Return to School Webinar

– Tuesday 25 January 2022

This P&C Federation webinar, especially for parents and carers, featuring a panel of representatives from the NSW Department of Education, will share information about recent announcements and support for students’ return to school in Term 1. The webinar will be facilitated by Natalie Walker, P&C Federation President.

Webinar Presentation Slides

Questions asked but not answered at the webinar

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.

Leanne Nixon

Deputy Secretary, School Performance – North

Leanne Nixon, Deputy Secretary, School Performance – North, 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.

The School Performance division aims to maximise the achievements of all students and create a culture of success and a desire to achieve, underpinned by innovative, adaptive and supportive strategies that enhance the quality of teaching and educational leadership at the school level.

The North division directs the operations of more than 1000 NSW public schools from North Sydney up to the Queensland Border and from the coast to as far west as Lightning Ridge. The School Performance North division impacts the lives of over 390,000 students and provides support to 41,000 teachers, school staff and leaders each day. The division includes the Student Support and Specialist Programs directorate which delivers state-wide services in the areas of disability, mental health and wellbeing, as well as behaviour and attendance. It also runs specialist programs in Arts, Sports, Community Languages, International programs, and Assisted School Travel.

Leanne has more than 30 years’ experience in education as a teacher and principal and has a passionate commitment to lifting outcomes for all students.

Leanne has held executive roles in the Queensland public sector, including Acting Deputy Director-General, State Schools and Assistant Director-General, State Schools – Performance, where she developed innovative strategies to improve student outcomes including developing a statewide school improvement model.

Leanne Nixon was appointed Deputy Chief Executive in 2019 with the responsibility to lead schools across the Northern Territory, including leading the school improvement agenda and lifting student attendance. As Acting Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive, Leanne led the department’s planning and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including achieving the department’s objective of ensuring continued education provision to students throughout the Northern Territory.

Simone Walker

Group Deputy Secretary, School Improvement & Education Reform

In her role as Group Deputy Secretary, School Improvement and Education Reform, Simone is responsible for delivering improvements across the lifelong learning journey covering schools, early childhood education and vocational education, and the operation of the NSW public school system.

Simone has spent many years working in the NSW Public Sector, where she has used her passion for improving the customer experience to achieve the best outcomes in complex environments.

Simone’s career began as a paediatric social worker in the Intensive Care Unit at Sydney Children’s Hospital and she has held a range of senior executive policy, strategy and operational positions in the NSW Government and non-government agencies. This includes her previous roles as Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning and Deputy Secretary, Operations, in the Department of Communities and Justice, where she was directly accountable for delivering two Premier’s Priorities and coordinating the Department’s Closing the Gap response.

Glenn Downie

Executive Director, Asset Management

Glenn’s career has always been in construction and project management starting out as an apprentice carpenter and joiner in the Australian Army. Glenn joined the department as a Senior Technical Officer and has held a number of operational, management, and senior executive roles in asset management, including a two year secondment to TAFE NSW to deliver TAFE facilities in Abu Dhabi.

“As Executive Director, Asset Management I’m responsible for ensuring delivery of all asset management services to government schools through our eight Asset Management Units, and delivery of a number of programs relating to general maintenance, capital works, compliance, and heritage and government initiatives across the state”.

Dr Archana Koirala

Staff Specialist, NCIRS

Dr Archana Koirala is a paediatric infectious disease specialist and general paediatrician. She is part of the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS) team at NCIRS and reviews children who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation. She has a special interest in how COVID-19 affects the paediatric population. Dr Koirala leads the COVID-19 in educational settings investigation project, working with the team at NCIRS.