Partnership Acceptance Learning Sharing (PALS)

Program guidelines

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The Partnership Acceptance Learning Sharing (PALS) program is an initiative of the Western Australian Government managed by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC). It encourages WA schools to develop projects promoting and advancing reconciliation in their local community. 

By supporting projects that enhance the education and understanding of Aboriginal cultures, achievements and histories in the classroom, we gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and diversity of Aboriginal people — a key to recognising our shared histories and unified futures. 

PALS funding is available to all WA Department of Education funded kindergartens, and WA primary and secondary schools and encourages schools with and without Aboriginal students to participate. 

2 tiers of funding are available up to $2000 and up to $3000. 

Funding will be allocated until the application closing date or funds are expended. 

The key dates calendar  has opening and closing dates, activity start dates and draft review deadlines. 

Please apply using the online grants web portal. The previously dedicated PALS online grants portal is now closed for applications.

More information about how to apply can be found in the application manual.

PALS objectives

The PALS program objectives are:

  • Partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people based on trust, mutual respect and understanding.
  • Acceptance of and respect for diversity and valuing Aboriginal perspectives.
  • Learning more about each other, Aboriginal histories, languages and cultures; and how we can build strong partnerships with Aboriginal people.
  • Sharing a common journey towards healing and reconciliation.

Funding categories

PALS projects fall within 6 project funding categories: 

  1. Arts
  2. Community Relationships
  3. Connecting to Country and Culture
  4. Inclusive environments
  5. History
  6. Language.


Embracing traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art by exploring visual and performing art forms; engaging with Aboriginal people to share traditional knowledge, learn and practice these art forms and understand the role of art as a means of story-telling in Aboriginal culture.

Eligible activities 

May include, but not limited to:

  • Aboriginal students, artists and community supporting the school to design a reconciliation pathway, a picture book or similar class resource, a textile or similar product, or signage for classrooms 
  • a music or dance project with an Aboriginal musician or dancer/dancing group
  • working with local Aboriginal artists to create a mural depicting a local Dreaming story or some aspects of local Aboriginal history/culture/food/seasons.

Refer to the PALS Project Toolkit for other project ideas in this category.

Community Relationships

Building collaborative, trusting and respectful relationships with Aboriginal students, families and communities; developing and maintaining sustainable partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across the entire school community.

Eligible activities

May include, but not limited to:

  • formulating a relationship with local Aboriginal organisations and creating a two-way partnership that will support your school in its endeavours in the Aboriginal Education space
  • inviting Aboriginal community members to sit on a panel to discuss current affairs
  • inviting Aboriginal community members to school events such as NAIDOC and Sorry Day.

Refer to the PALS Project Toolkit for other project ideas in this category.

Connecting to Country and Culture

Exploring the strong spiritual connection between Aboriginal people and Country including the importance of land, caring for Country and using natural resources in a sustainable manner; spending time on Country; and learning about the historical and cultural significance of the school’s local area.

Eligible activities

May include, but not limited to:

  • mapping your local area pre- and post-colonisation
  • planning and developing a native bush-plant garden
  • an Aboriginal astronomy night, or week, where students share their learning and stories of Aboriginal astronomy with other students and families.

Refer to the PALS Project Toolkit for other project ideas in this category.

Inclusive Environments

Creating learning environments that respect the cultures, languages and experiences of Aboriginal people; creating a physical space that enables students to learn in settings that are connected to local histories, cultures and languages; establishing initiatives and approaches that support the physical health and social and emotional wellbeing of students.

Eligible activities

May include, but not limited to:

  • the creation of a native foods garden, which could lead to the production of healthy ingredients and a sustainability study
  • a meditation or reflection space, for example a yarning circle
  • designing a t-shirt with an Aboriginal designer that promotes reconciliation.

Refer to the PALS Project Toolkit for other project ideas in this category.


Increasing staff and students’ knowledge of Aboriginal histories and cultures, including understanding significant Aboriginal people, places or events; exploring the impacts of colonisation; and understanding how historical events are relevant in a contemporary context in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation.

Eligible activities

May include, but not limited to:

  • creating a visual timeline around the school with information about events and people in the fight for Aboriginal rights
  • a reconciliation board game or online game to share information about the reconciliation moments in Australian history
  • a study of the NAIDOC posters and themes from 1972 onwards.

Refer to the PALS Project Toolkit for other project ideas in this category.


Increasing awareness and appreciation of local Aboriginal languages by exploring culture through storytelling, contemporary literature and written and visual resources; collaborating with local Aboriginal families and communities to appreciate the diversity and importance of Aboriginal languages within the school and broader community.

Eligible activities

May include, but not limited to:

  • creating a picture book with the local Aboriginal language or Aboriginal English of your area
  • developing a version of the school’s motto in the local Aboriginal language
  • dual name signage for buildings around the school.

Refer to the PALS Project Toolkit for other project ideas in this category.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to kindergartens funded by the Department of Education and all WA primary and secondary schools. 

These include public schools directly funded and Catholic and Independent schools which are independently supported.

How much can I apply for?

Schools can apply to receive funding for a 2-year period (2024 and 2025) as follows:

  • Tier 1: $1000 of funding assistance per year for 2 years (total $2000)
  • Tier 2: $1500 of funding assistance per year for 2 years (total $3000).

Please note: funding is shown exclusive of GST. The final payments will be GST inclusive.

Funding will be allocated until the application closing date or funds are expended.

Total funds will be released as one payment prior to 30 June 2024.  

Schools approved for funding will be advised of the amount via a letter of offer.  

All payment releases, reporting timelines and terms and conditions will be coordinated via a funding agreement.

To be eligible for Tier 1 funding of $1000 per year your schools must:

  • be able to demonstrate support from Aboriginal staff and/or community. For example, Aboriginal Islander Education Officer, Aboriginal Language Teacher, a Reconciliation Action Plan or Cultural Committee
  • have support to apply from the relevant authority/administrator from within the school, for example, principal, head of school or equivalent.

To be eligible for Tier 2 funding of $1500 per year your school must:

  • have received PALS funding in the last 3 years
  • have no outstanding acquittals
  • be able to demonstrate support from Aboriginal staff and/or community, for example, Aboriginal Islander Education Officer, Aboriginal Language Teacher, a Reconciliation Action Plan or Cultural Committee
  • have support to apply from the relevant authority/administrator from within the school, for example, principal, head of school or equivalent.

Schools with outstanding acquittals, may be considered for funding provided they submit their outstanding acquittal prior to submitting a new PALS application.

This program can fund 100% of your activity costs, however, should the school demonstrate a contribution to the project this will strengthen your application.

Email PALS team to request a funding record if you are unsure of the acquittal status for your school.

Guidance on engaging with the Aboriginal community can be found in the PALS Project Toolkit

When can I apply?

PALS is open from 31 October 2023 to 8 May 2024 or until funds are expended. Applicants can apply at any time during this period. You must submit your application at least 60 days before your activity start date.  

Successful applicants will be notified within 60 days of submitting their application.  

All times are in AWST (for Perth, Western Australia). 

If all funds are expended prior to 8 May 2024, PALS will close earlier. If all funds are not expended, then DLSGC may extend the closing date.  

Processing of grant payments to successful applicants will not start until after the grant contract is signed and returned. Depending on the activity start date, we cannot guarantee notification and/or availability of grant funds before the activity begins. 

Funding rounds

Round Open Draft review Close Projects beginning after Category
2024 — 2025 9:00am 31 October 2023 Not applicable 4:00pm 8 May 2024 At least 60 days after application date
  • Arts
  • Community Relationships
  • Connecting to Country and Culture
  • History
  • Inclusive Environments
  • Language

What can’t I apply for?

  • purchase of capital equipment* including instruments, computers, tablets (iPads) and/or uniforms
  • purchase of WA curriculum materials such as text-books**
  • activities already funded by Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ culture and the arts grant programs
  • activities relating to radio broadcasting
  • fundraising, competitions, prizes and trophies
  • the work of State or Commonwealth government departments
  • activities related to an individual’s membership in a national organisation
  • sitting fees for committees
  • ongoing organisation staffing operational costs
  • professional development/training.

*Flag poles

While it is classed as capital equipment, PALS recognises the significance of supporting schools to obtain flag poles to fly Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander flags and the resulting inclusive and culturally safe environment this helps to create in the school community.

PALS may consider a request to fund a flag pole if the school can demonstrate contribution from other parties, and the impact a flag pole will have for students and the community i.e. future ceremonies, daily acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It is also expected the project will include an introduction of the flag to the school and education regarding its importance. For example, a flag raising ceremony and presentation to students explaining the meaning and significance of the flags.

Some options for additional funds to support a flag pole could include:

  • approaching your local council/shire and Member of Parliament to contribute
  • approaching local businesses in your area to contribute
  • organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan in your local area may be interested in contributing funding for this purpose — search for organisations with a RAP
  • Saluting their Service grant: Many schools apply to PALS for ANZAC events to acknowledge Aboriginal service men and women. If you access funding through Saluting their Service for a flagpole, your school could potentially apply to PALS for an ANZAC reconciliation event
  • contact the National Indigenous Australians Agency to discuss the grants they have available.


PALS will consider approval of culturally-focused curriculum resources that are approved by the relevant education sector. It is expected the project will include an introduction of the resource to the school and education regarding its importance. For example, inviting a local Aboriginal author to the school to read and explain the resource to students, or teachers incorporating the resource into a class-based activity.

What will make my application ineligible?

The application will be deemed ineligible if:

  • there are components of the application that are incomplete
  • your school has submitted more than one application per round
  • the project contains details found in the What can’t I apply for section
  • you are not a Western Australian primary or secondary school or government funded kindergarten
  • you do not demonstrate support from Aboriginal staff and/or community
  • you do not demonstrate support from the relevant authority/administrator from within your school (principal/head of school etc).

How many times can I apply?

One application per school per round will be accepted. Schools in receipt of funding for 2 years cannot apply again until both years have been completed.

How do I apply?

Please apply using the culture and the arts online grants portal

More information about how to apply can be found in the application manual

How will my application be assessed?

The PALS team will assess applications. The PALS team may consult with the education sector and/or Reconciliation WA if necessary.

All applications are assessed against the PALS objectives and must align to one of the PALS Funding Categories. Your activity must meet at least one of objectives to be successful.

The PALS team may consider the following during the assessment process:

  • quality — relevance, importance and cultural authenticity of your project, including Aboriginal community engagement and cultural support
  • reach — the community and cultural impact of the project on your school and broader community
  • planning — your project is well considered and achievable.

3 components of your application

There are three components relating to your application: 

  • the core application questions
  • project outputs
  • support material.

Each plays a significant and distinct role in creating a whole picture about your activity.  

Core application questions

When you login to the culture and the arts online grants portal to apply, you will be asked the following core application questions. Your answers to these questions should give assessors an overview of your activity. 

When answering the questions, please make sure you refer to the assessment criteria, program objectives and the funding category you are applying under. 

Consider referring to the PALS Planning Sheet to support project planning.

1. What year levels are involved in the project?

Consider whether your project aligns to a specific year/class/group of students, or the whole school.

  • kindergarten/pre-primary
  • primary lower
  • primary upper
  • secondary
  • whole school

2. Does your school currently have a Reconciliation Action Plan or equivalent Cultural Inclusion Plan/commitment?

Answer yes, no or working on it.

3. Do you have support to apply to PALS from your relevant authority/administrator from within the school ie Principal, Head of School or equivalent?

Answer yes or no.

4. Do you have support from Aboriginal staff and/or community, for example, Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, Aboriginal Language Teacher, a Reconciliation Action Plan or Cultural Committee?

Answer yes or no.

5. What category does your activity/project fall into?

PALS Project Category

There are 6 PALS Funding Categories. While projects often intersect across more than one category, please choose the one most relevant to your project. Consider the overall objectives of each PALS category to align to your school's project appropriately.

  • art
  • community Relationships
  • connecting to Culture and Country
  • history
  • inclusive environment
  • language

6. What are the project details (max 600 characters)

Describe your planned activity/project. Outline your ideas, what is involved, who you will be working with and how they will contribute.

Describe the steps in planning, development and implementing your activity and the timelines.

7. Describe how your school will use the funding? (max 200 characters)

List the costs covered by the PALS funding.

Please make sure you refer to the What I can't apply for? section.

8. Explain how the project contributes to reconciliation and how it aligns with PALS funding category? (max 300 characters)

Describe how the project aligns to your school's commitment to reconciliation and the objective of the PALS category you have chosen.

9. What is the purpose of the project? (max 400 characters)

What do you hope to achieve by doing this activity?

What are the direct or indirect outcomes for the participants and/or community?

Direct outcomes include immediate value for community or participants, whereas indirect outcomes include legacy of the activity for future generations or wider communities.

How will you preserve the outcomes for future access? Will the activity be continued in some way?

10. Describe the classroom component of your project? (max 500 characters)

How do you intend to incorporate your project into classroom learning? Provide a brief overview of your lesson(s) including curriculum code(s) and a list of resources that you will use. Consider referring to the PALS Connecting to Curriculum Resource (PDF 1700 KB) for more information .

11. How will the school know if the project has been successful? (max 300 characters)

How will you know whether you have achieved your proposed outcomes? Describe the methods, processes or tools you will use to measure and report on your progress towards and/or achievement of the activity outcomes you have outlines in this section.

Project outputs

You are required to provide relevant project outputs. An output is a specific measurable thing that is generated by your project. This might be an exhibition, recording, gathering, workshop. It will also include the number of people involved in each part of the project.  This information will be considered as part of your application and provide further clarity about your project for the assessor. The outputs also provide important data for the department for research, analysis and advocacy purposes.   

You only need to provide outputs for the categories and items relevant to your project.    

If your application is successful, you will be required to report against your planned project outputs in your acquittal report.   

Refer to the application manual for an explanation of the project output questions. 

Support material

Support material is essential to allow assessors to fully gauge the value of your activity. The support material you choose should provide further information and evidence to advocate for the project outlined in your application. 

Your choice of support material should help to demonstrate the 4 assessment criteria: quality, reach and good planning, as well as how your project will meet the objectives of the program.  

Please note:

  • the support material formats and limits are required to ensure equality between applications in competitive programs
  • if you exceed the support material limits, the assessor will only watch, listen or read up to the specified limit  
  • where possible, please only upload one document or file per support material type 
  • items of support material cannot exceed 5 MB file size   
  • you must upload your support materials with your online application
  • DLGSC does not accept email attachments.  If you are having trouble uploading your materials, please contact us
  • files and links in ineligible formats will be deactivated and not viewed by the assessor
  • formats that will not be viewed include: .pages, .zip, .excel, MP3s (or similar) and .eml (screenshots of emails converted to PDF are okay)
  • links to support material using file sharing services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, WeTransfer or Google Drive will not be viewed  
  • weblinks to text and images online will not be viewed. 

Types of accepted support material you may provide: 


Maximum 3 A4 pages of text, in PDF or Word format. Preferably in one single document.   Maximum file size 5 MB. All text must be legible at 100%. Note: weblinks are not accepted.    

 Examples of material you may wish to include:    

  • applicant CVs, biographies or profiles for key creative or artistic personnel  
  • participant confirmation* 
  • quotes for major expenditure items/confirmation of fees* 
  • letters of peer/industry support (external to your activity) 
  • reviews, media reports or articles on your previous work  
  • evidence of confirmed events, activities or appointments*  
  • confirmation of consultation and/or support from the target community/participants, such as Aboriginal communities 
  • evidence of significant Aboriginal involvement, participation and decision making 
  • project plans or activity plan/s such as community engagement plans
  • marketing or promotional plan/s 
  • invitations to present, perform, exhibit or showcase*  

 *Can include multiple screenshots of emails and quotes. We suggest taking a screenshot of the essential information and pasting up to 4 per A4 page so they are still legible when viewed at 100%.  


Maximum 3 images in one PDF or Word document or up to 3 image files. Maximum file size 5 MB with one line of text caption permitted for each image.

Note: weblinks are not accepted.  

Examples of material : 

  • examples of previous work or activities 
  • image of the site where the activity will take place.   

Successful applications

Following assessment, final approval of successful applications depends on available budget and approval by the Minister or delegated authority. 

Successful applicants will be notified within 60 days of application.

Acquittal report

If you are successful, you will be required to fill in an acquittal report when your activity has finished. You do not have to submit a progress report. An acquittal report details your activity and how you spent the grant.

The acquittal report will be available for you to access in Online Grants, via the Edit/View Report button or Reports tab on the Home page, once a copy of your signed funding agreement has been received.  

Your acquittal report must be submitted within 90 days of the activity completion date as specified in the funding agreement.   

You will need to attach relevant documents, images and videos that substantiate the delivery of the activity and that may demonstrate the impact and outcomes achieved.  

If possible, please provide your support material in one PDF document (for text and images). Audio and video material to be supplied separately as applicable.

The funding acquittal report also includes the option to provide feedback to help us to continually review and improve the service we provide. 

Assistance for applicants

More information on how to apply can be found in the application manual

Project officers are available via telephone and email to answer queries about applications and suitability of activities to specific programs. Please email or call should you have any questions. 

If you need extra assistance due to disability, language barriers or any other factor that may disadvantage you in completing your application, please contact us.  

The advice provided by project officers does not guarantee the success of your application.  

Due to the high number of applications received, each funding round is highly competitive.  

All applications are considered on their own merits and against the assessment criteria and program objectives. 

Contact us

Online Grants portal technical support 

For assistance using Online Grants or to report any related technical issues, contact the Online Grants Support Team: 

Project officers 

For enquiries relating to this funding program, including advice or assistance with your application, contact a project officer:  

Telephone 61 8 6552 7400 
Toll Free (WA country callers only) 1800 634 541 

Assistance for people with disability 

The department is committed to supporting applicants with disability. Information can be provided in alternative formats (large print, electronic or Braille) upon request.  

If you require special assistance in preparing your application, please call 61 8 6552 7400 or toll free for regional WA callers on 1800 634 541.  

Family, friends, mentors and/or carers can attend meetings with you. 

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through one of the following: 

Interpreting assistance 

For interpreting assistance in languages other than English, telephone the Translation and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask for a connection to 6552 7400 or 1800 634 541. 

Regional applicants 

Toll Free (Country WA callers only): 1800 634 541  

Email the project officer: 


Page reviewed 13 March 2024