Schools Measures – Closing the Gap

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

The Commonwealth 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 majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schools in remote areas.

This represents significant funding to enhance school attendance and engagement towards improving Year 12 attainment targets which includes:

  • $21.6 million to provide wrap around supports for remote Indigenous boarding students, while undertaking a design review to inform systemic design options for future support.
  • $40.4 million in additional funding to schools in Central Australia to increase school enrolment and student engagement to improve learning outcomes.  
  • $38.4 million for expanding junior ranger activities to 25 additional sites and supporting a distance education pilot in five remote sites and review of existing models.
  • $32.8 million to extend the Clontarf Foundation’s program in 2024, continuing support for up to 12,500 First Nations boys and young men in more than 140 academies across Australia. Clontarf’s program assists students to build their confidence, improve attendance and school engagement and enable Year 12 and post-school pathways.
  • $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.
  • Up to $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.

These programs address issues that prevent Indigenous students from completing Year 12 or equivalent and will contribute to Target 5 of the Closing the Gap Implementation Plan.

Funding has been set aside for an independent evaluation of a number of programs.

Further, we are supporting the formal establishment of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Council (NATSIEC), who are in the final stages of incorporation. NATSIEC will provide an independent, collective representative voice on education matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.