TAFE land leased for specialist school

SALE Specialist School students and teachers will have adequate space when school resumes next year now that a lease has been signed granting them use of the adjoining Advance TAFE facilities in Desailly St.

Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MLA Peter Ryan said works to improve accessibility for students were about to begin at the TAFE campus.

“Ongoing discussions with the staff at the school regarding their needs are taking place and these works will be complete by the start of the 2014 school year,” Mr Ryan said.

“Due to rising enrolments, the Sale Specialist School has expanded beyond its Raymond St campus, to include a senior campus within the grounds of Sale College.”

Mr Ryan said senior students from the Sale College campus who were being educated would now have classrooms and facilities in the TAFE building, allowing them to be closer to their peers.

“The Department of Education has leased the TAFE building for two years, with further two one-year options available, which will allow for the accommodation of the continual rise in student enrolments the school has experienced over previous years,” he said.

Mr Ryan said funding to purchase land and begin planning for the new Sale Specialist School had been secured in the 2013-14 Victorian budget.

“An expression of interest process highlighted a number of possible sites that have been inspected by Department of Education representatives, including the school’s principal, Shelagh Donegan,” he said.

“The inspections identified two preferred sites and environmental testing and valuations on the sites are now complete and a site will now be selected.”

Mr Ryan said details of the preferred site would be announced later this month.

“Once the site deemed most suitable for the new Sale Specialist School is nominated, negotiations to purchase the land will begin,” he said.

“Having two campuses is a less than ideal situation, however this announcement means students of Sale Specialist School can look forward to a school that is designed to maximise their educational opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the state government had been a champion of special education.

“The Coalition Government has provided record funding for the Program for Students with Disabilities and Students with Disabilities Transport Program, and the single largest capital investment in specialist and autism schools across metropolitan and regional Victoria for over a decade,” he said.