Learning for Life

Research underpins our approach to improving educational outcomes.

Adopting an evidence-based approach to our work allows us to develop and deliver programs and support that responds effectively and efficiently to the needs of the disadvantaged children, young people, families and communities we help. Research and evaluation helps us to measure the outcomes and assess the effectiveness of our support and programs.

We have just released the fourth in our series of research reports: Improving the educational outcomes of disadvantaged young Australians: The Learning for Life program.  This landmark report presents new data showing that highly disadvantaged students in Australia are achieving significantly improved educational outcomes through their participation in our Learning for Life program.

What is Learning for Life?

Your support is important

Your support is important

What is Learning for Life?

The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program recognises that disadvantaged children need extra support to stay at school and go on to further studies or a job. Learning for Life helps create better futures for children in need by providing:

  • financial assistance from a sponsor to help disadvantaged families afford the cost of their child’s education; 
  • support from a Learning for Life Program Coordinator to connect the child and their family to local learning opportunities and other supports; and 
  • access to Smith Family educational programs to help children get the most out of their school years.

Disadvantaged students start behind and stay behind.

Today in Australia too many disadvantaged young people are performing poorly at school. Large gaps in educational achievement, based on students’ backgrounds, are apparent in the first year of school. These gaps grow as young people move through school, resulting in large proportions of young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds not positively moving onto employment or further study.

The data we’ve gathered over the last four years demonstrates our approach – intervening early and providing long-term educational support for very disadvantaged young people – is working.

Close up photo of Bailey standing

The Smith Family is successfully tackling Australia's poor educational performance.

Bailey outdoors with books

The Smith Family is successfully tackling Australia's poor educational performance.

Educational attainment is an important predictor of a person’s future employment, income, health and welfare prospects. In 2015, we are also proud to report that more than four-in-five (84 percent) former Learning for Life students who left the program in Years 10, 11 or 12, were engaged in employment, education or training, a year after leaving the program.

We are delivering outcomes beneficial to the long-term economic and social wellbeing of young people and for national productivity and social cohesion. We know Learning for Life is not the only answer to Australia’s educational challenge – but it is certainly making an important contribution.

With this report we hope to highlight Australia’s poor educational performance as a national challenge which now must be addressed. The Smith Family can offer a scalable solution for children in need, and we hope to receive strong support for our Learning for Life program as a result.