ASSOCIATION SPOTLIGHT

Tweed TA

Members: 426
President: Dean Hillard
Secretary: Loueen Adams

Meetings: The Tweed TA meets at the South Tweed Bowls Club on Thursdays at 4pm following Federation’s Council meeting. We encourage attendance by beginning each year with a function at the Cudgen Surf Club and have speakers come at least once a year to talk about current issues. Regular attendees contact Fed Reps to give them a personal invitation to Association meetings. After meetings, members have a get-together where they have to opportunity to speak one-to-one with the Organiser or the executive.

The meetings are relatively relaxed but informative and give Fed Reps the opportunity to discuss issues at their schools with the Organiser and Councillors. Attendance could always be better but we always have regular participants with a few extra every now and again.

Our Executive: We have a President, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and Women’s Contact.

Teacher demographics: In keeping with usual notions about the north coast, people assume the teaching staff here are older and awaiting a golden handshake. That’s not the case: there are a large number of younger, eager teachers mixed amongst the experienced teachers.

Challenges: Teacher workload or, should we say, overload. This is becoming a graver issue, with a few aspirational principals trying to impose excessive workload expectations. Teachers are having to resist the pressure to complete extra activities, undertake additional observations and initiate/organise/manage whole school programs under the guise of meeting PDP and accreditation requirements.

TAFE cutbacks are another problem. The Kingscliff TAFE is situated right next to Kingscliff High School and TAFE cuts will have a huge impact on current students and former students of the school.

Our area and community: The TA covers a very diverse area and a population of 70,000. The area has 14 public schools, ranging from 1200-student high schools to small P5/6 schools primary schools.

The area is seen as a retirement centre but there are growth areas with new housing developments being filled with young people and families. There are, however, large areas of low socioeconomic, public housing and single-parent families.

The Tweed River runs through the centre of the Association and flooding can be a problem, with some schools closing when flood waters are severe.

The area enjoys some of the most beautiful beaches and headlands from Fingal Head to Pottsville, with popular spots for watching migrating whales. Local Aboriginal sites include the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Fingal Headland Marine Reserve.

Being so close to Queensland border (when a ball goes over the fence at Tweed Heads PS it’s more than likely going to end up in Queensland) most of the cultural and sporting competitions are held with the Gold Coast. Sport is huge in the area, with Olympians, Australian and world champions born or living here including Olympians Gabi Nance and Matt Abood and world champion surfers Stephanie Gilmore and Mick Fanning. Other notables are international fashion model Samantha Harris and Cedric Popkin, the Australian machine gunner said to have shot and killed German pilot Manfred von Richthofen (also known as The Red Baron) during the First World War.

The area’s many festivals include Cooly Rocks On in June, when thousands of tourists visit to see more than 1300 vintage and classic cars, street parades and live music. School students take part in the parades at the Tweed Valley Banana Festival.

The Association has a wide political spectrum with Justine Elliott (Labor) being the federal member while Geoff Provest (Nationals) being the state member.

The best thing our Association has done in the past five years: It’s probably a few years more than five but John Della Bosca, then minister for education and training, ran the gauntlet of a protest at Twin Towns and before meeting an Association delegation, then promptly resigned the next day. We’d like to think we were responsible.