South Otago Schools brace for learning impact

  • 14-Feb-20
  • News Media Release

The Otago Community Trust is pleased to announce it has approved a $500,000 grant to support a large Cluster of schools across South Otago over the next three years. 

Trustees approved the significant Learning Impact Fund grant to the South Otago Principals Association at the end of last year to further develop and enhance digital technology-based programmes in South Otago schools. The Learning Impact Fund is a fund established by the Otago Community Trust to encourage new thinking and support educational projects which lift student achievement across Otago. 

Lead by Clutha Valley Primary School, the Learning Impact Fund grant will benefit a total of eighteen schools and four kindergartens located in the South Otago area. It is anticipated that the funding will benefit close to 2000 learners from early childhood through to secondary. 

Lead School Principal Val Ward said the Big River Cluster has had a busy start to the year discussing the three-year initiative.

“The funding will enable all schools and kindergartens to work collaboratively to provide a range of learning experiences”.

The first year of the project will involve purchasing a range of technological resources and will provide staff with professional development. Over the next three years, through using technology our students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to help develop initiatives alongside industries and organisations in our local community.

“This is an amazing opportunity for education in South Otago, we are very excited to have the support of the Otago Community Trust.”

Otago Community Trust chair Ross McRobie said since launching the fund three years ago, the trust has approved just over $2 million to eight separate Learning Impact Fund projects.

“To date the feedback from successful schools awarded Learning Impact Fund funding is very positive. The financial assistance provided has certainly allowed schools to invest in areas more quickly and has fostered greater collaboration on a more consistent and regular basis.” 

McRobie explains that the fund will close off at the end of March 2020, whilst time is short for more Learning Impact Fund grants to be approved, Otago Community Trust reminds all schools that its $for$ Fund which has run in parallel to the Learning Impact Fund is still available for many schools.  The date to uplift this funding has been extended to 30 June 2020.

Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said that the Trust’s $1.5million $for$ Fund has tracked along well, albeit slower than anticipated. To date the Otago Community Trust has granted just over $1 million to Otago schools from this fund, covering a range of activities from mathematics programmes, IT equipment, robotics to programme specific reading materials.

Schools applying to this fund must have 50% of the project cost available at the time of application, Bridger said.  Eighty schools in our area still have their $for$ allocation available and we are encouraging all schools to apply for this by the end of June 2020.

“If schools have questions or are unsure what funding allocations are still available, they can always call the trust to check – 0800 10 12 40.”


Otago Community Trust, Learning Impact Fund Recipients to date


Hills Cluster

STEM Education Development


Cromwell Communities of Learning

Makerspace Development


Kings High School

Positive Education Programme


Kaikorai Valley High School

Urban Farm Programmes


Otago Peninsula / Otakou Cluster

STEAM Education Development


Silverstream School

Preschool Initiation


Mornington School

Nga Tapa Wha


South Otago Principals Association

Digital Technologies & Learning






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