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Monday, 20 June 2011
Page: 6545

Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (16:26): On Saturday, 26 March I attended the official opening of the BER project at Tyndale Christian School at Salisbury East. Also in attendance were my parliamentary colleague Minister Mark Butler, state member for Wright Jennifer Rankine, and South Australian Legislative Council member Jing Lee. Other guests included principals of nearby Christian schools, the project builders, Christian and independent school representatives and the Tyndale Christian School community of students, family members, board members and staff.

The Tyndale school community wanted to ensure the official opening of their BER project reflected the significance of the unique project that Tyndale had committed to. It was unique because Tyndale had used their $3.2 million of federal funding to build a visionary special needs education centre. The 1,000 square metre building will provide high-quality, accessible support for up to 200 students who have a diagnosed learning need or disability. The support includes the provision of six special education teaching staff, seven support staff, two main centres for students with learning needs or disabilities, a reception to year 1 early intervention unit, a high disability unit which includes special support programs including speech therapy, psychology and occupational therapy, sensory rooms and a new arrivals support area. In addition the centre houses the school's new healthcare facility, which provides a holistic approach to the health care of students at Tyndale.

I was impressed with the enthusiasm and attitude of the staff who will be working with the children, from the school teachers to the speech pathologist, registered nurse and psychologist. The school has an outstanding track record of acknowledging the individual needs and unique ability of every child and has already in place a range of vocational education pathways including hospitality, child care and construction.

The new special education centre takes the school's commitment to providing every child with a positive educational outcome to another level, because children with a disability also have extraordinary ability. Through early intervention and appropriate support, disabilities can be overcome as can barriers which prevent children from focusing on their abilities. It is an investment in our children where the returns justify every dollar spent. For those children and their families, the new facilities at Tyndale bring hope and peace of mind. Parents of a child with a disability also hope for the best for their children. Interest about the new special education centre at Tyndale has already come from right across Adelaide and I have no doubt that a long waiting list will quickly develop.

On the day I spoke with Garry Le Duff, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia. Garry asked me to convey to the government the gratitude of all the independent schools, which he represents, for the BER funding provided. He also expressed the very clear view that all of the independent schools he represented had ensured that each of their projects had resulted in value for money and that public funds had not been wasted. Subsequently, on 18 March I accompanied Minister Garrett on a visit to the Tyndale school's special needs education centre. Whilst we can always do more for these schools, I know that the school was very appreciative of the additional $200 million allocated in this year's budget. I commend Principal Mike Potter and the Tyndale school community for their commitment to children with special needs.