Bright Spots Schools Connection

The SVA Bright Spots Schools Connection supports exceptional school leaders in 36 disadvantaged schools to improve the outcomes of their students.

Program Area:
Project Dates:
September 2015 - June 2016
Teachers at a Thought Leadership Gathering, The Connection.


An individual's lifetime earning capacity is largely determined by the age of 18 and education is one of the most important contributors. Children who do not receive a good education are at greater risk of unemployment later, earning less and are less likely to participate in the labour force. 

The Connection recognises that supporting exceptional education practice in low socio-economic areas is a powerful driver for the reduction of disadvantage in Australia. By partnering with school leaders across Australia, The Connection accelerates and spreads evidence-based, transformative practice across its network of schools in low socio-economic areas.

Aims & objectives

We want all students in Australia to thrive at school and beyond regardless of their background. In disadvantaged contexts, quality school leaders play a central role in achieving this goal. The Connection is designed to both support school leaders and disseminate knowledge of what works to build systemic education success.


  1. Build a clear evidence base of programs that are making a difference to students in disadvantaged areas.
  2. Increase awareness of innovative approaches that have proven impact on learning outcomes of students in disadvantaged communities.
  3. Influence school leader ability to use innovative approaches that have proven impact on learning outcomes.


The Connection empowers school leaders to advance their work and builds a network and community of exceptional educators with a common moral purpose. By supporting a coalition of Australia's most talented school leaders, we ensure that their work is developed and that the Australian education system is informed by their example.

Based on these Bright Spots Schools, we are working towards ensuring every child in Australia has the same opportunities in life.

We do this by:

  • Identifying and investing in schools that have demonstrated excellent outcomes despite challenging circumstances
  • Partnering with schools to build capacity to improve their students' educational outcomes
  • Spreading evidence-based practice through exposure to cutting-edge thinking and network opportunities
  • Influencing the education landscape to deliver impact for disadvantaged communities where it is most needed.

The Connection supports leaders to investigate evidence, use it in practice, create new evidence, and leverage it to articulate and evaluate practice.


Since being established in 2014, The Connection has run quarterly Thought Leadership Gatherings across Australia, engaging over 200 school leaders and an additional 60 students. These gatherings provide opportunities for school leaders to collectively share insights, challenge thinking, and be informed of successful approaches and practice.

In a recent evaluation, 100% of the schools reported that The Connection has enabled them to form collaborative partnerships with other schools and 94% of school reported that they have implemented or are in the process of implementing new practices which are as a result of their participation in The Connection.


Early successful results of the initiative have led to both new government and corporate commitment to the project. Samsung Electronics Australia recently announced a three-year commitment of funding and support to The Connection allowing it to expand its cohort of schools and bring STEM expertise to the network.

The Connection continues to work with schools across Australia to accelerate the improvement in educational outcomes for disadvantaged students. For more information on the Connection please visit the Social Ventures Australia website or contact Sue Cridge.

Lindsey Ritchie, Associate, Partnerships, Social Ventures Australia

'The Foundation is proud to be supporting the Connection and has just renewed our funding for the program committing a further $240,000 over the next 2 years.

I visited one of the schools involved earlier this year, it is clear that the program benefits not only Star Hub schools but also Powerhouse schools, pushing them to continue to strive and improve outcomes for their students and not become complacent. This renewed funding will enable the program to expand from 36 to 54 schools across NSW, Victoria and SA reaching an estimated 180,000 students.'

Nicole Bortone, Education Program Manager


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