The Coalition's Policy to Boost the Learning for Life Programme

Key Commitments

Learning is fundamental to a happy, fulfilling life.

It is also fundamental to the competitiveness of an economy.

The Coalition strongly supports quality learning opportunities for all Australians, but especially for disadvantaged children and young people.

We will deliver a record $73.6 billion over the next four years for Australian schools.

Our schools funding will be distributed according to need and future funding will be tied to evidence-based initiatives proven to support student achievement, such as improving literacy and numeracy, increasing engagement with science and maths subjects, and enhancing teaching quality.

Our reforms will do more to enhance the quality learning opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people, including by encouraging high achieving and lead teachers to work in disadvantaged schools, and by introducing reading assessments in Year 1 to identify and act upon problems in the earliest years.

We will do more to support early interventions that provide quality learning opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people.

The Coalition will invest $48 million to significantly expand the number of educational scholarships offered under The Smith Family’s Learning for Life programme.

Learning for Life provides emotional, practical, and financial support to help disadvantaged children and young people with their education.

The Learning for Life programme currently supports 34,000 children each year.

Our commitment will see more than 24,000 extra children supported under the Learning for Life programme.

Our Plan to Boost the Learning for Life Programme

The Coalition will provide $48 million to significantly expand the number of educational scholarships offered to disadvantaged children under The Smith Family’s Learning for Life programme.

Learning for Life is an early intervention programme providing support for low-income and disadvantaged families to enable students to stay at school, complete Year 12 (or its equivalent), and successfully transition from school to work or to further education and training.

Learning for Life targets students at risk of poor educational outcomes.

  • 71 per cent of their parents/carers are unemployed or not in the labour force
  • more than half live in a single parent family
  • 40 per cent of students, and half their parents or carers, have a health or disability issue
  • 18 per cent of students are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
  • 20 per cent of students have been at four or more schools, and a fifth have been at six or more schools

Learning for Life currently supports around 34,000 children from 18,000 families each year, in 94 communities across Australia. The programme provides:

  • financial support to pay for school supplies like a school uniform, shoes, textbooks and excursions
  • support from a Learning for Life coordinator who works directly with the family and student to help overcome barriers to school attendance and achievement, and also to connect the family with other support services
  • access to out-of-school educational programs, including literacy and numeracy programmes, career activities and mentoring

Learning for Life focuses on early intervention and long term support for students – three quarters of students start on the programme when they are in primary school, around a third in Year 1.

From the earliest years, students are given support through literacy and numeracy programmes including Let’s Count and Let’s Read, as well as learning clubs.

Around 17,000 participants are in secondary school where they have access to career mentoring and advice on post-school pathways.

Tertiary students receive a range of mentoring and financial literacy education.

Learning for Life promotes shared accountability. In return for support, parents commit to ensure their child attends school regularly and to help them with their education. Parents also receive support in technology and financial literacy.

Research shows that, when parents are engaged in their children’s education, their children perform better. A more supportive home environment allows good teachers to achieve so much more. That is why parental engagement has been one of the pillars of the Coalition’s Students First policy.

As The Smith Family explains:

Our Learning for Life programme provides emotional, practical and financial support to help disadvantaged children and young people with their education. Our support starts in the early years of learning development and continues through primary and high school. Our programmes help build skills, knowledge, motivation, self-belief and a network of positive relationships with parents, peers and significant others.

This support increases a young person’s likelihood of remaining engaged with school, completing Year 12 and developing realistic and informed study and career pathways for life beyond the school gate.

Evidence shows Learning for Life is making a difference to keep children engaged at school and helping them to complete school and move into work or further education.

Average attendance rates have been rising since 2012, and were above 86 per cent for all students, and 87 per cent for Indigenous students, in 2014.

The numbers of students on the programme in Year 10 who advanced to Year 12 increased from 59 per cent in 2012, to 68 per cent in 2015. Between 2012 and 2015, more than 6,500 highly disadvantaged students were supported by Learning for Life to continue to Year 12.

More than half of the programme’s students in secondary or tertiary study have been on the programme for six or more years.

In 2015, more than 84 per cent of former Learning for Life students, including 74 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, were employed, or in education or training, a year after leaving the program.

Of the remaining 16 per cent, four in five were actively looking for work, and one in six had volunteered in the previous four weeks.

The Learning for Life programme is delivering for disadvantaged children and young people.

The Coalition’s commitment will see an extra 24,000 children supported under the Learning for Life programme.

The Choice

The Coalition is focused on delivering a stronger economy with more jobs, higher real wages, more opportunities, and a greater standard of living for our children.

We are delivering.

Over 440,000 new jobs have been created since we came to Government.

The Coalition is investing in Australian schools and learning.

We will deliver a record $73.6 billion over the next four years for Australian schools.

That is $16 billion for schools in 2016, growing to more than $20 billion in 2020.

School funding will grow every year from current record levels of investment.

Our commitment is needs-based, to ensure funding is targeted to where it is most needed. Future funding will be tied to evidence-based initiatives proven to support student achievement.

The Coalition is the only party with a fully funded and affordable plan that ensures money is needs-based and focuses on proven measures that will improve outcomes in literacy, numeracy and STEM subjects, including phonics teaching, and literacy/numeracy assessments in Year 1 to identify and address issues early.

We have also delivered significant commitments to strengthen and grow Australia’s skills.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network makes it easier for employers to recruit, train and retain apprentices. The network has delivered services at around 400 locations nationwide, and has so far helped more than 270,500 employers, apprentices and prospective employers since it began on 1 July 2015.

Trade Support Loans provide eligible apprenticeships with up to $20,000 to help with the cost of living during an apprenticeship – so far, over 40,000 young tradies have taken up these loans.

The Coalition is delivering foundation skills, such as literacy and numeracy training, to help more than 80,000 people each year develop work ready skills and assist migrants to settle in Australia and move into further training and employment.

Labor cut more than a billion dollars from apprenticeships between the 2011-12 Budget and the 2013 Federal Election.

Costs

The Coalition will invest $48 million to support an extra 24,000 disadvantaged students under the Learning for Life programme.

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