22 November 2023

South Coast schools offered 250,000 reasons to apply for new round of federal funding

| Ryan Bourke
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man, woman and school pupils sitting around table

Schools that successfully apply for a grant will receive a minimum of $250,000 to spend on upgrading facilities. Photo: X/@JasonClareMP.

South Coast public schools are being encouraged to apply for the second round of grants under the Federal Government’s School Upgrade Fund (SUF).

With applications open until 29 February next year, recipient schools will receive a minimum of $250,000 that can be used to upgrade campus facilities.

While all schools are encouraged to apply, those with the greatest need will be prioritised, particularly those with high numbers of students who have a disability or are from Indigenous or low socioeconomic backgrounds.

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Under the previous open round of SUF funding, 10 schools across the South Coast region received smaller grants ranging between $15,000 and $20,000 for projects such as classroom refurbishment, the purchase of laptops, and upgrades to outdoor learning spaces and shade structures.

To apply for funding, schools must first secure the support of the NSW Department of Education, with schools asked to “seek their assistance with project scoping and costing”.

The department will then review and assess the applications for federal funding in early 2024.

While schools that haven’t received significant capital funding in the past two years will be prioritised, those that received a grant under previous rounds are still eligible and encouraged to apply.

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In a statement issued last month, Education Minister Jason Clare said the funding would allow students to ”get access to a quality education, including access to quality facilities to learn in and play on”.

“From upgrading art rooms and tech rooms to new outdoor equipment and replacing demountables, this funding will deliver upgrades to government schools that need it the most,” Mr Clare said.

Speaking alongside the Minister, Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips said she was “delighted to support 13 local schools under this fantastic program, and I know there are schools across the South Coast in real need of continued investment”.

Asked what kind of projects schools in the region required, Ms Phillips told Region: “There’s always things our schools are wanting to do. Particularly when it comes to outdoor projects like shaded walkways that keep our students out of the weather.

“The good thing about this round of funding is that it’s much higher at $250,000 and above, so I think we’re definitely going to see some different projects here.”

The outcomes of applications for round two of the SUF are expected to be announced from mid-April 2024.

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