Dharra School

42 Recreation Rd Aintree 3335

New School

  • Start

    Q2 2022
  • Planning

  • Design

  • Construction

  • Finish

    Q1 2024

The above dates are forecast only and subject to change.

About the project

We built a new specialist school in Aintree. It opened in 2024, helping the growing local population get a great education close to home. Dharra School provides educational programs for students with mild to profound intellectual disability.

Yarrabing Secondary College is located next to the school.

Lizzie Tout was appointed as the first principal of the new school.

The school was known by its interim name, Aintree Specialist School, during planning and design. Dharra School was chosen as this new school’s name following a 2-week community consultation. Dharra (pronounced darr-rah) is a Woi-wurrung word of the Wurundjeri people meaning white hawk.


The school has the following facilities:

  • an administration and library building
  • 2 learning neighbourhoods (junior & senior)
  • a community hub
  • a hardcourt
  • a carpark.

We are also building a community hub. 

Students have great modern learning areas with air conditioning and heating. Outside, they have shade sails for sun protection. We have designed the school to be environmentally sustainable and easy to manage.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is a specialist school? 

A specialist school is an education setting that accommodates and provides specialised education programs for students with specific disability and high needs. 

Who can enrol at this school?

Dharra School has specific enrolment criteria, and students must meet these criteria to enrol at the school. 

The school will cater for students from 5 to 18 years old with mild to profound intellectual disability. Further details about the school’s enrolment policy can be obtained by contacting the school.

Learn more about the support available for students with intellectual disability

What do parents need to do before enrolling their child at this school?

Before enrolling, your child will need to have completed a full assessment. You must provide the results of this assessment to support your child’s enrolment. In most cases, students are initially assessed at kindergarten or in their early school years. 

Learn more about getting your child assessed for intellectual disability

Can a child with another disability, including physical disability, enrol at this school?

Students with a disability, including a physical disability, have the right to attend their local government mainstream school. To enrol at Dharra School, your child must have a diagnosed intellectual disability in line with the enrolment criteria. Students with intellectual disability may have co-occurring health conditions or other disabilities. The school has been designed to cater for students with a range of needs.

How do I enrol?

If your child has been formally assessed and diagnosed with intellectual disability in line with the enrolment criteria, they are eligible to enrol at Dharra School. 

If your child meets the above criteria, please email your enrolment query to dharra.s@education.vic.gov.au.

Does Dharra School have a zone?

Specialist schools do not have school zones. Dharra School will consider enrolment applications from all eligible students regardless of where they live. However, applications from eligible students may be prioritised in order of closeness to the school if the school has insufficient accommodation to accept all eligible applicants.

How can I get my child to this school?

Whilst parents are responsible for transporting their children to and from school, the department provides additional travel assistance through the following programs: 

Learn more about getting to and from school for students with disability

What are the benefits of the Conveyance Allowance Program?

The conveyance allowance supports transport costs, including public transport costs. It does not cover full costs; however, it can assist families, parents and carers by contributing funds towards the costs. The school will be able to provide more information on the different supports offered through the conveyance allowance.

What is a designated transport area for school transport?

 If you live in the designated transport area for Dharra School, your child may be eligible for transport assistance through the Students with Disabilities Transport Program. 

Check whether you live within the school’s designated transport area

Will Dharra School have a school bus?

From 2024, there will be school buses to service eligible students that live within the school’s designated transport area. Bus route designs are underway. The school will share proposed bus routes with families later this year. 

What other travel options are available for families?

Where possible, the department encourages students to use active travel (walk, ride) to attend school. Students may be eligible for discounted travel through a child Myki card or a Victorian Student Pass where public transport may better suit your family. 

Learn more about travelling to school

Where can I find more information?

You can learn more about available supports and services in government schools for families of children living with disability and additional needs.

To discuss your child’s eligibility to attend Dharra School please contact your regional office who can provide more information surrounding the school’s enrolment criteria on 1300 333 232 or email swvr@education.vic.gov.au

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In the 2022–23 State Budget, the school shared in $527.233 million allocated for new schools. In 2023–24, the school was allocated an additional share in $180.295 million.

Funding type

  • New School

Aintree Specialist School (interim name) – indicative site plan

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