Learning Impact Fund hits $1M

  • 04-Dec-18
  • News Media Release

The Learning Impact Fund, a fund established by the Otago Community Trust to encourage new thinking and support educational projects which lift student achievement across Otago, has announced it will support two further projects for 2018. This brings the fund’s total investment into Otago schools to over $1M.

At the Trust’s board meeting earlier this week, trustees approved $420,000 to the Otago Peninsula / Otakou Cluster of schools to develop and implement STEAM programmes over the next three years.

Lead by Tahuna Intermediate, the Otago Peninsula / Otakou Cluster brings together a total of nine schools located in the Andersons Bay, Waverly and the Peninsula area of Dunedin and will cater to nearly 2,000 students.

Lead School Principal Tony Hunter said the Cluster is just delighted to have this funding approved.

“It really is a game changer for many of our schools.”

STEAM education is becoming increasing important, we know that STEAM based approaches foster and extend student interest. Without this Learning Impact project funding many of the schools within our cluster could not afford to invest in a STEAM facilitator to support the necessary professional development and execution of programmes, he said. 

In late October, the Otago Community Trust also approved a Learning Impact Fund grant to Kaikorai Valley College.

Kaikorai Valley College's Urban Farm project was awarded a $142,300 grant which will assist the high school extend its practical learning activities on their Urban Farm using science, technology and sustainable agriculture as contexts for learning.

Kaikorai Valley principal Rick Geerlofs said the grant will provide the school with the much-needed capacity to deliver our Science and Technology Learning Innovation in Agriculture programme over the next two years.

“The Urban Farm activities have been extremely rewarding for students, teachers and families, being able to put learning into a practical context has lifting student engagement and success and provided many with clear career pathways.”

The Otago Community Trust launched its new Learning Impact Fund on 1 April 2017. To date the trust has approved funding of $1,251,986.

 Otago Community Trust Chief Executive Barbara explains that the trust’s very first Learning Impact Fund recipient, the Hills Cluster of schools is now in its second year of funding.

 Bridger said only last month did the trust hear from the Hill Cluster principals on the impact that the funding has made across their schools.

What we have learnt is that teachers across schools are collaborating and sharing knowledge and learnings on a more consistent and regular basis and that in the class rooms student engagement has improved as teachers extend learning on practical, relevant and authentic projects.  

“The fund is only in its second year, but it is rewarding to see that it is making an impact for our schools” she said.


Otago Community Trust, Learning Impact Fund Recipients to date

Otago Peninsula / Otakou Cluster

STEAM Education Development


Kaikorai Valley College

Urban Farm Programmes


Cromwell Communities of Learning

Makerspace Development


Hills Cluster

STEAM Education Development




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