Pam grew up in Adelaide and attended Colonel Light Gardens Primary School and Unley High School, before taking up studies to become a primary school teacher. She remembered that she had ‘want[ed] to be a teacher for a long time’ and that she had a particular interest in special education. She won a scholarship for her teacher training and was bonded to the South Australian country town of Port Pirie. Although primary trained, Pam also taught in the high school as there were teacher shortages. During her time there, she was completed a ‘course for difficult and backward children’ and was invited to teach in the town of Berri in a Special Education role. Here she won a scholarship to become a teacher/psychologist, completing her degree with a psychology major followed by two years of on-the-job training. Pam gives a spirited account of the training she received as an apprentice, remembering that it was a ‘very lively, exciting place’ with ‘a lot of discussion’. Pam’s career in Special Education spanned four decades and involved a range of roles. These included as a remedial reading teacher in the 1960s, a teacher/psychologist and regional officer, involving travelling to outlying towns in the 1970s and then as a training supervisor for Special Education officers in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. In the 1970s, she suggests, ‘South Australia did lead Australia at that stage in offering education to students – in most other states they were excluded from school’, highlighting the leading role that South Australia played in Special Education. Pam notes the many changes that have occurred in the delivery of Special Education over the time she has worked in the field, observing shifts in values that guide this work, and the social and contextual shifts that have impacted the area. She laments the most recent narrowing of the role of Special Education workers, remembering that, ‘it was a joy of a job and I think you miss that if you’re just a psychologist wandering around looking for a few problems’.
Primary: Colonel Light Gardens Primary School, Adelaide (c1945–1951)
Secondary: Unley High School, Adelaide (c1952–1956)
Tertiary: Unknown (c1957–1959)
Port Pirie High School, South Australia, 1962. Photographer unknown. National Archives of Australia, A1200/L42277
“Pamela Jones,” Schooling Memories, accessed September 22, 2023, https://omeka.cloud.unimelb.edu.au/schooling_memories/items/show/21.