Kirrawee High science teacher named best in Australia

Top honour: Kirrawee High School science teacher Brett McKay. Picture: John Veage
Top honour: Kirrawee High School science teacher Brett McKay. Picture: John Veage

Kirrawee High School teacher Brett McKay has received a top honour from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – being named as one of Australia’s leading science educators.

Mr McKay was recognised today in Canberra with a $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching. Mr McKay is the head teacher of science at Kirrawee High School.

The only other teacher to receive the award was Neil Bramsen from Mount Ousley Public School in Wollongong.

NSW Department of Education secretary Mark Scott said it was a remarkable achievement that two NSW public school teachers were singled out for honours at the ceremony.

“Brett and Neil have been recognised as the best science teachers in Australia,” Mr Scott said. “We congratulate them on their wonderful achievement. Their enthusiasm for science and for their students is an example to which all teachers can aspire.”

As a physics and science teacher, Mr McKay has overseen a four-fold increase in students at Kirrawee High School taking physics and a 150 per cent increase in voluntary and co-curricular science activities.

Under his leadership 25 per cent of Year 10 students are now seeking science-based work experience, and this is leading to an increase in students doing rigorous science courses in Year 11.

Mr McKay said he was proud to see past students now working in science positions around the world. However, he said it was not all about creating the next generation of scientists.

“It’s also about giving students a passion for science that they can use in everyday life, for example as electricians. If you’re literate in science you can do whatever you want to,” Mr McKay said.