School ‘at breaking point’

Northern School for Autism students Zac and Robbie. (Supplied)

Michaela Meade

Parents from Lalor’s Northern School for Autism are appealing for community support in a campaign for a purpose-built secondary campus.

The school is located on the Peter Lalor Vocational College (PLVC) community site, along with the Lalor Men’s Shed and the Whittlesea University of the Third Age group.

Lyndell Farha, who has children at the school and sits on school council, said the basic necessities of students need to be met, and that the school is “at breaking point”.

“It’s not purpose-built for us,” Ms Farha said.

“There’s no library, no specialty rooms like science, art, or music.

“There’s no space for them to run around… they use the car park.

“There’s no running hot water.

“If a child soils themselves, they can’t put them in a shower, they have to use baby wipes.”

The school currently has 141 students enrolled, and Ms Farha said there is no capacity to take on graduates from the school’s primary campus in Reservoir.

“We’re ballooning,” she said.

“We’ve got kids that need to come across from Reservoir, who just can’t.

“Twenty-seven students can’t graduate from [primary school] because there’s not enough room.

“That wouldn’t happen with a school for kids without disabilities.

“We’re not asking for elaborate things, we just want the basics.”

Education Minister James Merlino said a redevelopment of PLVC would include the school.

“Every Victorian student deserves the best facilities to learn in,” Mr Merlino said.

“And that’s exactly what we’re delivering, with a masterplan already completed to redevelop the entire site at Peter Lalor Secondary College, which includes the Northern School for Autism.

“We are well under way delivering this project.”