Schools Plus gets $3m boost from Google

Fri, 23 Jun 2023

Google’s philanthropic arm, has provided the funding to help children and young people from less advantaged backgrounds access the digital, AI and critical thinking skills they need to thrive in the future workplace. 

National not-for-profit Schools Plus has received $3m from to fund digital educational initiatives for children and young people to help close the learning gap created by disadvantage. 

Pioneered by Philanthropy Australia Life Member David Gonski AC, Schools Plus believes that all children should have access to a great education, regardless of background or postcode. 

The funding will be used to support Schools Plus’ work preparing around 10,000 Australian children with access to digital literacy skills, including responsible AI and the critical thinking skills and dispositions for learning that are required for the 21st-century workplace. 

It will also enable teachers to build further capacity and confidence in STEM teaching practices while building connections between schools, universities and work environments. 

Schools Plus CEO Rosemary Conn said: “We are blessed with a wonderful education system in Australia, but we also know that not every child has access to the same opportunities.  

“’s generous contribution will be instrumental in helping Schools Plus close the education gap that exists today and will make a real difference in the lives of students. To date, Schools Plus has helped 500,000 students. This funding will enable us to help a substantially greater number of children and young people and equip them for lifelong learning,” she said. 

Schools Plus was founded following a recommendation in the first Gonski Review, which identified a need for philanthropic funding to help schools supporting disadvantaged students. Many of these children and young people were considered to be an average of three years behind peers in some areas of schooling.  

Comedian, mathematics guru and Schools Plus ambassador Adam Spencer said: “Inspiring a new generation of students in STEM is what this is all about. There aren’t many things that can’t be solved through mathematics, but one thing you cannot measure is the exponential impact that closing the education gap will have on not just an individual, but their family and community.” 

Schools Plus works with teachers and schools to empower them with funding, coaching and resources to implement bespoke projects that will help their students succeed.   

Melanie Silva, MD of Google Australia, said: “In order to foster innovation across our communities, we need to make sure that our young people are ready with the skills and mindsets to tackle the challenges of the future. That’s why I’m thrilled that through, Google’s philanthropic arm, we’re giving $3 million dollars in funding to Schools Plus. 

“This will help Schools Plus, who we’ve been working with for six years, to develop an innovative new program that supports kids in some of our most disadvantaged areas. It’s going to help them get ready – with creative and critical thinking skills – to jump into the STEM-related jobs our economy needs most.”