Since 1880 Public Schools in NSW have been providing free education to all children. The basic premise of the NSW Public Education system has been access for all. This remains as important now as it has ever been. NSW Public Schools remain highly accessible and inclusive for all members of their communities. However a significant transformation has occurred in NSW Public Education. This evolution of schooling has seen the development of the NSW Public Education system’s unwavering strength to provide world class education for the full range of students in the communities it serves.
In comparison many other schooling systems simply do not provide the unparalleled social inclusiveness of the NSW Public Education system. The diverse nature of our school communities contribute very strongly to the holistic development of students in NSW Public Education. If students are learning in closely aligned cohorts there is less potential for views, values and knowledge to be tested and challenged. This narrowing of perspective, I would argue, can make it more difficult for our students to succeed in an ever expanding world, where global opportunities are opening up for future generations on a daily basis. Future generations will need to be more culturally aware and need greater capacity to work across vastly diverse communities than ever before. NSW Public Schools provide an invaluable foundation for our 21st Century students.
NSW Public Education provides opportunity, equity and supports growth in teacher quality. Whilst variation can exist between schools I would suggest that our strong state wide system has the strength to ensure a more consistent approach in ensuring world class education for our students. The research points to the variation between classrooms being a more important focus for us all.
As a principal of a high quality NSW Public School, Cabramatta Public School, I am in very a privileged position to be leading and managing a school in one of the most culturally diverse local government areas in Australia. Cabramatta Public School represents over 40 different cultural groups. What I am most proud of in my leadership of Cabramatta Public School is that every student matters. We have a positive impact on each and every one of our students regardless of background, regardless of advantage or challenge. As a school we strive to provide a balanced education that provides opportunities for our students to engage and grow academically, socially and emotionally. It is certainly my view that education needs a wide lens to actively assist in the development of the next generation of well-rounded citizens.
Is the NSW Public Education system the perfect system, I’m not sure there is such a beast. What I do believe though, is that it certainly has the courage to act and evolve in response to the needs of the communities it serves.
Irrespective of your view of NSW Public Education, what can never be denied is our united goal of great schools, quality teachers, successful students and vibrant communities.