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.
Important to know
- Applicants are required to speak with a Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).
- The Foundation only considers grant applications in excess of $100,000 in this program area.
- Collaborative, multi-year initiatives are encouraged.
- Applications targeting children with high levels of developmental vulnerability will be prioritised.
- 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 Education program focuses on improving educational outcomes for children (0–8 years) through initiatives in early childhood and the early years of primary school.
- To support innovative programs delivered to young children (ages 0–8) that aim to improve school readiness (as measured by the AEDC) 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 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 nor early childhood centres.
Other exclusions include:
- Arts/Lifestyle/Environmental Education programs
- Core business
- Ongoing or recurrent programs (i.e. programs that have already been implemented or ongoing programs delivered in a different location)
- The purchase and maintenance of vehicles
- Capital grants for the construction or refurbishment of buildings.
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 fund a chair or 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 Key Performance Indicators and outputs. In your Education application, you will be asked to select up to three long-term outcomes.
The Ian Potter Foundation also recognises that we all can play a small part in broader global movements and adopts a collaborative approach, both in our grant-making and our outcomes measurement. As such, we are beginning to offer relevant indicators from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as options for outcomes measurement.
Technical long-term outcomes include:
- School readiness
- Improved parental engagement
Strategic long-term outcomes include:
- Promotion/dissemination of best practice/new knowledge
- Improved skill base
- Improved service system/sector collaboration
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.
Ready to begin?
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.
The online application can only be accessed when a funding round is open.
Application ProcessApplicants are required to speak with a Program Manager before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI).
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 link 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 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.