Secretary’s Award for an Outstanding School Initiative 2021

The Secretary’s Award for an Outstanding School Initiative is a prestigious award presented to NSW public schools demonstrating via a discreet program, event or initiative their commitment to teaching and learning outcomes, leadership, supporting the students and/or creating a sustainable learning environment.

Who can apply?

Any individual NSW public school or a group of schools is eligible to apply for the award.

Note – nominations on behalf of a group of schools must be supported by all schools involved.

What are the selection criteria?

The Award recognises the school’s outstanding achievement in delivering a program, event or initiative. (Please note – if your program or initiative has affected the whole school outcomes, please consider applying for the Secretary’s School Achievement Award instead.)

As an example, the program can demonstrate:

  • Achievement of significant improvement in learning outcomes and opportunities
  • Excellence in student learning initiatives
  • Maximising learning opportunities for students
  • Evidence of how the Initiative aligns to the school plan
  • Community leadership

All nominations must be endorsed by the school Principal/Line Manager. The Principal/Line Manager is also asked to provide a citation to be used in the Awards program should the nomination be successful.

A school may submit a maximum of 2 nominations per year for this award.

How to nominate?

All nominations for this award are submitted via the Public Education Foundation’s online application system. To access this system visit and click on the relevant award.

Prior to starting the online process, the nominator may prefer to gather the necessary information ready to submit:

  • School details (including name of principal and person preparing the nomination)
  • Details of group of schools if more than one school is involved in the initiative (including school name, principal name, Director PSNSW name)
  • Project information:
    • Project summary (maximum 100 word summary of the project and its success)
    • Project description (maximum 300 words describing the project in more detail)
    • Sustainability of the project and impact on student outcomes (maximum 200 words describing the sustainability of the project and how the project relates to student outcomes) Additional documentation, to a maximum of 4 pages, may be attached to provide evidence of how the initiative has met each of the criteria. 
  • A photograph of the Initiative “in action”
  • Principal/Line Manager endorsement and citation (the nominator must initiate a request via the online nomination to the Principal/Line Manager. This will result in an email being sent to the Principal/Line Manager requesting them to endorse the nomination, and provide a 100 word citation online)

Who selects the recipients?

It is anticipated that the selection panel will include representatives from the NSW Department of Education, the Public Education Foundation and an independent representative from the education sector. All applicants will be reviewed according to the criteria set out. Recommended nominees will then be presented to the Secretary, Department of Education, for award selection.

When is the closing date for applications?

Applications close at 11.59pm on Tuesday 15th June 2021. No late applications will be considered.

For further information including terms and conditions

Call the Public Education Foundation on 02 7814 2806 or email us at

We also encourage you to visit our website

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