Autism school plan

Melissa Handbury at Coldstream Primary School. 188703 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Casey Neill

 The community could soon have its say on plans for an autism school in Coldstream.

Yarra Ranges Councillors will consider a proposal from Lyrebird College at their Tuesday 18 December meeting.

The school for children with autism spectrum disorder is in the process of establishing a site in the Yarra Ranges, and is seeking a location.

Lyrebird has identified a 4000 square metre site on Kelso Street within Fairway Park, adjacent to the Coldstream Preschool and Coldstream Community Centre.

A council report said the land was a cleared, grassed area accessible and adjacent to an existing carpark area.

“The inclusion of Lyrebird College at the location would add to the area’s status as an educational precinct,” the report said.

The council has assessed the site and the expected positive community outcomes from having the college there.

It will now consider offering to lease Lyrebird College the land by seeking community feedback.

“A further report would be provided to council detailing the community’s response, upon which council would make a decision as to whether or not the lease should proceed,” the report said.

The proposed lease would be five years, with the option for a further four.

Lyrebird College spokeswoman Melissa Handbury said the school would cater for children aged from Prep to Year 10.

“If all goes to plan, Lyrebird College will open in January 2020 with an initial enrolment of 12 students in two classes,” she said.

She said leasing the vacant council land would re-energise the precinct and provide an opportunity to share resources and expertise.

“We see ourselves forming a strong connection with the whole Coldstream community,” she said.

“Another benefit of the location is its ability to service families in the outer eastern suburbs as well as those in regional Victoria.”

Ms Handbury said there were very few options available for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders outside of the public sector.

“In general, there are limited schools in Victoria specialising in the care and education of children with an autism spectrum disorder,” she said.

She said Lyrebird College would provide a quality, tailored and outcome-focused education option in a fun and safe setting.

“Our classes will have a high staff to student ratio with each student receiving 1:1 learning time as necessary to enhance their learning and to assist in achieving their goals,” she said.

Keep an eye on Yarra Ranges Council platforms for community consultation opportunities.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.