Partnership Acceptance Learning Sharing (PALS)

Program guidelines

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The Partnership Acceptance Learning Sharing (PALS) program is an initiative of the department which encourages WA schools to develop projects that promote reconciliation in their local community. 

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

PALS funding is available to all WA primary and secondary schools and encourages schools with and without Aboriginal students to participate.

In 2022, between $1000 and $1500 funding assistance per year for a two-year period (2022 and 2023) is available. The amount of funding offered to schools for their application will depend on eligibility requirements.

You will be required to apply for funding by 3 June 2022 and complete your project by 31 October 2023.


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.

PALS projects fall within six project funding categories.

Funding categories



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.

What can be applied for

Eligible activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • working with local Aboriginal artists to create a mural depicting a local dreaming story or some aspects of local Aboriginal culture/food/seasons;
  • a music or dance project with an Aboriginal musician or dancer/dancing group;
  • 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, signage for classrooms.

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.

What can be applied for

Eligible activities may include, but are 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.

What can be applied for

Eligible activities may include, but are 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.

What can be applied for

Eligible activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • the creation of a bush-tucker garden, which could lead to the production of healthy foods using bush-food ingredients and a sustainability study;
  • a meditation or reflection space i.e. yarning circle;
  • designing a t-shirt with an Aboriginal themed design 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; understanding how historical events are relevant in a contemporary context in Australia’s journey towards reconciliation.

What can be applied for

Eligible activities may include, but are 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.

What can be applied for

Eligible activities may include, but are 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.

To be successful, your application should align to one or more of these objectives and be designed around one or more of the categories.

Please consider COVID-19 restrictions and directions from your Education sector in relation to the activities of your PALS project.

Who can apply?

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

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

How much can I apply for?

In 2022, schools can apply to receive funding for a two-year period (2022 and 2023) as follows:

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

Funds will be released as two separate payments, with the second release conditional on completion of a project progress report.

Schools approved for funding will be advised of the amount via a letter of offer, and all payment releases, reporting timelines and terms and conditions coordinated via a funding agreement.

To be eligible for Tier 1 funding of $1000 per year the 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 i.e. Principal, Head of School or equivalent.

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

  • have applied and been approved for PALS funding previously (last 2 – 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 i.e. Principal, Head of School or equivalent.

Schools with unacquitted grants, may be considered for Tier 1 funding, conditional to submission of their outstanding acquittal with their project progress report by the date stated in the final funding agreement.

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

Contact the PALS team via email at to request a funding record if you are unsure of the acquittal status for your school.

When can I apply?

The key dates calendar has application opening and closing dates. 

You are encouraged to submit your application before the submission date to ensure you have plenty of time to allow for technical issues.

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

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 Federal 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 Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) 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 ATSI people. It is also expected that the project will include an introduction of the flag pole to the school, and education regarding its importance. For example, a flag raising ceremony and presentation to students around the meaning behind the flags.

Some options that may be worth exploring for funding 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 – to search for organisations with a RAP please visit: Who has a RAP? | Reconciliation Australia;
  • Saluting their Service grant: Many schools apply to PALS for ANZAC events to acknowledge Aboriginal service men and women. If you access funding through this program, your school in the future could potentially apply to PALS for an ANZAC reconciliation event;
  • National Indigenous Australians Agency: Perth office 9424 3700.

** Resources

PALS will consider approval of culturally-focused curriculum resources that are approved by the relevant Education sector. It is expected that a PALS project purchasing cultural resources will include an introduction of the resource to the school and students, rather than being a set and forget resource on a shelf. This could include inviting a local Aboriginal author to the school to read and explain the resource to students, or teachers incorporating a 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 applications in excess of the number accepted per round, as per ‘How many times can I apply’;
  • the activity has already occurred – PALS cannot fund retrospective activity;
  • the project contains details found in the ‘What can’t I apply for’ section;
  • you are not a Western Australian primary or secondary school.

How many times can I apply?

One application per school will be accepted. The PALS program is unable to consider excessive applications from schools.

How do I apply?

Please apply using the online application form via the PALS 360 Portal.

The key components of your application are the core application questions, being project details, project purpose, what project success looks like and classroom component. Along with the project details, you will be required to provide other information with your application, such as your school’s address, banking details and key contact information.

It is recommended that you consider the school’s bigger vision when making an application, and coordinate with your colleagues to ensure a strategic funding approach. This may include alignment with the school’s Reconciliation Action Plan or equivalent culturally responsive commitment/framework.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications will be assessed by the PALS team. The PALS team may consult with the Education Sector and/or Reconciliation WA if deemed necessary.

All applications are assessed against the Program’s objectives and must align to one or more of the PALS Funding Categories

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.

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

Key components of your application

There are four core application questions relating to project details, project purpose, what project success looks like and the classroom component. Each plays a significant and distinct role in creating a whole picture about your activity. 

There are six PALS Funding Categories  to which you can align your project idea. It is acknowledged upon acquittal that projects often intersect across more than one category, however it is requested that for the purpose of the application one category is chosen.

Core application questions

Your answers to the core application questions should give assessors an overview of your activity.

Respond to the following questions with reference to the assessment criteria, program objectives and funding category objectives .

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

1. Project Title

Consider an appropriate title for your project

2. Year Levels involved in the Project

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

3. Does your school currently have a Reconciliation Action Plan or equivalent culturally responsive commitment/framework?

Answer Yes, No or Working on it to this question.

4. PALS Project Category

Consider the overall objectives of the PALS program and the objectives of each PALS category to align your school’s project appropriately.

Refer to PALS Funding Categories.

5. Project Details (max 300 characters)

Describe HOW your school will use the funding to deliver your PALS project. Please also explain how the project demonstrates reconciliation and will align with one or more of the PALS Funding Categories.

Describe your planned activity/project. Outline your ideas, what is involved, who you will be working with and how they will contribute. Explain the cultural and community relevance or significance of the activity, both for your school and the wider school community.

Tell us how this project aligns with your school’s broader vision towards a culturally responsive approach.  

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

Include (where possible) details of previous PALS Projects undertaken, learnings/reflections from delivering these projects and how PALS funding will support the next steps to build upon the work already done.

Example Project:

Our school intends to set up a buddy program with Aboriginal Elders attending the Elizabeth Hansen Autumn Centre for dialysis treatment. Elders will share stories of Country, culture, family and tradition while children will involve Elders in games of art and craft, dance, and music. The students will also create a DVD about the Centre, the people they meet and what they learn from the experience. Parents will be invited to accompany their children, which we hope will result in new, lasting friendships and a new understanding of what it means to be Aboriginal in contemporary WA. This Project covers the PALS project categories of Arts, Connecting to Country and Culture and Community Relationships. The PALS funding will be used to cover bus transportation of our students and supplies for the arts and craft activities.

Note: Your description will vary from the example provided.

Note this example is taken from the PALS application.

6. Project Purpose (max 2 lines)

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?

7. How will the school know if the Project has been successful? (max 2 lines)

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

8. Classroom Component (max 300 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 for more information .

Example classroom component:

I intend to incorporate this PALS project into my classroom through a series of lessons. The buddy program will run across a 6-week period It will involve my class visiting the centre on numerus occasions. After each visit, classroom discussions will take place about what was learnt as well as individual reflections, which students will record in their workbooks. In addition to this, we will also be delving deeper into the history and culture of the Whadjuk Noongar people as this is the area in which our school is located in. In the final week, students will be split into groups and will be tasked with creating a movie within their groups about the Centre, the people they meet and what they learnt from their experience. Once the videos are completed, we will watch them as a class.

Resources include:

Right the Wrongs 67 Referendum-WA 50 Years on
Specifically looking at part three of the book and what the 1967 Referendum did for Aboriginal peoples across Australia and then contextualising it to our area – Perth and looking at how it affected Aboriginal peoples in the Noongar region. Pages (43-73)

A sense of place (secondary)
We will use these resources to delve further into Noongar peoples sense of place (free to sign up)

Curriculum code:
Different perspectives about Australia's national identity, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and what it means to be Australian (ACHCK066) – Year 8 SCASA
Note: Your in-class learning component will vary from the example provided. For example, you may choose to focus on one lesson or a series of lessons, curriculum codes, resources or a variety.

Note: this example taken from the online PALS application.


When you have completed all sections, review your application then click Finalise and Submit. A system-generated email confirming the successful submission of your application will be sent to your registered email address for your records. 

This email confirmation is evidence that you have submitted your application by the due date and time.

Successful applications

Following assessment, applications recommended for funding will be submitted to the delegated authority for consideration. 

Successful applicants will be notified within 60 days of application, or before the end of the financial year.

Progress Report 

If you are successful, you will be required to complete a progress report and submit at the date indicated in the schools funding agreement, to support release of the second funding instalment for the project.

The progress report will ask for:

  • an update of your PALS project, including achievements so far and anticipated progress for the remainder of the project;
  • any issues or concerns with the project, such as inability to meet deadlines or other project concerns.

The PALS team will advise you when the progress report will be available for you to access, complete and submit.


Acquittal report

If you are successful, you will be required to fill in an acquittal report when your activity has finished. An acquittal report details your activity and how you spent the grant. 

The PALS team will advise you when the acquittal report will be available for you to access via the 360 Online Portal.

Your acquittal report must be submitted within the timeframe as requested by the PALS team.

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.

Refer to the PALS Acquittal Guide  for further assistance with the acquittal process, including navigating the online portal.

Contact us

Contact the PALS team via email on

Page reviewed 28 April 2022