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Enter the Public Education Awards

The Public Education Awards showcase excellence in the public education system. They recognise the achievements of teachers, leaders, support and central employees across the state.

Applications for 2022 have now closed.

Eligibility for the awards

The awards are open to all Department for Education employees. 

There are 10 award categories to apply for. Some categories are open only to specific groups of employees. Awards are grouped into leadership, teaching and specialist awards. 

You can apply for yourself or enter a colleague. If you’re entering a colleague, seek approval from them before submitting an application.

Previous finalists and winners (including as part of a team) are not eligible for an award for 2 years. 

Team awards and individual awards

You can apply for an individual or team award. Individuals and teams may only apply in 1 category.

There’s no limit to the number of team members that can be included, as long as they have all made a significant contribution to the achievement or activity.

When to apply

Applications for 2022 have now closed.

Why you should apply

We want to share your story to showcase outstanding practice, impact and inspiring engagement that enables our world-class vision.

Winning a Public Education Award is a recognition of individual, team and whole-of-school community achievements. It gives schools, preschools and children's centres the opportunity to share their expertise and be recognised for their outstanding impact. 

We recognise many may shy away from highlighting their individual or team achievements. However, we know people are inspired by colleagues’ achievements, and they learn more from sharing their outstanding practice.

Why you should apply on behalf of someone else

We’re looking for the ‘best of our best’ though we recognise many outstanding employees may be reluctant to put themselves forward or simply not recognise the impact they may have had with our students or school community.

We encourage peers, leaders and colleagues to step up and apply on behalf of an outstanding individual, team or community for an award. 

Prepare your application

Read or watch how to apply

Read the application guide (PDF 1.5MB) or follow the advice on this page to find out more about how to apply.

You can also listen to our recent podcast episode, Teach, which explains how to apply.

Seek approval for your application

All applications require endorsement to be eligible, including those submitted on behalf of a colleague. Seek approval from your principal or director. You’ll need to include their details in your application. Applications will then proceed to the relevant education or executive director.

Choose an award category and review the criteria

Review the award categories and select a category that best suits your application. Take note of the criteria listed for the category as you will need to address them throughout your application.

Gather evidence to support your application

Evidence is one of the most important parts of your application. Our judges want to read about what difference you or your colleague made to students, colleagues, the school and the wider community.

Examples of evidence can include:

  • how you have encouraged student voice and created a sense of belonging, either through listening to students voices whose are seldom heard, giving kids more discussion time to explore their ideas or allowing for creative expression
  • real examples and details of lessons and their impact on learners
  • practical evidence of high-quality, inspirational teaching or approaches that enthuse, engage and motivate others
  • ways you’ve boosted morale outside of the class or staffroom and how you have influenced and supported others
  • how you have actively involved families into their child’s learning
  • how you have worked with others to help young people be safe or created strong pathways to opportunities beyond school
  • quotes from students, colleagues, staff, parents and local community voices
  • additional opportunities you created for children (for example, extracurricular activities, or how you have actively lived the South Australia public sector values in action). Consider what inspired you to work in your role and how you’re influenced from your own education
  • how you've responded to the needs of education and care locations and employees
  • how you've collaborated or proactively engaged stakeholders to design solutions.

You can provide evidence in supporting documents if needed. Documents must not exceed 2 pages in total or a 5MB file size.

Seek inspiration by looking at our 2021 winners and finalists or past winners.

Understand how to structure your application

When writing your application:

  • include headings, sub-headings and bullet points to make it easier to read
  • make sure your answers are clear and written in plain English
  • Avoid using acronyms or relying on assuming knowledge
  • don’t skip over the detail – you’re allowed 250 words for each criteria.

Consider following the STAR model to structure your responses:

  • Situation: What was the situation, context, or challenge faced?
  • Task: What needed to be accomplished, what role did you play?
  • Action: What did you do and how did you go about it?
  • Result: What results or outcomes were achieved and what did you learn?

If you’re writing an application on behalf of someone, describe the context to give judges a feel for the applicant. Include what the most challenging aspect of their role is. 

Complete an application template (optional)

If you wish to work on your application offline before submitting, you can use an application template. When applying, copy and paste your answers into your application.

Review your application

Before submitting:

  • check you've answered all questions and addressed all criteria
  • check there are no spelling errors
  • have a colleague read over your application.

Read the terms and conditions

Finalists and winners – promotional use and responsibilities

Information provided in the title and summary fields of your application may be used for marketing purposes.

Winners and finalists may be required to fulfil an ambassadorial role and must agree to participate in the promotion of the awards before and after the ceremony as requested by the department.

Refusal of applications

Applications will not be accepted if they’re not endorsed by your principal or director. 

The state judging panel reserves the right to not award a winner if they deem there are no suitable submissions in a particular category. Decisions made by the judging panel are final. No correspondence regarding the panel’s decisions and recommendations will be provided.

What happens next

Visit after entering the public education awards to find out about:

  • how finalists are selected and notified
  • the awards ceremony
  • the prizes and how they’re used
  • how to give feedback.

Organisational Development Team

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