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Department of Education 2 mins read

Primary and high school students from 28 public schools across NSW have created 99 thought-provoking submissions for the inaugural Every Step Counts Poetry and Art Exhibition at NSW Parliament House. 

The powerful exhibition is open to public viewing from today until 26 October and showcases the works of more than 300 students who have completed the Every Step Counts respectful relationships program, highlighting their insights into domestic violence, respectful relationships and gender equality.   

Every Step Counts is a public school education program covering challenging topics such as positive self-image, reducing violence-supportive attitudes and behaviours, making 'good choices', gender bias in the media and social media, consent and pornography.

Department of Education Acting Deputy Secretary School Performance South, Deb Summerhayes PSM, said the exhibition provided students with an important creative outlet to explore these challenging and relevant themes.

“Displayed at the exhibition are 54 artworks and 46 poems that are thoughtful, imaginative, creative representations of children and young peoples’ experiences, feelings and views on family, friendship and community and representations of hopes for a society that is fairer, kinder and promotes respectful relationships at all levels,” said Ms Summerhayes. 

“By continuously fostering awareness and promoting respectful relationships across generations and imparting knowledge about gender equity our students, teachers and leaders in schools work towards building a brighter future.”  

Every Step Counts Program Manager and former principal of Endeavour Sports High School, Dale Palmer, said the exhibition also underscored the importance of primary prevention and generational change. 
“This exhibition is not so much about what public education students know about respectful relationships but more about how they truly feel about the issues of domestic violence, consent, pornography and gender equality,” said Mr Palmer. 

“As adults we must listen, and this is what this exhibition is about and why it’s so important.”  

Mr Palmer has delivered the Every Step Counts program in schools since 2019 with over 120 metro and regional schools benefiting from the student, staff and parent focused workshops so far.  

“No matter location or socio-economic status, the areas in need of discussion are the same in every school,” he said. 

“The program ensures that students, staff and parents are having the difficult conversations and destigmatising important topics to empower students to challenge issues and lead change.” 

Schools participating in the exhibition are:  
Blakehurst High School, Bonnyrigg High School, Bossley Park High School, Bossley Park Primary School, Burke Ward Primary School, Cabramatta Primary School, Canley Vale High School, Carlton Primary School, Castle Hill Primary School, Cecil Hills High School, Cecil Hills Primary School, Engadine Primary School, Fairfield West Primary School, Governor Philip King Primary School, Gymea North Primary School, Gymea Technology High School, Jannali East Primary School, John Edmondson High School, Oak Flats High School, Oran Park High School, Penhurst West Primary School, Prairiewood High School, Randwick Primary School, Sydney Distance Education High School, Waitara Primary School, Wiley Park Primary School and Woolooware High School.  

The exhibition is open to the public and is available for viewing at NSW Parliament House on weekdays, 9am to 5pm until 26 October 2023. 

For those unable to attend the exhibition in person, the Parliament has created a virtual art exhibition which can be accessed by visiting:

Visitors are advised that the exhibition contains content relating to domestic violence​. See below for available support services: 

  • ​​1800 Respect national helpline​: 1800 ​​737 732​​ 

  • Women's Crisis Line​: ​1800 811 811 

  • Lifeline ​​(24-hour crisis line): ​131 114 

  • Relationships Australia: ​​1300 364 ​​277 

  • Men's Referral Service: ​1300 766 ​​491 

  • NSW Domestic Violence Line​:​​1800 656 ​463​. 

Contact details:

Alyssa Terese - 0418 874 473 | 

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