Who We Are

Skyline Education Foundation Australia provides intensive support for talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds, for the last two years of their secondary education.

The Skyline Program is the first of its kind in Australia, providing financial, educational, emotional and practical support for bursary recipients.

The Foundation is an advocate for talented and disadvantaged young people and partners with schools throughout Victoria to deliver the Skyline Bursary Program each year.

The Team Behind Skyline

Why our Program is Important

Each year, Skyline bursaries make a huge difference to talented VCE students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In many cases, a Skyline bursary recipient is the first person in his or her family to complete secondary school. In this way, Skyline is helping to overcome the barriers of disadvantage and help students pursue their passions.  With the net economic benefit of a person completing a university course, compared to a person who does not have a degree, estimated at almost $125,000 over the course of their life, the Skyline program is assisting students to overcome generational disadvantage and become financially independent members of society.

Skyline students say that being a part of the Skyline Bursary Program has provided them with opportunities to pursue study and employment options that they might not have had otherwise.

Bursary students have achieved outstanding academic results, with many obtaining ATAR scores of 90 or more in their VCE studies.

Many Skyline students earn leadership positions in their schools and local communities, becoming role models for other young people.

Given the cost of supporting one student, the net return on investment is as much as 2000%.  If only 1 student in 20 completes their VCE and goes to university it will have been ‘worth it’.  In reality, 17 out of every 20 Skyline students attend university, making the program a resounding success – not just for the individuals we support, but for the entire community.

Who We Support

Our talented bursary recipients face multiple challenges.

They come from a financially disadvantaged background; often from single parent households, on a minimum wage.

They have also faced other adversities in their young lives. Some are immigrants and do not speak English as their first language; others have grown up with parents who suffer addiction. Sadly, some of our students have experienced violence or persecution in their early years.

All feel that without Skyline’s support, they would not be able to pursue their educational goals and ambitions for a better life.  See the Skyline video and hear directly from the students about what the Skyline program means to them at https://youtu.be/bBNDXqTgpLE.

Where We Started

In 2001 after significant research and development by the Student Achievement Centre and John S Cheetham, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Support Pilot Program was initiated. Funded by the DOXA Youth Foundation the first intake of ten students commenced in 2002. The program was developed to fill a great need in the community offering encouragement and support to talented but disadvantaged young people, to enable them to complete their secondary school education.

The students embraced the benefits of the two-year program and achieved many successes. All students completed their VCE and proceeded on to university studies.

In 2004 the newly formed Skyline Education Foundation, founded by John Cheetham in memory of his late father Joseph, took over the running of the VCE Program. Renamed Skyline Education Foundation Australia in 2006, the program continues its work supporting talented young people in government schools and the community.

John Cheetham was the honorary Program Manager until his death in March 2009. His belief in the importance of education, coupled with his insight, energy and passion has resulted in 131 participants completing their VCE successfully to date with in excess of 98% receiving tertiary offers. Currently in 2016, 49 young people are taking part in the VCE Bursary Program.

Where We’re Going

Over the next decade, and with continued funding and support, we are committed to growing the Skyline Bursary Program and supporting many more students across Victoria to complete their VCE.

We are also dedicated advocates for the needs of talented and disadvantaged young people. To this end, our Program Manager Olwyn Gray,  recently joined the Victorian Government’s Gifted and Talented Education Expert Reference Group.

For more information on the Skyline Education Foundation Australia, please download a copy of the Skyline brochure or view a copy of our latest Annual Review.