As the working year comes to a close, I want to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for your work in 2018 at the Department of Education.
For many who work in the department, a clear focus is on public schools. As I often say, there are only two kinds of jobs in public education: those who are helping students learn, and those who are supporting those who help students learn.
We have had a very strong year in our public schools. Our strategic plan has focused on our shared ambition to be a truly world-class system. We know we will deliver this by a clear commitment every year to improvement by every student, every teacher, every leader and every school.
We are also committed to ensuring every young person in our school is known, valued and cared for: truly engaged in learning and experiencing growth and success. It is a great team effort in our schools: support staff, teachers, principals and the community all working together with a focus on helping students.
All our endeavours across the department are designed to support this student-focused activity. We continue to look to lift the administrative burden on schools – not easy to do and an ongoing project. The investments we are making in leadership development, building educational services for schools and school infrastructure are all about creating learning environments where young people will learn and flourish. It is such important and demanding work.
I don’t think I am overstating the significance of our effort when I say the future of our nation depends to a great degree on the work we do now, to prepare young people to be engaged, capable and creative citizens. Thanks to all who are working with children and young people every day and all who support their efforts.
One of the major steps in the department’s history came with the movement from the office in Bridge Street to the new centre in Parramatta. As I said to staff there last week, the way we work now, the Parramatta office is not ‘head office’. It is where we are looking to provide an engine-room of support to all that’s happening in 2,200 public schools across NSW and supporting all education in all its settings across the state.
Across the department people are hard at work to improve the lives and futures of people in this State. The team at Aboriginal Affairs has had a great year as they continue to work across government to help ensure Aboriginal people have the best possible opportunity to have secure educational and employment outcomes and to ensure the State Government works effectively to support these goals. The team at Aboriginal Affairs is highly respected across government for its expertise and effective contribution to reform.
I also want to acknowledge the big team supporting Early Childhood Education as services expand across the state and also thank the small team who negotiated the new 10-year funding arrangements for NSW schools.
I trust many of you will get a chance for a well-deserved break. Others will be working through, particularly our infrastructure teams getting all our schools ready for day one, term one next year.
I can only promise you that next year will be equally challenging, engaging and rewarding. Rest up if you can!
And thanks again for all you have done to support the work of this great department in 2018.