Thousands sign petitons against State Government education cuts to Landsdale Farm School

Joanne Matthewson (Bullcreek) with daughters Florence (6 months) and Harriet (6). Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Joanne Matthewson (Bullcreek) with daughters Florence (6 months) and Harriet (6). Picture: Martin Kennealey.

A SELF-CONFESSED “mum on a mission” submitted petitions to Parliament last week with thousands of signatures against State Government cuts to education facilities including the Landsdale Farm School and Herdsman Wildlife Centre.

Bullsbrook mother-of-three Jo Matthewson, with community groups, submitted two petitions with 3285 signatures to Opposition education spokeswoman Donna Faragher, who said they “served to highlight the importance of these critical education services”.

The Department of Education plans to cease its funding for 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.

As a former Balga Primary School student, Mrs Matthewson said she remembered going to the education support facility as a child 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.”

Mrs Faragher said closing Moora Residential College, changing the rules for community kindergartens and removing support for camp schools, Landsdale Farm School and the Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre without any consultation by the Government was “unacceptable” and should be reversed.