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Cessnock High School teacher takes Prime Minister’s Prize

Cessnock High School Deputy Principal Scott Sleap has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

Prize winner Scott Sleap from Cessnock High School stands beside Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left) with Cessnock High School Deputy Principal Scott Sleap, who has been awarded a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Students at Cessnock High School are getting a personal hand along the fast track to new industries through the school’s Deputy Principal STEM, who has been awarded a Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

Dr Scott Sleap has received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools, one of just seven 2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science.

The Prizes, presented at Parliament House on October 17, recognise the contributions scientists, innovators and science teachers make to Australia’s scientific and commercialisation capabilities.

Dr Sleap has created the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence, a partnership between the high school, its partner primary schools and local industry.

It focuses on innovative ways of inspiring students to understand how maths and the sciences affect everyone’s everyday lives.

Robotics, racing model Formula One cars and designing and building flying model aeroplanes are just some of the projects used to bring science alive for students.

“With local industry transitioning from mining to stronger agricultural, technology and manufacturing bases, STEM skills are vital to students wishing to broaden their career prospects,” said Scott.

With nearby Williamtown a maintenance base for Australia’s F/A-18 fighters, soon to be joined by the Joint Strike Fighter, Dr Sleap has created school-industry partnerships with organisations including Google, BAE Systems, Boeing Australia, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jetstar and Thales.

“What really excites me about being an educator is working with young people to expand their horizons,” he said.

The Cessnock Academy has been so successful that Scott is working with other groups of schools across regional NSW to replicate its structure.

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