Finley Teachers Association

Number of members in the Association: 106
Meets: On the Wednesday before Council at the Finley Bowling Club
President: Kieran Davis
Secretary: Matt Whitty

How would you describe your area and the community covered by your association? The areas of the Finley TA have been ravaged by drought for the past 10 years. The area is very rural, with dairy farms along with irrigated farming including rice and other cereal crops. The TA covers a wide range of communities from small rural localities to the larger centre of Finley.

What are the demographics of the teachers in your Association? There is a mix of experienced teachers along with those who are in their first years.

What is your Association focusing on at the moment? We’re focusing on spreading the word on Gonski and the funding reforms along with the quality of public education.

What is the best thing your Association has done recently? When Gonski was first being discussed and people were unaware of the issues the Association held a cake stall down the main street of Finley to raise public awareness. This was a great idea as folk in the area were able to speak with members of the Association and understand the issues at stake. All the funds we gathered were donated to the local Country Women’s Association to help with the drought relief fund.

What are your Association meetings like? They are small in structure, with a dedicated, hardworking group. We meet twice a term at the Finley Bowling Club, quite often entertained by a game of bowls going on at the time.

What does your executive structure look like? Our executive is from a broad range of teachers from different schools, with varying experience levels. The president, from a high school, has been in the area for seven years and in office for a year; the vice-president is from a primary school and been in the Finley TA for two years; I’ve been in the area for nine years and been treasurer for eight of them and recently took on the secretary’s post as well. We have a women’s contact officer and also generally a beginning teachers liaison officer.

What sorts of issues are discussed at meetings? The Gonski campaign, of course, along with current staffing issues. We want to attract qualified teachers to the area to teach in our schools and need to offer incentives to get good people to come to the bush. The Department this year brought in a 50 per cent rental subsidy, which has been good.

How do you try to attract members to attend meetings? We have moved Association meetings around to the different towns, have had senior members of Executive come and talk to us and we hold professional development gatherings.

What challenges does your Association face? How to increase meeting frequency and attendance.