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The ‘wonderful madness’ of the inaugural Teaching Awards year


Julie Molloy, Awards Program Manager at Schools Plus, drove the design and management of the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards. Here, she picks out a few highlights.

Wednesday 30th November – an absolute, wonderful madness!

It was one of the most exciting days at Schools Plus. We were hoping the number of applications would reach 100 by close of day. Little did we know that by 5pm when nominations closed, we would be flooded with 443 applications! With phones ringing non-stop and alerts popping up on my computer with applications being submitted, it was absolute, wonderful madness! We were thrilled we received applications from all sectors and from across Australia, from remote corners of the country to inner city schools and everywhere in between.

CBA T awards 113

2017 Teaching Fellows Charlie Klein, Eddie Woo and Shanti Clements at the awards ceremony, meeting David Gonski AC

Meeting the Fellows for the first time – such pride!

Our team had spent months reading the Fellows’ applications, writing their biographies and learning all about these fantastic educators, that by the time they arrived in Sydney for the Awards event we felt like we’d known them for years! At the ceremony, there on that stage, seeing some of Australia’s great teachers being celebrated was a very special moment for me personally, and for all of us at Schools Plus.

Assessment stage

Our assessment process had several stages to ensure the right quality of educators were shortlisted. The Fellows were chosen by a selection panel consisting of nationally and globally recognised educators and business leaders include David Gonski AC.

The week in Singapore and Fellowship year

The 12-month Teaching Fellowship includes world-class professional development opportunities for the Fellows including funds for their own PD, coaching, masterclasses and a visit to a high-performing education system. In July, Schools Plus’ Director of Coaching Eric Jamieson, Jacqui Magee from Learning First, James Aiken from the Commonwealth Bank and I accompanied the Fellows to Singapore. We visited ‘future focused’ schools where the Fellows met with the Academy of Singapore Principals, Academy of Singapore Teachers and leaders from the National Institute of Education. Key insights came from very open and generous discussions with their Singaporean colleagues and understanding the 52-year journey Singapore has taken from a country left broken by the war to a globally-recognised high-performing nation. The time the Fellows spent together was also invaluable, their strengthened connections led to a greater commitment to lead, model and inspire the educational culture of Australia to enhance learning outcomes for all. Back at home, the Fellows have been busy working on their school projects and we are continuing to facilitate masterclasses and coaching opportunities. We hope these are great learning and development opportunities to help them improve teaching practices at their schools.

Teaching Fellows in Singapore

2017 Teaching Fellows, Eric Jamieson and Julie Molloy from Schools Plus, along with Jacqui Magee from Learning First and James Aiken from Commonwealth Bank in Singapore.

Looking ahead to 2018

It’s been an absolute privilege to bring these new Teaching Awards to life and to see the calibre of teaching and school leadership in Australia. With a limited number of awards, many great teachers unfortunately missed out and in recognition of their time and effort in applying, a webinar masterclass with education experts Tony MacKay and Professor John Hattie was organised, together with an offer for low ICSEA schools to attend one of our fundraising workshops.

I’d like to thank everyone involved over the past year and a half in so successfully launching these new national Teaching Awards and in developing and delivering the Fellowship program. Applications for the 2018 Teaching Awards closed in October and we are eagerly waiting to see who our next 12 Teaching Fellows will be. We have no doubt they will be another group of dedicated and passionate educators – so watch this space.

Find out more about the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards: www.teachingawards.com.au

Julie Molloy_head shot

 Julie Molloy is a former high school teacher and has held many not-for-profit leadership roles in the education, youth and community development sectors. For nearly a decade, she led the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme; she now sits on the Board of Outward Bound Australia and works with the Australian Business and Community Network’s mentoring program.

This post was written for the Schools Plus Annual Review 2017.

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