The Catholic Schools Scholarship Program allows students to attend Catholic schools fee-free, with recipients receiving full tuition, uniforms, textbooks, excursion and extracurricular activities each year until the child or young person completes their schooling.
First established in 2020 with up to 100 scholarships on offer, the program has grown to see
463 scholarships awarded to date.
Catholic Education SA executive director Dr Neil McGoran said the scholarship program has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Providing support for vulnerable people in our community is at the heart of the mission of Catholic Education,” he said.
“We know that a quality education can set a young person up for life.
“Our aim is to remove any financial barrier so that young people in care have the opportunity to be welcomed into Catholic schools and become the best version of themselves in a positive learning environment.”
The scholarship program, funded by Catholic Education SA, is offered to children and young people under 18 years of age in both metropolitan and regional SA who are under the guardianship of the chief executive under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 and are enrolling for the first time in a Catholic school. Department for Child Protection caseworkers work with carers to identify children and young people who would benefit from the program.
One such carer is Michaeyla May who has four children in her care.
The eldest, a seven-year-old girl, is at St Augustine’s Parish school, Salisbury under the scholarship program.
Another girl, aged five, is enrolled to start Reception at St Augustine’s next year.
“I was on Facebook and saw DCP advertising the scholarships, so I applied to St Augustine’s and she got in,” Michaeyla said.
“It’s an opportunity you can’t normally get, and it’s gone really well.
“Everything is covered and she’s getting a really good education. Her teachers are trauma informed and they care about her education and her wellbeing.
“She loves school, she loves her teachers and she loves her friends.
“She suffers from childhood trauma and certain things can trigger her, so if change is going to happen they prepare her for that.”
St Augustine’s principal Dan Cowan said the school was proud to welcome children, families and care providers.
“We work in partnership with families and carers to ensure they feel respected, informed and engaged in the education of their children from the very beginning,” he said.
“The financial support goes beyond school fees to include uniforms, textbooks and the cost of some extracurricular activities to ensure children are included in activities.
“Support also extends to student wellbeing which is an important part of the holistic development of young people at St Augustine’s.”
Scholarship applications are accepted year-round from all eligible children and young people in care for Reception through to Year 12 at the 101 Catholic schools across SA.