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Categories of the Public Education Awards

There are 12 categories in the 2021 Public Education Awards.

The 2021 application guide (PDF 2.2MB) lists them.

Leadership awards

Early Years Leader of the Year Award

Open to all Department for Education directors in preschools or children’s centres.

Summary

This category acknowledges early years leaders who continuously improve the quality of their education and care programs to facilitate children’s learning and development.

The National Quality Framework emphasises the role of leaders in continuous improvement, educational leadership and the development of staff capacity and capability. 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.

Outstanding early years leaders model life-long and collaborative learning, they proactively build relationships with staff, parents, carers and the community to create a positive and inclusive culture.

Criteria

Positive impact

Provide evidence of the impact of your leadership on children’s outcomes (aligned to the Early Years Learning Framework), and the capability, wellbeing and engagement of staff, sustained over time.

Outstanding practice

Describe how you use evidence-based strategies, policies and plans to drive continuous improvement in the quality of children’s learning and development. Outline how you foster staff collaboration and professional development to address the needs of children and families.

Inspiring engagement

Share how you model and build a positive and inclusive culture, inspiring engagement from parents, carers and the broader community to support children’s learning and development. Describe how you have worked with and influenced others, to strengthen leadership practice within and beyond your site.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Primary Leader of the Year Award

Open to all Department for Education primary school principals and deputy or assistant principals.

Summary

This category acknowledges primary school leaders who build a positive and inclusive culture. These leaders build high expectations, balancing challenge and support, so students and staff can thrive.

Excellence in educational leadership is key for improving staff and student achievement, engagement and wellbeing. Leaders create the conditions for high-quality teaching and learning and drive school improvement. They develop clear direction and plans for improvement that are tied to the needs of their students, leading change and innovation that is based on data and evidence.

Criteria

Positive impact

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

Outstanding practice

Describe how you have developed evidence-based strategies, policies and plans, to realise school improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and student outcomes. Outline how you foster staff collaboration and professional development to address the needs of your primary learners.

Inspiring engagement

Share your strategies for engaging parents, carers and the broader community in student learning, develop shared expectations and create an inclusive school culture. Describe how you model and influence others to strengthen leadership practice within and beyond your site.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Secondary Leader of the Year Award

Open to all Department for Education secondary school principals and deputy or assistant principals, including those in B-12, R-12 or area schools.

Summary

This category acknowledges secondary school leaders who build a positive and inclusive culture. These leaders build high expectations, balancing challenge and support, so students and staff can thrive.

Excellence in educational leadership is key for improving staff and student achievement, engagement and wellbeing. Leaders create the conditions for high-quality teaching and learning and drive school improvement. They develop clear direction and plans for improvement that are tied to the needs of their students, leading change and innovation that is based on data and evidence.

Criteria

Positive impact

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

Outstanding practice

Describe how you have developed evidence-based strategies, policies and plans, to realise school improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and student outcomes. Outline how you foster staff collaboration and professional development to address the needs of your secondary learners.

Inspiring engagement

Share your strategies for engaging parents, carers and the broader community in student learning, develop shared expectations and create an inclusive school culture. Describe how you model and influence others to strengthen leadership practice within and beyond your site.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Leaders from B-12, R-12 or area schools are advised to apply in the Secondary Leader of the Year category unless their application focuses on achievements in the primary or early years, in which case they can choose to apply in those leader categories.

Teaching awards

Early Years Teacher of the Year Award

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

Summary

This category acknowledges teachers who nurture relationships, and draw on a range of professional practices to provide a high-quality curriculum that inspires young minds and facilitates 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 and transition to school.

Criteria

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, and their readiness for school.

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.

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Credit Union SA Primary Teacher of the Year Award

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

Summary

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 with students and partnering with families and communities.

Criteria

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.

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.

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Secondary Teacher of the Year Award

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

Summary

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

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.

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.

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Inclusive Teacher of the Year (Disability) Award

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

Summary

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

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.

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.

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

University of South Australia Team Teaching Award

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

Summary

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 learner achievement and accelerate improvement through high-impact teaching strategies, characteristic of world-class education.

Criteria

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.

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.

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Other awards

Aunty Josie Agius Award

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

Summary

This category recognises the cultural and community expertise of Aboriginal staff 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.

Our 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

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).

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.

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.

Note:The Aunty Josie Agius Award has a different selection process. 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 please contact the Recognition team on 8463 4985.

Site-based Support Award

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

Summary

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 staff 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

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 staff (either directly or indirectly).

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.

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

System Support Award

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

Summary

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 staff.

World-class education requires the expertise and contribution of professionals from many disciplines, including allied health services and corporate 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

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 staff (either directly or indirectly). Outline how your objectives have linked to our vision to build world class education.

Outstanding practice

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

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Community Engagement Award

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

Summary

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, 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

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.

Outstanding practice

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

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.

Professional development

You will need to include how you’ll spend your prize money should you win an award and show your considered approach to performance development.

In your answer detail the learning or activity you’d like to undertake should you win. Include approximate timings and budget, showing how you would allocate the $10,000 prize. You should also describe the expected outcomes and benefits of this learning or activity to your role.

Public Education Awards

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