Monash Children’s Hospital

Ms GRALEY (Narre Warren South) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education and concerns the future Monash Children’s Hospital school. The action I seek is that the minister join with me in visiting the hardworking team that currently runs the vital Monash Health education program Stepping Stones. This program was established nearly 20 years ago at the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton and is run through a partnership between Lyndale Secondary College and Monash Health. Each year this fantastic program provides much-needed support and assistance to over 400 young people.

The program’s leading teacher, Wayne Smith, has been relentlessly advocating for additional funding for this program as well as the establishment of a standalone school. I have previously joined with the minister in meeting with Wayne and his outstanding team of teachers to discuss their concerns and needs for the future. Within its very first year in office Labor commissioned a review to look at how students with serious mental health conditions are supported and whether the existing services are equitable, efficient and effective.

This review found that there is a significant demand for education services from students with serious medical conditions, especially mental health conditions. On any given day there are around 8600 students in hospital, recovering at home or being treated by child and adolescent health services. Around 2800 students, or around 1 in 3, experiences a serious disruption to their education. This may involve frequent or long-term absences from any form of schooling. Of these 2800 students, only 1 in 7 received the support they needed to stay engaged with their education.

We also found that there was significant inequity in service provision, particularly between the Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital. That is why we have provided funding to establish the Monash Children’s Hospital school, which is under construction at Monash Children’s Hospital. This school will provide education services to assist young people with serious health conditions both while in hospital and during their recovery at home. The school is also aiming to provide vital educational services to students, their families and their schools in rural and regional Victoria.

We are getting on with ensuring that even our sickest kids can still get an education and get on with their lives once they are healthy enough to do so. I ask the minister to join with me in visiting the hardworking team that will make this a reality.

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