NAB Schools First

55 awards valued at $30,000 each  for recognition of success in establishing effective school-community partnerships.

What is NAB Schools First?

NAB Schools First is brought to life by NAB in partnership with the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

NAB Schools First recognises that the education of our young people rests on the shoulders of the entire community, which is why the awards component of the program supports Australian schools working in partnership with their communities to help young people realise their potential.

Launched in October 2008 by the Hon. Julia Gillard, MP, NAB Schools First is a national awards program that provides:

  • financial recognition of success in establishing effective school-community partnerships; and
  • financial support to build stronger school-community partnerships.

Over the three years NAB Schools First has been running, the program has awarded 310 school-community partnerships with $15 million to support and sustain their effective school-community partnership Any school in Australia can apply for a NAB Schools First Award. To date, over 26% of Australian schools have submitted applications for a NAB Schools First Award.

There are three types of awards: Impact Awards, Seed Funding Awards and our new Student Award. To learn more about these, go to our Award Categories section.

Why a program like NAB Schools First?

Together we believe in the maxim ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.

NAB Schools First builds on the increasing recognition that the task of raising young people who are resilient, enquiring, adaptable and well-adjusted, rests on the shoulders of the entire community.

Schools can’t do it alone. To share the responsibility, NAB Schools First strives to connect schools with their communities across Australia. Research shows that student results and experiences can be enhanced when they are connected to and involved with their community.

Outcomes can include:

    •    greater student engagement
•    improved attendance and retention, and
•    better academic performance.

What do we hope NAB Schools First will achieve?

We want communities to become more involved in their local school and for an extended range of people to contribute to student learning.

Effective school-community partnerships mean schools can draw from a much broader range of resources and support networks.

This year Tyrrell College, in the remote Victorian town of Sea Lake, was awarded a total of $500,000 in funding as the NAB Schools First National Award winner.

“Tyrrell College is a deserved national award winner because of the outstanding impact its program is having on students, the local agriculture industry and the community at large, but also for its potential to grow further with this award funding and impact more positively on more young people.” Andrew Hagger, Chair of NAB Schools First said.


What’s a school-community partnership?

A school-community partnership is a relationship between a school and at least one non-school organisation, agency or entity that is aimed at improving the educational outcomes of young people. The school and the community partner have a combined mission to improve student outcomes by:

  • Working together to address an identified need or opportunity
  • Making a clear commitment to the partnership
  • Having a strong and committed leader and leadership team
  • Sharing decision-making
  • Contributing equally to the program
  • Having a structured and well organised program, and
  • Communicating frequently and effectively.

When schools and the community come together, the benefits are endless for everyone involved.

For schools, it’s having greater access to resources and improvement of student literacy, numeracy and wellbeing. For community organisations, it’s having greater access to motivated and work-ready young people, as well as improved relationships within their community.

For students, it’s becoming further involved in their school community and gaining increased self-esteem and confidence.


I’m a school – what’s in it for me?

There are enormous benefits for schools who partner with their local community. Partnerships may assist schools with:

  • Greater access to resources
  • Development of values
  • Greater engagement and increased attendance
  • Improved literacy and numeracy
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Social and vocational outcomes
  • Global awareness and action, and
  • Improved wellbeing.


Who is eligible to apply for a NAB Schools First Award?

All Australian schools are eligible for a NAB Schools First Award. A school may be primary, secondary or combined P-12/K-12/R-12 school in the Government, Catholic, Independent, or Special school sector.

NAB Schools First prides itself on being an inclusive awards program reaching metropolitan, regional and remote schools of all shapes and sizes.


Awards available in 2012

NAB Schools First enters its fourth year in 2012 with 130 awards and $3 million available to outstanding school-community partnerships. The awards breakdown is:

  • 55 x Impact Awards ($30,000 each)
  • 65 x Seed Funding Awards ($15,000 each)
  • 10 x Student Awards ($5,000 each)

Impact Award Winners were then in the running for:

  • 8 x State/Territory Awards (a further $30,000 each)
  • 1 x National Award (a further $140,000)

Click here to see the 2011 winners


Looking for a partner?

Do you have a great idea for a school-community partnership that’s based on an identified need but don’t have a partner? To find one, register for the Partnership Matching Service and start creating your partnership.

Create a profile around your partnership needs, outcomes and requirements and start searching for potential matches immediately.


I’m a community organisation – what’s in it for me?

Schools are partnering with a diverse range of community partners. In the context of NAB Schools First awards, a community partner is any agency or entity that is not a school. This may include:

  • Local businesses
  • Government
  • Not-for-profits
  • Sporting groups
  • Service clubs
  • Police citizen’s youth clubs
  • Building or trade associations
  • Community health centres
  • TAFEs or universities
  • Aged care centres
  • Science organisations
  • Environmental groups
  • Refugee/migrant support groups
  • And many more

Nationally, several sectors are actively developing partnerships with schools. Of the 2011 award winning partnerships:

  • 41% involved a not-for-profit or community organisation
  • 29% involved businesses
  • 17% involved a University or TAFE
  • 17% involved a Government Department or Local Council

To read about our 310 award winning partnerships, visit the winners page.

Reported benefits to organisations partnering with schools:

There are enormous benefits to organisations willing to partner with local schools. Examples include:

  • Increased staff pride and engagement
  • Greater access to motivated and work-ready young people
  • Increased profiling of their cause or service
  • Improved relationships with their local community
  • Contribution to the development of socially responsible young people
  • Strengthened organisational reputation of community responsibility, and
  • Increased awareness of social issues.

What do the partners contribute to school-community partnerships?

Partnering organisations are helping schools address their particular needs in a variety of ways. For example:

  • Mentoring
  • Assistance with social justice projects
  • Issues management
  • Financial management
  • Grant-writing skills
  • Construction of facilities
  • Professional Training/Professional Development for staff
  • Vocational offerings or training
  • Creative productions or exhibitions opportunities
  • Health and fitness promotion or improvement
  • Environmental projects
  • Expertise with ‘at risk’ and vulnerable students
  • Service learning



This program is now closed.

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