Specialist school celebrates 21 years


Specialist school celebrates 21 years

THE South Gippsland Specialist School celebrated 21 years of providing specialist education for students with an intellectual disability on Saturday.

Around 70 past students and their family and former teachers gathered together to mark the milestone at the Leongatha school.

The school was originally called Baringa Annexe and was opened in August 1996, as a result of a hardworking parent lobby group working with the education department.

In the first year of operation, the school comprised nine students, one teacher and one education support staff in one portable building.

In 2017, there is a purpose built school for 55 students with 22 staff providing specialist education for students residing in South Gippsland.

School principal Heather Braden said the celebration was enjoyable and marked an important part of the school’s history.

“It was a celebration of a proactive group of parents who lobbied the education department from 1994 to bring about a specialist education setting in Gippsland, which came to fruition in 1996,” she said.

Prior to 1996, students were travelling the long distance to Baringa Moe, which was the nearest specialist school at the time, which was one of the reasons parents lobbied for a South Gippsland option.

The birthday party was punctuated with speeches by former leading teacher at the annexe Matthew Hyde, one of the school’s original students Drew Arnup and member of the lobby group Marge Arnup.

Department of Education and Training inner Gippsland area director Simon Hamilton unveiled a commemorative plaque.

Ms Braden since the South Gippsland school opened, another specialist school has been established in Wonthaggi, which caters for just over 60 students.

“The school’s certainly having their place in the local education precincts,” she said.



Way to go: from left, members of the original Baringa Annexe committee Marge Arnup, Julie Drysdale, Anne Speekman and Heather Canning were thrilled to see the South Gippsland Specialist School in Leongatha achieve such a momentous milestone on Saturday.

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Posted by on Aug 15 2017. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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