Mouldy classrooms at Minto special needs school cause concerns

FED UP: Melisa Winner and Kristin Laws have concerns about students' health and safety at Minto's Passfield Park School. Picture: Simon Bennett
FED UP: Melisa Winner and Kristin Laws have concerns about students' health and safety at Minto's Passfield Park School. Picture: Simon Bennett

"It's heartbreaking to see such a rundown school."

That's the message from resident Melisa Winner as fears continue to grow over ongoing health and safety concerns at a Macarthur special needs school, which has a significant mould problem in numerous classrooms.

Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander spoke in Parliament last August about the "deteriorating" condition of Minto's Passfield Park School.

Dr Freelander said at the time that parts of the school were "mouldy and damp" and "inappropriate" for students and staff.

Dr Freelander recommended the school be knocked down and rebuilt immediately. Twelve months later, Ms Winner said nothing had changed.

Ms Winner's son Ben, 14, has been at Passfield Park school since 2010.

"There has been remediation done at the school, but it doesn't get to the bottom of what's causing the mould," she said. "They just paint over the top of it."

Ms Winner said she had heard rumours students might be relocated, or the school could be knocked down and rebuilt.

"Something was supposed to have started by now," she said. "It's very worrying."

Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong (Labor) raised the issue again during question time in Parliament last week.

In response, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was proud of how much state funding had been allocated to support children with a disability.

"It was our government that took the important step to support needs-based funding for students and for schools," she said.

"The Labor party opposed it. What this means is that the dollars and support for infrastructure follows the students in need and that's exactly what it should be."

Mr Chanthivong took to social media on Monday to say that Ms Berejiklian "completely ignored my question".

"I will continue to advocate for the students and staff at Passfield Park who deserve better and deserve a fair go," he wrote.

A NSW Department of Education spokesman said the safety and well-being of Passfield Park students and staff was "paramount".

The spokesman said maintenance works had been carried out at the Minto school in recent years, which included air quality testing every three months.

"The Department recognises improvements are still required. An upgrade for the school is currently in the early planning stages."