Education Week is an important time to recognise the valuable contribution of local public schools from Monday 28 July to Friday 1 August.

2014 marks 60 years since Education Week was first celebrated in 1954.

In 1954, the theme for Education Week was ‘lighting the way to a better world’. So much has changed since then, but our local public schools remain committed to that philosophy.

Education Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the valuable contribution schools make to our young people and community, and to celebrate and praise their work.

I am enjoying being involved in the Education Week celebrations at some of our local schools and witnessing the fantastic work being done by our local teachers and students.

In three years the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has introduced six major reforms:

• Great Teaching, Inspired Learning will improve the quality of teaching and learning by lifting entry requirements for teaching degrees, supporting early career teachers and mandating professional development for every teacher;

• The Resource Allocation Model, backed by our support for Gonski funding reforms, ensures more funding to the schools which need it most;

• Local Schools, Local Decisions provides principals and communities with greater local authority to ensure schools best respond to the needs of their students;

• Every Student, Every School strengthens the support for 90,000 students with disabilities, learning or behavioural needs;

• Connected Communities is an innovative education reform that positions schools as ‘hubs’ in some of NSW’s most complex and disadvantaged communities by linking school education to other services, such as health, welfare, early childhood education and care, and vocational education and training; and

• The $80 million Rural and Remote Education Blueprint for Action will help bridge the gap in educational achievement between city and country students.