Evidence for Learning has decided to put further Learning Impact Fund grants on hold until there is greater clarity on the national investment into education evidence. We will reconsider timing for the next Learning Impact Fund round in 2018.
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Grants are available to any non-profit organisation: charities, universities, and social enterprises.
Departments of education, Catholic education offices and for-profit companies may apply to the Learning Impact Fund for an independent evaluation of a program. The Learning Impact Fund will not fund programs or overhead costs of government departments, Catholic education offices or for-profit companies.
The Learning Impact Fund can only fund projects for the benefit of Australian students and schools, including early childhood centres. We are, however, very open to innovative ideas from overseas that are applicable to schools in Australia.
These three questions guide our assessment of all funding applications:
- Is there evidence of promise that your program will have a positive impact on academic achievement for Australian children?
- If your program works, can it be scaled up affordably and effectively?
- Does your application focus on addressing an important educational challenge in Australia, including raising the achievement of economically disadvantaged students?
Program scale in schools
The diagram above shows where in a program’s lifecycle the Learning Impact Fund intends to work. Two main features of a program will determine its place along this continuum:
- The degree to which it has been well-defined and codified
- The strength of the evidence that it is effective.
The Learning Impact Fund does not support early-stage programs that have not yet been well-defined nor delivered outside of one school.
Types of trial
- Pilot trials: aim to support the final codification of a program through an independent developmental evaluation.
- Efficacy trials: support well-codified, promising programs to be delivered in more schools and to test whether they can deliver on their promise when they are delivered as intended, often with the direct support of the original developers.
- Effectiveness trials: support programs that have demonstrated efficacy to be delivered at an even larger scale and to test whether they can continue to deliver good results for students when they are delivered in a more scalable model, often without the direct support of the original developers.
Evidence for Learning believe, programs that have demonstrated impact in the effectiveness stage may be good candidates for system investment and support for further scale. However, the Learning Impact Fund does not intend to support programs in this scale-up phase.
Process and timeline
The Learning Impact Fund application process has three stages:
Application Stage One
- All applicants must submit an initial application form.
- Once the funding round closes, all applications are separately and individually reviewed by the Learning Impact Fund team to identify a long-list of potential projects.
- Applications will be assessed on the basis of how well they match the funding criteria indicated above. Applications to co-funded rounds will also be shared with the co-funder(s).
- The Learning Impact Fund team will undertake further research and due diligence prior to making a recommendation to the Evidence for Learning Steering Group, who will give initial approval to a smaller number of projects.
- All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application, usually within two months of the application closing date.
- Applications that have progressed through the initial Steering Group will proceed to Stage Two.
Application Stage Two
- The Learning Impact Fund will appoint independent evaluators.
- The applicant, the evaluator and the Learning Impact Fund will work together at a first set-up meeting to develop a detailed project plan, evaluation design and budget.
- The Learning Impact Fund will undertake further due diligence on Stage-Two applicants.
- This is also the stage at which the Learning Impact Fund would look to discuss the potential for co-funding with strategic partners in addition to any co-funding you have already identified.
- Stage Two takes approximately 2-3 months to complete.
- Stage-two applicants will use the decisions made in the first set-up meeting to create specific, costed plans for project delivery.
- Evaluators will use the decisions made in the first set-up meeting to create specific, costed plans for the evaluation.
Application Stage Three
- The Learning Impact Fund will take the specific, costed plans and due diligence outcomes to a second meeting of the Evidence for Learning Steering Group, who give the projects final approval.
- The Learning Impact Fund and the successful grantees will enter into a Grant Agreement, setting milestones to assure successful delivery of the project.
- There is approximately four to six months between the Steering Group’s approval of the project and delivery beginning in schools. This lag allows time for recruitment of schools, delivery of training and evaluation set-up.
- A delivery timeline is agreed during the project planning stage outlined above.