Demonstrating to the next generation of educators

NSW public schools have been acknowledged on the national stage at this year’s Australian Education Awards.

08 December 2020
Four students wearing yellow school uniform and adult wearing white sit around a white table indoors with the text Congrats displayed on the table.
Image: Fairy Meadow Demonstration School was named the government primary school of the year.

A commitment to supporting the next generation of teachers has seen Fairy Meadow Demonstration School win the ‘Primary School of the Year – Government’ award at this year’s Australian Education Awards.

The school was acknowledged for its commitment to not only providing quality teaching and learning for its students but also helping to shape future teachers through its partnership with the University of Wollongong.

Fairy Meadow Demonstration School has a dynamic relationship with the university’s education faculty with more than 500 pre-service teachers each year learning necessary skills and receiving expert mentoring from staff and students.

The judges commented that the links between the university and pre-service teacher training was of great benefit to the teaching profession but also the students at the school.

“The willingness by teachers and students to open their classrooms to a new group of university students studying each semester is a testament to the school’s commitment to education excellence and improvement,” the judges said.

Principal Alison Rourke said the award was a privilege and recognition of the hard work that supported the complexity of the school.

“The accolade of the award definitely belongs to the staff, students and community who passionately work to achieve their personal best and contribute to the ongoing transformation of the school,” Ms Rourke said.

“This award will continue to inspire and create a lifelong love of learning within our school walls, where everyone is acknowledged for the contributions they make to ensuring we remain a school of excellence and innovation.”

Virtual school delivers with technology

Aurora College, NSW’s virtual school, received the best use of technology award for its innovative and flexible approach allowing students to connect locally and learn globally.

Now in its sixth year of operation, Aurora College has established itself as a world leader in online education, providing opportunities for rural and remote students to access challenging levels of education without needing to leave their local community.

The award judges praised Aurora College for its commitment and engagement in meeting the needs of its students who are usually disadvantaged by distance.

“Given the current state of the world, this is an extremely sustainable education model,” one judge commented.

When schools moved to learning from home at the height of the pandemic, Aurora College staff were called upon to share their knowledge and expertise with teachers across the state, supporting the continuity of learning for thousands of students.

Principal Chris Robertson said he was proud of what Aurora College had been able to achieve.

“If there was ever a year to leverage the power of technology in education, 2020 has been it,” Mr Robertson said.

“This award is recognition of Aurora’s ongoing leadership of best practice learning and teaching in a virtual environment, and for this, our students and staff should feel very proud.”

Cowra’s rising star

Cowra High School teacher Amy Young was named Education Rising Star of the Year for her commitment to public education and taking on additional responsibilities and roles at the school.

“I’m honoured and excited to be recognised as a rising star for the Australian Education Awards,” Ms Young said.

“I feel really fortunate to have a wonderful leadership team at my school that provides opportunities and challenges as I continue my career in public education.”

The Australian Education Awards are an annual awards event administered by the Educator Online.

Several NSW public schools were acknowledged with excellence awards during this year’s virtual ceremony held last month.

View the full list of winners and finalists on the Australian Education Awards website.

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