Breaking down barriers to education for rural students

Thirty-five community groups share more than $255,000 in grants
REAPing Rewards announcement_Victorian schoolyard

Bendigo, 16 May 2018: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded 35 community groups more than $255,000 in grants to fund initiatives that help to break down education barriers for children and youth across rural, regional and remote Australia.

This is the seventh round of FRRR’s REAPing Rewards program and demand continues to highlight the need for support to enhance educational opportunities for these students.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that it’s fantastic to see such a wide range of project requests coming from local communities.

“FRRR firmly believes that the prosperity and vitality of rural, regional and remote communities is inextricably linked to the quality of the education available to people living in those regions.

“This program is all about helping local community leaders provide access to educational resources and opportunities that are readily available to metropolitan students. It was great to see a wide variety of applications, including for cultural and arts, environmental sustainability, resilience and leadership, nature-based learning, and science, engineering, robotics (STEM) programs.

“These grants will definitely make a tangible difference to rural children, and particularly to those starting their education,” Ms Egleton said.

Nearly a third of the projects support early learning or kindergarten programs. Ms Egleton explains that school readiness is a key indicator of future success in rural and remote settings.

“Recent research shows that early childhood education has positive impacts on all children but in rural areas, early years’ education takes place in the community, and it’s often hard to fundraise locally for the support needed. So we are delighted to be able to support these projects.”

The projects funded in this round include:

  • bi-lingual literacy resources to increase the engagement of Indigenous students and families in literacy, at Pine Creek School in the Northern Territory;
  • training for teachers in remote NSW to build their confidence and support student engagement in learning science and technology, via the University of Newcastle;
  • providing learning opportunities through the water and rock self-confidence program for 25 students in The District Council of Karoonda East Murray, in South Australia;
  • robotics equipment and expert tuition, to help the Moura (QLD) State Primary School Robotics Team participate in CQ University Junior Robotics Competition;
  • commercial oven to establish a school bakery at Fairbridge School, in WA, to produce and sell loaves of bread to staff and resource the onsite breakfast and lunch club while enhancing learning in STEM, work skills, life skills and nutrition.
  • an enhanced careers guidance program for students at St Brendan-Shaw Catholic College, Tasmania to improve career aspirations for their isolated and disadvantaged students;
  • a community led, school holiday program of educational workshops in Port Fairy, Victoria to develop students’ creativity, lateral thinking and passion for learning.

These grants were possible thanks to Third Link Investment Managers, Thornton Foundation, Helping Hands, Blackwood Foundation, VISE, Marrich Equity Funds, two Private Donors and individual donations.

The complete list of education projects funded is below, or jump to State lists: NSW|NT|QLD|SA|TAS|VIC|WA




Amount Awarded

New South Wales

Baradine Central School

Help Shape the Future for Agriculture Students in Remote Areas

Enhancing and expanding learning in agriculture and supporting local community groups to manage public land through the development of a school farm on a local reserve.



Centre for Ecological Learning

Beetle Buddies

Developing children’s connection to the outdoors and increasing wellbeing and confidence, via facilitated weekly nature play workshops.



Condobolin High School Parents and Citizens Association

Shedding the Light on Agriculture

Enhancing work readiness, agricultural and small business skills through construction of a new multi-purpose agricultural shed, incorporating animal housing and teaching space.



Gravesend Parents and Citizens Association

Community Garden, STEAM and Makerspace

Increasing student engagement, problem solving skills and community connectedness through a community garden and makerspace area at Gravesend Public School.



Matriark Theatre Incorporated

Matriark Theatre & Coder Academy STEAM Workshops in Cootamundra

Increasing aspiration, engagement and skill development for 220 students in Years 5 to 10, via two workshops: IT Skills covering coding, programming and robotics; and theatre creation using masks, puppetry and hybrid technology.



Mountain Preschool Lowanna Inc.

Mountain Preschool Resources

Creating a more flexible space that is clean, safe and comfortable for the remote preschool held in the community hall, by purchasing room dividers, floor mats, furniture and resources.



Quirindi Preschool Kindergarten Incorporated

Soundscapes in Nature - with curious creators

Increasing environmental engagement for early learners via a program using nature sound recordings. The project will also inform research into nature play pedagogy which can inform other early learning providers.




‘Treasures' in the MIA

Advancing literacy levels and engagement in the creative arts via five writing and storytelling workshops for students in the Riverina region.






University of Newcastle

Building SMART Futures through Science Education and Exploration

Advancing education, building confidence and promoting student engagement in learning through the delivery of science and technology training for teachers in remote NSW.



White Cliffs


Valla Community Playgroup

Outdoor gathering and play space

Supporting social and motor skill development for playgroup attendees, and the wider community, by constructing a safe bike and trike path at the community hall where playgroup is run.

Valla Beach


Northern Territory

Bees Creek School Council

Making Community - makerspaces and hands-on engagement

Building children's problem solving and creativity skills by engaging a Technology Integration Specialist to upskill community members, hosting a Maker’s Fair and facilitating community volunteering opportunities.

Bees Creek


Pine Creek School Council

Phonological Awareness through Local Language

Increasing engagement of Indigenous students and families in literacy through the creation of bi-lingual literacy resources.

Pine Creek



Dalby Beck Street Kindergarten Association

Program Developing Musical Skills / Concepts in our Kindergarten Children

Increasing engagement and skill development of children from diverse backgrounds via an early childhood music program. 



Dulacca and District Kindy Playgroup

Purchase new, imaginative, creative and exciting outdoor play equipment.

Development of balance, coordination and other gross motor skills through the purchase of new play equipment for the Dulacca playgroup, kinder and childcare programs.



Monto State Primary School

Monto State School STEM workshop creating opportunities for rural children

Increasing engagement and inspiration for 300 students from four schools, via an intensive three-day STEM workshop that will provide skills in technology and highlight educational pathways.



Moura State Primary School P&C Association

Moura State School Robotics Team

Increasing problem solving and coding skills by purchasing robotics equipment and expert tuition ahead of the CQ University Junior Robotics Competition.




South Australia

District Council of Karoonda East Murray

Strengthening Country Youth

Increasing confidence for 25 students to engage in social activities and learning through the delivery of the water and rock program and a self-esteem building program.



Quorn Kindergarten

Digital literacies for connected learning

Building capacity of the kindergarten and engaging children and their families by documenting their learning journeys via new iPads and a wi-fi printer.




St Brendan-Shaw Catholic College

Island Careers Opportunities and Networks (ICON)

Improving career aspirations for isolated and disadvantaged students through an enhanced careers guidance program that will utilise and showcase the experiences and career pathways of alumni, business and community leaders.




Aireys Inlet Primary School

Building our children’s STEM future a Little Bit at a time

Fostering creative expression and enhancing problem-solving skills through the delivery of computing, maths and engineering education via a Science and Technology Maker-Space.

Aireys Inlet


Castlemaine Secondary College

'Community Connect'

Re-engaging at risk students in education via access to flexible learning options through a collaborative community based, hands on learning program.



Gippsland East Local Learning and Employment Network

Building Blocks to Employment

Raising awareness of pathways to meaningful employment or further training via a two-day careers event for 50 senior students from three isolated rural schools.





Gunbower Primary School

Music Matters

Increasing student confidence, self-esteem and social skills via a weekly music and performing arts program for preschool and school children, culminating in an end of year performance and excursion to Wizard of Oz live performance.



Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation

Dream Seeds Mallee Project July 2018

Raising future career aspirations and reduced barriers to education through six ‘Dream Seeds’ workshops delivered by young inspiring leaders to Year 6 students at six schools.





Manangatang P-12 College Council

Mallee Ambassadors

Enhancing future career aspirations and leadership skills via a leadership program for Year 10 and 11 students across the Mallee Education Cluster.






Napoleons Primary School

Robotron 2017

Advanced coding, physics and engineering skills for students through the purchase of iPads that will enable use of existing robotics equipment.



Nyah West and District Kindergarten Association Incorporated

Bridging the Gap for Nyah West

Development of kindergarten children’s oral language, social and literacy skills via the PALS program (Phonological Awareness for Literacy Training).

Nyah West


Port Fairy Community Group Inc. 

Play & Discover Kids Workshops - Fostering a positive mindset towards learning

Developing students' creativity, lateral thinking and passion for learning via delivery of a community led, school holiday program of educational workshops.

Port Fairy & District


Rainbow P-12 College

Travelling DigiTech Project (TDP)

Enhancing development of STEM and teamwork skills for students across the Southern Mallee Cluster of schools, via transportable digi-tech resources.



The Song Room

Creative Connections: Arts education program for students at Merrigum Primary School

Enhancing student engagement with learning, and increased language and communication skills via a facilitated music program.



Western Australia

Big hART Inc

Digital Futures Project - Digital Inclusion for Indigenous Youth

Supporting youth leadership, computer, video, music recording, production and design skills via community run digital art making workshops.



Fairbridge Western Australia Inc.

Fairbridge RISE Bakery

Enhancing learning in STEM, work skills, life skills and nutrition by purchasing a commercial oven to equip a school bakery, as part of the hospitality program.



Margaret River Primary School Parents and Citizens Association

Early Learning Centre Nature Play Resource

Building stronger community connections and opportunities for imaginative play through a collaboration between the Men’s Shed and Preschool to construct an outdoor nature play area for the early learning centre.

Margaret River


Paraburdoo Primary School

The BiiG Creative Media Centre

Strengthening communication and media skill development for students via a creative media centre that will support technology, media, intercultural and language studies.



The Nintirri Centre

Little Geckos Grow – Fulltime Day Care

Increasing child engagement and enhanced learning and development through the purchase of educational resources for remote early learning centre.

Tom Price




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