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Back to School (BTS)

Education is a fundamental right and we know many organisations share our belief that a quality education should be accessible, no matter where you live.

FRRR’s Back to School (BTS) is a national program, which has been operating since 2005, that helps rural and remote children and young people access quality educational experiences from ‘cradle to career’.

The Back to School (BTS) initiative is part of the Rural Education Australia Program. This program helps rural, regional and remote students to access quality educational experiences by providing $50 gift vouchers which are redeemable for items such as school uniforms, clothing, shoes, school bags and stationery items necessary to start the school year.

It is funded by various Trusts and Foundations who generously provide the financial backing for the program.

Between 2005 and 2018, we have distributed more than 152,000 vouchers valued at over $7.5M to rural, regional and remote children and their families. Redemption of the $50 vouchers supported the local economy in over 49 rural and regional areas across all Australian states and one Territory in 2018, including an injection of $43,750 into 40 local businesses.

Working through local community organisations, Back to School is a practical, positive program that makes a real difference in the lives of children by providing $50 gift vouchers from Target or local retailers, to students in need.

"The vouchers help strengthen our connections with families. We recognise the pressures they face in getting their children to school ‘on the same basis’ as other families. A new school T-shirt compared to a second hand one does make a difference, as does a new pencil case or a pair of shoes.

This ‘feeling’ of belonging is hard to measure but is visible. Thank you for your support."

Rod Sutherland, Principal, Tumby Bay Area School


Expressions of interest for the 2018 program are now closed, and vouchers have been distributed.

FRRR again delivered the Back to School Program for the start of the 2018 school year.

More than $576,000 was distributed via this year’s FRRR Back to School program, helping rural children and their families to access quality educational experiences. In total, more than 11,000 country children received support.

FRRR invited Expressions of Interest from community-based, not-for-profit organisations that wished to participate in the program. It was expected that community organisations invited to participate will ensure that the vouchers are distributed to students in greatest need in their community

Final allocations were announced at the beginning of February. Participating organisations then entered into a Grant Agreement with FRRR, with specific distribution and reporting requirements, and administer the program at their own cost.

Due to high demand and limited funding, we were not be able to meet every request. 

"I am a parent with children attending a small country primary school in Victoria. I received a $50 voucher earlier this year from your Foundation to be used at a local ‘Country Target Store’. In my case I used the money to buy school uniform tracksuit pants, socks and underwear for my sons (one in Year 2 and one in Year 4). 

I would like to express my gratitude and thanks for the money donated by all those responsible. This gesture was much appreciated by me and also by many others at our school who received the vouchers."

We need donations to this program

We are currently seeking other co-investors for this highly impactful program.

This is your opportunity to provide families and students in need with the clothes, materials and equipment that are so important in helping them connect with their school, their teacher and their peers.

There are a number of ways donors can get involved including supporting a particular geographical area or making a donation online to go to where there is the highest need. Funds go directly into purchasing the vouchers. Every donation, no matter how small, means another child gets the school year off to a great start!

The Back to School (BTS) brochure has more information about how you can get involved in supporting this great program.

"The vouchers represent more than just a financial one (outcome), they represent and show our young people that their community cares about them and their disadvantage.

These vouchers are a token of warmth, love and understanding and are worth so much more than their $50 value."

VHHS FLO Team Leader

Case studies

Further information

If you have any queries on the Back to School program please contact the Program Manager by email or by telephone on 1800 170 020.

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