Q&A between Education Secretary and four students ends Education Week.

Alongside a tip to rectify bad wardrobe choices, Education Secretary Mark Scott would tell his high school-aged self to remember that “tomorrow is another day” and “be great where you are right now”.

His words of advice to his younger self were revealed during a recorded Q&A Mr Scott held with four high school students as part of Education Week celebrations that airs from 9:15am on Friday.

Answering a question from Plumpton High School Year 9 student Oliver Reid, Mr Scott said if he could send advice back to his younger self it would be to remind him that the sun would always come up.

“One of the things you learn over the years is that tomorrow is another day,” he said.

Tough circumstances change, things improve; and it’s important not to get too stirred up and overwhelmed in that moment.”

Mr Scott said students should remember to take advantage of every moment and not to over plan their lives.

“What you’ve got to do is be great where you are right now, so if you’re at school just be the best person you can be at school.”

Oliver was joined in Parramatta by Genoveva Stuparu, a Year 11 student at Rooty Hill High, with Hay War Memorial High School Year 10 student Joseph Wilson and Kingscliff High School’s Jadzia Wolff, in Year 11, joining by Zoom.

The wide-ranging discussion covered issues as diverse as the book character they would like to be; leadership qualities, what good teaching looks like to students; how to manage the 24/7 media cycle; the use of the cane when Mr Scott was at school; how the lessons of learning from home could be used to improve schools, and what change students would make in the world.

In a discussion on leadership, Mr Scott and Jadzia shared their admiration for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who they agreed was “authentic”.

Mr Scott admitted in response to a question from Joseph around the skills shortage and NSW Education’s role in promoting vocational skills, that the department needed to do better.

He said it was a topic of the moment as there was a realisation that for too long schools had been focused on student ATARs and university entrance.

“Everyone is in heated agreement we need to do better.”

Mr Scott said the department was building new vocational facilities at schools and working with TAFE to ensure a wider range of vocational studies was available across all schools.

Talking with the students about their experiences during the pandemic, Mr Scott said “how lucky we are it happened in 2020”.

He pointed out “it would have been really difficult to do learning from home 20 years ago” given the scarcity of computers, mobile phones and tablets.

NSW Department of Education

This story was written by the NSW Department of Education. School News shares it with permission.

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