Our Education program focuses on reducing educational inequity in the early years (0–8 years) by improving school readiness.

Story time, a Parents Early Education Partnership (PEEP) playgroup, Education Benalla Program


Australia’s education system has a large degree of inequity. There is a significant gap between its highest and lowest performing students: far greater than in many OECD countries. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are consistently achieving educational outcomes lower than their peers (Gonski, 2011). Closing this gap in education across Australia is essential to delivering equitable education for all.

Early years are a critical period for brain development. Learning patterns are established at a young age and many students who start school behind, stay behind.  Nearly one quarter (22%) of Australian children are vulnerable on one or more developmental domains when they start school (Mitchell Institute 2014); they are commencing primary schools already behind. Developmental concerns that present at school entry tend to be exacerbated over the early primary school years. If a child does not learn to read by age eight, it is difficult for them to catch up (Pfost et al, 2014). 

Accordingly, the Foundation has narrowed the focus of our Education program towards improving learning outcomes for children (ages 0–8) acknowledging that early interventions have the greatest long-term impact.

Funding Objectives

The Ian Potter Foundation Education program focuses on improving outcomes for students in early childhood, primary and secondary schools.


  • To support innovative programs delivered to young children (ages 0–8) that aim to improve school readiness (as measured by the AECD) and/or foster parental engagement in their children's learning
  • To support the development of evidence and shared measurement tools for the early childhood sector.

The Foundation only considers grant applications in excess of $100,000 in this program area. 

Applications targeting children with high levels of developmental vulnerability will be prioritised. Collaborative, multi-year initiatives are encouraged.

Applicants are required to speak with a Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).

The Ian Potter Foundation rarely awards the full amount of any project.  Please ensure that you have alternative providers of funding, and that your application clearly considers any possible grant  from the Foundation in this context.  We are unlikely to fund 100% of a project cost.

Details of our previous Education grants can be found in our Grants Database.


The Ian Potter Foundation can only make grants to organisations with BOTH Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Item 1 and Tax Concession Charity (TCC) status. It is important that you check the Eligibility section to ensure your organisation meets these Australian Tax Office requirements.

Under the terms of the deed of The Ian Potter Foundation and Australian taxation laws, The Ian Potter Foundation can only make grants to organisations with BOTH Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Item 1 and Tax Concession Charity (TCC) status

Please make sure you read the funding objectives and specific exclusions (section below) for the Education program area before you apply for a grant. 


Due to tax requirements the Foundation is not able to directly fund schools.

Other exclusions include:

  • Scholarships
  • Arts/Health/Environmental Education programs.

General Exclusions
Projects that fall into any of the following categories will not be considered for funding.
• Retrospective funding – projects which are already underway or which will commence prior to the date indicated in our online application information are not eligible for consideration.
• Recurrent expenditure for which there is no future provision.
• Capital or endowment funds established to provide a corpus for institutions.
• Research for undergraduate, masters or doctoral students.
• Auspicing* is not permitted – the organisation applying must be the one that will run the program or project.
• Applications for public charitable purposes outside the Commonwealth of Australia**.
• Applications for projects that have previously been declined by the Foundation cannot be resubmitted.
• Applications will not be accepted from organisations that have not successfully acquitted previous grants from the Foundation

Auspicing refers to the practice of an ineligible organisation (one that does not have DGR and TCC status) applying to the Foundation via an eligible organisation. Auspicing arrangements are excluded under the Foundation's guidelines. The organisation applying to the Foundation must be the organisation that will run the project or program for which a grant is being sought.

** Geographical constraints on grants
The Foundation is limited to providing money, property or benefits for public charitable purposes in the Commonwealth of Australia. However, the Foundation is able to provide a grant for activities outside the Commonwealth if the grant is made for a public charitable purpose in the Commonwealth. For example, a grant might be made to an Australian university to enable it to fund an overseas study tour by an Australian researcher engaged by the university.

Outcomes & metrics

It is the aim of the Foundation that the projects  it funds will have impact well beyond immediate KPIs and outputs. In your Education application, you will be asked to select up to five long-term outcomes. If only one or two apply, that is fine.

Long-term outcomes are:

  • Promotion/dissemination of best practice/new knowledge
  • Improved operational capacity/capability
  • Increased knowledge base
  • Improved skill base
  • Improved service delivery/quality
  • Improved service system/sector collaboration
  • Improved learning outcomes
  • Improved parental engagement
  • Improved engagement in school/learning
  • Improved attitude towards engagement in school/learning
  • Improved school readiness

In your final report, you will be asked how you progressed towards your long-term outcomes. It’s helpful to select your metrics early on, so you can begin to collect information about your success as soon as your project begins. Some suggested metrics can be found in our Education Outcomes & Metrics guide.

Application Process

Grant requests in Education are considered via a two-step Expression of Interest process. You can preview the EoI information you will be required to submit.

To improve your chance of success, check out : Tips & Hints, FAQs, Grants Database

Application Process

The online application can only be accessed when a funding round is open.

Step 1: Read ALL the information on this program area page to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and program area objectives before you begin.

Step 2: Select 'Apply for a Grant' tab below. This tab will only appear when applications are open.

Step 3: You will then need to login by entering your username and password or create an account by clicking New Applicant?.

Step 4: Complete the Eligibility Quiz. If you meet eligibility requirements, you will proceed to the Expression of Interest online form.

After you save and close you can re-access your Expression of Interest via the My Account Icon minilink using your username and password. 

Step 5: If your Expression of Interest is approved by the Program Manager, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Step 6: Complete your application (Stage 2). Ensure your application is submitted by 5pm EST on the closing date.

We require a hard copy including all supporting documents as well as the online application. Both must be received by the 5pm EST deadline on the closing date. Applications may be sent by courier or hand-delivered. Applications postmarked with the closing date will not be accepted.

We require a hard copy including all supporting documents as well as the online application. Both must be received by the 5.00pm EST deadline on the closing date.  Applications may be sent by courier or hand-delivered. Applications postmarked with the closing date will not be accepted.

What happens next?

All grant applications are considered by the Board of Governors at the Foundation’s board meetings, which are held three times a year in April, August & December.

You will be advised of the outcome of your application by phone or email.

Apply for a Grant

Next Funding Round

Next Round

Round 1, 2017

Applications open November 7 2016

Our Education program focuses on reducing educational inequity in the early years (0–8 years) by improving school readiness. The next round for applications opens in November 2016. 

Expression of Interest

Open: Monday 7 November 2016
Close: Friday 9 December 2016

Feature Case Studies

  • Early Language and Literacy program for children in disadvantaged communities

    This project developed the Early Language and Literacy Program with Deakin University to equip volunteers with skills, knowledge and confidence to build vulnerable children's early literacy/language skills and engage parents in supporting learning.

    Ardoch Youth Foundation Limited
    Early years volunteer training to build children's school readiness
    June 2015 - March 2016

    Read more

    ‘The opportunity to volunteer on a regular and long term basis is wonderful because you get to watch these children grow up and learn about who they are. Volunteering in the playgroup has given me confidence to work with varied and mixed age groups.’

    Ardoch Early Years Volunteer

  • right@home

    Right@home is an Australian multi-state, sustained nurse home visiting randomised controlled trial (RCT) designed to promote family wellbeing and child development. The trial is based on the Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting program and incorporates additional modules based on the best evidence to help parents care for and respond to their children, creating a supportive home learning environment.

    right@home: Nurturing abilities of children living with financial disadvantage
    July 2011 - June 2015

    Read more

    ‘right@home is in a special position in some of our clients’ lives where we have a great opportunity to facilitate some changes, empower them to find a way forward, that might be different to their past’

    right@home nurse

  • Tomorrow Today for Benalla's children

    Education Benalla Program aims to improve educational outcomes for children and young people in a disadvantaged rural community. The program recognises that schools are only one part of the solution and that the whole community has a part to play. It's a well researched, highly strategic, long-term approach to social change; with many coordinated initiatives engaging families and children from cradle to career.

    Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal: Tomorrow Today
    The Education Benalla Program 'Whole of community, child by child'
    October 2013 - December 2015

    Read more

    ‘Hands On Learning is really good ...Now I love coming to school. Learning to work with other kids. Hands On Learning has made me want to go to my other classes and work well there... It gives you skills to think about your future’

    Hands On Learning student


Support Australia's most innovative projects through a donation to The Ian Potter Foundation. Your donation will support projects that address areas of particular need or opportunity, managed by credible organisations with solid track records in their particular fields.

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