Secretary’s Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging 2024

The Secretary’s Award for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging is a prestigious award presented to a NSW Department of Education employee. The award recognises and celebrates those within Education that proactively advocate for and celebrate diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Who can be nominated?

For a nominee to be eligible for the award, they must be:

  • A current employee of the NSW Department of Education, working in schools, early education, skills and pathways, or education support teams. Any employee of the department is eligible for nomination, including casual, temporary staff and contractors who will still be employed by the Department of Education when the awards ceremony is held.

What are the selection criteria?

Nominations should demonstrate that the nominee:

  1. Role models inclusive and respectful behaviors and initiates courageous conversations to address issues that hinder inclusivity and belonging.
  2. Actively connects and collaborates with all individuals equally, fostering and valuing diverse perspectives in decision-making.
  3. Is an ally by advocating for diverse communities, amplifying their voices and promoting the importance of inclusion, while championing diversity initiatives.

The nomination should include a written statement addressing how the nominated person meets each of the above criteria, with a maximum of 150 words per criteria. The statement should include a brief description of the work the nominee generally performs and should be no more than 600 words in total.

How many awards are made each year?

One award is presented each year for this category.

Who selects the recipients?

The selection panel will include representatives from the NSW Department of Education, the Public Education Foundation and other representatives from the education sector. All nominations will be reviewed according to the criteria set out.

How to nominate?

All nominations for the Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards are submitted via the Public Education Foundation’s online application system – PEFApply.


The nominator must be an individual who has knowledge of the nominee’s professional work and can provide details of how the nominee meets the criteria for the award.

All staff are to be nominated as an individual only. Staff members cannot nominate themselves.


All nominations are to be endorsed by a manager. Nominators cannot be endorsers.

For school staff, either the Deputy Principal, Principal or Director, Educational Leadership (DEL).

For education support staff, their manager or director (grade 11/12 and above).

The endorser is also asked to provide a 100 word citation to be used in the Awards program should the nomination be successful.

 Please note – due to the high number of nominations received, no additional attachments will be considered during nomination reviews by the Selection Panel.

Does the nominee know they are nominated?

Yes. Nominees are required to agree to their nomination and provide responses to specific criteria.

Submitting a nomination:

To access the application system use this link – PEFApply – then click on the relevant award.

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

  • Nominee and workplace details (including phone numbers, emails and nominee’s DoE serial number)
  • Nominator’s statement supporting the nominee’s achievements (completed online) addressing each of the selection criteria (max 150 words per criteria) and also giving a brief overview of the role of the nominee (max 150 words) Statement should be a maximum of 600 words
  • A photograph of the nominee (preferably head shot only – to be used in the Awards program should the nomination be successful)
  • Manager/Principal/DEL endorsement and citation (the nominator must initiate a request via the online nomination to the nominee’s manager). This will result in an email being sent to the manager requesting them to endorse the nomination and provide a 100-word citation to support the nomination.

When is the closing date for applications?

Nominations close at 11.59pm on Tuesday 14th May 2024. No late nominations will be considered.

When are the Awards announced?

Nominators will be advised of the outcome of their nominations in early July 2024.

Winners of the Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence will be officially announced at the Public Education Awards event, to be held at the Sydney Town Hall on Monday 5th August 2024.

For further information including terms and conditions

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