Children and Schooling Programme


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This programme supports activities which nurture and educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, youth and adults to improve pathways to prosperity and wellbeing. This includes improving family and parenting support; early childhood development, care and education; school education; youth engagement and transition; and higher education. The programme has a critical focus on increased school attendance and improved educational outcomes which lead to employment.

The Children and Schooling Programme complements a range of state, territory and Australian Government programmes which aim to improve the education outcomes and positive development of Indigenous Australians. The programme provides opportunities to fill gaps between existing services, enables innovation and leverages further grant funding.

What this programme will fund

This programme will support activity that will achieve Indigenous outcomes such as, but not limited to the following:

  • Increasing participation and positive learning outcomes in early childhood development, care and education leading to improved school readiness.
  • Increasing school attendance and improving educational outcomes.
  • Increasing Year 12 attainment and pathways to further training and education.
  • Increasing course completions in university-level study.
  • Increasing the capacity of Indigenous families and communities to engage with schools and other education providers.

The Australian Government grant funding will be used to:

  • Primarily focus on ‘outside the school gate’ activities (actions which support the capacity building of parents, care-givers and communities) to complement mainstream grant funding.
  • Engage parents and community to help drive the demand for quality educations and training, including early childhood education and care.
  • Support youth engagement and school retention and/or transition activities for compulsory school-aged childhood education and care.
  • Prioritise support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children/families and young people who may not currently engage with learning opportunities or mainstream education.
  • Target grant funding to those most disadvantaged, specifically in rural and remote localities.
  • Leverage greater grant funding in the provision of education for Indigenous Australians.
  • Demonstrate national leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

While innovative measures drawing on multiple grant funding sources or building on the following list are welcome, this programme will not pay for elements of measures:

  • Funded through recurrent school grant funding or grant funding to early learning services or higher education such as teachers and curriculum resources.
  • Funded through ABSTUDY or Family Tax Benefit including travel and living allowances at boarding schools or universities.
  • Already being delivered in the community by the state/territory or local government.

The following activities also managed by the Department are not covered by the Children and Schooling Programme, as they have separate guidelines or administrative arrangements.

  • Away from base for mixed mode delivery (supporting university and VET students who study at home but are required to also spend periods of time at institutions) – Section 13 of the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000.
  • Commonwealth Scholarships Programme (supporting University students) – under parts 2.4 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
  • Indigenous Staff Scholarships (supporting the upskilling of Indigenous staff in universities) - under parts 2.4 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
  • Indigenous Support Programme (supporting engagement of Indigenous students in university) - under parts 2.3 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
  • Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ATAS) Superannuation (a reserve fulfilling superannuation obligations for some former ATAS employees).

The Australian Government will work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, so that individuals, families and communities can build their future their own way. This programme will help children to attend school and get a good education that will help lead to a good job, leading to a better future for themselves, their family and community.

Information on funding requirements under the Children and Schooling Programme is outlined in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy Guidelines.

In addition to grant funding, the Government has implemented specific initiatives contributing to achieving outcomes under the Children and Schooling Programme including:

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