Inaugural event inspires teachers of tomorrow

The first ever Back to School 2024 event brought new teachers and school leaders together in a celebration of public education. Sophie Lambert reports.

A video snapshot of the inaugural NSW Department of Education Back to School event.

Education leaders, including principals and Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students, welcomed the new school year this week at the inaugural Back to School 2024 event at Sydney’s Town Hall.

The event, which will be held annually, brought around 800 education heads together from across NSW to celebrate the new school year while engaging and inspiring teachers of the future, ITE final-year students.

ITE student Nour Chendeb, currently in her fourth year at the University of Sydney, said she was excited to finish her degree and start working as a teacher.

“The event was eye-opening, and I was able to relate to a lot of the concepts,” Ms Chendeb said.

“Seeing the students MC the event tonight was heartwarming.”

ITE student Andrew Deng said he was blown away by the performances of students and presentations delivered at the event.

“Teachers coming together at the event to share experiences and let us know that we will be okay in the field was really important to me,” Mr Deng said.

“Eddie Woo is one of my personal heroes, so it was great to hear him speak live.”

The NSW Department of Education is the largest employer of teaching graduates in Australia.  

In 2023, there were 1076 new graduates appointed to their first permanent teaching position in NSW public schools including 381 that were due to start in schools on Day One, Term One 2024.

More than 90 Initial Teacher Education graduates, who were sponsored through department scholarships, also started in Term 1 2024.

Overall, 4740 ITE graduates applied for their approval to teach in 2023, with the majority now working in the department in some capacity.

ITE student Judy Yu attended the event and said she was drawn to teaching because she wanted to see her students smile as they learned.

“Tonight’s event was a wonderful experience,” Ms Yu said.

“It was great to hear updates about what’s going on in schools, I’m really happy that I came along.”

Three people holding bags and laughing. Three people holding bags and laughing.
Image: Initial Teacher Education students Nour Chendeb, Judy Yu and Andrew Deng at the Back to School event.
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