ASSOCIATION SPOTLIGHT

Illawarra TA

Number of members: 1708

President: Elizabeth Scott

Secretary: Trystan Loades

Where and when we meet: We meet on Mondays at Beaton Park Tennis Club in Wollongong the week after Federation Council.

Our meetings always have between 20 and 35 people in attendance. We regularly invite guest speakers from TAFE, Senior Officers and other union officers to discuss key issues and campaigns

Filling the seats: Meetings are generally well attended and we have people from a full range of school positions, from beginning teachers through principals, coming regularly. Events around Gonski and special interest meetings such as casual and temporary teacher information sessions have been funded by the association to draw in a wider group of colleagues.

Our community: The Illawarra is a beautiful region dominated by the Illawarra escarpment in the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east. The city of Wollongong has a long and proud union history that reflects its industrial past with the steelworks, coalmining and Port Kembla having been a dominant feature of the area for decades.

We have the full range of educational settings within the association boundary from small public schools serving small communities, high schools by the beach, to large, culturally-diverse high schools nearer to the city. We have specialist and selective high schools serving those desires within the community too.

All our schools are proud members of the public education community.

Our federal MP is Sharon Bird, for the electorate of Cunningham. The State MP is Ryan Park, representing Keira. With Sharon having been a TAFE teacher and Ryan a high school teacher they both have a good understanding of the issues around education and have been supportive advocates of the Gonski funding model.

Teacher demographics: Like the rest of the state, the Illawarra is in a state of transition as the Baby-Boomers retire and teachers new to the profession take up positions.

The best thing our association has done recently: Gonski highlights include the following:

  • the first “Gonski stories” given in federal parliament were read by Sharon Bird about two of our Illawarra schools
  • the Gonski billboard on the South Coast was launched outside Keira HS and Wollongong HS of Performing Arts with more than 130 teachers present
  • our association took a bus of activists down to support our colleagues in the Gilmore electorate during their doorknock in Nowra in the federal election.

Recent special events: We supported the local Special Education Teacher’s network group to organise a professional learning event facilitated by Organiser Claudia Vera, Officer attached to the Special Education Restricted Committee. More than 80 teachers attended from primary and secondary schools and Schools for Special Purposes, and were able to workshop ideas around the priorities for securing adequate special education provision in the Illawarra region.

Our executive structure: We have an Aboriginal Education Contact, Peace Contact, and Women’s Contact in addition to the President, Secretary and Treasurer. We also have a minutes secretary.