History of ICPA South Australia

The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association was established during the 1971 rural depression in Bourke by a small group of rural and remote parents when the education of their children was under threat. The original aim, first formed in 1971, remains the same today: ‘To gain equality of access to educational opportunity for children living in isolated areas of Australia’. Since its formation, ICPA has grown into a national organisation with over 3000 member families. In South Australia we have more than 140 member families belonging to one of our eight branches: North West, Port Augusta, Eyre Peninsula, Marree Air, Marla-Oodnadatta, North East, Flinders Ranges and Far West. Provision is made for those who cannot attend branch meetings to be Lone Members.

ICPA is an advocacy group and, over time, has established a positive and productive consultative and liaison role with the departments and authorities who are responsible for the policy making and delivery of education and related services. ICPA is a national, rural based, non-profit, non-party political parent organisation, comprised totally of volunteers. We work on behalf of all rural and remote students, irrespective of gender race, creed or choice of school. Above all, we seek to have all elements of education – physical, academic, cultural, social, developmental and emotional – available to all students regardless of their geographic location. ICPA does not believe that children living in rural and remote Australia are entitled to preferential educational treatment simply by virtue of where they live, and we never ask for this. We do believe that our children have the same educational rights and needs as their urban peers and we ask that this equity be maintained in the delivery of education to rural and remote students.

ICPA works to promote awareness and understanding on the problems and needs of rural and remote students, assisting them to gain access to appropriate schooling, special services, government and private agencies. ICPA works with politicians, departmental representatives, educational bodies and other groups concerned with the welfare of rural and remote Australians, to rectify the inequalities inherent in educating rural and remote students, as we believe every child has the right to equality of educational opportunity, regardless of where they live.

ICPA has achieved much in the last 30 plus years, both in SA and nationally, including:
• The Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Allowance, which includes boarding, distance education
and second home components
• The SA Education Allowance for students who must live away from home to access schooling.
• The Host School and Itinerant Teacher services.
• REVISE-retired teachers who “go bush” to temporarily assist with an isolated student’s education.
• Being the impetus behind the Country Areas Programme (CAP).
• Playing a leading role in the improvement of rural telecommunications.
• Input into the restructuring and continued improvement of Distance Education.
• The establishment of boarding scholarships.
• Input into the SARSAP programme.
• Establishing a Paid Supervisor Register
• Being the driving force behind the establishment of the Distance Education Supervisor
Training Programme.
• Access to new and evolving learning technologies by Distance Education students.
• Participation in the Community Partnerships Reference Committee
• A regular SA newsletter and Federal magazine.

The SA State Council is comprised of a six member Executive, up to two representatives from each of the 8 SA branches and an appointed Lone Member Officer. State Council meets five times a year, usually in Pt Augusta, with the facility to telephonically link in members who are unable to travel. ICPA holds annual State and Federal Conferences, which in SA are hosted by the 8 branches in rotation. ICPA has established policies, at both State and Federal levels, in the following areas: Distance Education, Boarding Schools & School Term Hostels, Rural Schools, Special Education, Communications, Equity Programmes, Educational Allowances, Early Childhood Education, Curriculum, Post Secondary and Travel. ICPA SA is represented on the Open Access College Governing Council, the REVISE Management committee, the Distance Education Supervisor Training Programme selection panel and the Management of Itinerant Teacher Service committee.