Educators, librarians and booksellers – you’re invited!

Calling all teachers, librarians and booksellers: rate your favourite educational publisher.

The Educational Publishing Awards Australia celebrate excellence and innovation in educational publishing. The event recognises publishers who are creating cutting-edge, groundbreaking and pedagogically sound resources for teachers and students. The most coveted awards on the night are decided by the votes of our partners in education: educators, librarians and booksellers (that’s you!).

If you buy, sell or use educational resources such as textbooks, we want you to cast your vote and help decide this year’s Australian Primary and Secondary Publishers of the Year.

And then, wherever you are, we welcome you to tune in to see if they take out this year’s major prizes at the Educational Publishing Awards Australia.

Please complete this short survey to have your say about Australia’s educational publishers. You’ll be asked to rate these publishers on five areas: product quality, field services, company services, marketing and innovation. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes. The survey closes on Friday 10 July 2020 at 11:59pm AEST.

To say thank you, your survey response will also automatically put you in the draw to win a $500 David Jones gift card, or one of two Australian Book Industry Award prize packs (a pile of new books!).

The survey will ask for your email address to ensure we only receive one response per person. However, the survey data is completely anonymous. The awards are organised by the Australian Publishers Association. If you have any issues with the survey, please contact gillian.haines@publishers.asn.au.

Thank you for completing the survey, and we look forward to bringing you an exciting online celebration in September! As we take the awards ceremony online this year, we invite you to join us in celebrating at our free digital event on Thursday 3 September 2020. Proudly sponsored by the Copyright Agency.

For more information about the Educational Publishing Awards, follow us on Twitter.

2020 entries are now open (now extended)

Entries are now open for the 2020 Educational Publishing Awards. Australian educational publishers can submit learning resources published between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.

The 28th Educational Publishing Awards Australia will be held as a special digital event, due to current circumstances. Save the date to join us virtually on Thursday 3 September 2020.

The 2020 Educational Publishing Awards are now open for entries.

The call for entries is open now:

Nominations must be submitted by Friday 5 June 2020, now extended from the original closing date of 29 May.

Please read the conditions of entry and judging criteria before submitting your nomination here.

Publishing companies of all sizes are welcomed to enter. Whether you are submitting from a traditional publishing company, a small publisher or a start-up company, we are excited to receive your submission.

Award categories include Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary, TAFE and Vocational Education, as well as the Primary and Secondary Publishers of the Year.

Browse the full list of 2020 awards categories here, and view last year’s winners here.

How do I enter?

Entries are made via this digital platform. Please note that judging will be conducted remotely due to social distancing requirements, so please provide your resource in a digital format. You can also consider providing a short video walkthrough or introduction to accompany your entry.

Head to this link to read the criteria for each category and follow the prompts to submit your learning resource.

Judges for 2020

Judging of the awards is a rigorous process for all involved. Returning to the role of Chief Judge for the fifth year in a row is Professor Angela Carbone, Associate Dean (Learning Innovation), Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at Swinburne University of Technology. An overall winner for each sector (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary and TAFE & Vocational) will be selected by the Chief Judge from the category winners.

Save the date

Save the date for a special digital Educational Publishing Awards, to be held online on Thursday 3 September 2020. Stay tuned for more details.

The first Mike Horsley Award recipient – Peter Stannard

In September 2019, the educational publishing community awarded the first Mike Horsley Award in memory of the man who established the EPAAs and inspired so many. The inaugural recipient is Queensland-based author, publisher and teacher, Peter Stannard of Firefly Education who we hear from below. 

Read Peter’s reflections on the progression of his career and some highlights, and also the thoughts of those in his team, showing the family man and leader behind all the great literacy and education work he has been involved with for forty-odd years. 

Peter Stannard with his trophy at the Educational Publishing Awards Australia 2019 – at The Arts Centre, Melbourne.

About Professor Mike Horsley

I first met Mike briefly in 2006 and then again at an Educational Publishing Awards ceremony in 2007 where we had a long conversation about why I should be actively involved in the APA. He was very keen to get home-grown Australian publishing companies involved in the APA. I then suggested that I come up to Noosa to chat with him since it’s only a 45 minute drive from the Firefly office. We spent a very fruitful couple of hours talking about teaching, schools and educational publishing beside the Noosa River at Noosaville where he lived. We had a number of these get-togethers on the river and during these times I got to understand his drive and passion to help kids learn.

Teaching and writing

After graduating in 1967, I became a science teacher at Noosa District State High School. Three years later I was appointed Head of Department (Science) at Aspley High School in Brisbane. During this time I submitted a manuscript for a series of science activity books to Macmillan Education. A week later I was signed up and then started the serious work of perfecting the manuscripts.

I worked as a Head of Department in two other schools over the next eighteen years, as well as writing and, at the start of 1989, I finally hung up my teaching hat to became a full-time writer.

The inspiration for my writing came from my style of teaching. I always believed that students need to be totally and actively involved in any lesson. They need to discuss, ask questions, clarify any uncertainties and be active in the classroom. The manuscripts of my science books reflected that style.

Over 43 years Macmillan Australia published more than 60 titles written by my co-author, Ken Williamson, and me. Notable titles include Exploring Science, Science Now, Science Alive, many editions of ScienceWorld and Secondary Science. In 1998 Ken and I received an award from Macmillan for 1 million copies sold.

Firefly Publishing

In 1988 my partner Ann and I and teaching colleague Lesley Englert established Firefly Productions, where we self-published school musicals.

Soon after, I recognised an opportunity to publish educational resources. In 1992 Firefly Education (initially Firefly Press) was born with the publication of literacy companion workbooks written by Lesley for a number of my science series.

Using my experience in the classroom, I wanted to publish materials that were different from those on the market. My vision was to publish educational materials that encouraged students to make connections between what they learned in class and their everyday lives. At the same time the resources needed to support busy teachers and be easy to use in the classroom. By creating resources that combined these principles, I hoped to foster a love of learning in Australian classrooms.

In the following years, I worked with several authors (who were also practising teachers) to publish resources such as Letters and Sounds, Jigsaw Maths and the well-known Sound Waves and iMaths series. Each of these series focused on the principles and pedagogical approach which originated in my classroom teaching experience.

The Firefly Team

Firefly Education has gone from strength to strength, publishing award-winning books and innovative online resources including Sound Waves, iMaths, Writing Time, Think Mentals, and the digital programs Think Mentals Digital Classroom and English Stars. These products were developed totally in our Buderim offices. Our talented team of writers, editors, designers, programmers, animators and artists collaborate closely to produce world-class educational resources. Then the dedicated marketing team and sales consultants offer our products to Australia and the world.

Our world of publishing has changed over the nearly 30 years we have been in operation. In the early days we published student workbooks and teacher resources. Ten years later we established our online presence, and now we have our own bespoke digital products fully developed in-house.

I feel very privileged to work with such talented people at Firefly. When other people of my age pull the pin on their careers, I feel excited about going to work and sharing the team’s progress in the development of products.

Peter Stannard: Beyond educational publishing 

written by the Firefly team

Peter’s impressive teaching career and contribution to the educational publishing industry is just a small part of what makes him the man he is. Peter’s magnetic enthusiasm for learning is evident in many aspects of his personal life. Here’s just a few insights into what shapes Peter Stannard. 

 

 

Family man 

Peter’s enthusiasm for education comes from a simple joy in helping children reach their full potential. So, it may come as no surprise that Peter and Ann are proud foster-parents. Over a period of 21 years, they welcomed four underprivileged teenagers into their lives. Now, alongside their three biological children, these family ties are as strong as ever.

Business mentor 

In 2014, Peter and Ann travelled to Bali and went on a botany tour in Ubud run by a young local woman named Dewi. Peter quickly formed a connection with Dewi, sharing her passion for science and plants. Over the next few days this friendship flourished as Peter and Ann enjoyed hearing about the local land and customs, and Dewi and partner Dhika enjoyed receiving business advice. These conversations sparked an informal
business mentorship.

True to their nature, Peter and Ann didn’t take this mentorship lightly, enlisting the talent of Firefly Education employees to enhance Dewi’s business. It culminated in a company-wide business development trip to Bali where over 40 Firefly Education staff were able to exchange skills and expertise with Dewi and her team.

A generous leader 

Peter has cultivated a truly positive and enriching environment for staff at Firefly Education. When you visit the head office, it’s immediately apparent that it’s a family-owned business. In fact, it’s not unusual to see a grandchild pop in on the school holidays. Peter has gone above and beyond to create an inclusive and collaborative environment at Firefly. There are daily morning teas, family fun days, AGM team-building adventures and the staff were even invited to Peter’s surprise very big ‘0’ birthday party!

‘I’ve been fortunate enough to work at Firefly for seven years with Peter and Annie at the helm. Our company culture is absolutely led from the top. Peter’s teaching insight, capacity for new ideas and his generosity in mentoring has made, and continues to make, the culture at Firefly Education truly innovative, creative and fun.’ – Carlee Driscoll, General Manager, Firefly Education
‘Having known Peter and Ann for more years than I can remember, I was lucky to observe the early years of Peter’s enormous talent and enthusiasm for his teaching evolve into the publishing company that is the “Firefly family” today. His everyday actions continue as an example of leadership, generosity and compassion to family, friends and colleagues.’ – Lee Lemon, Business Development Officer, Firefly Education

A very deserving recipient for the inaugural Mike Horsley Award. Congratulations Peter! Thanks for all the work you have done on the Schools and Educational Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers Association as well.

Agile and dynamic: independent educational publisher serving educators and students in new markets

Mizz De Zoysa-Lewis - MD Insight Publications

Mizz De Zoysa-Lewis is the Managing Director of Insight Publications – an independent educational publisher that specialises in resources for teaching English. Although traditionally focused on the Victorian market, the company recently launched its first dedicated resource for the Western Australian market. We spoke to De Zoysa-Lewis about the impetus for this interstate expansion and the values and goals that drive this small dynamic company.

“Insight Publications was founded by my mother-in-law and her partner many years ago. They were passionate about education and empowering young people across Australia and the globe. Initially a cottage industry operation, the business has grown significantly, especially over the last several years.”

De Zoysa-Lewis has been with Insight Publications for 16 years, having started working there when she was going through law school. “I loved what they did from the beginning. Seeing editors working on manuscripts and the marketing team reaching teachers in schools ignited a new passion for me.”

On completing her studies, De Zoysa-Lewis left Insight to work at a top-tier law firm for six months. But she found the experience unsatisfying: “My heart was back with Insight,” she says, and she soon returned to a full-time position with the company.

The change of career wasn’t without its challenges. “Even back then, publishing was not an easy industry to be in. It’s super competitive for Australian independent publishers and that hasn’t changed; however, I like that we all have a vision to empower educators.”

Relationship-building is a key aspect of the company’s day-to-day and one of the drivers behind its interstate expansion. “We have consolidated on so many years of experience. Our schools trust us to create the best possible English resources for their students. We have focused on building that trust in Victorian schools and recently we saw an opportunity to go across the Nullabor.”

The move was also inspired by the fact that De Zoysa-Lewis became aware of a spike in sales of Insight titles in WA. Although the books didn’t address all the curriculum requirements of WA English, it was clear that teachers found considerable value in them. “We saw there was a need for more tailored resources of this kind, so we wanted to act on that,” she says.

The team took time to thoroughly research and understand the WA curriculum. Year 12 English: Western Australia took two years to produce, from the initial idea to the release of the book. “We ran some focus groups and talked to educators as they’re the ones who stand in front of classrooms every day to teach the course,” says De Zoysa-Lewis. “Our titles are about serving the needs of students and educators and we wanted to tick the boxes for both of those audiences. That’s when things become highly accessible and engaging.”

The news that the company was creating a new, dedicated WA resource generated considerable excitement and anticipation among teachers. “They wanted us to get the book out as soon as possible! And that’s a nice kind of pressure to have.”

 

De Zoysa-Lewis says that the way in which the company created this resource demonstrates one of the best things about independent publishing in the educational space. “I say to my team that we are a bit like a speedboat. We can be really agile and change direction very quickly. So we were able to go ahead and develop this English title for the Year 12 Western Australian ATAR English course. We have now launched the book – we had a great launch event attended by many supportive WA teachers – and the reception has been overwhelming.”

 

Independent educational publishers in Australia are in a unique position, De Zoysa-Lewis says, because of the way in which their smaller size and greater flexibility allows them to service more schools, as well as provide resources to under resourced areas. “We’re a small team and yet our books are used in so many Victorian secondary schools. I’m proud to say we’re doing a great job. We’re successful enough to be able to grow and expand and that’s a great position to be in.”

Student-centered learning and empowering students to drive their own learning are concepts with popular currency. But De Zoysa-Lewis notes that the company has focused on such approaches from the time of its founding by her mother-in-law, and continues to do so. “I’m the daughter of a refugee, and when I came here at the age of seven, I had the privilege of knowing a lot of English. But so many students come to Australia and they’re struggling. Empowering students is something I think about all the time. Educational publishers share a role in helping students to develop those all-important language skills. Without that ability to communicate clearly, to write clearly and to express your thoughts, everything is so much harder.”

Over the years De Zoysa-Lewis has observed the increasing professionalisation of the educational publishing industry. She attributes this development in part to the pressure teachers are under to ensure their students are performing. “There’s improved transparency around what is taught and around student and school results, and that contributes to the pressure on teachers.”

One of the consequences of this is a growing emphasis on relationship-building between teachers and publishers. De Zoysa-Lewis says, “Obviously we can only help students by constantly engaging with the educators who are in front of students every day. It’s the only way we can know exactly what we can do to help teachers and students to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Following their entry into the Western Australian market, Insight is excited about continuing to draw on its strengths as an independent Australian educational publisher to develop resources by cultivating meaningful relationships with educators and students across the country.

 

**Images courtesy of Insight Publications. Photos taken at the launch of Year 12 English: Western Australia.

1. Mizz De Zoysa-Lewis – Managing Director, Insight Publications. 

2. Adam Kealley, Trish Dowsett, Martin Guest and Maria White – Authors of Year 12 English: Western Australia text book.

3. Melanie Napthine and Robert Beardwood – Publishers at Insight Publications.

 

Most outstanding Australian classroom resources announced

Australian educators and publishers last night celebrated a year of making outstanding resources for student learning across the country at the Educational Publishing Awards Australia. Twenty vital learning tools produced by local publishers and used in primary, secondary and tertiary classrooms were awarded.

Two new awards were presented this year at The Arts Centre, Melbourne. The Scholarly Non-Fiction award for a work that serves the education market, had 34 nominations and five shortlisted, with Charles Massy’s agriculture-meets-ecology tome Call of the Reed Warbler (University of Queensland Press) taking out the inaugural prize. Using his personal experience from a chemical-using farmer to a radical ecologist the judges said, “Call of the Reed Warbler exemplifies the potential of research-based writing to speak beyond the academy, enriching public discussion and, without question, the lives of its readers.”

The second new award was made in honour of Professor Mike Horsley, who co-founded the EPAAs in 1994. The award is for dedication to the educational publishing sector and was awarded to Firefly Education’s Peter Stannard, who has been serving the sector for fifty years.

Firefly Education had a good night with three trophies, including one for most outstanding primary resource for Sound Waves Foundation. The judges said this resource was innovative in harnessing sound searches and bespoke images to help students use sound for literacy development.

Other outstanding winning resources were Poems to Share II produced by AATE and Red Room Poetry for secondary, and the Clinical Placement Manual for the Diploma of Nursing 1e by Catherine Joustra and Ali Moloney published by Cengage. The judges considered Poems to Share II a uniquely designed box set of cards and praised the use of creative writing works from students alongside teachers and established poets.

Judges commented that Clinical Placement Manual for the Diploma of Nursing 1e is well-designed for student self-assessment in that its Work Experience tool practically supports students’ work placements.

For the second year in a row Publisher of the Year was awarded to PLD Literacy (primary) and Oxford University Press (secondary).

Keynote speakers of the evening were Lian Davies – principal at Whittlesea Secondary College and previous Educator Rising Star recipient – plus the Copyright Agency’s Reading Australia Fellow for a Teacher of English and Literacy, Alex Wharton, who shared about his research into the textual representation of First Nation and non-First Nation colonial experience to will inform English teaching practice.

Other speakers on the night included Member for Higgins Dr Katie Allen MP, who has authored numerous scholarly texts in the area of pediatrics, and major sponsor of the event, the Copyright Agency’s Adam Suckling.

The event was coordinated by the Schools and Education Publishing Committee and supported by the Tertiary and Professional and Scholarly and Journal Publishing committees of the Australian Publishers Association.

Special thanks to our major sponsor: The Copyright Agency, and also to sponsors: OPUS Group, Newgen KnowledgeWorks, VitalSource, ReadCloud, IndigiPrint, CQUniversity, AAP Photos and Books + Publishing.

Read the full list of winners see this page on the website.