Closing the Gap in school education

On this page:

Education is key to increasing First Nations pathways to success and is associated with increased wellbeing across all other aspects of life. Evidence shows First Nations young people can thrive in education and reach their potential when supported by strength-based, high-expectation approaches.

The Commonwealth Government is committed to ensuring that all Australians have equitable access to a quality education, no matter where you live, how much your parents earn, or your cultural background.

School attendance and engagement are key drivers of Target 5 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (Year 12 attainment). The Australian Government is investing in on-Country learning models and wrap around supports for Indigenous boarding students to ensure that students have the best chance of attending and staying engaged at school. Additional funding will also scale up existing successful programs by targeting early improvements in reading and literacy outcomes, investing in developing new remote boarding schools, and supporting genuine partnerships to improve outcomes for First Nations students in remote areas.

The Australian Government will invest in a range of First Nations initiatives to accelerate Indigenous education outcomes to better meet Closing the Gap objectives. This includes:

  • $18.2 million to develop a new First Nations Education Policy and engage with First Nations stakeholders.
  • $29.1 million to support formal partnerships and provide core funding to First Nations peak bodies - $12.5 million over four years will be provided to NATSIEC (the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Corporation) and $16.6 million over four years to SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children.
  • $40.4 million in additional funding to schools in Central Australia to increase school enrolment and student engagement to improve learning outcomes.
  • $32.8 million to support the Clontarf Foundation to continue their program for the 2025 school year. Extending the Foundation’s program by a further year will support up to 12,500 First Nations boys and young men to engage in school. The Clontarf Foundation provides First Nations boys and young men with in-school support as well as before, during and after school activities to make school more attractive, engaging and purposeful.
  • $20 million to support the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation to provide scholarships for First Nations students in secondary and tertiary education.
  • $5.5 million in additional funding to extend the English Language Learning for Indigenous Children program from 20 trial schools to up to 100 schools nationally in remote and very remote locations.
  • $2 million to extend support for the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership to continue developing and improving the Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness toolkit and promoting it to the teaching workforce.
  • $2.4 million to work in partnership with First Nations stakeholders to develop the First Nations Teacher Strategy and enable immediate investment in implementation.
  • $71 million to build a new remote boarding school in Western Australia under the innovative Studio Schools model, upgrade the existing Yiramalay Studio School, and establish a new Indigenous Education and Research Centre.
  • $26 million for the City-Country Partnership program which will create partnerships between high-performing metro schools and remote schools to improve leadership, teacher practice and student attendance.
  • $25 million for the Scaling Up Proven Primary Reading Programs measure to expand three targeted literacy programs to support teacher professional practice and improve early reading outcomes for Indigenous students. The programs targeted for scaling up are the MultiLit Program, the Good to Great Schools Australia (GGSA) Pilot Program, and the Scaling Up Success in Remote Schools Program, which will build on the success and learnings from the Kimberley Schools Project.
  • $6 million over five years (2022-23 to 2027-28) invested in the Aurora Redefining Indigenous Success in Education (RISE) initiative that will undertake research and policy analysis, delivery of the comparison models and undertaking of the evaluation. The Aurora RISE initiative is a five-year project aimed to gain insights and build an evidence base on best practice across First Nations education programs nationally.
  • $14 million over four years (2022-23 to 2025-26) to support local First Nations community and school partnerships for teaching First Nations languages. The program will help lift the uptake of First Nations language learning by young Australians and increase the number and strength of First Nations languages being spoken.
  • $21.6 million to provide wrap around supports for remote Indigenous boarding students for the 2024 school year, while undertaking a design review to inform systemic design options for future support.
  • $18 million (administered by NIAA) to build new and improve existing boarding facilities in Central Australia for First Nations students from remote Northern Territory communities. This funding is in response to the Assessment of Boarding Capacity and Options in Central Australia conducted in 2023 by the department, NIAA and the Northern Territory Department of Education.
  • $4 million over 4 years (2024-25 to 2027-28) for the GO Foundation to support First Nations students attending Government schools to realise their full potential, providing more students with career pathways support, cultural workshops, language preservation activities, and opportunities to engage with First Nations leaders and communities, as well as access to health and wellbeing services.