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Recognising this year’s contributions to public education

 | 13 December 2017

As students and school staff get ready to start their school holidays, I take this opportunity to look back on what has been a big year in public education.

Portrait of Director General Sharyn O'Neill

Sharyn O'Neill

Director General

We started the school year with a record 302 000 students and six new schools opening in growing areas. It is a wonderful opportunity to create a new school with the community which will go down in the history of education in this State.

The building designs for Inner City College (planning name) have just been revealed. The college will be a central hub for the Subiaco community with shared facilities such as Subiaco Oval and the college’s playing courts and gymnasium.

There will be more teachers, education assistants and Aboriginal and Islander education officers in schools from next year to directly support children; and work to convert 100 primary school classrooms to science labs will start in 2018, with another 100 after that.

There has been enormous preparation for the new languages and digital technologies curriculum to start in 2018, with enormous opportunities for children and young people to learn new skills and understandings.

Earlier this month we announced a new opportunity to become an Independent Public School and interest has been very strong from communities across the State.

Pleasingly, NAPLAN results in Western Australian continued to improve. This improvement reflects the focus on teaching students the essential skills for living in our contemporary society which is so full of change.

I am inspired by the individual and collective achievements of our students and staff. You need only look to the stories of the WA Education Awards to see outstanding teachers, leaders and support staff making such a difference in the education and lives of so many children and young people.

And in the next week or so, Year 12 graduates will receive the results of their ATAR examinations. I wish you all the best as you progress to the next exciting phase of your life.

In 2018, we will be working with many communities and families across the State to implement a range of changes. These include setting up a new e-learning institute for distance education as schools of the air close, and strengthening Canning College to take a greater role in international education. We will also work with communities and families as we implement the closure of camp schools, two residential colleges and Tuart College that have just been announced by the Government.

With a tight fiscal environment and the Government’s commitment to budget repair, we need to reduce duplication and focus even more acutely on core business. Information will be provided as changes are implemented.

To all families and school communities, I wish you a restful school holiday break.