How Regional Development Investment improved regional education

Royalties for Regions (RfR) has provided more than $380 million to improve education services in regional WA.

To determine the effects of such spending, the then Department of Regional Development commissioned two independent evaluations.

The evaluations looked at more 45 RfR-funded projects such as rebuilding Esperance Primary school; improving the Orange School Bus system; and expanding the Schools Breakfast Program to cater to many new schools in lower socio-economic areas.

Although some long-term impacts of the projects are yet to be realised, the evaluations found clear evidence that regional education services improved as a direct and indirect result of RfR

Royalties for Regions (RfR) has provided more than $380 million to improve education services in regional WA.

To determine the effects of such spending, the then Department of Regional Development commissioned two independent evaluations.

The evaluations looked at more 45 RfR-funded projects such as rebuilding Esperance Primary school; improving the Orange School Bus system; and expanding the Schools Breakfast Program to cater to many new schools in lower socio-economic areas.

Although some long-term impacts of the projects are yet to be realised, the evaluations found clear evidence that regional education services improved as a direct and indirect result of RfR funding.

What did the two evaluations look at?

The evaluations looked at the social and economic impacts RfR had on education services. The two key questions asked were:

1. To what extent has Royalties for Regions affected the delivery of education services in regional WA?
2. What economic benefits have been derived from RfR funding in the education sector in regional WA?

What did they find?

The evaluation looked at five RfR-funded projects. It found that the RfR funding had an overall positive impact on the delivery of education services in regional WA and provided:

  • Better facilities for students and teachers;
  • More programs; and
  • More incentives for disadvantaged and at risk children to attend school and do well.

The funding and improved facilities also helped people develop more pride in their schools and communities, with teachers saying they were less likely to seek jobs elsewhere.

Likewise, parents indicated the improved facilities encouraged them to keep their families in the region rather than move elsewhere, which might have otherwise been the case.

The economic impact of education funding through RfR was also looked at over 20 of the 40 RfR projects were evaluated and modelled to focus on future economic benefits. The modelling estimated that projects will:

  • Increase economic welfare by $437 million (net present value over 20 years), relative to an investment of $267 million;
  • Generate $667 million in economic activity across nine regions in WA (net present value over 20 years), as measured by Gross Regional Product, or GRP; and
  • Generate an additional 4,643 full-time job years over the next 20 years (a job year is equivalent to full-time employment of one person for 12 months).

A key finding of the economic evaluation is that some of the projects with a relatively small investment input (compared to capital projects) can generate a large economic benefit. The Foodbank School Breakfast Program and the Clontarf Academies are two such projects.

The evaluation found that the regions that will experience the largest economic welfare gains are:

  • $103 million in the South West;
  • $76 million in the Wheatbelt; and
  • $62 million in the Kimberley.

To find out more on how RfR helped improve education services and the economic impacts of RfR-funded projects, you can read the evaluation summaries here and here.

You can also find out more information about some of the projects in the case studies below.

  • Esperance Primary School

    about 2 years ago
    Esperance primary school sign   credit the school %282%29

    Royalties for Regions contributed $10 million to help completely re-build Esperance Primary school, which was outdated and regarded as unsuitable for modern educational needs.

    The Department of Education contributed a further $2.7 million to the project, along with $3 million from the Commonwealth’s Building the Education Revolution fund.

    The new school has been very well received by students, teachers, parents and the wider community.

    Some residents say that the school's new campus has influenced them to remain in the region, while others point out that it is the ‘icing on the cake’ to bring the school into 21stCentury...

    Royalties for Regions contributed $10 million to help completely re-build Esperance Primary school, which was outdated and regarded as unsuitable for modern educational needs.

    The Department of Education contributed a further $2.7 million to the project, along with $3 million from the Commonwealth’s Building the Education Revolution fund.

    The new school has been very well received by students, teachers, parents and the wider community.

    Some residents say that the school's new campus has influenced them to remain in the region, while others point out that it is the ‘icing on the cake’ to bring the school into 21stCentury learning.

  • Expansion of Clontarf Academy

    about 2 years ago
    Kununurra clontarf sign %28as%29

    The “Expansion of Clontarf Foundation Programs and Services into Regional Locations” project (Clontarf Program) aims at increasing school attendance and participation, improve educational attainment, and encourage better lifestyle choices. Specifically, the Program targets young school- aged Aboriginal males that are at significant risk of disengaging from school and continuing the cycle of high unemployment and incarceration rates and poor health outcomes evident in Aboriginal communities.

    In 2010 Royalties for Regions (RfR) invested a total of $5.05 million into the Clontarf Program. RfR funding resulted in the establishment of eight new Clontarf Academies in rural areas of Western Australia between 2010-2016....

    The “Expansion of Clontarf Foundation Programs and Services into Regional Locations” project (Clontarf Program) aims at increasing school attendance and participation, improve educational attainment, and encourage better lifestyle choices. Specifically, the Program targets young school- aged Aboriginal males that are at significant risk of disengaging from school and continuing the cycle of high unemployment and incarceration rates and poor health outcomes evident in Aboriginal communities.

    In 2010 Royalties for Regions (RfR) invested a total of $5.05 million into the Clontarf Program. RfR funding resulted in the establishment of eight new Clontarf Academies in rural areas of Western Australia between 2010-2016. Since February 2015, approximately 1,323 young Aboriginal male students enrolled in RfR funded Clontarf Academies since establishment.

    The RfR funded Clontarf Program has resulted in an increased skilled workforce. This is due to students completing their education, who would otherwise not enter the labour force and generally lead towards lifestyle and behavioural problems. "That's a program that's been put in place, and they've captured all those young Aboriginal boys... They've still got a fair way to go, but they have made changes. [The students] are more respectful... We had probably more Aboriginal Year 12 graduates than ever before, since Clontarf started. The boys that graduated were very mature, very respectful; much different to what they used to be."

  • Orange School Bus Upgrade

    about 2 years ago

    Approximately $10.4 million of Royalties for Regions was expended by the Public Transport Authority to improve the travel experience for regional students. Particularly, upgrading school buses to include air-conditioning earlier than would otherwise occur.

    The evaluation found that from the Orange School Bus Upgrade, such economic benefits were found:

    • Increased regional attractiveness to bus drivers and workers with families
    • Increased in non-wage benefits
    • Increased labour supply.

    Approximately $10.4 million of Royalties for Regions was expended by the Public Transport Authority to improve the travel experience for regional students. Particularly, upgrading school buses to include air-conditioning earlier than would otherwise occur.

    The evaluation found that from the Orange School Bus Upgrade, such economic benefits were found:

    • Increased regional attractiveness to bus drivers and workers with families
    • Increased in non-wage benefits
    • Increased labour supply.
  • Regional Schools Plan

    about 2 years ago
    School2 sharkbay gascoyne %28bb%29

    Working to upgrade facilities to provide regional schools with a wider range of educational options and opportunities, Royalties for Regions (RfR) provided a total of $111 million into the Regional Schools Plan. RfR funding was specifically used in upgrading or constructing new cafeterias, libraries, science and technology facilities, administration blocks, classrooms, as well as sporting, performing arts and media facilities.

    Comprising from 17 projects, the evaluation found that the Regional Schools Plan’s main economic benefit was retaining and attracting families, with school-aged children to the region. As a result, regions will have greater access to a skilled workforce. Flow on...

    Working to upgrade facilities to provide regional schools with a wider range of educational options and opportunities, Royalties for Regions (RfR) provided a total of $111 million into the Regional Schools Plan. RfR funding was specifically used in upgrading or constructing new cafeterias, libraries, science and technology facilities, administration blocks, classrooms, as well as sporting, performing arts and media facilities.

    Comprising from 17 projects, the evaluation found that the Regional Schools Plan’s main economic benefit was retaining and attracting families, with school-aged children to the region. As a result, regions will have greater access to a skilled workforce. Flow on effects of the Regional Schools Plan include:

    • Increase in non-wage benefits
    • Attraction of workers to the regions, increasing labour supply
    • Increase Gross Rating Point production and investments across the State.
  • School Breakfast Program

    about 2 years ago
    Foodbank

    The Foodbank School Breakfast Program commenced in 2005, providing breakfasts to schools experiencing major behavioural and attendance issues. Royalties for Regions provided $0.78 million into the Foodbank Program to expand the Programs reach to 40 additional schools in remote and regional Western Australia. From being well received, the Program was extended to an additional 18 schools and allowed 3,302 students to access the Program.

    The evaluation found that the program provided an increased Gross Rating Point production and investments across the State and generated approximately 182 full-time jobs. It also provided the opportunity to strongly engaged students, as well as:

    • Improve learning outcomes, particularly in early schooling years and having a positive impact on retention of student
    • Improvements to productivity and participation of students
    • High impacts on academic achievements from students who continued participation in the breakfast program.

    "The breakfast program is fabulous...works extremely well, disengaged students have the opportunity to get food... it's well received. We promote that you can get breakfast between 8-8:30; adults as well as 16-17 year olds go."

    The Foodbank School Breakfast Program commenced in 2005, providing breakfasts to schools experiencing major behavioural and attendance issues. Royalties for Regions provided $0.78 million into the Foodbank Program to expand the Programs reach to 40 additional schools in remote and regional Western Australia. From being well received, the Program was extended to an additional 18 schools and allowed 3,302 students to access the Program.

    The evaluation found that the program provided an increased Gross Rating Point production and investments across the State and generated approximately 182 full-time jobs. It also provided the opportunity to strongly engaged students, as well as:

    • Improve learning outcomes, particularly in early schooling years and having a positive impact on retention of student
    • Improvements to productivity and participation of students
    • High impacts on academic achievements from students who continued participation in the breakfast program.

    "The breakfast program is fabulous...works extremely well, disengaged students have the opportunity to get food... it's well received. We promote that you can get breakfast between 8-8:30; adults as well as 16-17 year olds go."

  • Year 7 Transitions Project

    about 2 years ago

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) invested $42.6 million of $44.4 million into the Year 7 Transition Project. The Project looks at preparing regional high school students for the transition of Year 7 students into secondary education. Specifically, the Project funded construction of classrooms and specialised facilities.

    Focusing on seven projects, the evaluation found that the Year 7 Transitions Project main economic benefit was retaining and attracting families, with school-aged children to the region. As a result, regions will have greater access to a skilled workforce. Flow on effects of include:

    • Increase in non-wage benefits
    • Attraction of workers to the regions, increasing labour supply
    • Increase Gross Rating Point production and investments across the State.

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) invested $42.6 million of $44.4 million into the Year 7 Transition Project. The Project looks at preparing regional high school students for the transition of Year 7 students into secondary education. Specifically, the Project funded construction of classrooms and specialised facilities.

    Focusing on seven projects, the evaluation found that the Year 7 Transitions Project main economic benefit was retaining and attracting families, with school-aged children to the region. As a result, regions will have greater access to a skilled workforce. Flow on effects of include:

    • Increase in non-wage benefits
    • Attraction of workers to the regions, increasing labour supply
    • Increase Gross Rating Point production and investments across the State.