By Cam Lucadou-Wells

 The state’s only specialised school for blind children is fighting a campaign for survival, says its founder.
Insight Education Centre for the Blind and Vision Impaired lacks students and lacks funds, according to a state regulatory audit.
It has until 20 February to respond to education regulator the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority or risks being shut down.
Founder Alan Lachman called on Education Minister James Merlino to step in and secure the school’s continuing registration.
Mr Lachman says the school has suffered from an unsupportive Department of Education and Training that has not referred a single state school to Insight .
Instead it had allegedly blocked referrals and acted as a “competitor”, he said.
The department seemed to prefer blind students stayed in mainstream schools, despite the State Government pledging $2.4 million over three years to Insight.
“We don’t have the students because we can’t get the students.”

The purpose-built school has a capacity for 100 students. plus three mobile classrooms to visit other schools.
Specialist-trained staff and aides – with a team of transcribers – teach in braille and alternative print formats.
They also make use of assistive technologies, a sensory playground and customised desks and equipment.
Despite more than 500 registered blind and vision impaired students in Victoria, the school has an enrolment of just nine children.
“It is completely ludicrous, so I’ve orchestrated this campaign to put this in James Merlino and (Premier) Daniel Andrews’s faces,” Mr Lachman said.
“Unless they want to go to taxpayers to say we’ve invested $2.4 million into Insight and now they don’t care about their investment.”
Mr Lachman, a businessman who founded the Berwick-based school, said the school was equipped to give students life skills and a “better chance” than in the mainstream.
But it required “cultural change” within the Department.
“The education department is in a state of denial about the future employment prospects of these kids.
“If the prospects were good, we wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have done this.
“If nothing’s done, the great majority of these kids will not get work.”
Education Minister James Merlino said there was still funding currently available for the school.
“The independent VRQA regulator is currently reviewing the school.
“However, let me be clear, we will continue to support the operation of this school and its students.”
A Department spokeswoman said it was “inappropriate to make further comments at this time” while the VRQA awaited Insight’s response.

Comments are closed.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.

More News

A Berwick driver was intercepted by police after detected travelling at 128km/h in an 80km/h zone on Berwick-Cranbourne ...

 Presented by Royal Life Saving Society Australia, YMCA Casey Recreation and Aquatic Centre (RACE) were one of six individuals ...

Writers Victoria is coming to the City of Casey for the next three years to inspire and support Casey residents ...

 The Kokoda Track has been on Berwick’s Michael Molloy and David Mounsey’s bucket list for ...

 Interested in health and fitness? Market Day at Amberley Park Shopping Centre in Narre Warren South won’t ...

 Dr Paul Hemming AO has announced his retirement from his role as Chancellor of Federation University Australia. Dr Hemming ...

Latest Sport

SOUTH EAST FOOTBALL NETBALL LEAGUE REVIEW – ROUND 10 Defence has been the cornerstone for Berwick’s success, it’s made them ...

The Berwick College Basketball Academy is making a name for itself as it racks up impressive wins in tournaments across ...

The VFL Tigers are heading to Beaconsfield. Those who want a great day of football action will want to get ...