aside its heavy-handed prescriptive approach, actually listens to the school community and responds to the specific needs of the school and students,” Mr Billson said.
Mr Billson congratulated the school community and vigilant parents for being prepared to stand-up to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ BER demands of the Government and for strongly insisting that the special needs of their students drive the way the taxpayer funding was being used.
“Julia Gillard’s one-size-fits-all approach had got to the point where a school catering for students with disabilities had to fight for toilet facilities it required to meet the special needs of its students,” Senator Fifield said.
“It is shameful that the Government will only do the right thing after a school community, parents and elected representatives combine to highlight the government’s disappointing and out-of-touch attitude and fight to secure an obvious and much better outcome for students,” he said.