40,000 financially impacted Prep to Year 3 students to receive free vision screening - Education Matters Magazine
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40,000 financially impacted Prep to Year 3 students to receive free vision screening

vision impairment disadvantaged students

State Schools’ Relief, in partnership with the Victorian government, is proud to again be delivering the Glasses for Kids program, which aims to remove vision impairment as a potential barrier to educational engagement for financially disadvantaged students.

Between 2015 and 2018, over 39,600 Prep to Year 3 students from 290 schools in some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged communities were invited to participate in the Glasses for Kids program.  Of these students, approximately 20,600 students opted into the program, which saw more than 1,900 pairs of glasses provided to participating students.

For the 2020 to 2023 program, State Schools’ Relief is scheduled to visit 340 schools across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria and will invite more than 40,000 prep to grade 3 students to participate in an initial vision screening.

In research conducted by State Schools’ Relief, it was revealed that over 56% of parents of underprivileged prep students had expressed concerns about their child’s eyesight but did not attend a vision service, and approximately 83% of prep students had not been seen by an optometrist in more than 12 months.

State Schools’ Relief is a unique Victorian organisation, providing anonymous assistance through the provision of uniforms, shoes and other essential educational resources, to students who have been identified by teachers and principals as struggling with the impact of material disadvantage.

CEO of State Schools’ Relief, Sue Karzis, believes that the Glasses for Kids program had an immensely positive impact on the learning experiences and overall engagement for the students who participated.

“The evidence base tells us that children from vulnerable families are not accessing eye health and this program will assist in removing vision impairment as a barrier to education so that they can engage fully with learning in the early years,” she said.

Positive outcomes of the Glasses for Kids program include improved student attitude and engagement, reduced financial stress for parents and improved school attendance.

The program’s service delivery began in Term 1, 2020 and will conclude by Term 4, 2023. Service delivery for each school has been scheduled to avoid targeting children who previously participated in the program.

More information can be found via the State Schools’ Relief website here.