Indigenous Australians need real engagement, and not slogans. Here's how we're doing our part to invest in young Australians, wherever they may live.

The quick facts

  1. Scots currently educates eighteen Indigenous boys — funded by donors to the Indigenous Education program
  2. We prioritise Indigenous boys from disadvantaged backgrounds — and invest the time necessary to bring about lifelong improvement to them and their communities
  3. Our program is based in an on-the-ground approach — we spend a lot of time getting the mix of boys right

Each year, the Indigenous Education program fields around 40 applications from Indigenous boys across Australia. Some applicants are successful students from around the Sydney metropolitan region. With applications supported by a stable home, and all of the advantages that come with it, many of these students enjoy priority in other schools' Indigenous programs because of the little time they will take to settle in.

We have a different approach. 

Jonny Samengo
Jonathan Samengo, Executive Officer of Indigenous Education
We prioritise boys that come from disadvantaged backgrounds who will need a great deal of help, guidance and care to succeed.

We prioritise boys that come from disadvantaged backgrounds who will need a great deal of help, guidance and care to succeed. Importantly, most boys we shortlist have been recommended by their primary school as boys with potential and a proven record of attendance and commitment to school, despite their disadvantage.

For many, especially those from remote communities, their early achievement is at risk as they enter adolescence. 

In all likelihood, their local high school will be a barrier, rather than an aide, to their continued advancement. No young person can be reasonably expected to 'go it alone' and inoculate themselves against the socioeconomic pile blight of mass incarceration, welfare dependency, and teen fatherhood. Together, with their families, we offer these promising students a chance to break the cycle and celebrate their culture in new and wonderful ways.

But this project takes time. A lot of time. 

From the point of application, we invest the time to visit boys in their communities — whether they hail from 8 or 2,700km away.

Airplane Torres Strait
Travelling to Thursday Island, QLD
Thursday Island
Travelling to Thursday Island, QLD
JS with Indigenous applicant parent
Visiting Thursday Island, QLD

Our practical experience tells us that it takes years of careful mentoring and support for our young Indigenous men to reach their full potential. Like raising any young person, there are ups and downs; but crucially we have to invest for the long haul should we wish to reap the fruits of our care.

To give ourselves the best chance of success, we spend a lot of time getting the mix of new boys right to achieve our ultimate objective. We pay careful attention to the dynamic of a boarding house and make sure that our high need students are cared for and supported by outstanding, and dedicated staff. We always ensure, that in every Year 7 cohort, there is one aspiring Indigenous scholar. 

Our ultimate goal is to transform lives, give good kids an opportunity and do our small bit to end disadvantage and discrimination. 

Our ultimate goal is to transform lives, give good kids an opportunity and do our small bit to end disadvantage and discrimination.

We will never close the gap on our own, nor will we ever truly make up for the errors of the past. But we can help make a difference, on the ground, by supporting local primary school leaders with a pathway for their students. Through partnerships of hope, we will raise fine young men who can lead in their communities.

Our program isn't just about bold statements — it's about lives changed. 

A great example of that is one of our new students, Sheldon. Hailing from Maningrida in Arnehm Land, Sheldon's principal recommended him for his intelligence, tenacity, resilience and ability to turn up to school, every day, all by himself, when few of his friends or family do the same.  This young man achieved all that while coming from a very fragmented family, who faced their own challenges; leaving him mostly in the care of his grandmothers, one of whom recently passed away. We were all impressed by Sheldon’s ability to focus on school, with so much instability around him. 

There is an old African proverb that ‘it takes a whole village to raise a child’. 

For us, it takes a whole boarding community to raise a child. Success for a boy like Sheldon comes not only from the dedicated Macintyre staff, but also from the support and help of all our boarding families. 

Our program enjoys considerable support from our residential community, and for this we are very grateful. 

Boys like Sheldon feel at home when they are in an environment that respects their individuality and their culture. Beyond that, they thrive when shown the care, patience and love that every child needs. Over the next six years, Sheldon will enjoy stability and support, and with that, he has a chance to ultimately live a life of success. Just a chance, not a guarantee. Macintyre will help a bit, Glengarry will help a bit. His friends, dorm mates and their families will help a lot. But as with all our children, we can do no more than offer them every chance at success — hopeful that their experiences will hold them in good stead as they embrace the world. 

All children deserve to be known and loved, they must be given every chance to rise to the surface and it is our job to never leave them behind.