Secretary for a Day

Secretary for a Day will be held on Monday 6 August, followed by a Student Leadership Forum on Tuesday 7 August.

This is an exciting opportunity for Year 9, 10 and 11 students to learn about the challenges and satisfaction of working in senior management in the department, and to find out how educational policy relates to school.

We invite secondary schools to nominate up to two student leaders to be considered. Submit your expression of interest (DOCX 44.03KB) to by Friday 15 June.

We'll notify successful applicants by Week 1, Term 3 2018.

About Secretary for a Day

Secretary for a Day on Monday 6 August is an opportunity for secondary students to learn about key portfolio areas in the department as well as shadow senior officers, attend meetings and participate in operations of state office.

The 2018 program will also include a student forum on Tuesday 7 August to discuss leadership and wellbeing more broadly.

Video: Secretary for a Day 2017 overview – runtime 4:26.

Transcript for Secretary for a Day 2017 overview

What to expect

You might find yourself working in one of the following areas. Note: this list is provided as a guide only. The final list of areas that participate in Secretary for a Day and associated activities may vary.

  • Aboriginal Education and Communities – Provides advice, leadership and support about Commonwealth and state directions, policies and priorities related to Aboriginal education
  • Connected Communities – Addresses the needs of Aboriginal students living in complex and diverse communities, by working with Aboriginal leaders in the local community to help improve education outcomes
  • Disability, Learning and Support – Provides advice on state directions, policies and priorities, strengthens partnership with external agencies and leads the implementation of the Every Student, Every School: Learning and support
  • Early Learning and Primary Education – Provides support and advice for curriculum, planning, assessment and reporting for students Preschool to Year 6
  • Leadership and High Performance – Leads the development of high quality leadership and professional practice to enhance the performance of schools
  • Learning and Business Systems – Advises on technology developments and innovations and provides support for web-based support services, applications and tools to enhance teaching and learning
  • Legal Services – Represents the Department of Education in courts and tribunals and also gives independent legal support and advice to department staff
  • Local Schools, Local Decisions – Responsible for implementing this reform in schools and the Empowering Local Schools National Partnership
  • Media – Liaises with external media to promote public education in NSW and keeps the Minister's Office informed of media issues from metropolitan and regional media
  • External Relations Policy – Promotes advice and policy making across education from the early years to post-school training and higher education
  • School Policy and  Information Management – Provides schools with professional support, systems and frameworks to streamline operations relating to policy development, planning, reporting, compliance and data analysis to improve teaching and learning for all students
  • Schools Finance – Allocates funds to schools and provides financial advice and training to school staff
  • Student Engagement and Interagency Partnerships – Develops policy and supports the implementation of programs to promote health and wellbeing, positive relationships and resilience of every student, including vulnerable and at-risk students
  • Secondary Education – Provides support and advice for curriculum, planning, assessment and reporting for students Years 7 to 12
  • Futures Learning – Supports NSW public schools implement future-focused learning and teaching practice.

For division profiles and a full organisation chart, visit Our people and structure.

Two applicants will shadow the Secretary and a further 18 applicants will be matched with portfolio areas of the department, based on their expressions of interest.

Selected students will complete some pre- and post-event activities, including discussion with other participants via video-conference, and sharing and developing their learning from the event with others locally.

How to apply

If you're a student leader in Year 9, 10 or 11, complete the expression of interest  (DOCX 44.03KB) form and return it to your school principal.

Each school may submit up to two students for consideration. We'll consider all applications for Secretary for a Day as well as local Executive Officer for a Day opportunities where available.

Submit your completed application to by Friday 15 June (Week 7, Term 2).

We'll notify successful applicants by Week 1, Term 3 2018.

What the 2017 participants had to say

Here's a selection of quotes from our student participants from the 2017 Secretary for a Day:

"It was truly a life changing experience!"

"My experience with the program was absolutely wonderful. I am really grateful for the opportunity to meet so many influential people in public education who listened to us, and inspiring fellow students. Thank you very much."

"I really loved meeting a cohort of students who were interested in real-world issues, and were simultaneously passionate about public education like me."

"My experience with Secretary for a Day helped me improve on public speaking and my own personal confidence."

"It was such an enlightening experience and I want to thank all the staff for making this such a successful event."

"Overall a really beneficial experience, I felt as though my voice was heard on some important issues and received some interesting information from staff and peers."

More information

For further information, contact

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