Australian schools final chance to share in $5 million Gillard encourages schools to apply for Schools First before deadline

29 July 2009

Schools throughout Australia are urged to hurry and apply now for a slice of $5 million in Schools First awards funding before the 14 August submission deadline.

Award applications are open online until 5.00pm EST, Friday 14 August. All the forms are available at www.schoolsfirst.edu.au, plus any school requiring additional assistance with their application can arrange a free phone appointment with The Foundation for Young Australians by emailing fya@schoolsfirst.edu.au prior to the deadline.

Schools First is a unique awards program that encourages schools to partner with communities in an effort to take learning beyond the blackboard. Schools need to successfully demonstrate that they are involved in a school – community partnership, or are developing a plan to implement a partnership that improves student outcomes.

Schools First is based on the ethos that strong school - community partnerships can make a significant difference to outcomes for young people, including increased skills, greater engagement with learning. It is also anticipated that these partnerships will leave a meaningful legacy in the local community.

The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Federal Minster for Education, has put her support behind Schools First and encourages schools to submit an application prior to the closing date to make sure they don’t miss out on this opportunity.

"There is so much great work being done around the nation by Australian schools working together with their local communities”, said Ms Gillard.

“Schools First and its partner organisations deserve congratulations for aiming to highlight this work and making funding available to help it go further. I strongly encourage all schools with ideas for developing their community partnerships to apply for these awards."

There are 60 local Schools First Impact Awards worth $50,000 each. The most outstanding local winner in each state will receive $100,000, and one outstanding national winner will receive an award valued between $500,000 - $1 million.

There are 20 Schools First Seed Funding Awards, worth $25,000 each.

Brought to life by NAB in partnership with the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), Schools First is the nation’s largest ever corporate-backed education initiative. It is open to all primary, secondary, public, private, special needs, religious and independent schools around the country.

Submissions will be anonymous and will be assessed by an independent panel of judges from Australia’s education and research sector.

The official Schools First website, www.schoolsfirst.edu.au is a knowledge bank for interested schools and community groups that were unable to attend workshops to find out more about the funding, with all material available for online viewing.

To find out more about Schools First and to download application forms, awards criteria, guidelines and terms and conditions before the 14 August deadline, visit www.schoolsfirst.edu.au or call 1800 649 141.

Further Information on Schools First partners

NAB Schools First forms part of NAB’s broader community program, NAB Community. Through this community program, including Microfinance, Indigenous, NAB AFL Auskick, Better Buddies, The Australian Ballet and Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, NAB aims to help its staff, customers and communities reach their potential.

Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) FYA is a dynamic, independent, not for profit organisation. Its work focuses on funding and supporting partnerships and initiatives that positively contribute to the development of young people, their education and communities.

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Recognised as one of the world’s leading educational research organisations, ACER creates and distributes research-based knowledge, products and services to improve learning across the lifespan in both formal and informal settings. Established in 1930, ACER is a not-for-profit organisation.

Media requiring further information, please contact: Stuart Osbourne, 0412 190 820 Prue Tully, 0437 074 846 PR for Schools First