This week in The Age newspaper there have been a series of articles on education in the inner-city.
The central theme of the articles has been that there are schools where kids who live in public housing are the majority of students, and the kids of more affluent families are being sent to other schools, bypassing the closest option and avoiding those schools that are seen to cater to the public housing community.
What is clear from these stories is that parents in public housing are desperate to give their children as good an education as is possible.
One parent spoke with The Age about her attempts over several years to transfer her kids into a higher performing primary school.
Despite the way we are portrayed in the mass media, we know that public housing parents want their kids to study hard and excel academically.
That is why we are working hard to promote the DHHS scholarships for kids who live in public housing.
The program is administered by the Kids Under Cover group (www.kuc.org.au) and is open to students in year 10 or 11 this year (at school or TAFE) and who will go on to years 11 or 12 next year.
In 2015 280 scholarships were awarded, valued at $1,100 each.
This year applications are expected to open in May and close in June. (Note: Applications are now open. Go to https://dhhsstudentscholarships.smartygrants.com.au/scholarships2017 )
For more information on the application process check out the Kids Under Cover website, speak with your local DHHS Office or contact the VPTA.
To ensure that schools in the inner-west were aware of the scholarships, the VPTA met with City of Maribyrnong youth workers and representatives from Gilmore College for Girls, Maribyrnong College, Braybrook College and Footscray City College this week.
The meeting also discussed opportunities for gifted students from the west to access scholarships from Western Chances (www.westernchances.org.au).
We know how important it is to keep our kids in school and to give them every opportunity to meet their potential.
The DHHS Scholarships can really help our young people achieve their goals, not only through material support with buying books and accessing tutoring, but with giving kids that vital element of encouragement and support.
Even if there is no-one in your family who is studying years 11 or 12 next year, you will know somebody who is. Please spread this information throughout your networks.