SISP logo

STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP)


SISP is a contemporary and proven education model that, in partnership with industry, is inspiring students to study STEM and prepare for their futures . It is a dynamic program that is actively growing students' job readiness skills and contributing to the international competitiveness of regional NSW.

As part of its suite of regional STEM initiatives, the NSW Department of Education Secondary Curriculum Learning and Teaching Directorate leads the STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) Program. Delivered in association with Regional Development Australia offices and Academies of STEM Excellence, SISP builds a Kindergarten to Year 12 STEM education continuum, with an emphasis on the primary to secondary transition, and promotes pathways to STEM jobs for students across regional NSW.

Guided by the recommendations of the Education Council's National STEM School Education Strategy (December 2015) and Optimising STEM industry-school partnerships: Inspiring Australia's Next Generation (April 2018). SISP partners schools and industry to facilitate contextualised, job-specific STEM learning activities, and teacher professional development to improve STEM expert knowledge.

It matches primary and secondary schools with region-specific industry partners and provides industry-specific technology programs to make classroom learning relevant and engaging.

It aims to give students an awareness and understanding of STEM jobs and pathways to them as well as a broad set of technical and enterprise skills that include:

  • age-appropriate STEM competences developed through scenario-based, workplace related activities;
  • work-readiness aptitude - communication, presentation, collaboration, critical-thinking, problem-solving, team-work



SISP is delivered in partnership with Academies of STEM Excellence in regional NSW. An initiative of the Cessnock High School Learning Community, the Academies of STEM Excellence which are now active in a number of NSW locations, were established to improve STEM expert knowledge in the Cessnock learning community, engage teachers in future-focused learning and teaching practices, and help teachers engage and inspire a passion for STEM in their students. Involving both the primary and secondary schools in each of their locations, the establishment of these Academies are the pivotal component of the STEM continuum upon which SISP is based. In 2018 the Academies were established in Cessnock, Canobolas, Crockwell, and have expanded with the SISP program.

SISP facilitates an extensive program of teacher professional development each year through the Academy. Teachers have access to a range of discipline-specific sessions that include Google for Education STEM Professional Development, Jaguar Primary School Challenge (Re-Engineering Australia), SISP Challenge Days and SMART Discovery Days (The University of Newcastle). STEM Entrepreneurship Education (Tech Girls Movement), STARLab Mars Rover Program, Digital Technologies, iSTEM curriculum development and STEM Equipment Lending Library. 

The Regional NSW Future Focused Learning Conference is staged annually as part of SISP. It provides teachers with an intensive, hands-on learning experience focused on curriculum, pedagogy and skills development. It provides delegates with practical knowledge and insights that assist them to develop and implement their own future focused learning initiatives and it stimulates thinking and discussions about the importance of STEM education.


SISP collaborates with Regional Development Australia (RDA) offices across NSW. Networking extensively within their communities, RDAs deliver insights into the industrial base, economic conditions, workforce requirements and skills gaps in their regions and act as a conduit between schools and industry to foster mutually beneficial partnerships - which underpin SISP.


SISP Industry school partnerships are mutually beneficial: students have direct access to relevant, age-specific industry focused STEM activities, industry mentoring, incursions and excursions; while industry has the opportunity to engage with its future workforce - to nurture young people and encourage them to elevate their skills in preparation for actual jobs of the future.

Most SISP industry partners are region-specific and chosen for the future STEM job opportunities they offer in their locations. Innovative and exciting sectors including agri-tech, renewable energy, transport and infrastructure and mining & natural resources are participating in SISP across NSW. And, consistent with the NSW Department of Industry's Cyber Security Industry Development Strategy, SISP is helping prepare students for STEM careers in the opportunity-rich cyber security industry throughout all SISP regions. 


Contemporary, stimulating curriculum is key to student engagement. SISP is based on a program of industry-specific, real world, scenario-based workshop lessons. It builds on the iSTEM curriculum model developed by RDA Hunter's ME Program and the NSW Department of Education which exposes students to in-class, team-based projects that are focused on solving 'real' problems often posed by partner industries.

Students are mentored by STEM teachers; through incursions, have direct access to industry representatives who make their industries 'real' during incursions; and undertake excursions to industry locations to see first-hand how the STEM skills learnt in the classroom apply in the workplace.


Dr Scott Sleap 
Project Lead 
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Mr Matt Scott 
Project Manager 
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SISP logo

STEM Conference banner

Conference Agenda


Conference Speakers




The 2019 Regional NSW Future Focused Learning (STEM) Conference is an initiative of the NSW Department of Education and the Cessnock Community of Great Public Schools. This conference has a major education focus on curriculum, pedagogy and skills development for a STEM enriched world. The two day event brings together leaders from primary, secondary and tertiary education, industry and government. Keynote speakers, a Q&A panel and hands on workshops make up day 1, whilst the second day involves deep dives into your choice from a range of future focused learning areas including; curriculum development, STEM, cross-curriculum programming, math, science, coding and technology (One and two day tickets are available).

Regional NSW Future focused STEM Conference flyer (PDF download) 

'The NSW Regional Future Focused Learning STEM Conference is one of the most innovative and imaginative events of its type. Inspiring hundreds of teachers to inspire thousands of students to ‘get their geek on’ this is genius!' Dr. Adam Spencer

Conference Details

Date: 29th & 30th April 2019

Time: 8:00am (for a 9:00am start) – 3:35pm 

Location: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Events & Costs:

  • Day 1 Conference 29th April $250 + gst
  • Day 2 Conference (Deep Dives) 30th April $250 + gst
  • Networking Cocktail Event $80 + gst(4:45pm – 6:45pm)


Workshop descriptions Day 1 (PDF download) - WORKSHOPS SELLING OUT FAST!

Workshop descriptions Day 2 (PDF download)

50 Rural and Regional Scholarships Available to Attend this Conference

The NSW Department of Education is delighted to be able to provide up to 50 rural and regional scholarships for Department of Education employees to attend the 2019 Regional NSW Future Focused Learning (STEM) Conference. These scholarships include a two day conference package, networking event, two nights accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley and a travel contribution (total value approximately $1,300).

Dates: 29th & 30th April 2019

Time: 8:00am (for a 9:00am start) – 3:35pm 

Location: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Applications closed on 4/3/2019

Scholarship Conditions (PDF download)

Day 1: 5 hours of PD APST 6.2.2

Day 2: Up to 5 hours of PD APST Various (Depending upon workshop choice)

Conference enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

STEM Action School Mentoring - Primary


The NSW Department of Education has established seven STEM Action Schools to mentor and share innovative STEM practice and programs with schools. STEM Action Schools implement curriculum programs designed to develop students’ foundational knowledge and skills in STEM subjects as well as skills of collaboration, critical and creative thinking and problem solving.

The schools have taken the opportunity to foster and nurture students’ curiosity towards STEM and used this to develop deeper engagement and learning. They inspire students to take more challenging STEM subjects in senior years and to follow pathways for STEM related careers. They share and support effective STEM pedagogy, illustrate innovative practice for student engagement in STEM and demonstrate successful leadership, professional learning and industry partnerships.

Each Action School has staff with individual strengths and particular expertise. A goal of this program is to facilitate these experienced staff to lead a community of practice in the teaching of STEM across NSW. You can read about each STEM Action School in the following profiles below.

K-12 STEM news – Term 1 2019

The NSW Department of Education’s Term 1 K-12 STEM Newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Introducing our new STEM advisers
  • Tell us about your STEM Projects
  • Regional NSW Future Focused Learning (STEM) Conference
  • Principals supporting STEM projects

Prime Minister’s Prize For Excellence In Science Teaching In Secondary Schools

Cessnock in New South Wales was traditionally a mining town, but today’s high-value jobs in the Hunter Valley are in agriculture, tourism and increasingly in aerospace. Williamtown is already a maintenance base for Australia’s F/A-18 fighters. Soon  it will be a maintenance hub for the Joint Strike Fighter in the Asia-Pacific. Many of Cessnock’s students don’t believe that the new jobs are for them. Dr Scott Sleap is opening their eyes and showing them that they can participate in the new economy.

He’s done that by creating the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence, a partnership between Cessnock High School, its feeder primary schools, and local industry. Students struggling with numeracy are catching up with the help of robotics. A team of Indigenous girls are making and racing model F1 cars, mentored by Boeing engineers. And the number of students signing up for STEM subjects is growing. NSW Education is now rolling out similar programs in other regional centres.

Previously in 2013, while teaching Industrial Arts and undertaking a PhD in Engineering, Scott started working with Regional Development Australia – Hunter to build a curriculum model that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics and brings in ‘real-world’ industry perspectives. The model, called iSTEM, has been adopted in more than 260 schools across NSW.

Dr Scott Sleap receives the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools. Scott is Deputy Principal, STEM, for the Cessnock Learning Community.

Taken from:

gallery 2018 pmprize

The Canobolas Rural Technology High School STEM Awards 

The Public Education Foundation has selected our STEM program to receive the Secretary’s Commendation for the 2016 Secretary’s Award for an Outstanding School Initiative. Our Head Teacher of STEM, Mr Matt Scott was also selected to receive the 2016 Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for his work with STEM and teaching Design and Technology.

In addition to these, this week it was announced that our Head Teacher of STEM, Mr Matt Scott was also awarded the 2016 Premier's Copyright Agency Creativity and Innovation Scholarship​. Valued at $15,000 it will be used to travel to the United States of America to investigate best practice in STEM and how STEM project based learning is developed, resourced and taught with a focus on a regional setting. Matt will be travelling to Texas, Arkansas ​and California during March and April next year. A highlight being a visit to High Tech High in San Diego, made popular by the documentary film “Most likely to succeed”. Matt’s scholarship proposal was selected from over 300 submissions from public, independent and catholic teachers from across NSW.

Canobolas award

Honourable Adrian Piccoli MP, Minister for Education

Mr Matt Scott, HEad Teacher STEM, The Canobolas Rural Technology High School
Honourable Leslie Williams MP, Minister for Early Childhood Education, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Assistant Minister for Education​​

Photo credit:  Benjamin Townsend.

Hastings Secondary College - INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS WINNER 2016 - The Educator magazine

We are proud to be recognised by The Educator magazine as an INNOVATIVE SCHOOLS WINNER 2016. The Educator states “In our second annual Innovative Schools list, The Educator once again profiles the schools leading the charge in transforming Australia’s educational framework  The award recognises schools for  the “impressive initiatives they’ve employed to optimise their students’ educational experiences”.

Congratulations to staff for this recognition of their dedication and passion in developing excellence and innovative practice in the STEM, Sports and Creative Industries Academies. The award also recognised both the Zenith program and LEAP Academies in meeting student’s educational needs.

In 2015, Hastings Secondary College contemplated how to better tailor its educational offerings to its diverse community, investigating innovative approaches adopted both locally and abroad, and developing a range of flexible learning opportunities. For Year 7 and 8 students, it has developed sports, STEM and creative industries academies for students. It also offers Personal Interest Project classes for students across a range of interest areas, linking learning to real-world experience.There’s also the LEAP Academy for Year 8 to 10 students who benefit from more individualised learning in a smaller group setting, and then there’s the Zenith program for high-achieving and gifted and talented students in Year 7, in which staff and students work together on authentic, real-world projects.

hastings award


The Educator’s Innovative Schools 2016 national list includes East Hills Girls, Rooty Hill High School and Hasting College the Innovative Schools Winner 2016.

East Hills Girls High School 

East Hills provides students with rigorous teaching programs online. Year 7 students access their learning on the iTunes U platform. Digital feedback, assessment and communication between student and teacher are delivered via the Showbie app, and assessments allow students to address learning criteria by using iMovie, iBooks Author and App Smashing.

east hills 01 east hills 02

Rooty Hill High School

Rooty Hill High School continually works to ensure every student achieves their best. The school is one of eight across NSW and Victoria identified as ‘Powerhouse Schools’ by Social Ventures Australia, recognising their commitment to innovation. In 2014 and 2015, the school hosted visits from school leaders from all sectors across NSW wanting to adopt or adapt one or more of the approaches currently used at Rooty Hill.

This year, the school was featured in the AEU report, Getting Results: Gonski Funding in Australian Schools, for its efforts to ensure students have the literacy skills and support needed to achieve academically. When the current Year 10 group (approximately 220 students) started high school, only 10% of those students were at or above grade level. That year group was the focus of a program and, thanks to new programming and pedagogical approaches, at the end of last semester 70% of those students were at or above grade level and only 9% still require intensive intervention.

Rooty Hill High School is the lead school in a partnership with 11 other schools, the Mitchell Institute and Professor Yong Zhao from Harvard University, which was formed to develop 21st century skills in entrepreneurship and collaboration.

rooty hill

Raising the steaks – the science of cattle breeding

This video explores the tools and techniques that are available to beef cattle producers to use in their quest to improve the productivity of their herds. It includes:

  • explanations of how and why estimated breeding values are used
  • description and footage of embryo transfer
  • advantages/disadvantages of artificial breeding techniques
  • interviews with producers and technical experts.

The main subject of the video is a particular cow (W449) who has produced 137 offspring over her life time.

Although it has been designed to support the content of the HSC Agriculture syllabus it is an excellent illustration of STEM.

Dairy farming into the future

This video documents the whole milking process in a robotic dairy. It presents footage of the robots milking the cows, the system of gates that control the flow of cattle into the dairy and the individualised automatic feeding process. Assoc. Professor Kendra Kerrisk (University of Sydney), describes the process and explains the reasons for its development and use.

The video shows an authentic application of robots currently being used in the Australian dairy industry.

Adam Kay – Cotton Australia

Adam Kay provided one of the keynote addresses at the STEM Action Schools Conference on 17 March 2016. In this address Adam describes how science, technology, engineering and mathematics has transformed the cotton industry.

Australia is the most efficient producer of cotton in the world. This efficiency is due to the genetic engineering of the cotton plant to be resistant to insect attack and herbicide tolerant, the developments in irrigation, harvesting and spray technology, yield management and soil moisture and nutrient monitoring.