Helping local students who need it most - NSW Nationals

Welcome to the NSW Nationals

Thank you for taking a moment to visit our website.

Unfortunately, your web browser is outdated and no longer supported.

For the best viewing experience, please update your web browser.

News & Video

Tell your friends about The Nationals

There's a lot going on around The Nationals and the easiest way to stay in touch is by registering your email address. We send weekly roundups of all our activity as well as special briefings for important events and policy announcements.

Helping local students who need it most

The Federal Coalition Government will deliver an additional $48 million to help an extra 24,000 of Australia’s highly disadvantaged children with their education through The Smith Family’s Learning for Life programme.

Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said the Learning for Life programme is proven to work and already supports around 650 children in the Manning, Karuah and Raymond Terrace and around 34,000 across the country.


“More disadvantaged young people in Taree, Karuah and Raymond Terrace will be some of the first to receive the additional support that will prepare them for jobs and life after school,” Dr Gillespie said.


“The Learning for Life programme provides support for low-income and vulnerable families to enable students to stay at school, to finish Year 12 or an equivalent, and make the transition from school to work or further education and training.


Learning for Life has already been supporting around 328 students in Taree and 324students in the Karuah/Raymond Terrace area and their success is one reason the Coalition wants to help to expand the programme.


“In 2015, more than 84 per cent of Learning for Life students were employed or undertaking further education a year after finishing the programme. Of the remaining 16 per cent of students, four in five were actively looking for work, and one in six had volunteered in the previous four weeks.”


The Learning for Life programme asks families to commit to ensure their children attend school regularly and to help them with their education in return for:

  • Financial support to pay for school supplies such as uniforms, shoes, textbooks and excursions
  • A coordinator who works directly with the family and students to overcome barriers to school attendance and achievement, and to connect the family with other support services
  • Access to out-of-school education programmes focused on literacy and numeracy and career mentoring.


Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said Learning for Life is a proven way to help parents or carers to do better, in doing so helping students, teachers and schools.


“One of the reasons Learning for Life has been so successful and why the Coalition is investing $48 million is because of the commitments it requires from families to ensure their children are actually going to school and that the financial assistance is targeted and guaranteed to be used for education. Learning for Life is a ‘hand up’ for families, not a ‘hand out’,” Minister Birmingham said.


"We are determined to tackle disadvantage through a needs based distribution of our growing and record levels of school funding, real reforms to ensure funds achieve quality outcomes and practical support to better guide parents of those children most at risk of failure.


“This programme is an example that you don't always need to splash billions of dollars around when careful investments into low cost but proven measures can make a meaningful difference to tens of thousands of lives.”


During the election campaign, the Coalition committed to deliver a record $73.6 billion for Australian schools over the next four years distributed according to need and 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.

Read more feature stories