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 is led 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.
Fair Ed in 72 schools across NSW
Commencing in 2016 in 29 schools, with the addition of a second cohort in 2017, Fair Ed is now supporting 72 schools across NSW.
The evaluation framework developed by CIRES will progressively test and inform this work, independently gathering insights from the participating schools
‘A consistent overall theme was that schools want to re-shape their image within their communities and enable parents to become engaged, through the projects, to play a more active role in the education of their children.’
(CIRES, March 2017)