VMCH’s specialist school, St Paul’s College has a proud history and it is now looking forward to a bright future at its new campus in Balwyn.
St Paul’s College relocated from its home of 62 years in Kew, to a modern, and purpose-built campus in Balwyn, for the beginning of the new school year. St Paul’s College teaches students from Prep to Year 12. It welcomes children with a range of additional needs and currently has 60 students.
The new campus includes an Assistive Technology Centre, a Sensory Room, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) centre, specially-designed inclusive playgrounds, a café and kitchen garden to help senior students develop vocational skills.
The school’s principal, Tim Hemphill, said the new campus has been designed to use technology and modern design to support the learning needs of a diverse range of students.
“The whole school community is in awe of the buildings and grounds. We are all very excited with how the new site will continue to evolve over the coming months and years,” Tim said.
A proud history
The school was known as St Paul’s School for the Blind when it opened its doors to students on February 12, 1957. Its founding principal, Brother Patrick O’Neill, was himself blind and a passionate advocate for the school and its students. He rallied community support for the school when little government funding existed for such enterprises.
As times changed, the school’s community has responded and in the 1970s it expanded to teach children with other disabilities. Today, St Paul’s College offers a range of innovative programs for students with a range of goals and needs. The school supports students who wish to access dual enrolments through its innovative Dual School Program. These students divide their school week between St Paul’s College and a mainstream school of their choice.
The Bridging Program is another initiative that provides pre-schoolers with additional needs extra support to develop their social and academic skills.
Melbourne Archbishop blesses St Paul’s College
St Paul’s College celebrated the official opening of the new campus with a visit and blessing by Melbourne Catholic Archbishop, Peter Comensoli, on February 28.
More than 200 people came along to mark the opening of the new campus. This included Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan, Victorian Member for Kew, Tim Smith and Member for Box Hill, Paul Hamer. It was a proud day for VMCH, a not-for-profit organisation that has supported people with disability for more than 100 years through a range of services.
Those attending from VMCH included its new Board Chairman Julien O’Connell, CEO Sonya Smart and several supporters of the school including many previous students and their families.