COVID-safe return to school

Thursday, 21 October 2021 – 7:00PM

Webinar overview

This P&C Federation webinar, featuring a panel of representatives from the NSW Department of Education, will answer questions about the COVID-safe return to school to ensure the safety of students and staff.

The following panel will be at the webinar to answer your questions:

  • Ruth Owen, Deputy Secretary, Learning Improvement & Education COVID-19 Taskforce
  • Murat Dizdar, Deputy Secretary, School Performance – South
  • Paul Wood, A/Executive Director, COVID Taskforce
  • Glenn Downie, Relieving Executive Director Asset Management

Facilitator: Natalie Walker, P&C Federation President

This webinar will include topics such as:

  • Vaccination of school staff and students
  • Ventilation of schools, hygiene and sanitisation
  • Concerns with Learning from home
  • Contingency plans and preparation for schools closing.

If you can’t attend, this webinar will be recorded and all registrants will be notified once the recording is available for viewing.

Please forward this invitation on to your P&C Association members and networks.



Ruth Owen
Deputy Secretary, Learning Improvement & Education COVID-19 Taskforce
In her role as Deputy Secretary, Learning Improvement & Education COVID-19 Taskforce, Ruth is responsible for driving development and delivery of evidence based programs and initiatives to improve educational standards, quality of teaching and learning, and creating a student focused, inclusive education system. Ruth also is responsible for the regulation of early years childhood education and care. Since June, Ruth has also been leading the Department’s COVID taskforce, enabling all students to learn from home and planning the subsequent safe return to school.

Ruth has spent more than 30 years leading service delivery and reform in the UK government, primarily in welfare and employment services. She was also the Head of Profession for operational delivery across the UK civil service, leading professional development and learning for all colleagues in front line customer facing roles (around 280,000 people).
After moving to Australia four years ago, Ruth led the Human Services team in consulting firm EY across Australia and NZ, advising government clients across Commonwealth and states/territories on how to deliver and embed their reform objectives in child protection, disability, welfare, and social housing. She joined DoE in January 2021.
Dr. Paul Wood Dr. Paul Wood
A/Executive Director, COVID Taskforce
Paul is the Executive Director, COVID19 Taskforce. Paul has been a teacher, a principal of three schools and a system leader of educational programs at a state-wide level.  Paul is passionately committed to improving the learning outcomes of all students and a focus on educational leadership, student equity and inclusion and the use of evidence informed practice. Paul leads the state-wide small group tuition program to boost the learning of students most impacted by the challenges of 2020. Paul was recently awarded the Public Service Medal in the Australia Day Honours list in 2021 for his leadership of the state-wide curriculum support for schools through the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul has a PhD in educational leadership from the University of Sydney.


Murat Dizdar
Deputy Secretary, School Performance – South
Murat Dizdar PSM, Deputy Secretary, School Performance – South, is a senior leader of the NSW Department of Education who oversees the provision of a quality public education for students in over 2,200 schools.Murat co-leads the School Performance division that provides support to 80,000 teachers and school leaders to deliver a high-quality education for over 820,000 students. The School Performance division consists of teams that are responsible for school planning, ongoing self-assessment and external validation, annual reporting and policy implementation. School Performance also oversees strategic partnerships in the arts, sport, high performing students, community languages and International students. Murat also presides over the Connected Communities directorate that strengthens the educational outcomes for Aboriginal students.Murat’s career with the NSW Department of Education began as a social sciences teacher at Ashcroft High School. He has experience in a range of school leadership roles including being senior principal of Belmore and Punchbowl Boys High School.Murat holds a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Humanities) majoring in Economics and Geography from the University of Sydney, and recently undertook the Leadership for the 21st Century course at Harvard Kennedy School.
Anthony Manning
Chief Executive, School Infrastructure NSW
As Chief Executive for School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW), Anthony is responsible for the State’s first school delivery-focused unit.
Over the past four years, SINSW has been at the forefront of the NSW Government’s response to unprecedented population growth in NSW, investing more than $7.9 billion to continue its program to deliver 215 new and upgraded schools, supporting communities across NSW. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.
Anthony has overseen SINSW’s development of innovative strategies to accelerate delivery of much-needed school infrastructure in areas of high growth, while providing effective learning spaces to support contemporary teaching approaches. This has included increased uptake of modern construction methods that save time and improve quality.
As well as new infrastructure, SINSW is delivering a $600 million COVID-19 stimulus package, with a focus on rural and regional schools to support the post-COVID economy. This investment will support thousands of jobs in metro, regional and rural communities and see new tenders released across multiple disciplines.
SINSW oversees a comprehensive school maintenance and minor works program that keeps NSW’s 2,000+ public schools in top condition, as well as the Cooler Classrooms program to provide air conditioning to schools. Through community-focused programs like Share Our Space, SINSW is leading efforts to place schools at the heart of local communities.
Prior to his appointment as Chief Executive at SINSW, Anthony played a key role in Health Infrastructure NSW’s executive team, growing the highly successful enterprise to reform and deliver a similar long-term social infrastructure program.