Goodbye to the 2021 school year

A big thank you and the best of the holiday season from the Education Minister as the school year ends.

More than 800,000 students, and hundreds of thousands of parents, teachers and school staff across the state are ready for the summer break after showing incredible resilience, commitment and agility as the 2021 school year ends today.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the lessons, inspiration and incredible stories of 2021 would help shape the new school year, which begins on Friday, 28 January 2022.

“I want to thank our staff – the principals, teachers, our senior leaders and school administrative and support teams – who have given their all to ensure learning continued throughout a difficult year,” Ms Mitchell said.

“When school resumed after the Term 3 lockdown, the incredible response from school staff to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate enabled us to transition smoothly back to in-school learning.”

Ms Mitchell said a strict cohorting approach combined with rapid antigen testing of close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases had enabled more schools to remain operational.

“We’ve calculated that the use of rapid antigen home testing has reduced the need for close contacts to self-isolate at home and led to an extra 130,000 hours of face to face learning,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We are currently procuring additional testing kits for schools to ensure we can continue COVID-safe learning in 2022. As we work to finalise school settings for 2022, I’m pleased to note that many school activities such as music and school transitions are going ahead next Term.”

Ms Mitchell said the 2021 NAPLAN results released this week revealed that NSW students had performed above the national average despite the COVID disruption.

“This proves what a fabulous job our teachers and schools have done to overcome the tremendous challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Mitchell said.

The pandemic has also not impeded the NSW Government’s reform agenda to improve learning outcomes, attract talented teachers to NSW public schools, and reduce unnecessary administration for existing staff.

“The Curriculum Reform is on schedule with the K to 2 syllabuses released for familiarisation and early adoption, and consultation on Years 3 to 10 English and Maths beginning next year,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Through the $125 million Teacher Supply Strategy, we are committed to growing the teaching profession, attracting high-quality candidates to this great career and supporting existing teachers and support staff to up-skill and take on new challenges.

“More than 4000 public school staff and employees provided feedback on the draft Quality Time Action Plan which outlined a range of current and prospective time-saving initiatives, designed to give teachers at least 20 per cent of their time back to focus on the classroom.

“I wish all our students, teachers, staff and parents a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays and look forward to welcoming them back refreshed for a brand new year.”

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