Not all children get an equal start in life. Today, One in Ten Australian children are living in jobless families1, where even life's basics are hard to come by.

Many of these kids don't have the basics like a school bag, complete uniform or the schoolbooks they need to make the most of their education. They are often teased or left out by other students. And because they don't fit in, they end up struggling at school, or failing altogether. For some, it can set up a pattern of underachievement that can literally last the rest of their lives.

Research shows children and young people living in disadvantage have access to fewer learning materials in the home. Access to support and resources forms the foundation for learning. In many cases, the parents of disadvantaged children may not have the skills or experience to support their child’s education. As these children get older, they have fewer role models, and access to mentors and networks that are critical for creating educational opportunities to help them build their aspirations and be motivated to learn.

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013. Labour force  status and other characteristics of families, June 2012).

“Education attainment is an important predictor of future employment, welfare and health prospects – and it improves [a person’s] ability to contribute socially and economically in the community.”
Victorian Auditor-General’s Report, November 2012

Disadvantaged students are on average 2-3 years behind in reading and maths by the time they are 15 years old.2
The reading gap between the most disadvantaged students and their better off peers is equivalent to almost three years of schooling.3
Year 12 completion rates are significantly lower (58%) for students from disadvantaged backgrounds than for students from high SES backgrounds (77%).4
Young people from advantaged backgrounds are three times more likely to attend university than students from vulnerable backgrounds.5

2 Thomson et al, 2011, Challenges for Australian Education: Results from PISA 2009.
3 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2011, Review of school funding final report.
4 Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority 2012. National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010: Additional statistics.
5 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, 2008, Review of Australian Higher Education Final Report.