It was with great joy and sadness that we farewelled our final Link students at our fabulous graduation ceremony on Thursday.
The Link Program at Mitcham Primary was established in 1992 and was originally called the Southern Annexe of the Regency Park Centre School. At the time, there was a strong movement to transfer students from Special Schools into local mainstream schools.
A great deal of work was undertaken by staff of the Regency Park Centre School, the Department for Education, the Crippled Children’s Association and parents to locate a school in the south eastern suburbs that would be willing to host the program. Mitcham Primary was extremely excited to welcome the students as part of our community and this has continued on until the present day.
Since commencing at Mitcham Primary the program changed its name to ‘Link’ and came under the umbrella of the Adelaide West Education Centre. During its 29 years, the program has welcomed many students with physical disabilities and has assisted them to engage fully in their learning alongside their physically able peers.
Our school community has benefitted greatly from having this wonderful program which has provided an insight into what it is like to live and learn whilst having a physical disability.
The success of this program has always been due to the generosity and enthusiasm of our parents, staff and Principals who, over the years, have viewed Link as a valuable asset to Mitcham Primary School. However, 2021 sees the end of the program due to the decline in enrolments as many students with physical disabilities are now enrolling in their local schools.
Our final Link students, 2 in year 6 and 2 in year 7, are moving to Unley High School next year and will be part of the Unley High Link Program where they will continue their learning journey with their fellow Mitcham peers and many new friends who have joined from other sites.
We give thanks to the talented staff of the Link programme. Their professionalism and knowledge will be sorely missed however, we take heart that many of the staff are also moving to Unley High School next year to continue supporting our graduates with their learning.