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Michelle Millard, Wauchope Public School

A lack of provision for students with disability at Wauchope Public School solidified the desire of Michelle Millard to advocate for members and students.

During 2018, a number of students were seeking placement in a support class for 2019 with a number of additional students likely to require placement in 2020. Initially these placements were denied by the Department.

Through collective action and working closely with the Federation Organiser, a temporary support class was established for this year (and now extended until the end of 2020). Ms Millard said while this was a good initial outcome members are working with the Organiser for a permanent solution.

“We need people on the ground that are going to push back, report back and support teachers,” Ms Millard said, responding to the importance she places on her role as Federation Representative.

At her school she sees members place importance on issues common to members in similar regional workplaces. “Workload, teacher permanency, the need for additional release time and support for students with

disability,” she said.

Asked why she’s in the union, she responded: “Together, we are stronger.”

Ms Millard first took on the role of Federation Representative shortly after her permanent appointment to Wauchope Public School.

“The previous Federation Representative was a Life Member of the Hastings River Association and long-time Federation Councillor,” Ms Millard recalls. “She was transitioning to retirement and was a great mentor

to me.”

She encourages other teachers to consider become Federation Representatives, citing Federation’s Trade Union Training program as inspiration and the perfect place to “gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to take on the role”.

When away from the classroom and her union role, Ms Millard enjoys spending time on the Coastal Walk at Port Macquarie.

“There’s great coffee along the way and (you) generally see whales, dolphins and sea eagles,” she said.

— Jason Gerke, Editor