On Thursday I received correspondence from Richard Stokes, CEO of Australian Boarding Schools Association (ABSA) regarding the Australian Government’s announcement of a Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program.
This valuable initiative will provide better support for boarding school students from regional, rural and remote communities with the costs of education. When announcing the scheme from Central Queensland, Assistant Minister for Education Senator Anthony Chisholm said the scholarships would be available for up to six years, starting in 2024, to support boarding students over the entire period of their secondary school education.
A two-tier approach to scholarship support through a pilot scheme will have 50 scholarships of $20,000 per year for six years of schooling to support low-income families, and 50 scholarships of $10,000 per year for six years of schooling for low to middle income families.
Details from the Federal Government’s Media Release are outlined below.
“The Albanese Government wants to ensure that all Australian’s have access to high quality education and for many families, boarding school is not only the best option for a quality school education experience for their children, it may also be their only option,” Senator Chisholm said.
“In some regional, rural and remote communities there can be few, if any, local secondary schools, which makes boarding school so important for these families, and the support available through the Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program so critical."
“Making the scholarships available over six years will help the families of boarding students over the full period of secondary school education, rather than just the senior secondary school years, allowing students to achieve their full potential."
“The Albanese Government has acted on the feedback of the Regional Education Commissioner to ensure that this program supports students and families for longer, while making it easier for students from rural and remote families to get the best opportunity to succeed in school.”
Regional Education Commissioner, the Hon Fiona Nash, said it is important families from our regional, rural and remote communities, particularly those experiencing financial hardship, have options that support students to go to, stay in and succeed at high school.
At Rockhampton Girls Grammar School, we place great importance on our boarding community and the experiences, relationships and opportunities provided to our girls, whilst in turn recognising and valuing the experiences and enrichment our boarding families bring to our School. Through the dedication of Executive staff including Head of Boarding, Boarding Supervisors, Counsellor, support staff and external staff, we are committed to maintaining a ‘home away from home’ for our boarders, identifying areas for reflection, refinement and ongoing improvement. We are fortunate that with student numbers in both boarding houses close to capacity, we are focussed on building relationships, refining processes and providing valuable learning opportunities for our boarding supervisors to ensure the best support for the students’ social emotional wellbeing.
I look forward to sharing further details as I receive them. The Department of Education will be releasing more details of the Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program in coming months, including information on how families can apply.