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Why We Do It

Our aim: to eliminate disadvantage as a factor in student performance

All Australian children deserve a great education – one that provides the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential.

But too often, a student’s future is determined by their postcode or their family background.

Students facing disadvantage consistently achieve poorer results than their peers. In Australia, that performance gap is disturbingly wide – the equivalent of three years of schooling between the most socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged schools.*

This alarming statistic comes from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey, which tests the knowledge of 15-year-olds every three years. The latest survey, in 2015, showed Australian students’ performance in maths and reading has also declined significantly over the past decade, with an increasing number of students failing to meet minimum standards.*

In terms of equity, Australia is not achieving its goal of providing all students with similar opportunities to benefit from education … PISA 2012 also shows that Indigenous students, rural students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to achieve at lower levels.

Sue Thomson, PISA analyst, Australian Council for Educational Research **

Clementine in library 2

How philanthropy can help

Many reports have suggested that philanthropy can help schools provide extra support for students in need.

For instance, the Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) research found many schools are not well-equipped to seek philanthropic funding, because they do not have connections or a culture of seeking support, and often don’t have the right tax status to receive donations.

Donors also face challenges in giving to schools – they aren’t sure what schools want, find it hard to build relationships with schools and donations are generally not tax-deductible.

Schools Plus has been formed to help bridge the gap between schools and donors. We match donors with a passion for education with the schools and students who will benefit the most from their philanthropy. Carefully targeted donations allow schools to give students in need extra support, or to trial new ways to close the achievement gap.

*PISA 2012: How Australia measures up (2013) Sue Thomson et al, ACER
** Article on The Conversation, December 3, 2013

What is disadvantage?

There are many factors associated with disadvantage. Some of them include:

  • low socio-economic background, including parents’ financial and educational history
  • disability
  • living in a remote or rural area
  • coming from a non-English speaking background
  • being from an indigenous background

Support a school

Your generosity will help schools provide the opportunities students need and deserve to fulfil their potential. Explore the much-needed initiatives on our Projects page and support a school today.

Donate now

Which schools are eligible

To be eligible for support through Schools Plus, schools must have a value below 1000 on the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) or be a special school, as defined by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Check ICSEA values at www.myschool.edu.au. More than 4,600 schools in Australia, across the government, independent and Catholic sectors, are eligible for our support.

Find out more

Success Stories

Read about the difference we’re making together to the lives of students in need around Australia. Our donors have already supported projects in nearly 100 schools.

Find out more