Fair Education Program
The Fair Education Program was developed as a joint initiative of the VFFF Board and Fairfax family arising from a shared motivation to make a catalytic contribution towards educational equity in NSW.
Theory of Change
To inform this work, in 2015 VFFF established a Fair Education Working Group that drew on existing knowledge and experts in the area of education and equity. The Group included representatives from the Grattan Institute and the NSW Department of Education & Communities alongside members of the Fairfax Family and VFFF Board. A Theory of Change framework was used to guide a staged process, starting with the desired goal and working backwards to envisage a philanthropic program that would be effective in achieving that goal.
In mid-2015, the Working Group’s Theory of Change was endorsed by the VFFF Board.
An ambitious partnership with Australian Schools Plus
In September 2015, VFFF Directors approved the Fair Education Program as VFFF’s largest single investment to date – a $5.2 million grant to Australian Schools Plus for a multi-year schools funding and coaching program. The Program aims to build the capacity of school leadership teams in low socio-economic areas in NSW to design and implement activities to engage families and communities in student learning. The Program has two key elements
- Multi-year project funding for individual schools or school clusters, chosen via a competitive application process, to deliver a project focused on enhancing family and community engagement in student learning. The Program provides up to $70,000 over three years for individual schools or $250,000 over three years for school clusters.
- The provision of leadership coaching to school leadership teams each term throughout the life of the project by the Schools Plus Fair Education Expert Coach Eric Jamieson, the former NSW Department of Education High Performance Director. This coaching will focus on building strategic leadership capability and providing support to schools to successfully deliver long-term projects that improve family and community engagement.
Cohort One Schools 2016
The inaugural grants round in February 2016 had an outstanding response with 107 NSW schools seeking support for their projects. Of these, 29 schools across government, Catholic and independent school sectors were awarded funding. The Fair Education Program was officially launched on Friday 25 November by NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli at Hilltop Road Public School, Merrylands.