A Christmas wish for peace and rain

A message from the Secretary for all staff as the school year draws to a close.

18 December 2019
School’s out today for Taren Point Public School students and the rest of our public schools.
Image: School’s out today for Taren Point Public School students and the rest of our public schools.

I am sure for many of us, if not all of us, it feels like we are reaching the end of a long year.

This term has seen many parts of the state affected by terrible bushfires. Every day for weeks now, we have had schools non-operational because of fire threats. Students, their families and staff have suffered significant personal loss due to fire damage. We will need to completely rebuild two schools – a tally that could have been much higher without the heroic efforts of firefighters... and summer has only just begun.

I often reflect that when tragedy hits a community, it invariably strikes those working in the department as well. We are in every community – often at the very centre of it. We are so connected through students, parents, teachers and support staff. Year on year we serve our communities and have done so for generations.

We know so many are doing it hard through the fires and the drought. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amount of great work that has been done across the department to try and provide the best support we can in these most difficult of circumstances. Thanks to all who have so generously helped our learning communities in many different ways, to keep our students and staff safe and to constantly search out ways to lend a hand.

As always, in this huge department, there really remains only two jobs. Those who help children and young people learn and flourish in a safe and healthy environment; and the rest of us, who help support this vital work.

The commitments we have made in our strategic plan will continue to serve us well as we look to see improvements everywhere in education, so that every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves every year; and so that every child or young person we serve is known, valued and cared for.

In 2020, we will redouble our efforts to ensure improvement is happening everywhere and great support is on offer to boost the vital work taking place across NSW education: in the 5,000 Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres we regulate, in the ECE centres we run, in the skills training we offer and oversee, and in the 2,220 public schools that open doors in every corner of the state.

No matter where we work in the department, we are public servants. We serve children, young people and their families; we serve local communities; we serve the society we are building together today for tomorrow.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your service, for your commitment and for your continuing belief in the power of education to transform lives, build communities and strengthen our nation.

If you are getting a break, may it be happy, enriching and safe. A special thanks to those teams who are working through the holidays. Some new buildings need finishing touches and last-minute staff movements need to be finalised. Our Assets team deserve a special shout out as they use the break to drive on with a massive maintenance program and the rollout of more air cooling. People will be working throughout the holidays so we will all be ready for Day 1, Term 1, 2020.

For most of us, it is time to clear out the desk ... switch off the lights ... and put down the phone.

An apt Christmas wish, more than ever, is for peace on earth and rain from the sky. May we all experience a bit of both.

Video – 2019 highlights

Duration – 2:40

Transcript of 2019 highlights video

Mark Scott

This is public education 2019.

Upbeat music

[Short clips of NSW public school students dancing, smiling and having fun.]

St Marys North Public School students

Thank you for coming.

End of transcript.

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