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What, Why, How


The vision of the Ronald McDonald Learning Program, Northern NSW is to educate, empower and advocate for school aged students living with a serious illness or injury. The program is aimed at helping children who have suffered a serious illness return to school, by providing them with individualised educational support tailored to suit their specific needs.


More often than not, following a serious illness, a child’s self-esteem and efficiency has diminished and they feel inadequate in the classroom and disconnected from their peers. There are serious gaps in the education system when it comes to support children living with chronic illness or injury, and they can very easily fall further behind, or even cease attending school altogether. With the support of the Learning Program these children do not slip through the cracks and are able to receive the support and advocacy they need to succeed, now and into the future.


In response to COVID-19, significant changes were made to Ronald McDonald House Charities programs in order to ensure the safety and well being of the families of seriously ill children, including delivering the Learning Program online. Since early 2021, the program has resumed to full operations, offering both in-person and online options. Additional funding from Greater Charitable Foundation during the pandemic also was also given to the Keeping The Lights On initiative to provide accommodation support to families with a child who was hospitalised or undergoing treatment at John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

Learning Program Impact

When a child has been seriously ill, it can have a lifelong impact on their education and future wellbeing if no intervention is provided. The Learning Program is a life-changing initiative which directly supports students and their families. It helps students reach their fullest potential.

Because of the positive impact the Learning Program has on a student, it reduces the adverse impact of the illness on the entire family and the community. 148 families were supported by the Learning Program throughout 2020 alone.

Learning Program parent testimonial

“Never underestimate the impact one happy day at school can mean to a child with serious illness.”

Improving Life Outcomes

Take a look at our other charity partners and see how we're improving life outcomes for families and communities near you.

Meet our partners