I recently had cause to reflect that I have been AITSL Chair for half of the organisation's nine-year life. I am incredibly proud of the remarkable impact that AITSL has had during this time. By working closely with teachers, school leaders, teacher education providers, as well as government and departments, the AITSL team has been able to realise the AITSL Board’s strategic initiatives and plans to help improve outcomes for Australian students.

Reflecting on 2018, it is hard to move past what an extraordinary and action-packed year it has been for education in Australia. From movement on the National School Reform Agreement to reviews of teacher registration and the recently announced inquiry examining the status of the profession, there is no question we are operating in a dynamic environment.

In the midst of these significant developments on the policy, government and education landscapes, AITSL has continued to focus on the important things – the things that allow the teaching profession to succeed, and the things that make the biggest difference to the learning lives of students.

It is AITSL’s relationships and reputation as a passionate advocate for excellence in teaching, school leadership and education that have made this possible. It is our relationships and reputation that have allowed us to continue to play our key role in the education landscape throughout 2018.

We’ve continued to work closely in collaboration and consultation with teachers, school leaders, systems, sectors, higher education providers, professional associations and others to help improve the quality and capability of teachers and school leaders as a key lever to lifting student outcomes.

I am extremely proud of the way the AITSL team has conducted this work, and advanced its mission to support you – Australia’s teachers and school leaders – to have the maximum impact on student learning.

While 2018 has undoubtedly been a good year, the hard work is far from over.

Our focus remains steadfast on working with you, and those who support you, to improve the level of teacher expertise and build strong leadership in our schools and early childhood settings, and ensure that all of us involved in education can evaluate our impact and make decisions based on what is proven to work best.

Based on our track record I am confident we are on a strong footing to meet the objectives of our Strategic Plan. But we can’t take any of it for granted.

We are grateful to all of you who have worked with us this year to help build resources and contribute to an evidence base that is available to education professionals throughout the country.

Looking ahead to 2019, you can rest assured that AITSL will continue backing you – our teachers and school leaders – and continue our work to create a stronger, more ‘professionalised’ workforce, where all teachers and school leaders understand profoundly the impact they are making on the learning of Australian students every day. After all, it is the teachers who are at the frontline of improving student outcomes, and AITSL remains committed to ensuring they have every opportunity to succeed in this regard. AITSL looks forward to working with all of our stakeholders to secure a strong future for all Australian students.

On behalf of all at AITSL, we wish you all the very best for the festive season. We hope you enjoy a well-deserved break with family and friends as you recharge your batteries, ready for another year of making a difference to the learning lives of students right across Australia.

Laureate Professor John Hattie