Welcome back to our 2018 school year.
It has been a busy summer – with intensive work on our school building program, significant staff movements across the system and planning for a very large intake of new students. We also welcome more than 1,000 new teachers starting work in our classrooms this year and almost 100 new principal appointments – including 54 first-time principals. We are expecting nearly 820,000 enrolments this year, with 71,000 starting their education journey with us in Kindergarten.
I was speaking with the new Directors of Educational Leadership recently and said it would help if we could visualise the scale of NSW public education. To fit all our students in the Olympic Stadium at Homebush – we would need to empty and fill it 10 times over. We could also fill it with all the staff who work in our schools (and still have some left over outside!).
When we think like this, we understand the scale of our system and the weight of our task – to ensure every one of these young people is engaged in learning, is making good progress – and is known, valued and cared for in our schools. Our commitment is to each and every young person who joins us in a classroom. And for all who teach in schools or support our schools across the department, we want to ensure it is a wonderful place to work.
These commitments are central to our new Strategic Plan, which was developed after extensive consultation with staff and sets the ambitious vision for NSW public education to be the best education system in Australia and one of the world’s finest.
And with that in mind, a big year looms.
We know because we work in such a people-centred profession, with all the demands of students, professional colleagues, community expectations and public scrutiny, we will face pressure and challenges.
We do this work because, despite all those demands, we know what is at stake for the individuals in our care: their future, the communities where they will live and the Australia they will build. There is nothing more important than our schools and public education. Thanks for your service. Have a wonderful year.