An Important Update on the Victorian Visiting Teacher Program
Guide Dogs Victoria are delighted with the announcement today that all Visiting Teachers will be retained in Victoria.
Following extensive campaigning by families, carers, teachers and Guide Dogs, it is a relief that the Victorian Government has heard the collective voices and made a commitment to retain existing services.
Guide Dogs provides support to more than 200 children across Victoria, and we have been inundated with calls from parents and Visiting Teachers who have been concerned about the proposed cuts and the impact that would have had on their children’s education and development.
Visiting Teachers enable students who have low vision or blindness to receive equitable access to education by addressing essential learning areas, concepts and experiences. They possess highly specialised skills, including learning braille and accessing assistive technology and cannot be replaced by generalised support. The program also plays a vital role in fostering independence, self-confidence and social integration.
Guide Dogs has worked side by side with Visiting Teachers over many years and recognises the essential support they deliver towards educational outcomes for students with low vision and blindness.
The decision would have had wide reaching effects for students and their families and was made without consultation with Guide Dogs and other service providers.
In maintaining this service, the Minister for Education has stated that the Visiting Teacher Program, “will get the same extra assistance as part of our $1.6 billion Disability Inclusion reforms – and we’ll also bring Visiting Teachers into the Disability Inclusions program as Disability Inclusion Visiting Teachers for schools and families who wish to keep using the service.”
Guide Dogs looks forward to this program being maintained as part of a more cohesive and consistent approach to support students.