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The Victorian Education Excellence Awards (VEEA) recognise and highlight the work of outstanding Victorian government school professionals who help young people achieve their best. 

The VEEA provides an opportunity to celebrate the school professionals who are inspiring young minds, contributing to improved student outcomes and delivering innovative learning experiences.

In 2021, there are two new award categories: Outstanding Early Career Primary Teacher and Outstanding Early Career Secondary Teacher. These two categories will be open to teachers in the first five years of their teaching career.

The Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education is awarded to the winner of an Individual or Team Award judged to be most outstanding in its contribution to Victorian government school education.

The 2021 VEEA categories are:

Individual Awards

Outstanding Primary Principal

In recognition of exceptional principals who have demonstrated leadership excellence in a Victorian government primary school. These principals have made a significant contribution to improving staff and student achievement, engagement and wellbeing; raised the quality of teaching; and improved the overall performance of their school.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Vision, values and culture – Successfully leads the development of the vision of the school, sets and models high standards and behaviours consistent with the Department of Education and Training values, and builds a positive school culture and shared expectations across the whole school community.
  • Leading improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement clear, evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality educational outcomes for all students.
  • Leading the management of the school – Demonstrates ability to use and draw on a wide range of robust data and tools to ensure efficient strategic resource management through the use of strategic, workforce and financial planning and monitoring. Ensures school expenditure and professional development for staff supports school’s goals and leads to school improvement.
  • Leading teaching and learning – Demonstrates instructional leadership and the creation of a positive culture of support and collaboration among school staff, which enables effective use of data to inform teaching and learning and improve student outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, positions the school as a community hub, and positively builds the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Colin Simpson - Outstanding Secondary Principal

In recognition of exceptional principals who have demonstrated leadership excellence in a Victorian government secondary school. These principals have made a significant contribution to improving staff and student achievement, engagement and wellbeing; raised the quality of teaching; and improved the overall performance of their school.

This award is named in recognition of the late Colin Simpson who was a teacher and education leader in Victoria. He was the foundation principal of Richmond High School from 2017 to 2019 and principal of the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) from 2004 to 2016. He was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award at the 2009 VEEA.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Vision, values and culture – Successfully leads the development of the vision of the school, sets and models high standards and behaviours consistent with the Department of Education and Training values, and builds a positive school culture and shared expectations across the whole school community.
  • Leading improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement clear, evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality educational outcomes for all students.
  • Leading the management of the school – Demonstrates ability to use and draw on a wide range of robust data and tools to ensure efficient strategic resource management through the use of strategic, workforce and financial planning and monitoring. Ensures school expenditure and professional development for staff supports school’s goals and leads to school improvement.
  • Leading teaching and learning – Demonstrates instructional leadership and the creation of a positive culture of support and collaboration among school staff, which enables effective use of data to inform teaching and learning and improve student outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, positions the school as a community hub, and positively builds the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Primary Teacher

In recognition of effective and innovative teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government primary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement and wellbeing.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing outcomes through the use of data, evidence-based practice methods and high expectations of students. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated to meet students’ needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality educational outcomes for all students.
  • Peer collaboration and school contribution – Demonstrates and models collaboration with peers to improve teaching and learning through participation in school-based collaborative initiatives such as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Challenges and supports peers to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and impact on learning. Contributes to the school outside of the classroom to enrich students’ learning experiences.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community in line with the Department of Education and Training values. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, builds school pride and connectedness, and enhances the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Secondary Teacher

In recognition of effective and innovative teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government secondary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement and wellbeing.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing outcomes through the use of data, evidence-based practice methods and high expectations of students. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated to meet students’ needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality educational outcomes for all students.
  • Peer collaboration and school contribution – Demonstrates and models collaboration with peers to improve teaching and learning through participation in school-based collaborative initiatives such as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Challenges and supports peers to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and impact on learning. Contributes to the school outside of the classroom to enrich students’ learning experiences.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community in line with the Department of Education and Training values. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, builds school pride and connectedness, and enhances the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Early Career Primary Teacher

In recognition of effective and innovative teachers in the first five years of their teaching career who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government primary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing outcomes through the use of data, evidence-based practice methods and high expectations of students. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated to meet students’ needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality educational outcomes for all students.
  • Peer collaboration and school contribution – Demonstrates and models collaboration with peers to improve teaching and learning through participation in school-based collaborative initiatives such as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Challenges and supports peers to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and impact on learning. Contributes to the school outside of the classroom to enrich students’ learning experiences.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community in line with the Department of Education and Training values. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, builds school pride and connectedness, and enhances the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Early Career Secondary Teacher

In recognition of effective and innovative teachers in the first five years of their teaching career who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government secondary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing outcomes through the use of data, evidence-based practice methods and high expectations of students. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated to meet students’ needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality educational outcomes for all students.
  • Peer collaboration and school contribution – Demonstrates and models collaboration with peers to improve teaching and learning through participation in school-based collaborative initiatives such as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Challenges and supports peers to reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and impact on learning. Contributes to the school outside of the classroom to enrich students’ learning experiences.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community in line with the Department of Education and Training values. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, builds school pride and connectedness, and enhances the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Physical Education and Activity Teacher

In recognition of an exceptional teacher in a Victorian government school who has demonstrated leadership and excellence in teaching physical education that has led to significant improvements in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing in physical education through increased participation and improved physical literacy and activity. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment practices in physical education and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated to meet students’ needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovative approaches to improve students’ physical activity and health outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates a strong capacity to work with the school community to promote a positive health and physical activity culture in line with the Department of Education and Training values. Engages with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, builds school pride and connectedness, and enhances the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Business Manager

In recognition of exceptional business managers within a Victorian government school who have demonstrated excellence in school finance and business management while making a significant contribution to the performance of their school.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on school outcomes – Demonstrates exemplary business management practices that have led to efficient systems, processes and operations that improve financial and strategic resource management throughout the school and result in improved outcomes.
  • Leadership – Demonstrates effective leadership of staff to ensure effective and ethical use of school resources through transparency, integrity, and accountability to support achievement of the school’s strategic and annual plans.
  • Developing self and others – Demonstrates outstanding practices to foster teamwork and collaboration and develop the capacity of staff across the school in financial and procurement processes. Models Department of Education and Training values and encourages others to do the same.
  • Engagement with the community and the system - Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with school staff, peers, and the broader community. Engages with others in an inclusive and culturally responsive manner and work enhances the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Team Awards

Outstanding School Improvement

In recognition of exceptional school staff within a Victorian government school who have demonstrated excellence to improve whole-school outcomes through strategic planning and improvement initiatives, and have made a significant contribution to developing effective partnerships with the broader community to improve overall school performance.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on outcomes – Prioritises collaboration as a mechanism to lead the vision, values and culture of the school and models high standards and behaviours consistent with the Department of Education and Training values, focusing on the improvement of student achievement, wellbeing and engagement outcomes.
  • Quality practice – Promotes collaborative practice that leads to improvement of student and school outcomes. Effective whole-school professional learning demonstrated through implementation of school-based collaborative initiatives such as Communities of Practice, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Differentiated Support for School Improvement (DSSI) and other collaborative teams.
  • Excellence – Demonstrates collaboration as a mechanism to deliver excellence in curriculum development, planning and assessment, and engages in evidence-based professional practice methods to raise the achievement of students.
  • Evidence-based improvement – Demonstrates a structured and collaborative approach to analysing school and student data and builds practice based on the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) Improvement Cycle, as a means to drive whole-school improvement.
  • Engaging with the community and the system– Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful school relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the broader community. Develops partnerships with other schools that improve overall school performance. Engages with others in an inclusive and culturally responsive manner, and positively builds the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Education Support

In recognition of exceptional education support teams within Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in collaboration and teamwork within a school setting and made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement and wellbeing.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates effective direct and/or indirect improvements to student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing, as evidenced through the provision of education support services. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality practice – Demonstrates excellent practices in the team’s respective areas of work that promote a positive climate for learning and lead to improved student and school outcomes. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates exemplary and innovative evidence-based practices and successful implementation of change in response to student needs that deliver high-quality outcomes for students. Demonstrates diligent management of a project(s) that led to significant improvement in the delivery of education support services (where relevant).
  • Developing self and others – Demonstrates an outstanding work ethic and a commitment to teamwork and collaboration, including development and support of colleagues across the school. Models Department of Education and Training values and encourages others to do the same.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates outstanding engagement and communication with colleagues, parents/carers, and the broader community in a manner that is inclusive and culturally responsive, while positively building the profile of the school within the Victorian government education system.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Inclusive Education

In recognition of exceptional staff within Victorian government schools who have demonstrated quality teaching and learning, delivered outstanding system improvements that have made a positive impact in their school and community that support achievement, engagement and wellbeing through a positive climate for learning for students with additional needs.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates positive impact on the achievement, engagement, and wellbeing of students with additional needs through the use of data and evidence-based practice methods. Empowers students and their families to have voice and agency in regard to their education experience.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and reporting practices in response to identified student needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans, policies, and initiatives. Leads and manages innovation and change to deliver high-quality education outcomes for all students.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful school relationships with students, teachers, parents, carers, and the broader community to develop an understanding of students with additional needs through implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy. Delivers outstanding system improvements to increase understanding around disabilities and additional needs for all students.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Koorie Education

In recognition of exceptional educators in a Victorian government school who demonstrate Aboriginal inclusion across the whole school, respectful and inclusive teaching and learning practices to improve Koorie student achievement, wellbeing and engagement and embed Aboriginal perspectives in the curriculum.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates positive impact on Koorie student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing through the use of data and evidence-based practice methods to create educational pathways and employment outcomes (where relevant) for Koorie students.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates a collaborative approach to excellent curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and reporting practices that embed Aboriginal perspectives supporting the vision of Marrung: Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026 (Marrung). Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration for all students.
  • Collaborate with community and the system – Demonstrates partnerships with the local Koorie community to continually improve staff and students understanding of Koorie inclusion and cultural safety, while positively building meaningful relationships between the school and Koorie community. Participates in school-based collaborative initiatives such as Communities of Practice, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and multidisciplinary teams designed to support Koorie student outcomes.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students - Primary

In recognition of exceptional teams within Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in provision for high-ability students, supporting their learning, engagement and wellbeing and helping them thrive now and into the future.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates strong outcomes in learning, achievement, engagement, and wellbeing of high-ability students through data and evidence-based practice methods. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice for high-ability students, through excellent curriculum, pedagogy, assessment practices and support services, and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated in response to identified student learning needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates leadership and implementation of evidence-based initiatives and programs that support high-ability students consistent with the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) Improvement Cycle. Leads and manages innovation and change within the Victorian government education system and delivers high-quality educational outcomes for high-ability students.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, parents, and the broader community. Demonstrates collaboration to improve teaching and learning for high-ability students across the Victorian government education system, including through school networks.
  • Demonstrates inclusion of robust teaching and learning across the curriculum, including curriculum planning for and delivery of intercultural capabilities, global citizenship, and languages across all year levels, as well as citizenship programs, including professional learning for teachers.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students - Secondary

In recognition of exceptional teams within Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in provision for high-ability students, supporting their learning, engagement and wellbeing and helping them thrive now and into the future.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates strong outcomes in learning, achievement, engagement, and wellbeing of high-ability students through data and evidence-based practice methods. Empowers students to have voice and agency in their own learning.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high-quality teaching practice for high-ability students, through excellent curriculum, pedagogy, assessment practices and support services, and use of high impact teaching strategies that are differentiated in response to identified student learning needs. Provides a supportive and productive learning environment that promotes inclusion and collaboration.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates leadership and implementation of evidence-based initiatives and programs that support high-ability students consistent with the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) Improvement Cycle. Leads and manages innovation and change within the Victorian government education system and delivers high-quality educational outcomes for high-ability students.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, parents, and the broader community. Demonstrates collaboration to improve teaching and learning for high-ability students across the Victorian government education system, including through school networks.
  • Demonstrates inclusion of robust teaching and learning across the curriculum, including curriculum planning for and delivery of intercultural capabilities, global citizenship, and languages across all year levels, as well as citizenship programs, including professional learning for teachers.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Dr Lawrie Shears Outstanding Global Teaching and Learning Award

In recognition of teams in Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in global learning and engagement at their school and have provided their students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

This award is named in honour of the late Dr Lawrie Shears who served as Director-General of the Victorian Education Department from 1973 to 1982 and was a strong advocate of building global education connections.

Key Selection Criteria

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates breadth and depth of global learning and engagement undertaken across all year levels at the school and its impact on student engagement and outcomes.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates inclusion of robust teaching and learning across the curriculum for all year levels, such as teaching of the Victorian F-10 Curriculum intercultural capabilities, global citizenship programs and languages, including the delivery of professional global learning programs for teachers.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation, and change – Demonstrates the nature and extent of global learning and engagement activities undertaken in school and integration of these initiatives into a coherent plan for the whole school.
  • Partnerships – Demonstrates commitment of school leadership in developing and maintaining positive and purposeful community and international partnerships, and illustration of these connections in supporting student outcomes and the school’s strategic plan.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Overall Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Victorian Government School Education

Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education

The Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education is awarded to the winner of an award category whose contribution to Victorian government school education is judged to be the most outstanding. The winner will have demonstrated exemplary practice while contributing to positive school culture and a commitment to improving student outcomes.

This award is named in recognition of the late Honourable Lindsay Thompson, AO, CMG, who began his career as a teacher in 1951 before entering Parliament in 1955. He became Education Minister in 1967, held that position for 12 years and remains Victoria’s longest serving Education Minister. He was Deputy Premier between 1972 and 1981 and Premier between 1981 and 1982.