Low Socio-economic Status School Communities

Through the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities, the Australian Government is providing $1.5 billion over seven years (2008-09 to 2014-15) to support education reform activities in approximately 1700 low socio-economic status schools around the country. This funding will be matched by co-investment from state and territory governments over the life of the partnership.

Funding contributions made by the Australian Government to states and territories under the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities are as follows:


$593.3 million

$275.3 million

$231.8 million

$159.8 million

$96.8 million

$70.1 million

$70.1 million

$3.0 million

Why focus on low socio-economic school communities?

Progressing successfully through school is an important pathway to further education and is positively linked to higher levels of employment and workforce participation as well as higher wages.

In comparison, evidence has shown that low educational outcomes can be associated with inter-generational poverty and poor social inclusion. For these reasons the Australian Government is working to assist low socio-economic status (SES) school communities – while recognising that their needs are individual, acute and multi-layered.

What’s happening under this National Partnership?

The Smarter Schools National Partnership for Low Socio-Economic Status School Communities will facilitate reforms across six key areas:

  • incentives to attract high-performing principals and teachers
  • adoption of best practice performance management and staffing arrangements
  • innovative and flexible school operational arrangements
  • tailored learning opportunities for students
  • strengthened school accountability to parents and the community, and
  • external partnerships with parents, schools, businesses and local communities.

Schools are working with their local communities and education authorities to identify reform activities that will generate the best educational outcomes for their disadvantaged students, including Indigenous students, students from non-English speaking backgrounds and students with disabilities.

The National Partnership aims to improve student engagement, educational outcomes and wellbeing in participating schools and make inroads into entrenched disadvantage. The partnership is also contributing to broader social and economic objectives by creating knowledge about strategies for overcoming educational disadvantage which can then be used in other, non-partnership, schools.

Further information

You can find out more about this National Partnership by downloading the Low SES School Communities National Partnership Agreement and fact sheet below.

Otherwise, the Smarter Schools Frequently Asked Questions can provide you with general information on all three National Partnerships.