Name: Simon Maidment

Workplace: Forster PS

Fed Rep: 3 years

Before becoming Fed Rep three years ago I shared the role with a colleague, Stuart Ireland, for 12 months. That period allowed me to ease into the role without feeling overwhelmed. I still take counsel with Stu as I am in a special education setting within a mainstream school, so often a different perspective is beneficial.

I’ve been here in the Great Lakes area since 1998. Over the years many of our senior members in the school and association have retired, leaving me as one of the longest-standing members, and that was why I felt it timely to become more active in

At Forster PS we have a large workplace committee of seven members who are quite happy to share the load. On March 26 the Lake Wallis TA conducted an Education Forum and was absolutely stoked that Maurie agreed to address the community and answer any questions on the government’s backtracking on the Gonski funding model.

We are fortunate that we attract a number of student teachers who arrive each year for practicum. I feel this is a perfect opportunity for me, as Fed Rep, to educate them about the union. During their stay at the school the students — whether members or not — are encouraged to attend any Federation meetings as well as informal gatherings.

I’m proud of the fact that members regularly approach me to discuss issues knowing I will do my utmost to resolve them. I enjoy being the voice of Federation to management on any issues that arise in the workplace.

Outside school I’m a football (soccer) assistant coach and I’m also heavily involved with a local boxing gym where I coach amateur boxers; one of them recently become a novice junior state champion.

I’ve had an interest in trade unionism for a long time. I come of Welsh stock and can remember my dad swearing at the telly in the mid-Seventies, watching news of the British government threatening to shut down all the coalmines, and in the Eighties when the Thatcher government was selling off just about everything it owned. As for me, I still feel proud about the moment when I joined the thousands of public sector workers who gathered at the Domain in Sydney to protest the planned government job cuts and wages caps in 2011. It was just great to stand side by side with other like-minded people.