Annual awards honour inspiring teachers and outstanding students

Over 100 exceptional students and inspiring staff are honoured at the 2021 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.

Image: Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching winner, Turramurra High School PE teacher Inoke Tuhukava was nominated for his passion for the holistic development of students and a strong understanding of the connections between physical development, learning and emotional wellbeing. It was this passion and a background in fitness industry that inspired Inoke to establish the BigHill fitness and physical development program at the school in 2014.

Exceptional student achievement and inspiring public education staff will be acknowledged today when 105 individuals and schools are honoured at the 2021 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.

Among the awardees are students, teachers, staff and parents who have made major contributions to their school communities and serve as role models to their peers.

Also showcased are schools that have developed innovative programs focused on student wellbeing, improving school results or changing the way education is delivered within the government system.

NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the 2021 awards highlighted the excellence underpinning the NSW public school system even as schools, students and teachers have navigated the challenges of natural disasters and a global pandemic.

“These awards reveal that regardless of the circumstances, our students, teachers, principals and the school community are always striving for learning and teaching excellence,” Ms Mitchell said.

Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said the geographic spread of award winners demonstrated that the State’s public education system was delivering excellence regardless of location.

“Whether it is the use of technology to deliver language classes across the State, an on-site observatory inspiring the astronomers of the future or a program using a school cafeteria to improve wellbeing, the programs represented in these awards are just the tip of the iceberg in outstanding initiatives that are happening across the NSW public education system,” Ms Harrisson said.

The winners, from across NSW, were selected in the following categories:

  • Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement
  • Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service
  • Secretary’s Award for an Outstanding School Initiative
  • Secretary’s School Achievement Award
  • Public School Parent of the Year

The Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement considers achievement in the academic, sporting, cultural and leadership fields, commitment to the school community and personal values.

The Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching considers professional knowledge, practice and engagement.

The Public Education Foundation’s executive director David Hetherington said the foundation was proud to host the awards on behalf of Education Minister Sarah Mitchell and Department Secretary Georgina Harrisson.

“These awards celebrate the exceptional work that occurs every day across NSW public education – by schools, students, teachers, employees and parents,” Mr Hetherington said.

“In 2021, the standard is as high as ever and perhaps even more impressive as this work has been undertaken against the backdrop of a pandemic.”

Photographs of award recipients are available on request

Read the award citations on the Public Education Foundation website

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