Fan of fair play

Playing cricket got Keith Heggart involved in the union movement.

Keith started his teaching career in 2003 at Kincoppal Rose Bay, an independent Catholic school, then after a stint in the public system, travelled to the UK with his wife Liz (also a teacher). Teaching in Essex, Keith joined his local cricket club which was mostly populated by teachers.

“It started as a social thing but I was drawn into their union meetings and became involved in their industrial campaigns,” Keith said.

He ended up president of the local branch of the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers).

“The more I became involved the more I thought it was important work that I believed in,” he said.

Upon returning to Australia in 2008 the couple set up home in Penrith and Keith started at the new Catholic school St Mark’s at Stanhope Gardens, and then moved to McCarthy at Emu Plains.

“I started at McCarthy teaching Business Studies in the trade centre which gave me a new appreciation for VET teachers and the hours they put in.”

Keith was the IEU Rep at McCarthy for a few years but when he joined the school executive he gave up that position and became president of the Penrith/Blue Mountains branch.

“I thought I could balance being on the school leadership and being the Union Rep, but some of the members felt uncomfortable about it, so I moved on.”

As a new Organiser Keith is looking forward to getting out to schools in the Cumberland and Ku-ring-gai areas.

It’s important for an Organiser to be a sounding board and listen to people when they have concerns about whether something is fair or right.

Keith plans to learn about education policy and how it affects members in schools and what the Union can do to influence it.

While he was at St Mark’s Keith became an Apple Distinguished Educator, and he has already assisted with IEU to create ibooks for members in the early childhood sector. He may be involved with other initiatives of that nature.

Keith said in the current climate, there is potential for all unions, including the IEU, to grow.

“I would like to be a contributor to that,” he said.