Ravenwood's Northern Support School principal defends special needs campus

Parent Vanessa Austen discusses the school's layout with opposition education spokeswoman Michelle O'Byrne
Parent Vanessa Austen discusses the school's layout with opposition education spokeswoman Michelle O'Byrne

Claims the Northern Support School at Ravenswood is not fit for purpose have been disputed by principal Lisa Wright.

Opposition education spokeswoman Michelle O’Byrne and a parent at the school said the purpose-designed campus’s corridors and paths were too narrow to properly accommodate wheelchairs, and facilities, including classrooms and toilets, were not up to scratch.

Vanessa Austen’s daughter Amber is in year 10, and relies on a wheelchair.

"The classrooms are way too small,” Ms Austen said. “Navigating and self-driving in those rooms is going to be a zero. The chairs weigh 150 kilograms and if a child is learning to drive them, they’re going to run over people because they have not allowed the space within the classroom for them to be able to learn.”

Ms O’Byrne said the $7.9 million upgrade and amalgamation of the school campus for children with special needs had been “mismanaged”. 

“Considerable changes will now need to be made to meet the requirements of students and staff and parents,” she said.

However, the school’s principal, Lisa Wright, said that was different to what she heard everyday from students and families.

“As someone who actually works with the students and families, I can clearly state that our students and families have been very positive about the redevelopment,” she said.

“Purpose-built classrooms with modern fittings has brought NSS up-to-date and is very much appreciated by NSS staff, students and community. Parent feedback, upon dropping students off or attending the school to meet with teachers, has been very positive. Some students have sought out contractors to thank them for their new school.

“Paraprofessionals visiting the school have shared their comments that the school has the ‘best facilities’ for students with disabilities. We are eagerly awaiting the completion of the redevelopment, and to having a ‘new-look’ Northern Support School.”