4 February 2019

Dear Students, Staff, Parents, OSCs and friends of Scotch College

Welcome back to Spring Term 2018. For our Years 10-12 students this time of the year marks the commencement of a new academic school year. For the staff it marks a very busy period as a new year gets up and running. As we all know, the term which leads up to the end of the calendar year will pass by very quickly.

I often provide commentary on the strength of our combined community. If anyone needed further clarification or confirmation then they did not need to look any further back than to the events of last week; a week where we welcomed a number of new staff, students and their families, and a week that culminated in one of the few times our whole school gathers as one at March Out.

In my time at Scotch College I have now seen eight March Outs, and there is no doubt in my mind that this day is a highlight of our annual calendar. Seeing every student from Pre-K to Year 11 watching the Year 12s march past is a wonderful 'rite of passage' symbol. Most importantly the week reinforced the importance of cultural transmission and aspirational leadership. When I watched many of our graduating Year 12s interacting with our Year 2s at an annual leadership event after March Out, it gave me a great sense of pride in our senior students and hope for the future they will no doubt forge.

  hm01.jpg                  hm02.jpg

From where I stood it seemed like the largest attendance we have experienced; and this is saying something in itself. I would like to thank everyone who attended. Your attendance provides tacit support to our graduating Year 12s, and more generally provides a ringing endorsement of what we stand for as a College.

This year's March Out was also a significant event in that it is the last time our Chaplain, Rev Lewis, presided over our service. For over 30 years Chas has provided our community with spiritual oversight and guidance for which we truly offer our thanks and gratitude.

hm03.jpg

Growth and development are a part of any vibrant community, and with the commencement of the new teaching and learning building (T and L) and the ongoing work on our Chapel, there is much to look forward. The bulk of the Chapel refurbishment will be complete by the end of this year, while the T and L will be completed at the end of 2019 for a 2020 opening. Our Chapel project represents a recommitment to our founding Christian principles, while the new teaching facility will ensure we stay at the forefront of contemporary education for many years to come.

As we start a new academic year it is useful to remind ourselves of some of the key elements that lead to school improvement. Zabar et al. highlight ten points which contribute to a climate of improvement in schools:

  1. Engendering strong, shared leadership;
  2. Articulation of high levels of expectations of students and teacher efficacy. Good teaching is what really matters;
  3. Ensuring an orderly learning environment as a precondition;
  4. Focusing on student learning and progress;
  5. Building teaching and leadership expertise;
  6. Structuring teaching to ensure that all students experience personal success;
  7. Using data to drive improvement;
  8. Creating a culture of sharing and responsibility;
  9. Tailoring initiative to the overall direction of the school; and
  10. Fostering and promoting pride in the school.

When I look at this list I am very confident that we are continuing on the right path. Last week encompassed many of these points and there is simply no doubt that Friday's Assembly and March Out delivered in spades on fostering pride in our School.

   hm04.jpg     hm05.jpg

I ask that all families keep our Year 12s in their thoughts and prayers as the boys prepare to finish off their formal schooling. Not everyone is sitting final exams but all of the students will welcome your support for whatever endeavour they pursue over the coming few weeks.

Have a great fortnight.

Dr A J O'Connell
Headmaster