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Introducing the AEU’s school assistant reps.

Photo of Ingrid Bean, organiser. Ingrid is wearing a colourful top and smiling.

Ingrid Bean, AEU Organiser for School Assistants

What is your job in the AEU office? 
Organiser for South Side schools, Relief Teachers, and School Assistants.

What did you do before joining the AEU office as an Organiser? 
I’ve been teaching in ACT Public Schools since 2006. I’ve taught Science at four high schools and one college over the years since then and had two wonderful children of my own (who are enrolled in their local Public Primary School – of course!). The year I started teaching was also the year I learned about the importance of unions. The Howard-led coalition government had just introduced tougher industrial laws, which effected (and continue to effect) how we were able to bargain. AEU ACT members were asking (as always) for improved pay and conditions. After protracted industrial action, we ended up with the Fair Work Commission arbitrating to make the final decision on what our EBA would look like. While the outcome wasn’t quite what we had hoped for, at least it was better than what the employer had been arguing for. Over the next decade and a half of my teaching career, each time Enterprise Bargaining happened, the AEU was able to get more than what was on offer due to the strength of our membership. 

What is the best thing about working at the AEU? 
While I love being in the classroom, and the work I’ve done as a sub-branch rep at each of my schools, the scale of the work I do at the AEU is very satisfying. Every day, I see the real improvements we can make to the working lives of our members. It’s also great working with others who share my values, and we have heaps of fun together too.

What is the most challenging thing about working at the AEU? 
It’s frustrating that we can’t always make improvements immediately due to having to negotiate with the employer or waiting for governments to decide to act.

What motivates you to get results for school assistants? 
As a teacher, and the Organiser for School Assistants, I know how vital you are to the education of our students and the functioning of schools. I’m excited that we’re working on getting the contributions of school assistants recognised and valued as they should be, in the form of better pay, more secure work, and more opportunities for career progression.

What are you interests outside of work? 
I love sci-fi and fantasy in all its many forms including books, movies, shows, video games (my current favourites being Halo, Mass Effect and Horizon Zero Dawn). I also enjoy roleplaying, and I’ve even written and run games at roleplaying conventions, including our local Phenomenon: a roleplaying convention. I’ve been practicing Kung Fu since the late 90’s: I’m a Black Belt, and can break concrete with my bare hands.

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? 
Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith. It was part of the soundtrack to my angsty teenaged years. The only downside is that it doesn’t include Livin’ on a Prayer.

Photo of Jane McInally, school assistant. Jane is wearing glasses and smiling.

Jane McInally, School Assistant representative on AEU ACT Branch Executive

What school do you work at? 
I work at Malkara School.

What is your role in the AEU? 
I am Vice President of the Malkara sub-branch and the Learning Support Assistant representative on the Branch Executive.

What is the best thing about being a school assistant? 
The best thing about being a School Assistant is not only seeing the potential in each child, coupled with developing strategies and supporting each child to achieve their full potential.

What is the most challenging thing about being a school assistant? 
The thing I dislike the most is being an LSA3 and not getting paid a special education allowance, despite working in a special education environment.

Why is AEU membership important to you? 
I joined the AEU to have a voice concerning our pay and conditions, to encourage more LSAs to join as the Union is for all education staff and I believe a bigger collective is stronger.

What are you interests outside of work? 
I love playing football, (real football, not soccer!), and I love to socialise and travel.

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? 
Human Conditions by the Verve – have very fond memories of a fantastic trip with special people to Zanzibar listening to this!!