DoE Message from the Secretary – October 2018

[MUSIC PLAYING] I always find it so inspiring
to get out and visit our schools, libraries, and
child and family centres, and see the great
work that’s going on to support our learners
right across the state. It’s been absolutely
fantastic to see how people have got on board
with our strategic plan. In particular I’ve
really enjoyed seeing how people are using the
values in all of our education settings, of aspiration,
respect, courage and growth. I’ve always said that
the strategic plan is something like a map, and we’re
all on a journey together. And our destination
is our commitment to inspire and support
all our learners to be courageous, creative,
curious and resilient. And as I go around
the agency I can see that work is well underway
in making that happen. But most of all what I’ve
been really pleased to see is people across the whole
department working together to inspire our learners. We know that child well
being is absolutely fundamental to allowing our
children and young people to learn. If a child doesn’t
feel safe and well, healthy, then they’re
not going to be able to engage every
day in our learning. This year we’ve launched
our child and student well being strategy, which sets
out our direction to support our learners every day. We know that our
student support teams do an absolutely fantastic
job out there on the ground, but that we need to do more. And so with our child and
family centres and schools working with parents,
I think that we can make a real difference. And we mustn’t forget the
role that our libraries play in providing us really safe
and supportive environment for children and their
carers to get involved with books and reading. We’ve also got a principal
wellbeing strategy well underway, and the
executive has recently commissioned a staff well
being strategy to ensure that our staff, too, are well. The world is a really
rapidly changing place, and we have to make sure
that our learners have the skills, attributes and
capabilities to thrive. And absolutely key
to that is ensuring that our children
and young people stay in education
until at least year 12. In fact, from 2020, under
the new Education Act, that’s going to be
compulsory requirement. Through the work
of the department, we’re looking at real ways
to engage our learners through things like STEM,
but also vocational learning and school based
apprenticeships. All of these things are going
to give our young people different pathways
into further employment or educational training. People might also have seen our
“Anything can happen” campaign on television, giving people the
challenge to stay to year 12. Interestingly we’ve actually had
quite a number of queries out of that campaign from adults. They want to look
at opportunities to re-engage in education. And we’ve got a great
asset in our libraries, and in fact the 26TEN program. I don’t know whether
people are aware of some of the really inspiring stories
of teaching adults to read, and where it’s led in terms
of their opportunity and life outcome. But if you’re not,
I’d challenge you to go and have a look
at the library’s website to find out more. Well, we know investment
in the early years returns a really big dividend
in terms of a person’s life outcomes. And we also know that we’ve
done some really great work in the space already. In fact our child and family
centers are internationally recognized for the great work
they do in parental engagement, and lifting learner outcomes. You might be aware that through
the refocusing the teaching and learning initiative
we’re looking at play based inquiry learning
from kinder to grade 2. And we’ve got people out
on the ground every day working with our early
childhood specialists to see how we can be doing that. We’ve also got an $18
million investment in our kindergarten spaces. We want to make them
exciting places, where children can explore and learn. It’s really exciting
that once a year our staff and senior leaders
from all across the department have an opportunity
to come together, not only to celebrate the
success of what we’ve achieved in the year before,
but look at what we’re going to do into the future. The 18th of October this
year are the Together We Inspire awards, as
well, where we actually get a chance to celebrate those
teams and members of staff who’ve done an outstanding
effort in raising the aspiration and growth of our
learners in the previous year. What I’m most inspired
by is the willingness of people to embrace our
strategic plan, especially the values, and look
at different ways that they can work
together to improve outcomes for our learners. I think that working
together we can just achieve so much
for the department, but also for our learners
right across the state. Every day as I’m moving
around the department I’m seeing people
put learners first, and that’s absolutely fantastic. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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