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Our shared purpose for school improvement

How astounding to find ourselves in mid-October, with Term 4 well underway and the end of the school year just two months away.

Two high school students, a boy and a girl, build a robot as a teacher watches.

Every year Term 4 brings so much excitement and opportunities at every level of education.

In our strategic plan, we reference the school year as a marker for improvement. We look for every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improving every year. And this year is rapidly coming to a close.

We know that schools are busy and frequently exhausting places. All that work and effort is for a purpose, however: to see students grow, improve their learning outcomes, be engaged in school and be set on the path to be independent, lifelong learners.

The coming months will provide schools with some important opportunities to think about how best to see continued improvement from students.

School leadership teams will be thinking through what improvement over the next few years should look like in the context of academic achievement, wellbeing, independence and learning and equity.

These conversations will be contextually different in every school. This work will reflect our shared commitment to focus our energy and resources to see improvement in every setting and for every young person in our care, across a full range of measures.

It will help us to think through what improvements we are striving to see, and what we need to invest in terms of time, professional development and other resources in order to see the lifts we think are important for the students we serve.

The NSW Government will also release a discussion paper on curriculum reform. We want feedback from experts in the field about the most important first steps that need to be taken to improve the relevance of curriculum and syllabus materials needed, to prepare young people for a fast changing world.

The contribution from teachers, schools and professional bodies will further inform the thinking of Professor Geoff Masters as he develops final recommendations to the Government next year.

These are such important issues: where we focus our activity to see improvement and our priorities for teaching and learning. Thank you for engaging in these important matters for our students, our system and the teaching profession.

Of course, every year Term 4 brings so much excitement and opportunities. HSC students passing through our gates for the final time as they sit exams. Year 6 students loving their final moments in primary school and looking ahead to high school. End of year celebrations. That remarkable showcase of public education: The Schools Spectacular. All are demanding and all make us collectively enormously proud.

No matter where you work in our schools – in the classrooms, in the office, making the grounds look great – thanks for your commitment to public education and every young person in your care.

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Mark Scott

About the Secretary

Mark Scott is Secretary of the Department of Education. He has worked as a teacher, in public administration and as a journalist and media executive. He is committed to public education and learning environments where every child can flourish.

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