Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards: entries now open

Issue: Volume 94, Number 3

Posted: 23 February 2015
Reference #: 1H9cqY

The 2015 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are currently open. Last year’s inaugural Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards recognised and celebrated outstanding achievements in early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling, and collaboration amongst secondary schools, tertiary providers and employers. The inaugural awards were a success with 162 entries put forward nationally. With just under a month until entries close, interest in the 2015 awards is growing.

Why enter the awards

Dr Graham Stoop, the Ministry of Education’s deputy secretary for student achievement, will return as convenor for the 2015 awards. He says the awards are a chance for pioneering educators to be recognised for their excellent practice. “We found many fresh ideas,” Dr Stoop says of last year’s entrants. “We can learn from all of our finalists, in the ways they harness the best in their students, in their teachers and in their community.”

Preschool children holding a poster

Cathy Cato, owner of Toybox on Rawhiti, a finalist in last year’s Excellence in Engaging category, agrees. “The benefit of the awards is the acknowledgement that our centre is a leader in early childhood education pedagogy by providing excellent opportunities and experiences,” Cathy says.

“Parents and families are proud of their children’s achievements. A number of ECE teachers and centres have approached us to guide them in introducing such pedagogy into their organisations.”

This increased sense of pride in their achievements extends to other finalists in last year’s awards.

“Winning the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Supreme Award has built an amazing sense of pride among our staff, students and community,” says Henk Popping, principal of Otumoetai Intermediate School, joint winner in Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Their win also allowed them to learn from their fellow winners: “As a joint winner of the Teaching and Learning Award we forged a relationship with Kerikeri High School that was unexpected but hugely rewarding,” says Henk.

The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards showcase new and innovative approaches to education, and can mean a huge boost to confidence.

“It was a fantastic experience, and we’re now more confident that what we do and how we do it is what’s best for us,” says Dy Stirling, kaihautū of Nōku Te Ao, winners in the Excellence in Governing category.

“We’re more willing and more likely to lead in areas we know and less likely to second-guess ourselves or change what we do to suit others – a growth in our own Rangatiratanga.” For Nōku Te Ao, this has also had an effect on the entire community: “Because of the award, our community has acknowledged our mahi as well - a humbling experience and a heart-warming one.”

The awards recognise the dedication and hard work of groups, teams and partnerships in English, Māori or Pasifika-medium education. They focus on educational outcomes that can be achieved by collaborative teamwork which makes a difference to children and young people.

There are four award categories with an additional Education Focus prize that changes each year

Excellence in Engaging / Atahāpara Award – celebrates working together as a community to transform relationships and achievement, leading to improved and sustained outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence in Leading/Atakura Award – celebrates leadership, and influence that has strengthened professional capability and created a change in conditions, leading to improved and sustained outcomes for all children and young people.

Excellence in Teaching & Learning / Atatū Award – celebrates teaching that transforms the learning of all children and young people, and achieves improved and sustained outcomes for them all.

Excellence in Governing / Awatea Award – celebrates governance, and management that creates conditions that allow leading and teaching to improve and sustain outcomes for all children and young people.

As with last year’s awards, the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award winner will be selected from the winners of the four award categories. The supreme winner will be determined by the extent of improvements and the impact on education outcomes they have achieved.

The Education Focus Prize / Takatū Prize for 2015, celebrates collaboration that creates learner-led pathways from early childhood to schooling.

A panel of experts, made up of New Zealand education leaders, academics, and commentators, will review the entries. From the accepted entries, up to four finalists will be identified in each category and the education focus prize. A judging panel of respected New Zealanders, who are leaders in their fields, will visit the finalists to see their case studies in action. The panels will draw on the world-renowned best evidence synthesis, as well as education strategies and curriculum documents developed here in New Zealand.

Entries close at 5pm on Friday 20 March, so there’s still plenty of time to enter the awards. For more information on how to enter:

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 10:01 am, 23 February 2015

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