Our History

It’s true, it takes a village to raise a child. Few Australians have understood this better than our founder, the late Rev Ted Noffs.

Through his work at the Wayside Chapel, Ted witnessed how health and social issues were impacting the lives of Australian children and wasn’t prepared to watch it get any worse.

Rev Ted Noffs with Dick Smith and the Life Education team

The year was 1979. Along with other health challenges, the issue of illicit drug use was exploding. As a community, we were struggling to understand how to deal with this problem. While still committed to providing crisis relief and rehabilitation, Ted saw an opportunity to address the issue before it became a problem… through education.

His vision for Life Education was centred on a powerful concept.

Each and every child is unique. A true marvel in body mind and spirit.

Ted was really clear.  Let’s not frighten our kids with scare tactics so they act in ways that we think are best for them.  Let’s motivate and empower them so they can and will actively draw on their own knowledge to make safer and healthier choices. The same approach to education continues to inspire the development of our program today.

When the demand for the newly founded program soon outgrew the classroom in Sydney’s King Cross, innovation stepped in. The first mobile classroom (MLC) was built in 1982, enabling us to take our program to where it was needed most.

One of Life Education's first Mobile Learning Centres

While the MLCs provided the means to reach more schools, the rapid expansion of the program across Australia and the world occurred for two reasons; the uniqueness and relevancy of the program and the dedication and passion of providing it.

7 million young Australians have participated in our program since 1979.

Alongside Ted, many community groups and compassionate individuals contributed to the early days of Life Education. Similar displays of generous support enable us to empower more Australian kids today.

Sadly Ted suffered a massive stroke in 1987, which he never recovered from, and 8 years later he passed away. 

It wasn’t just supporters of Ted that saw such merit in his vision.  Students were, and continue to be, galvanised by this simple yet powerful idea. Last year, we worked in over 4,200 schools and pre schools and shared our program with more than 710,000 Australian students.

The Life Education journey

  • 1979

    Where it all began. with Life Education founder and visionary Rev Ted Noffs

  • 1980s

    From static to mobile delivery, classrooms are engaged across Australia

  • 1990s

    Expanding our reach across Australia and beyond, Life Education continues to grow

  • 2000s

    Continual assessment ensures our program maintains relevancy for Australian children