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Categories of the Public Education Awards

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There are 10 categories in the Public Education Awards.

Leadership Award


Leader of the Year

Open to all Department for Education

  • directors in preschools or children’s centres
  • primary school principals and deputy or assistant principals
  • secondary school principals and deputy or assistant principals, including those in B-12, R-12 or area schools.

This category acknowledges outstanding leaders who model life-long and collaborative learning, proactively build relationships with employees, parents, carers and the community to create a positive and inclusive culture.

Excellence in educational leadership is key for improving employees and students’ sense of belonging, engagement, and wellbeing. Leaders create the conditions for high-quality teaching and learning and drive school improvement.

Effective leaders develop clear direction and plans for improvement that are tied to the needs of children and lead change and innovation that is based on data and evidence.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact of your leadership on the achievement, wellbeing and engagement of children, students and employees, sustained over time.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you have developed evidence-based strategies, policies and plans to realise school or preschool improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and student outcomes. Outline how you foster collaboration and professional learning to address the needs of children and students.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share your strategies for engaging parents, carers and the broader community in student learning. Explain how you develop shared expectations to create an inclusive school or preschool culture that fosters a learning environment where the students voice is empowered. Describe how you model and influence others to strengthen leadership practice within and beyond your site.


Teaching Awards


Early Years Teacher of the Year

Open to all early years (Birth to 5 years) teachers working in a Department for Education preschool or early childhood setting.

This category acknowledges teachers who nurture relationships and draw on a range of professional practices to provide high-quality learning programs that inspire young minds and facilitate their social and emotional development.

Quality early learning experiences extend and enrich children’s learning and development and build a foundation for future success in learning and life.

Outstanding early years’ teachers work collaboratively with peers, families and communities to design and deliver activities and experiences for all children that are engaging and formative. They are intentional in their teaching to equip children with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to become successful learners.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you have had on learning and development outcomes for every child, aligned to the Early Years Learning Framework.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you develop and apply a range of professional practice and knowledge of each child, to implement evidence-based improvements and foster children’s sense of security and belonging.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you partner with families and communities, contribute to the professional development of your colleagues and participate in site or system improvement.


Credit Union SA Primary Teacher of the Year

Open to all primary teachers working in a Department for Education school.

This category acknowledges teachers who actively seek to deepen and expand the skills, knowledge and dispositions of primary learners, enabling them to thrive throughout their school years and into the future.

Inspiring teachers with high expectations, and the ability to design and deliver high-quality learning programs that are responsive to individual needs, are key to every student’s success.

Outstanding primary educators demonstrate exceptional practice and collegiality, developing their capability with others. They create productive and inclusive learning environments by building strong relationships and encourage a sense of belonging with students, partnering with families and communities.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you have had on learning outcomes and growth for every child, including achievement, wellbeing, engagement and transition to secondary education.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you develop and apply a deep body of professional knowledge to effectively respond to diverse students’ needs, implement evidence-based improvements and provide an environment in which students feel safe, included and challenged, and are empowered to be active agents in their own learning lives.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you partner with families and communities, contribute to the professional development of your colleagues and participate in site or system improvement.


Lumination Secondary Teacher of the Year

Open to all secondary teachers working in a Department for Education school.

This category acknowledges those empowering our secondary learners with the skills, knowledge and dispositions they need for a successful transition to further study or employment.

Secondary schooling develops a broad range of skills, supporting students to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens.

Outstanding secondary teachers demonstrate exceptional practice, specialised curriculum knowledge and collegiality, developing their capability with others. They design and deliver teaching that brings relevance to concepts, helps young people feel supported in their evolving identity and prepares them for life beyond school.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you have had on learning outcomes and growth for every student, including achievement, wellbeing, engagement and preparing students for their transition beyond school.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you develop and apply a deep body of professional practice and curriculum expertise to effectively respond to the needs of students, to implement evidence-based improvements and provide engaging, challenging and personalised learning.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you partner with families and communities, contribute to the professional development of your colleagues and participate in site or system improvement.


Inclusive Teacher of the Year (Disability)

Open to teachers working with children or young people with disability in the Department for Education.

This category acknowledges teachers who exemplify inclusive education and demonstrate outstanding practice to improve outcomes for learners with disability. Inclusive teachers personalise learning, value individual strengths, and build strong relationships with learners, families and colleagues.

Learners with disability are educated in a broad spectrum of preschools and schools, including mainstream environments and specialised education options.

Outstanding inclusive teachers are inspiring role models within and beyond their sites, who also work exceptionally well with their colleagues. They work to make sure the Disability Standards of Education are enacted to the highest level and demonstrate their dedication to achieving success for every learner.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you have had on learning outcomes and growth for children and young people with disability, including achievement, engagement, wellbeing and inclusion.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you develop and apply a range of professional practice and knowledge of each learner’s needs, to develop and implement evidence-based improvement. Outline how you empower students and parents or carers to have voice and agency in their education, and provide an environment in which learners with a disability feel safe, included and challenged.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you build positive and collaborative relationships with families, colleagues and the broader school community to build understanding and support for students with disability. Outline how you inspire and contribute to developing more inclusive professional practices and shape site or system improvements which benefit students with disability.


University of South Australia Team Teaching Awards

Open to any team of educators working within the Department for Education.

This category recognises exceptional teams that have had a significant impact on teaching and learning at a site or system level, acknowledging the key role that collaboration plays in education.

Professional collaboration enables diverse input and deeper professional enquiry to test and refine curriculum design, teaching practices, assessment and reporting. Through collective effort, teams drive change and innovation that is tied to learner needs and grounded in research and evidence.

Outstanding teaching teams are prepared to challenge each other to lift expectations for students to be active agents in their own learning lives and accelerate improvement through high-impact teaching strategies, characteristic of world-class education.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the reach and scale of improved learning experiences, outcomes and growth for students, and the team’s collective impact on school or system improvement.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how the team’s work was tied to learner’s needs and shaped by data, research and evidence. Outline the strategies and collaborative processes that developed the rigour and effectiveness of shared teaching practice.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how the team involved parents, carers or the broader community in their improvement strategies and how they inspired the development of teacher practice across the site, partnership or system.


Specialist Awards


Aunty Josie Agius Award

Open to all Aboriginal employees or teams working in any role in the Department for Education.

Note: The Aunty Josie Agius Award has a different selection process than the other Awards. A council of representatives will facilitate nominations and short-list individuals via an interview process which addresses the criteria.

To nominate or for more information on the Aunty Josie Agius Award contact the Organisational Development Team on 8463 4985.

This category recognises the cultural and community expertise of Aboriginal employees and the vital role they play in inspiring and influencing the development of culturally responsive services or teaching practices. It celebrates our colleagues who are inspiring young minds, delivering the richest learning experiences or building policy and programs that respect culture and community.

Aboriginal employees are vital to achieving excellence in education. They are leaders who share their culture, building collective responsibility for high achievement and relationships based on trust, respect and cultural pride.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you have had, including your First Nations knowledge and perspective, on improving site or system outcomes, learner achievement, engagement or wellbeing (either directly or indirectly).

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you or your team have delivered significant improvements in education services or made an authentic and meaningful contribution to the learning experiences of children and young people. Outline how you have contributed to a culturally responsive workplace or learning environment.

3. Inspiring engagement

Describe how you successfully engage parents and carers as partners in their children’s learning or how you collaborate with colleagues to share and develop best practices. Outline how you share your expertise and knowledge to help develop others understanding of Aboriginal culture, language and perspectives on education, within and beyond your local context.


Community Engagement Award

Open to any individual or team working within the Department for Education.

This category recognises those working to foster active partnerships with parents and carers to improve children and young people’s learning or to engage with the community to improve education services.

The quality of learning environments in the home and broader community are important for children’s development, encouraging a sense of belonging, student’s academic achievement and pathways to further education and employment.

Outstanding professionals use deliberate and targeted strategies, policies and practical resources to engage and sustain involvement by parents, carers and community organisations in learning and education.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Outline your objectives for building engagement with parents, carers or the community and how this is linked to your improvement strategies and plan. Provide evidence of the change in levels of engagement and its impact on learning and other outcomes for children and young people.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you have planned, differentiated and monitored engagement activities to optimise their impact. Outline your evidence-informed practices to shape the involvement and quality of interactions in home and community settings.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you have proactively developed and sustained relationships with families or organisations to benefit children and young people. Describe how you have used collaborative learning to develop best practice in engagement and how you share this with or beyond your team.


Site-based Support Award

Open to any individual or team working in a support role within a Department for Education site.

This category recognises the inspirational efforts and excellence in practice of those working to support children, students, teachers and leaders in the learning environment or in site management.

Those working in education support make a significant contribution to student and site outcomes. They are an integral part of site communities, helping to build a positive and inclusive environment for learning and optimising the use of resources.

Outstanding site-based support employees work collaboratively with their colleagues in the learning environment or across the site, connecting with broader services and the site community to support improvement in teaching and learning or more efficient systems, processes and operations.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you or your team have had on site outcomes and the achievement, engagement and wellbeing of children, students and employees (either directly or indirectly).

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you or your team have supported the delivery of significant improvements in education support services, successfully implementing change in response to student or site needs. Outline how you have used data and evidence to support continuous improvement.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you or your team collaborate with colleagues within and beyond the site to share and develop best practices. Describe how you communicate and engage parents, carers and the broader community in an inclusive way to build a positive profile of the site.


System Support Award

Open to any individual or team working in central or regional offices in the Department for Education.

This category recognises professionals who excel in their field, providing fit-for-purpose services, policy and programs to support student learning, manage site facilities and operations, or develop the capacity and capability of employees.

World-class education requires the expertise and contribution of professionals from many disciplines, including allied health services and central functions, working and learning together to support schools, preschools and children’s centres.

Outstanding system support is responsive to the needs and challenges faced by those working in education sites, optimising the impact of resources and accelerating improvement.

Criteria

1. Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact you or your team have had on site outcomes and the achievement, engagement and wellbeing of students and employees (either directly or indirectly). Outline how your objectives have linked to our vision to build world class education.

2. Outstanding practice

Describe how you use data and evidence to drive improvements in system support and respond to the needs of education sites and employees. Outline how you tailor services or target resources to optimise their impact across the system.

3. Inspiring engagement

Share how you or your team model purposeful collaboration, proactively engaging stakeholders within and beyond the department, to design solutions and contribute to system improvement.

Organisational Development Team

Phone: 8463 4985
Email: PublicEducationAwards [at] sa.gov.au