Bulls­brook mum try­ing to save farm

The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Lau­ren Pi­lat

A SELF-con­fessed “mum on a mis­sion” from Bulls­brook led a peace­ful protest at Lands­dale Farm School against the State Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to stop fund­ing the fa­cil­ity.

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion will stop fund­ing the farm school in Darch by the end of the year and is cur­rently as­sess­ing ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est from busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions to lease and op­er­ate the site.

Mother-of-three Joanne Matthew­son said she re­mem­bered go­ing to the ed­u­ca­tion sup­port fa­cil­ity as a Year 1 Balga Pri­mary School stu­dent and had vis­ited since as a Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices Com­mis­sion sup­port worker, as well as tak­ing her own chil­dren there.

“Cut­ting its fund­ing is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able,” she said.

“The num­ber of for­mer spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion and dis­abled stu­dents re­turn­ing to the farm over its 30 years as adults and vol­un­teers is large, as it pro­vides a safe, fa­mil­iar, open at­mos­phere for them.

“Day care to se­niors groups visit the farm, but most im­por­tantly spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ments use the farm as a le­git­i­mate off-site class­room in con­junc­tion with the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment teach­ing staff, for the most vul­ner­a­ble and at risk stu­dents.”

Mrs Matthew­son has cre­ated a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing the ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing cuts be re­versed.

She said it would be sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment this month after the peace­ful protest to demon­strate the im­por­tance of the farm school.

The June 2 event in­vited mem­bers of the pub­lic to peace­fully demon­strate the sup­port for the re­ver­sal of fund­ing cuts to Lands­dale Farm School but also camp schools, com­mu­nity kinder­gartens, Herds­man Lake wildlife cen­tre and Moora Col­lege.

“The long-term and specif­i­cally trained teach­ing staff will be lost,” she said.

“The ten­der process stip­u­lates that the ten­der ap­pli­cants must ful­fil the re­quire­ments that the farm school cur­rently of­fers as an ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment fa­cil­ity.

“This in it­self makes no sense as no pri­vate sec­tor in­vestor can pro­vide this like the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment has for 30 plus years.”

The pe­ti­tion has gained wide-spread sup­port on­line, in­clud­ing from early years and ado­les­cence spe­cial­ist Mag­gie Dent who shared Mrs Matthew­son’s post on Face­book.

“All that is needed is a gen­er­ous phil­an­thropic soul who can step up and pro­vide money that the state govern­ment finds too damn hard to do,” Ms Dent posted.

“So sad to see such a val­ued ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity dis­ap­pear.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit the Face­book page. https://www.face­book.com/e vents/360744977751066/

Pic­ture: Mar­tin Ken­nealey www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d483188

Mum-on-a-mis­sion Joanne Matthew­son, pic­tured with daugh­ters Florence and Quee­nie, is lead­ing a peace­ful protest against fund­ing cuts to the Lands­dale Farm School.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.