Keeping an eye on clearer education

STATE Schools Relief visited Araluen Primary School in Sale recently, delivering its Glasses for Kids program in an attempt to remove vision impairment from the classroom.

The program gives access eye health services and prescription glasses.

Araluen is one of 340 schools the program will visit in the next three years, as State Schools Relief targets the most disadvantaged areas across Victoria to give free initial vision screenings to more than 40,000 Prep to Year 3 students.

Based on the previous rates for program participation and provision of glasses, it is anticipated that more than 21,000 students will participate in this rollout of the program and more than 2100 glasses will be provided.

State Schools’ Relief research revealed more than 56 per cent of parents of disadvantaged Prep students had expressed concerns about their child’s eyesight but did not attend a vision service, with more than 83 per cent of at-risk prep students not being seen by an optometrist in 12 months.

State Schools’ Relief is a unique, not-for-profit Victorian organisation, providing anonymous assistance through the provision of uniforms, shoes and other essential educational resources, to students who have been identified by teachers and principals as struggling with disadvantage.

Chief executive Sue Karzis believed the Glasses for Kids program had a positive effect on the learning experiences and overall engagement for the students who participated.

“The evidence base tells us that children from vulnerable families are not accessing eye health and this program will assist in removing vision impairment as a barrier to education so that they can engage fully with learning in the early years,” she said.

Positive outcomes of the Glasses for Kids program include improved student attitude and engagement, reduced financial stress for parents and improved school attendance.