Celebrating excellence and achievement in NSW public education

The 2023 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence celebrated outstanding achievement in public education. Alyssa Terese reports.

A group photo of students holding certificates. A group photo of students holding certificates.
Image: Recipients of the Award for Excellence in Student Achievement.

An impressive 165 awards have been presented to NSW public school teachers, students, employees and parents at the 2023 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.   

Last night’s awards at Sydney Town Hall celebrated the best of public schooling, outstanding achievement of individuals and breakthrough school initiatives centred around literacy, numeracy, science, student well-being and community partnerships.

Robotics and STEM learning received honourable mentions throughout the six award categories, as did various flood assistance initiatives including a principal-led, wellbeing flood recovery support initiative for 12 primary and secondary schools in the Northern Rivers region.

The school team at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital School was awarded for transforming the educational provision to students during a short-term hospital stay, and four schools for specific purposes (SSPs) were also acknowledged for providing specialist and intensive support in a dedicated setting for students with moderate to high learning and support needs.

Of the 117 primary and secondary schools acknowledged, 28 schools received multiple awards and one regional NSW school, Denison College of Secondary Education – Bathurst High Campus, received four awards across three categories.

Respected and popular former Sir Joseph Banks High School Principal, Murray Kitteringham, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for his “unrelenting energy, commitment, motivation, fervour for supporting students, colleagues and the system”.

Mr Kitteringham led the school community as principal from 2016 until his death in June 2022.

A group shot of people holding certificates. A group shot of people holding certificates.
Image: Recipients of the Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said she was delighted to highlight the incredible achievements of the public system’s outstanding students and teachers.

“These awards are a great opportunity to call out the fabulous educators, who every day are making a difference in the lives of children, and the inspiring students demonstrating academic, cultural, sporting and leadership excellence.”

The winners 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

Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said the awards were a great opportunity to recognise outstanding initiatives and staff that were driving improvements across public schools.

He said the number of regional schools showcased in the awards highlighted the Education Department’s commitment to equity of opportunity no matter where students lived.

“Schools like Denison College in Bathurst show geography is no barrier to delivering innovative programs that lift outcomes for our students and ensure our schools and staff are also improving every year.”

Mr Dizdar also acknowledged the role parents played in supporting public schools and public school students.

“The awards also recognise 12 parents, guardians and caregivers who perform invaluable support roles and who contribute significantly to their local NSW public school community; contributions that are deeply appreciated.”

Public Education Foundation chief executive officer David Riordan said public education was the cornerstone of the future of NSW.

“I am so proud to be recognising excellence, not just in the performances and the personal stories but also in the achievements of students, teachers, and school staff from across NSW.”

Read the award citations on the Public Education Foundation website www.publiceducationfoundation.org.au

People in a group photo holding certificates. People in a group photo holding certificates.
Image: Recipients of the Award for School Achievement.
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