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There are nine School and Student Outcome Awards and three new Specialist Awards.

The Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education is awarded to the winner of a School and Student Outcome Award judged to be most outstanding.

Each category is linked to a priority of the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO). The FISO provides a common language for school improvement across the Victorian government school system. It is structured around four state-wide priorities that are proven to have a strong bearing on the effectiveness of a school.

School and Student Outcome Awards

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

FISO priority: Excellence in teaching and learning

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student learning, achievement, engagement and wellbeing outcomes through the use of data and evidence–based practice methods.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high quality teaching practice in the school community, through excellent curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices, for example, use of the High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) and Practice Principles in response to identified student learning needs.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence–based improvement plans and policies consistent with the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) Improvement Cycle. This could include use of the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model (VTLM) to lead and manage innovation and change within the Victorian government education system and 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 Professional Learning Communities, Professional Learning Teams and other school based collaborative initiatives. Models the Department of Education and Training values and 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 local community, and engagement with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

2018 Winner – Kerri Smith, Fish Creek and District Primary School

Kerri Smith demonstrated her strong commitment to student learning by improving her own practice through continuous professional development and lifelong learning.

Her devotion to building strong relationships with her students sees students the drivers of their own learning.

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

FISO priority: Excellence in teaching and learning

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student learning, achievement, engagement and wellbeing outcomes through the use of data and evidence–based practice methods.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high quality teaching practice in the school community, through excellent curriculum, pedagogy and assessment practices, for example, use of the High Impact Teaching Strategies (HITS) and Practice Principles in response to identified student learning needs.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence–based improvement plans and policies consistent with the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) Improvement Cycle. This could include use of the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model (VTLM) to lead and manage innovation and change within the Victorian government education system and 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 Professional Learning Communities, Professional Learning Teams and other school based collaborative initiatives. Models the Department of Education and Training values and 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 local community, and engagement with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

2018 Winner – Cassandra Marinopoulos, Berwick College

Cassandra Marinopoulos demonstrated her extensive knowledge in differentiated teaching and learning strategies to support students of all abilities.

Cassandra supports her colleagues’ professional development by sharing inquiry and evidence–based methods for how best to evaluate impact on student learning.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

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

FISO priority: Professional leadership

  • Vision and values – 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 fosters respect for the Victorian government school community in a broader context.
  • Leading improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement clear, evidence–based improvement plans and policies, to lead and manage innovation and change to deliver high quality educational outcomes for all students, for example by applying the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes Improvement Model and supporting the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model.
  • Leading the management of the school – Demonstrates ability to use and draw on a wide range of robust data and technologies to ensure efficient resource management through the use of policies, processes and procedures to ensure accountability and support professional development for school staff.
  • Leading teaching and learning – Demonstrates the creation of a positive culture of support and collaboration, through collaborative initiatives such as Professional Learning Communities and Communities of Practice, which enables effective teaching and learning to improve student outcomes aligned to the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents and the local community, and engagement with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

2018 winner – Jane Satchwell, Chelsea Heights Primary School

Jane Satchwell’s vision for ‘High Standards, High Expectations’ challenged the idea that socio-economic demographics led to low performance. She led a whole–school transition guided by Professional Learning Communities that enhanced staff collaboration, community cohesion and student–centred learning, and fostered a student culture of self-belief in their ability to succeed.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

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.

Key Selection Criteria

FISO priority: Professional leadership

  • Vision and values – 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 fosters respect for the Victorian government school community in a broader context.
  • Leading improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement clear, evidence–based improvement plans and policies, to lead and manage innovation and change to deliver high quality educational outcomes for all students, for example by applying the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes Improvement Model and supporting the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model.
  • Leading the management of the school – Demonstrates ability to use and draw on a wide range of robust data and technologies to ensure efficient resource management through the use of policies, processes and procedures to ensure accountability and support professional development for school staff.
  • Leading teaching and learning – Demonstrates the creation of a positive culture of support and collaboration, through collaborative initiatives such as Professional Learning Communities and Communities of Practice, which enables effective teaching and learning to improve student outcomes aligned to the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community and the system – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships with students, teachers, parents and the local community, and engagement with inclusive and culturally responsive education practices, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

2018 Winner – Robert Pyers, Horsham College

Robert Pyers led the revival of Horsham College. Over the past five years, Robert has renewed community confidence in the school through his vision of trust and high–expectations which has led to an increase in student numbers.

Through Robert’s leadership, a culture of strong collaborative practice was instilled which transformed teaching practice and student learning outcomes by empowering and valuing staff professionalism.

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 whilst making a significant contribution to the performance of their school.

Key Selection Criteria

FISO priority: Professional leadership

  • Focus on school outcomes – Demonstrates exemplary business management practice that has led to the improvement of systems, processes and procedures that improve financial and resource management throughout the school.
  • Leadership – Demonstrates effective leadership of staff to ensure efficient and effective use of school resources through transparency, integrity and accountability in alignment with the school strategic plan.
  • Developing self and others – Demonstrates outstanding practices to work collaboratively with and through others, to lead team members, engage in ongoing professional learning opportunities, and model Department of Education and Training values. Develop the capacity of others to continually build positive and purposeful Victorian government school relationships.

2018 Winner – Chris Dickson, Warrnambool College

Chris Dickson has dedicated her career to education, and values the critical roles of education support staff and business managers in achieving great student outcomes.

Chris is committed to building professional competencies within herself and others, and has been the key organiser for professional development days for her network colleagues. She has also initiated a business managers course at South West TAFE.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Koorie Education

In recognition of exceptional educators in a Victorian government school who have demonstrated a commitment to developing indigenous cultural understanding, and have demonstrated respectful and inclusive teaching and learning practices to improve Koorie student achievement, engagement and wellbeing within their school and broader community.

Key Selection Criteria

FISO priority: Positive climate for learning

  • 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, in response to identified Koorie student learning needs, evidenced through the implementation of the Marrung: Aboriginal Education Plan 2016–2026 (Marrung) and the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model.
  • Collaborate with community and the system – Demonstrates partnerships with the Koorie community to develop an understanding of Koorie culture, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system within the broader community. Participates in Communities of Practice, Professional Learning Communities and multidisciplinary teams designed to support Koorie student outcomes.
  • Respectful environment – Demonstrates creation of an environment that respects, recognises and celebrates cultural identity, promotes and models culturally responsive teaching and learning, through practice and curriculum consistent with Departmental policies, in particular Marrung.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates leadership and implementation of innovative initiatives and programs that meet student needs, and are co–designed and delivered in partnership with the Koorie community.

2018 Winner – Bruthen Primary School

A small school of 45 students, Bruthen Primary School demonstrated a strong sense of pride in its Koorie community and culture. The school implemented an Aboriginal language and culture program over two years that had a huge impact on students’ sense of inclusion.

Positive academic outcomes followed this evident shift in student engagement, most notably improvements in literacy and numeracy benchmarks.

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

FISO priority: Positive climate for learning

  • 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.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates excellent curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and reporting practices, including use of the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model based on the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) improvement cycle, in response to identified student needs.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates leadership and implementation of initiatives and programs that support students with additional needs and are developed and delivered in line with best practice principles. Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful relationships, working in partnership with schools/networks/regions and the community to improve inclusive and culturally responsive collaborative practices, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system.
  • System improvement – Delivers outstanding system improvements to increase the understanding of all students around disabilities and additional needs.
  • Community and system engagement – Demonstrates working in partnership with schools/networks/regions and the community to develop an understanding of students with additional needs through implementation of the Inclusive Education Policy.

2018 Winner – Warringa Park School

The leadership team at Warringa Park School create learning experiences that deliver the best possible lifelong outcomes for more than 500 students across their multi–campus P–12 specialist school. The school’s ‘Learning Centres’ are personalised to cater for student needs with flexible teaching instruction to engage students and accelerate learning.

Warringa Park School has developed strong community networks including tertiary and industry partnerships to create vocational education and personal development opportunities for their students.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding School Improvement (previously Outstanding School Advancement)

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

Key Selection Criteria

FISO priority: Excellence in teaching and learning

  • Focus on outcomes – Prioritises collaboration as a mechanism to lead the vision and mission of the school, focusing on the improvement of student learning, wellbeing and engagement.
  • Quality practice – Promotes collaborative practice that leads to improvement of student and school outcomes. Effective whole–school professional learning demonstrated through Communities of Practice, Professional Learning Communities, Differentiated Support for School Improvement Partnerships 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, including the Framework for Improving School Outcomes (FISO) and the Victorian Teaching and Learning Model, to raise the achievement of students.
  • Evidence–based improvement – Demonstrates a structured and collaborative approach to analysing school and student data and builds practice excellence based on the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) improvement cycle, as a means to drive whole–school improvement.
  • Community and system engagement – Demonstrates development and maintenance of positive and purposeful school relationships with students, teachers, parents and the local community, in an inclusive and culturally responsive manner, while positively building the reputation of the Victorian government education system.

2018 Winner – Narre Warren South P–12 College (also the recipient of the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education)

The principal class team at Narre Warren South P–12 College has created a culture of aspiration and achievement which has led the school through an incredible transformation. The team implemented a teaching and learning model with an intensive focus on student data and responsive teaching which triggered fundamental changes to curriculum design and delivery.

A new College Wellbeing centre provides holistic support services for students with additional needs supported by a multi–disciplinary team of counsellors, youth workers, speech pathologists, psychologists and a chaplain.

Narre Warren South P–12 College has demonstrated that students’ wellbeing is at the core of positive outcomes.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Outstanding Education Support Team

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

Key Selection Criteria

FISO priority: Positive climate for learning

  • 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.
  • Quality practice – Demonstrates excellent practices in the team’s respective areas of work that promotes a positive climate for learning consistent with the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO).
  • Leading improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates exemplary and innovative practices and successful implementation of change in response to student needs, based on the FISO improvement cycle, and/or school priorities within the context of their school environment. 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, 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 system.

2018 Winner – Melbourne Girls’ College

The Operational Integrity Team at Melbourne Girls’ College formed to improve the planning and administration of the school’s funding and resources, which led to significant outcomes for the school and wider community.

The team worked closely with the school community to ensure they understand the Department’s financial systems and processes so that could focus on student resources in the classroom and financial hardship.

Nominate yourself or a colleague today.

Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education

This award is presented to a winner from one of the above school and student outcome categories that is judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to Victorian government school education. The recipient 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.

For information on the 2018 winner, see Outstanding School Improvement.

Specialist Awards

Team award

Dr Lawrie Shears Excellence in Global Teaching and Learning Award

In recognition of teams within a Victorian government school who have demonstrated excellence in global learning and engagement at their school and with their students, including teaching of the Victorian F–10 intercultural capability and developing the knowledge, skills and global mindset required for an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

A new team award category will recognise exceptional breadth and depth of global learning and engagement undertaken at a school. This award is named in honour of the late Dr Lawrie Shears who was the director-general of the Victorian Education Department from 1973 to 1982 and was a strong advocate of global teaching and learning.

Key Selection Criteria

FISO priority: Community engagement in learning

  • Demonstrated breadth and depth of global learning and engagement undertaken across all year levels at the school for all students.
  • Consider:

    • The nature and extent of global learning and engagement activities in which the school engages
    • Access, inclusion and engagement of a range of levels and groups within the school in global learning and engagement activities (e.g. English as an Additional Language (EAL) students, local and international students, students undertaking and not undertaking an additional language, science students etc.)
    • The demonstrated impact on students of global learning and engagement activities (e.g. student engagement, student outcomes and similar evidence).
  • Demonstrated integration of and connection between global learning and engagement activities in a coherent plan for the school.
  • Consider:

    • ​The inter-relatedness of global learning and engagement activities across the school
    • Level of commitment and inclusion of global learning and engagement in the school’s strategic plan
    • ​Sequential whole school planning documentation
    • Community engagement, use of information and communication technology (ICT), community partnerships, international partnerships and how these support student outcomes and the school’s strategic plan
    • ​Demonstration of commitment of school leadership.
  • Demonstrated inclusion of robust teaching and learning across the curriculum including intercultural capabilities, global citizenship and languages as well as citizenship programs, including professional learning for teachers.
  • Consider:

    • Curriculum planning for and delivery of intercultural capabilities, global citizenship and languages across all year levels

Individual awards

Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Primary Teacher

In recognition of an exceptional primary 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

FISO priority: Excellence in teaching and learning

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement and wellbeing in physical education through increased participation and improved physical literacy.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment practices in physical education, such as Victorian Teaching and Learning Model, in response to student needs and promotes a positive climate for learning.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans and policies, to lead and manage innovative approaches to improve student physical activity and health outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community – Demonstrates a strong capacity to work with the school community to promote a positive physical activity culture with the school and broader community.
Excellence in Physical Education and Activity Award – Secondary Teacher

In recognition of an exceptional secondary 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

FISO priority: Excellence in teaching and learning

  • Focus on students – Demonstrates significant improvement in student achievement, engagement and wellbeing in physical education through increased participation and improved physical literacy.
  • Quality teaching and learning – Demonstrates high quality teaching practice through excellent curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment practices in physical education, such as Victorian Teaching and Learning Model, in response to student needs and promotes a positive climate for learning.
  • Implementing improvement, innovation and change – Demonstrates ability to develop and implement evidence-based improvement plans and policies, to lead and manage innovative approaches to improve student physical activity and health outcomes.
  • Engaging with the community – Demonstrates a strong capacity to work with the school community to promote a positive physical activity culture with the school and broader community.