Ninganah No More
As Aboriginal people are the Traditional Custodians of NSW, we refer to Aboriginal people. The department’s Aboriginal programs and services are available, without question, to Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Ninganah No More Aboriginal languages program was established in 2018 with the aim of increasing the level of Aboriginal languages being taught in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in NSW. The program provides an opportunity for Aboriginal cultures and identities to be developed and nurtured in the earliest stage of formal education and provides a basis for the ongoing development of Aboriginal language skills at higher levels of education.
In July 2021, the NSW Government released the First Steps - the NSW Aboriginal Children's Early Childhood Education Strategy 2021-2025 (the Strategy). The provision of Aboriginal language instruction is a specific objective of the Strategy and the Ninganah No More languages program has been redesigned to better support this objective.
The Ninganah No More languages program aims to increase the level of Aboriginal languages being taught in ECEC services across NSW. The teaching of languages in ECEC settings not only promotes language use among children, but also underlines the importance of older language speakers who act as teachers and mentors in language. Supporting language teaching in early childhood therefore supports broader language revitalisation .
The teaching of Aboriginal languages also provides an opportunity for Aboriginal cultures and identities to be developed and nurtured in the earliest stage of formal education. Language is critical to the transmission of culture – it is through language that key cultural concepts are known, understood and transmitted across populations and generations. Language teaching at ECEC services can also have a positive impact on broader culture and identity aspirations of Aboriginal peoples in NSW, and when delivered in ECEC services it can make that level of education more appealing to Aboriginal families.
The Department of Education has introduced a 3 category grant structure to reflect the differing needs of ECEC services and the communities which they operate in. The following grant amounts are available.
Table 1: Ninganah No More Grant Categories
|Category||Funding amount||Aim||Funding expectations|
$0 - $20,000
All Aboriginal children learn up to 20 words
$20,000 - $50,000
All Aboriginal children learn up to 50 words
$50,000 - $100,000
All Aboriginal children learn up to 100 words
ECE Aboriginal language hubs
Following a Review of the Ninganah No More program, a second element of the program has been developed – the establishment of Aboriginal language hubs in selected regions. Services within those regions are not eligible to apply for this grant funding, however existing Ninganah No More services in those regions will be contacted to discuss transitional arrangements specific to their service. The following table presents the local government areas identified as being within Aboriginal language hub areas.
Table 2: Established Language Hub Regions and Local Government Areas
|Established Language Hub||Local Government Areas|
Further information on ECE language hubs can be found here.
The Ninganah No More languages program has 5 core objectives:
embed Aboriginal language and culture into ECEC programs
increase the number of Aboriginal children learning an Aboriginal language
ensure Aboriginal children remain connected to culture and grow their cultural identity through language
develop stronger links between ECEC services and their local Aboriginal communities
create inclusive learning environments and encourage all children to learn an Aboriginal language.
Applications for Ninganah No More must be lodged by an organisation. Organisations who are eligible to apply include ECEC service providers and recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. In order to be considered, applications must satisfy all of the following eligibility criteria:
The application is not for the delivery of services within one or more of the proposed early childhood education language hub regions.
The program must be delivered to at least one mobile or centre-based community preschool or non-for-profit long day care service with a valid service approval.
The program must be co-developed and delivered by a certificate III, diploma, or degree qualified educator or teacher employed at participating services.
The language component of the program must be co-developed and delivered by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who has the necessary support to deliver a local Aboriginal language program. Documented support will be required as part of the application process and includes:
proof that the organisation responsible for the language component of the program is recognised as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander organisation (e.g., ORIC registration, documentation showing 51% Aboriginal ownership, or any other relevant documentation), or
documentation confirming support for an individual to deliver a local Aboriginal language program (e.g., a letter of support from the NSW AECG or their local AECG, NSW Land Council, NSW Aboriginal Regional Alliance or other relevant local Aboriginal organisation).
Providers of language services must also consider any relevant requirements under the NSW Aboriginal Languages Act 2017, including notification to the Aboriginal Languages Trust the establishment and operation of their service.
The application can relate to the delivery of the program across more than one service, provided all eligibility requirements are met. Participation of all nominated services must be confirmed as part of the application process. Eligible services include mobile or centre-based community preschools, and long day care services.
Where possible the Ninganah No More languages program will seek to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled applicants. This is in-line with the NSW Government’s commitment to the national agreement on Closing the Gap, priority reform 2 relating to strengthening the community-controlled sector. Assessment of applications will apply the following hierarchy in prioritising applications:
ECEC services in the Bundjalung region
Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCOs) delivering early childhood education and care
ACCOss partnering with early childhood education and care services
eligible ECEC services delivering to a significant number of Aboriginal children
existing providers who meet the current requirements for the program.
Grant application process
Applications for the Ninganah No More languages program should be submitted through the SmartyGrants online application system. Visit the SmartyGrants webpage to apply. For more information on how to use SmartyGrants please visit the help guide for applicants.
Applications for the Ninganah No More grants will be open in SmartyGrants from 1 February - 1 November 2023.
Applicants should also note that the Ninganah No More languages program provides an annual grant until 2025, and applicants should indicate the annual amount they are applying for. This amount should also reflect the 3 categories of grant available under the Ninganah No More languages program, outlined in Table 1 above.
Applicants will be required to demonstrate in their application that their program contains the following features:
addresses the objectives of the Ninganah No More program
incorporates the teaching requirements (number of children and quantity of language being taught) as set out in the category of grant being applied for
language teaching is primarily focused toward Aboriginal children
teaching activities are developed by a certificate III or diploma qualified early childhood educator, eECEC teacher, or other person with a relevant tertiary qualification
utilises language teachers who are accepted by the Aboriginal community as having the skills, qualifications, and experience to teach language
where possible should monitor and record children’s experiences and achievements in learning Aboriginal language.
Successful applicants must only use funding for the development and delivery of the Ninganah No More languages program, as outlined in their approved application, and in line with the program guidelines and the Terms and Conditions of the program.
Funding cannot be used to replace existing funding sources.
Activities are to commence during the calendar year for which funds have been provided. Any unspent funds at the end of the calendar year may be required to be returned to the department.
The department must be notified of exceptional circumstances if approved funding cannot be used within 12 months of the award of funds. Notification should include an explanation for why funding has not been expended and a timeline for spending the outstanding funds. Any decisions regarding unspent funds will be made by the department with reference to the Terms and Conditions of funding. Decisions will be confirmed by the department in writing.
Program grants will be paid to successful applicants as notified by the department. Grants payments will only be progressed for applicants that are registered in the Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS) and have accepted the Terms and Conditions of the Ninganah No More languages program. The amount of funding provided will be based on the department's assessment of amount requested and the information provided in the application. This amount will reflect the category of funding applied for by the applicant.
Along with the Terms and Conditions, these program guidelines will form part of the funding agreement for services receiving grant payments through this program.
Grant funding will be released for successful applicants to deliver the program every 12 months on the anniversary of the initial payment, until 2025.
A formal financial and performance reporting process is required throughout the program. This consists of:
financial accountability completed 12 months after the initial payment and annually thereafter
a final financial acquittal of grant at the end of the financial year immediately following the end of the program funding agreement
performance accountabilities completed at the end of every calendar year.
These accountability reports are used to ensure services are compliant with program requirements. Services may be audited to confirm the accuracy of data provided in performance and financial accountability statements. Any services identified as not meeting the terms under the funding agreement may be referred to Early Childhood Sector Support program for additional support.
Program monitoring and evaluation
To assess the impact of the program, the department monitors and evaluates the implementation of programs through financial acquittals and performance reports. Program evaluation may involve qualitative and quantitative measures including feedback from funded organisations on the value of the educational opportunity to the organisation.
At the discretion of the department, a formal internal or external evaluation may be undertaken to assess the success and value of the program, both in terms of the way it was implemented and its impact in meeting its objectives.
Information on the Ninganah No More languages program grants.
Information on the Ninganah No More Language Hubs.
For more information about the Ninganah No More languages program, please contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander EECEC team at AboriginalprogramsECED@det.nsw.edu.au.