The Award recognises NSW public schools which create a sustainable learning environment through a certain project.  Schools who receive this prestigious award must demonstrate achievement of significant improvement in learning outcomes and opportunities, excellence in student learning initiative, maximising learning opportunities for all students as well as community leadership.

Ashcroft High School, Approaches to Pedagogy: A journey towards excellence in teaching & learning

Aurora College, NSW’s First Virtual School

Birrong Girls High School, Improved Achievement and Engagement Outcomes for Students with Significant Socio-Economic Disadvantage

Condell Park Public School, Targeting Mathematics

Curran Public School, FPS Parents as Partners

Gymea Bay Public School, Collaboration and Research for Innovation Excellence in Digital Learning & Quality Teaching

Lithgow Public School, Innovation and Inspiration in Teaching and Learning

Northern Beaches Secondary College, Balgowlah Boys Campus, Balgowlah Boys Campus School Improvement

Padstow Heights Public School, Effective Feedback Project


Ashcroft High School,  Approaches to Pedagogy: A journey towards excellence in teaching and learning

In 2016, Ashcroft High School undertook external validation using the School Excellence Framework.  In the three domains of learning, teaching and leading, the school was excelling.  The journey with Quality Teaching was developed in a way that could organically assist knowledge about practice across every teacher and classroom. Teachers undertake journal reflection, whole-school program coding and coding co-curricular activities. HSC and NAPLAN data are tracked against the Quality Teaching coding, showing trends and future directions. This then informs school planning.

Aurora College, NSW’s First Virtual School

Aurora College was established in 2015 as a partially selective school to provide gifted and talented rural and remote students with comparable curriculum opportunities to those available to students in metropolitan areas.  Aurora College also offers students expanded career options through innovative partnerships with business and with scientific, cultural and tertiary institutions.   Aurora College also seeks ways in which to provide professional learning for teachers in rural and remote communities including virtual study days and professional learning opportunities.

Birrong Girls High School, Improved Achievement and Engagement Outcomes for Students with Significant Socio-Economic Disadvantage

The project aimed to improve student achievement and engagement through high levels of expectation and teacher efficacy with a focus on professional learning, enhanced support services and increased community partnerships for HSC performance and a greater number of university offers. Elements of the initiative included a partnership with the University of Newcastle to provide a framework to consolidate effective pedagogy and the appointment of a transition officer to ensure students’ HSC curriculum patterns were appropriate and achievable.  The project has been highly successful and has built an aspirational culture within the school community.

Condell Park Public School, Targeting Mathematics

In 2015 Condell Park Public School, in association with Early Action for Success (EAfS), began a journey of reflective practice focused on mathematics. By engaging with professional learning, instructional leadership, analysis of formative and summative assessment data a program of targeted support and tiered interventions was developed.  All students identified as requiring support are given a student learning profile and data indicates improvement on benchmarks at 1 year and 18-month stages of the program’s implementation. In addition to its work within the classrooms, the school also developed relationships with the community including working with the Australian Catholic University to establish a maths club after school.

Curran Public School, FPS Parents as Partners

Curran Public School’s “Future Problem Solving” (FPS) Team, comprised of 12 students from Years 5 and 6, have won Australia’s national future problem solving competition for two years running.  The program focused on supporting parents’ capacity and capability to support learning in the home.  It has become an integral part of the transition to school program and the impact on early learning has been significant.  Baseline literacy and numeracy indicators have been turned around and community engagement with the school has significantly improved. This has been achieved by empowering senior student with the tools to solve authentic real life problems to them and their community.

Gymea Bay Public School, Collaboration and Research for Innovation Excellence in Digital Learning and Quality Teaching

Gymea Bay’s efforts to innovate are focused on enabling students to develop their ingenuity, critical problem-solving skills and the ability to work collaboratively.  the school engaged Associate Professor James Ladwig from the University of Newcastle to develop pedagogically focused school reform and instructional leadership. Elements of this program included a BYOD strategy, showcasing good practice, accessing curriculum via iTunesU and cross disciplinary tasks such as robotics and coding.  75% of 100 parents surveyed in 2016 believe that Gymea Bay Public School is preparing their child for the future with the 21st century skills they will require to succeed.

Lithgow Public School, Innovation and Inspiration in Teaching and Learning

Lithgow Public School has researched, resourced and implemented a whole-school setting that prioritises learning and facilitates quality professional relationships that are intuitive, flexible and supportive.  This has resulted in a teaching team who are experts in syllabus delivery, quality practitioners and committed to collaboration. In 2016, the school was recognised by ACARA as one of the top 20 most improved schools in NSW for its outstanding results in numeracy with a scaled growth score of 129%.  Lithgow Public School has become a lighthouse school for literacy and numeracy practice within the Lithgow learning community, hosting regular visits from schools to observe literacy and numeracy routines and in 2017 will host a Futures Learning Innovation Tour.

Northern Beaches Secondary College, Balgowlah Boys Campus, Balgowlah Boys Campus School Improvement

The essential component of this six-year whole school plan was the introduction of ElaN (English Literacy and Numeracy) lessons in lieu of roll call.  This required the commitment of all staff and each teacher was rostered onto a class during ELaN.  These lessons delivered the mechanics of literacy.  The improvement in growth data in Year 9 NAPLAN was striking and its correlation to the strategies used by the school was indisputable.  The approach was then extended to Stage 6 courses which resulted in the school being ranked 3rd in English across all schools in the state.

Padstow Heights Public School, Effective Feedback Project

This project addressed the issue of students struggling to produce well-crafted writing.  While most aspects of literacy and numeracy were within the average range, the writing standards were in decline.  The program firstly introduced explicit feedback to students via daily writing lessons with clear learning intentions and opportunities for students to reflect on their work.  Additionally, the school worked to develop a culture of collegial sharing and team work amongst the teachers and over time teacher confidence, collaboration and efficacy grew.  Teachers have embraced this fundamental interaction between themselves and their students and realise the power of their words to affect change in student performance.  The culture of the school has become one of teachers pursuing high academic achievement for every child through involvement in rich professional discussion and sharing.