Education, community and industry leaders are celebrating NSW public education and Learning together this Education Week.

Kurt Fearnley

Kurt Fearnley

Paralympian and TV host

Going through [my] school gates gave me a sense of dignity, a sense of value. Inclusion. It’s like a fundamental part of the public education system. That idea of acceptance is in its DNA.
Cindy Berwick

Cindy Berwick

President, NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

Education Week is a time where we celebrate the many achievements of public education.

Over the last 40 plus years in which Aboriginal people have had full access to public education, there have been significant gains that make us optimistic for the future.

However, there is still much to do before our statistics paint a brighter picture.

We must continue to ensure Aboriginal histories and cultures are understood, we must continue to challenge racism and we must embrace and celebrate the unique place Aboriginal people have as the oldest living culture of humanity.

Yasodai Selvakumaran

Yasodai Selvakumaran

High school teacher and Top 10 finalist, Global Teacher Prize

I am proud to be part of Australia’s largest education system and know that we are always looking for better ways to be learning together.

This year has proven that our strength is in collaboration.

It’s been a privilege to work with the commitment shown by all in the transition to at home learning, blended learning and taking new ways of learning with us moving forward.

A special welcome to all of the pre-service teachers currently completing practicum and internship placements with us and the contributions you are making to learning together!

Lisa OBrien

Lisa O’Brien

CEO, The Smith Family

Education is the key to ensuring all young people can create positive futures for themselves.

This Education Week I’m inspired by school communities working together to achieve great outcomes for all students.

It’s an honour for The Smith Family to be partnering with students, families and schools around our shared agenda.

Post COVID-19 this is more important than ever to ensure no child is left behind.

Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison

Prime Minister

As a proud graduate of the NSW public education system, I’m delighted to celebrate Education Week 2020.

In a normal year, schools equip young people to make the very best of their lives and become lifelong learners. In challenging times, such as those we’re currently facing, they provide an especially vital sense of stability, allowing the rhythm of learning to continue almost uninterrupted.

This year, we’ve seen our principals, teachers, students and school communities support each other as we have all responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

This has not been an easy year for teachers or students. Our schools have faced the uncertainty of our times – and have not been found wanting.

Dedication, effort, acceptance, support, encouragement, and community: these are the values that our schools embody. Not just this year, but every year.

Despite the challenges of 2020, NSW schools have ensured students continued to ‘learn together’ online and in person.

Our schools, teachers and students have made extraordinary efforts during these momentous times. For that, I say thank you and well done.

Mark Scott

Mark Scott

Secretary, NSW Department of Education

‘Learning together’ is our theme for Education Week 2020 and it couldn’t be a more apt way to celebrate NSW public school communities in this remarkable year.

The resilience, endurance and creativity of people in Education is just incredible.

A big part of our success in these challenging times has been our ability to learn together – everyone in schools and across the department and our students and families.

Despite the disruption of drought, bushfires, flood and a pandemic, we’ve seen how schools have kept that commitment to know, value and care for every student and we’ve seen our whole system maintain the focus on improvement for every student, every teacher, every leader and every school, every year.

We have a lot to celebrate.

David Heatherington

David Hetherington

Executive Director, Public Education Foundation

Public education is a vital national treasure. By promoting excellence, equity and access for all children, it acts as a springboard for Australians to live their best lives.
Gladys Berejiklian

Gladys Berejiklian


In Education Week 2020, we celebrate the many achievements of our public schools and the critical role they play in equipping our students for the future.

Learning together is a fitting theme given the extraordinary challenges this year has presented. In the face of drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, our school communities have proven just how strong and adaptable they are.

Teachers and support staff moved quickly to develop online lessons, parents and carers took on additional roles as home teachers and students adjusted to a new way of learning and a different way of life.

That we have been collectively able to transition through these changes highlights the strong partnership between schools, students and families that is the foundation of public education, and you can all be proud of what you have achieved together in these exceptional circumstances.

Many exciting opportunities lie ahead to build on these inherent strengths in our education system. Already, 42 new and upgraded schools have been built in 2020 as part of the NSW Government's $6.7 billion school infrastructure program, with more to come. We are also rebuilding the NSW curriculum to cut unnecessary content, focus on literacy and numeracy and modernise TAFE and vocational training.

The NSW Government is committed to working with you all to ensure our students have the opportunity to achieve their best. The future of our State rests on their success. Given the resilience and creativity they have demonstrated this year, we can look forward to a bright future indeed.

Eddie Woo

Eddie Woo

High school maths teacher and Leader, Mathematics Growth

This year has thrust unprecedented challenges on schools and communities – and I count it an enormous privilege to teach and work alongside educators who have not wavered for a second in their commitment to providing a world-class learning experience to their students.

2020 has helped us all appreciate the value and power of something as simple as having our children in schools, able to learn and thrive each day with their friends and teachers!

Phil Seymour

Phil Seymour

President, NSW Primary Principals Association

In Education Week it is wonderful to celebrate the outstanding learning and opportunities that are fostered every day in our public schools. From the coast to the outback, from small schools in villages to metropolitan schools, our public schools provide quality experiences that develop our students.

The COVID crisis has reinforced the extraordinary lengths our teachers will go to ensure we provide quality learning opportunities for our students. Working together, teachers, the department, families and students have risen to the challenges presented by COVID and worked hard to have learning continuity.

Our public education system has shone brightly against the COVID environment reinforcing the need to work together with our families to ensure we have resilient and focused learners.

Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell

Minister for Education & Early Childhood Learning

Education Week provides us all with the opportunity to celebrate what is great about Education in NSW and also to reflect on our achievements over the past year.

This is particularly relevant for the past 12 months, as our education system has triumphed amidst difficult circumstances. I cannot overstate the appreciation I have for the incredible way everyone has responded to the challenges of drought, bushfires and floods earlier in the year, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Congratulations to all of our principals, our teachers and our school support staff for the phenomenal effort to adapt from learning in the classroom to learning from home, and then the return to school.

The laser focus of all has been to continue the high-quality education of our students, and I am so grateful for the professionalism and dedication shown by our staff. Right across the state, students and families have received incredible support from their schools and teachers.

From these challenges, stronger relationships have grown between schools and their communities. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that schools are the cornerstone of our communities in NSW and together we can achieve great things.

Craig Petersen

Craig Petersen

A/President, NSW Secondary Principals Council

Principals have a saying that "Every week is Education Week".

This has never been truer than during the last year, when schools and communities have worked together in the face of unrelenting, almost daily, challenges brought on by fire, drought, storm and COVID-19.

Despite the challenges, including isolation, our teachers and students have continued Learning together in a way which few would have thought possible.

The learnings have been extensive and will last well beyond any particular week or year.

We publicly celebrate these successes in Education Week. This has indeed been a year of Learning together, and we are incredibly proud of the partnerships between staff and students, school and community.

Angelo Gavrielatos

Angelo Gavrielatos

President, NSW Teachers Federation

Public education is a defining institution in Australian society. It is part of a great Australian tradition and success story.

Even under the most difficult of circumstances, our public schools offer all children the opportunity to build a positive future for themselves, their families, their communities and our country.

A strong public education system with a well-qualified and supported teaching profession is key to realising the transformative power of education for all.

Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville


I had brilliant, committed teachers at Cremorne Girls’ High who laid the groundwork for everything I’ve achieved since then.

Public education is the most precious resource of our community and deserves full support, so it can give today’s students the great start in life that I was lucky enough to receive.

Geoff Lee

Geoff Lee

Minister for Skills & Tertiary Education

Now is the right time for school students of all ages to consider their post-school opportunities. While university offers a great pathway for many students, it isn’t always the right option for everyone.

As Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, I want to encourage students to consider TAFE and VET courses as equal and alternate pathways to a great job and a rewarding career. In fact, many of the fastest-growing jobs in NSW have a vocational training pathway. The NSW Government is supporting young people by providing 70,000 fee-free traineeships and 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships.

Tim Spencer

Tim Spencer

President, P&C Federation

The value of education comes not just from what children learn in classrooms, but from their interactions with their friends, teachers and family.

This became obvious in 2020, when students spent weeks isolated from friends and teachers, many finding this isolation challenging.

Parents were thrust into the position of supervising their children’s learning, which brought an understanding of the challenges of classrooms and the importance of parental involvement in education.

‘Learning together’, the theme of Education Week 2020, is poignant under the circumstances, and provides a time for students, teachers and parents to reflect on the value of learning together.

Julia Zemiro

Julia Zemiro

Artistic director, TV presenter

I am a product of public education.

My mother worked in public education for over 30 years.

As a young actor, I visited over 300 high schools performing Shakespeare.

Some public schools were severely underfunded but the spirit was there.

But you can’t expect goodwill and dedication from teachers without supporting them.

It is the responsibility of governments and communities to provide excellent public education for everyone.

Every one. Value it. Strengthen it. Support it.

Deanne Stewart

Deanne Stewart

CEO, First State Super

As the daughter of two retired teachers and, having benefited immensely from the passion and dedication of so many inspirational teachers growing up, I truly believe that a good education and great teachers make all the difference and lay the critical foundation for lifelong learning and success.

At First State Super, we are proud to look after the retirement savings of over 50 per cent of Australia’s public educators and are delighted to support our Education communities in Education Week 2020.

Alan Waugh

Alan Waugh

General Manager, Teachers Mutual Bank

In 2020, our teachers have shown true resilience in the face of change.

This year has demonstrated that teachers and students are wholeheartedly committed to lifelong learning, and this shared commitment has the power to unite communities.

Education Week is the perfect opportunity to recognise the incredible value of our schools and the dedication and skills of our teachers who work tirelessly to shape the next generation.

From Teachers Mutual Bank to all teachers – thank you.

Hannah Pia Baral

Hannah Pia Baral

General Manager, P&C Federation

The benefits of learning together have been amplified during 2020.

Parents, families and carers continue to play crucial roles in their children’s education as they support their learning from home.

Remote learning has also highlighted the value of face to face interactions between students and the wider school community.

These relationships develop students’ social and emotional skills, sense of engagement, positively impact learning outcomes, and highlight the valuable role whole school communities play in the education of every child.

My hope is that we continue to work together to create resilient communities and safeguard the future of every child’s education.

Suzanne Steele

Suzanne Steele

Managing Director, Adobe Australia & New Zealand

At Adobe we have been so impressed with the creative way NSW students, teachers, parents and carers have been working and learning together during what has been a challenging year for all of us.

Creativity is in the DNA of Adobe, we believe that everyone is creative and that creativity is what connects us all.

We never fail to be impressed by the outstanding creative work that is being produced in NSW primary and secondary schools with the help of our software.

We are delighted to be supporting Education Week 2020 and join with you in this celebration of learning together.

Adrian Piccoli

Adrian Piccoli

Director, Gonski Institute for Education

During times of uncertainty, whether it's drought, floods, bushfires or a global pandemic there is always one organisation ready to respond – public education.

It has been a tough year but we can proudly look to the achievements of public education in responding to these challenges.

To everyone involved in public education thank you for your flexibility, willingness to adapt and for giving so much of yourselves in the service of the students you so diligently educate.

Louise Herron

Louise Herron

CEO, Sydney Opera House

The 2020 Education Week theme celebrates the vital partnership between children, families and educators, so important in this extraordinary year and essential if we are to meet the challenges of the future.

In our rapidly changing environment, the next generation needs creativity, critical thinking and collaboration to build resilience and solve problems.

These skills are fostered in schools and at home, as well as through the Opera House Creative Learning program, which includes digital initiatives to support students and teachers year round, wherever they are.

As we look to the Opera House’s 50th anniversary in 2023, we are expanding our contribution to learning together, including through a new centre for creativity now under construction and due to open next year.

Mel Silva

Mel Silva

Managing Director, Google Australia & New Zealand

As schools in NSW celebrate EdWeek20 and continue on their mission to help students learn, I believe we have an amazing opportunity to transform learning and teaching at scale.

Your hard work inspires us.

Your input helps us better support and equip schools and educators like you across the country.

Your curriculum, your students, and your classroom are all unique – and no one knows them better than you.

So we’ll continue to listen – and learn – so that together, we can use these challenging times as a catalyst for education transformation like never seen before.

Steven Worrall

Steven Worrall

Managing Director, Microsoft Australia

Schools are a formative part of our community in NSW and we are pleased to work closely with the department and schools across the state investing in our future generations.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw NSW public schools innovate quickly to enable remote learning capabilities to foster a culture of learning outside the classroom. Microsoft helped this change by providing training and support to over 5500 teachers in NSW across government schools to make sure students could keep learning.

Working in partnership we also supported both the Game Changer Challenge and Indigenous work placement programs to help students develop skills for the future.

Juanita Phillips

Juanita Phillips

News presenter and journalist

Whatever background you’re from, in public education you’re going to get an opportunity; because it’s for everybody and it sees the potential in everybody.
Stewart Little

Stewart Little

General Secretary, Public Service Association of NSW

I’m proud to lead a union that is such an integral part of the world-class NSW public education system. Our members are the backbone of our schools, working to create an ideal learning environment for tomorrow’s leaders.

All over the state, you will find PSA members working together with teaching staff. We’re there staffing offices, maintaining grounds, assisting students and creating inclusive environments for all learners.

Without our members working together with teachers, the goal of learning together would be that much harder to achieve.

Deborah Mailman

Deborah Mailman


My kids are in public school. They have fantastic teachers. I just really believe education, and great education, belongs to everyone.
Peter Shergold

Peter Shergold

Chair, NSW Education Standards Authority

This year we have seen what our school communities are made of.

From horrific bushfires, flooding rains and now a world-wide pandemic, teachers, principals and support staff have adapted to change and fostered a tremendous sense of resilience in their communities.

Whether teaching online or back in the classroom as we are now, teachers have responded with agility, modifying their lessons to ensure all students can continue learning and have been unwavering in support of their student’s wellbeing.

I am excited about the future of education in NSW as we turn to a new school curriculum. Our priority remains; giving students the tools to be their best in our rapidly changing world, guided by professional, committed teachers.

Vivian Pham

Vivian Pham


The impact that 13 years of public school have had on me was entirely determined by my teachers. There were a few teachers who really believed their students might go on to change the world; inevitably, they changed my life.
John Ieraci

John Ieraci

Telstra Enterprise & Government Customer Sales Executive

In a year when our living rooms also suddenly became connected classrooms, it was incredible to see how students continued to learn and achieve, together with their parents and carers, their teachers and the rest of the school community.

Technology enables us to connect better and learn together and Telstra is proud to continue to play our part, supporting students and teachers with the connectivity and capabilities to ensure they can reach their full learning potential, wherever they are.

Rachael Maza

Rachael Maza

Artistic director, director and actor

I’d like to give a shout out for #EdWeek20 as an alumna myself of Woollahra Demonstration Primary School, Dover Heights and Sydney Girls High.

I’d like to acknowledge particularly the incredible teachers whose dedication and passion for teaching inspired in me the want to learn.

I recall vividly those teachers that took the time to invest in me when I would have been happy to hide in the crowd.

We have much to be grateful for regarding education in this country – so let’s celebrate that!

Brad Joyce

Brad Joyce

Group CEO, Teachers Health

This Education Week I’d like to acknowledge NSW public school staff for your incredible commitment throughout an especially challenging few months.

In collaboration with your students, and their parents and carers, you've continued to learn together, showing great resilience and strength as a community.

Thank you for everything you've done and continue to do. Wishing you all the very best and enjoy the celebrations!

Michael Brand

Michael Brand

Director, Art Gallery of NSW

In a year that’s seen Australian communities devastated by bushfires, floods and a pandemic, public school students and their teachers across our state have shown themselves to be extraordinarily creative, resilient and hard working.

Adjusting to exceptional circumstances, our teachers pivoted to find a new way to teach the curriculum, going above and beyond to care for their students as they so often do.

Students rose to the challenge of a new way of learning, showing us their resilience but also how full of life, and hope, they are. Young people are our future.

To them I say, bravo!

Stay strong and stay connected to your community. There’s no better place to be.

Wendy Hurry

Wendy Hurry

Vice-president, Public Service Association of NSW

Fairness and equality are among the core values of the Australian union movement, so the PSA is proud to be a vital cog in the NSW public education system.

Our members can be found all over NSW, working hard to make sure all students receive the best education they can, regardless of where they live, their background, or what their parents or guardians earn.

From the inner city to small towns, PSA members are there making sure no student is left behind and the NSW education system keeps all students learning together.

Share your support

Tell us what you love about your local public school and celebrate the students, staff and supporters who've kept NSW learning together.

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and across your social networks using #EdWeek20.
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