The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Headmaster Dr Alec O'Connell

Headmaster's Reflections

Dr Alec O'Connell

Given what we originally believed lay ahead for Autumn Term, the thought of having been able to complete a full term of classes, never mind a full series of Thistle articles, seemed out of the realms of possibility. Anyway, here we are one week away from our extended mid-year break and much has been achieved, albeit in a different context with some interesting restrictions and challenges.


According to the dictionary, the word opportunity refers to 'a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something'. Over the last couple of weeks, I have had numerous chances to reflect upon the variety and extent of opportunities presented to our boys each and every day. Just to mention a few across the last fortnight, I have watched boys across all three sub-schools compete in sport, provide service to those less fortunate in our community, plan for online assemblies and chapels, prepare for exams, complete a myriad of class-based activities, participate in Music, head off to experience Perth-based Outdoor Education excursions, rehearse for our next production and, just last Friday, receive a series of Headmaster's Commendations showcasing the myriad achievements of our boys across the years.

My fortnight also included a surprise visit to my office from our Kindergarten students who were dressed up as Kindness Ninjas, bringing joy and love to others. No doubt I have left a number of things out, but with these examples I hope that you get my drift.

Opportunity is something not lost on our graduating year of Year 12s. Over the last three weeks I have been holding Headmaster House Lunches with the leaving class of 2020. The insights and feedback have been simply amazing. A common thread has been the boys' reference to the opportunities they have had across their journey. It has been especially interesting hearing our young men speak about their COVID-19 journey and what it has taught them. The most important feedback is about what we should never change at Scotch, and where we can improve. The boys' contributions have been both insightful and meaningful and will hopefully shape our plans moving forward.

As educators and parents, let us never take for granted the opportunities we all have at Scotch College to engage in the education of our students and support their ongoing journey. Having attended our supporter parent group meeting last week, it reminded me of how much enjoyment parents can get by becoming involved with the College. I am continually astounded and grateful at the level of support and volunteerism we receive from our families.

Pastoral care founded on harmony and partnership

At Scotch College, the concepts of harmony and partnership are at the core of who we are and why we exist. In a complex and challenging world, schools and families have to work in harmony and partnership if our students are to succeed and become functioning citizens after graduation. At times this relationship can be challenging and, in some cases, disappointing, however in the majority of cases it is the life blood of who we are. Likewise, our pastoral programmes and systems are in place to ensure that each student can journey through Scotch with dignity and safety. At all times we try and start from a basis of restorative strategies aimed at educating and guiding our students. However, at the end of the day there are times when the message simply does not get through and being a student at Scotch is a privilege, not a right.

Again, there are times, where for complex reasons, relationships between boys break down and require thoughtful and rational intervention. This is why we are here, to ensure that every boy is served and thrives through our Christian values and morals; while at the same time being given the life skills that teach resilience and promote balance; avoiding the development of learned helplessness or co-dependency.

A welcomed break

As we commence the last week of Autumn Term, let us all be grateful for being able to live, work and interact in this great community. More than ever before I have come to understand just how fortunate we are to live, work and play in such a special place. Obviously the last few months have posed some challenges, with more to come, however, this term has offered so much to our boys, staff, parents and the wider Scotch community. As I look forward to Winter Term, I do so knowing that it too will bring with it great experiences, challenges and excitement.

Have a great week, enjoy the break and most of all stay safe.

Dr Alec J O'Connell


Revd Gary van Heerden - Chaplain


Revd Gary van Heerden

A Healthy Human Being

Ashley Montagu (1905–99) was a British-American anthropologist. Seventy-five years ago, he published Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race.  The most recent 1997 edition remains in print. Apart from COVID-19, much of the world is debating issues of race, gender, identity and human development.

For Montagu, a healthy human being requires much more than satisfaction of physiological needs in childhood.

Here are some of the things he thinks contributes to a sense of fulfilment:

The need for love; friendship; sensitivity; the need to think soundly; the need to know; the need to learn; the need to work; the need to organise; curiosity; a sense of wonder; playfulness; imagination; creativity; flexibility; experimental-mindedness; resilience; a sense of humour; joyfulness; laughter and tears; optimism; honesty and trust; a desire to explore; compassionate intelligence; dance and song.

It is a large basket of hope and of vision and if we can pass some of these things onto our children, I think we have done well as parents.  

But I cannot help thinking of the millions of children in our world who are fortunate if they can have even one meal a day and/or fresh water. What is their future? And what about the millions of children in the affluent world who for one reason or another are nowhere near most of these visionary hopes?


Cara Fugill Director of Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

Mrs Cara Fugill
Director of Teaching and Learning

International Baccalaureate Assessments that teach real skills

When our children share with us that they have an upcoming assessment at school, as parents we think back to the tests we did when we were at school, ones that focused on remembering content and reciting definitions.

A well-designed assessment can not only test a student's understanding, but engage them in meaningful learning by asking them to draw on a wide variety of skills and build their aptitude for learning by making the task about different levels of thinking, rather than simple memory techniques. The International Baccalaureate, through the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP), captures this potential through the way it assesses students' learning.

Primary Years Programme

In the Junior School, our Year 4 students have just finished a unit of inquiry that asks them to research a "living legend" and present their research in a persuasive speech on why their legend could be the greatest of all time. Not only does this mean our nine-year-olds are learning about the characteristics of historical legends, they are also drawing upon complex thinking skills that are required to complete this task. To choose an appropriate person to research, find meaningful evidence of a legend possessing these important characteristics, communicate these ideas in a sequential and meaningful way, and to present this speech to an audience – makes this assessment so much more than a test of knowledge.

This process challenges the student to engage in an extensive project where they integrate so many important skills, while at the same time learning critical content and knowledge pertaining to Humanities.

Middle Years Programme

In the MYP, the assessments evolve. In Year 7 Science the students have learnt about why the cane toad was introduced into Australia to solve an ecosystem imbalance and why this generated further problems that still need resolving today. Rather than repeat this information in a test assessment four weeks later, the students are instead asked to use their research to consider the impact of introducing a known predator to the cane toad population to eradicate them. The assessment involves writing a persuasive essay to the Australian Government to either support or oppose the introduction of this predator.

By learning about the impact of human activity on ecosystems, the assessment has cleverly integrated concepts from Humanities and Science, and drawn upon skills learned in English to challenge students to, not only consider the broader impacts of decision making, but to effectively communicate their ideas, founded in research.

Diploma Programme

Our Year 12 students in the Diploma are tackling their Internal Assessments (IA). Unlike the assignments we completed at school, IA are open-ended investigations into better understanding the world through the eyes of a particular discipline . In fact, there is no question provided to students nor a topic to investigate; this  has to  be determined entirely by the student. Through generating the question, researching information, applying a rigorous process of exploration, reflection and refinement, only then are you are to successfully meet the criteria.

Watching our Year 12 Diploma students engage in this process helps one to understand why the Diploma challenges the students and teaches them important skills that will define their success at university, while providing them with a supportive framework to encourage successful outcomes.


Director of Student and Staff Wellbeing Mr James Hindle


Mr James Hindle
Director of Student and Staff Wellbeing

My Old Kayak

I have recently returned to kayaking on the Swan River in the early morning or the late afternoon. This is a pastime I have enjoyed for many years, although there are often rather long hiatuses in between. It is a wonderful time of the year because, although it is cold, there is not much  wind and this makes for ideal paddling conditions. My kayak is old; 34 years old to be precise. I have thought about replacing it and getting a new one, but for the amount of kayaking I do, and the standard I am at, there seems little point. It is a perfectly good kayak and it has served me well, so there really is no reason to throw it away. It carries scars from collisions with rocks as well as the sturdy repairs of my father, a man far more well-versed in the art of fibre -glassing then I am.

I love getting out onto the river for many reasons. Below are some of them, which I think apply to life more generally. Hopefully both you and your son have something similar to  this which provides the opportunity to reflect on how you live your life.

Sometimes, I am tempted to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. Some days it’s rough. Some mornings it’s cold and dark. Some evenings it rains. Some days I force myself to get up and go. Some days, I just can’t. There is always a part of me that knows it will be worth it. There is another part of me that knows I will be able to bask in the self-righteousness of knowing I have done a hard thing while many slumbered on or stayed inside where it is warm. Knowing we have done something challenging, that gives our routine a jolt, is a good thing.

Sometimes, there are stars still glowing. Sometimes there is the repetitive blinking of the red and green navigation markers. Sometimes there is the big old moon just sitting there waiting patiently for me to finish and the sun to rise. And some of the sunrises and sunsets I have seen have been spectacular. There is something special about the sky being reflected in the millpond of the water near Claremont. I feel a balance is restored to me afterward. To be outside, to be  in  the landscape, is a powerful thing.

I have learned to listen more intently. For the call of a seagull, for the engines of larger boats. And to look more closely. At the sky. At the world reflected in the water’s surface. Through the water to what lies beneath.  We can all be much more aware of the world around us.

At the start of my paddling, I pause, as I set myself the task – a direction and goal: which way is the wind blowing? Where am I heading and at what point will I turn and head for home? Half-way through, I get to the point of having to turn around and return to my start point. That is hard because I can see how far I have yet to go and I know there is no other way to get there but paddling. Sometimes, you just have to keep going.

I have developed what some might describe as a growth mindset which has started to infect other parts of my life: I try to go a little bit further than I thought I would; even if it is only thinking about going a little bit further, it is still a change in my approach to every task. I now entertain the possibility that I can do more and, by doing, so I find that I can.

At the end, I look forward to that moment as my kayak hits the beach; the satisfaction that I have done it. But there is also the knowing that the job isn’t done yet – I have to  get the kayak out of the water and lug it to the car and onto the roof rack. And then I  have to  lift it off again when I get home.  It’s a good feeling to know when the job is done, and it’s okay to reward myself in some small way.

I enjoy being alone; having time to think. I am always amazed at how few people there are out enjoying the river. I enjoy having to take a new perspective on things: in a kayak, you are low, close to the water level, looking up at the world. It is almost a child-like view, and it gives you a sense of scale and insignificance.

Sometimes, the wind does  blow  and I find myself fighting my very old, stubborn craft as it tries to head up into the wind and away from the direction I want to go.  Sometimes we  have to  work hard to move in the direction we wish to go.

Sometimes something unexpected occurs – dolphins jump out of the water as though in some sort of performance; or an osprey bathes itself in the shallows at Point Walter. But there are also familiar things – the nesting cormorants between the Scotch and Christchurch boat sheds; the marker at Point Resolution; the sandbar at Point Walter. Life is about finding a balance and a rhythm between the new and challenging and the familiar and comforting.

Wellbeing Events

We have had a busy two weeks, with the following events occurring or being planned and I am grateful to the many, many students and staff who have participated in these events and made them so enjoyable:

  • Year 2–12 gathering: 
    On Tuesday 16 June, we had over 40 Year 12s join our Year 2s in the Senior School library where they all read their favourite books, before we headed up to the lookout at the top of Collegians’ House and then had morning tea on the verandah;
  • Year 5–12 leaders’ gathering:
    On Wednesday 24June, our School Captain Charlie Bevan ran some team games with Year 12 and 5 leaders mixing in together to play tunnel ball and corner spry;
  • Junior School leaders’ lunch:
    I was fortunate to receive an invitation to this function thanking this semester’s leaders for the fine job they have done;
  • Junior School leaders’ speeches:
    Those boys keen to lead in the Junior School next semester addressed the school after lunch. The way the boys spoke was both thoughtful and respectful;
  • Year 6–8 Yogi in Residence: 
    Plans are well underway for us to run a week of Mindfulness in Middle School during class time in Week 2 of next term. More information will be provided to the boys closer to the date;
  • Middle School Boarding: 
    On Wednesday 24 June, I met with our Year 7 and 8 boarders for the first in a series of sessions designed to get them thinking about their own development, their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. These will run in Week 10 and into next term;
  • Year 10 Wellbeing afternoon:
    On Thursday 18 June Helen Heppingstone ran a mindfulness session for all our Year 10s. Mr Williams spoke to the boys on the important topic of Intimate Images laws; and I talked about shifting their thinking and behaviour from that of a boy towards that of a good man;
  • Senior School Men’s Health Week:
    In Week 9, our Year 11 students ran House meetings and mentor sessions, exploring the idea of the ’new normal’ – looking at what we have learned about ourselves and our world since COVID-19 hit. In Chapel, Charlie Bevan spoke with three Year 11s who bravely shared their experiences during this time. Terry Zhou spoke about the challenges of being here in Australia and unable to get home to China; Brenton Macauley spoke about being back in the Kimberley and Josh Ledger spoke about being in Canberra with his family 
  • Brain Reset sessions:
    These continue   each Wednesday after school and we will continue to offer these sessions for Year 11s and 12s next term.


All School Matters

Uniform Shop

Opening Hours

The shop will close for Autumn term at 11.30am, Friday 3 July.

School Holidays

The shop will be open on Monday 27 July (the day before Winter Term commences) from 9.00am – 12.00pm and 1.00pm – 4.00pm.

Winter Term

From Tuesday 28 July the normal term opening times will apply:

Tuesday: 8.00am – 5.00pm
Thursday: 7.30am – 11.30am
Friday: 7.30am – 11.30am


Year Group Contact Lists 2020 

We will send out the year group contact lists early in Winter Term to include all our new families.

Change of Contact Details

If your contact details have changed, please send your updated information to by Friday 14 August .


Reflections on ILT and COVID-19

Scotch College is a leading school of technology integration into its teaching and learning programmes.

Our commitment is to using technology appropriately, training its teachers in new pedagogies that integrate technology and developing skills in students to be better learners in an ever-changing world. The staff and students are well versed in a variety of technologies and learning within these environments. Our staff have built capacity and are adaptable. So, we should be prepared for any contingency, shouldn't we?

This was tested after an impromptu phone call from the Headmaster and a request to come and join a meeting.

"What would we do if staff and students had to isolate?"

Two days later was the first of six full days of professional development programmes scheduled to give every teacher opportunity to attend during breaks in their ongoing teaching workload. Those programmes reflected on which technologies would allow face-to-face contact, textual communication, and support individual meetings, reflecting a classroom experience but for students spread far and wide. The Teaching and Learning team structured a teaching programme on the existing timetable to support good learning outcomes, while limiting student screen time and giving them opportunity to work in different scenarios exercising their own self-management. Daily tasks were developed with clear learning intentions and weekly uploads provided formative evidence of task completion. The Pastoral team established daily contact points with students to maintain their wellbeing and to support their sense of community and connectedness. Frequent one-to-one teacher contact during classes provided further support for learning and wellbeing. It was important that technology was not just a delivery tool, but a robust mechanism to support a learning culture and social connectedness.

Each sub-school approached teaching in isolation from their own unique standpoint, but all were driven by the strong collegiality between technology integration, teaching and learning and pastoral care. Each resulted in programmes that best delivered the education and support needs of their student cohort.

Feedback from our stakeholders indicates Scotch College transitioned to the new unprecedented world very effectively. Staff and students moved quickly into the new teaching environment. Many teachers had to adapt their teaching approaches for isolation, and these have since been refined and retained as new classroom practice. Some students thrived in this environment, given freedom in the day to organise their learning effort and focus, taking on more responsibility and relying on their own self-management.

The learning technology communities across many schools have reported their shared experience – the speed, driven by necessity, with which technology was adopted and adapted into teaching was staggering. Their common goal now is to avoid 'snapback' – a return to how it was – associating those positive outcomes with the isolation, rather than good teaching practice.

Our successful outcomes during the COVID-19 isolation was not about the technology; it was not about the integration team; it was all about Scotch College's long-held commitment to integrating technology solely to enrich the teaching and learning journey of every student. It is because the College has a clear vision for learning, has technology platforms that are familiar and utilised, and has invested in capacity building.

Dr Nick Spadaccini
ILT Curriculum Integration Manager



Scotch College will be celebrating NAIDOC Week in Week 2 of next term. Students across the College will be involved in activity that explores the rich cultural bedrock of our nation.

In My Blood It Runs documentary screening

One event I would like to highlight is the public screening of the documentary movie In My Blood It Runs. This free event is open to everyone, parents, grandparents, neighbours, family members. The evening commences with an opening address by the Honourable Member for Curtin Ms Celia Hammond.

6.30pm, Wednesday 5 August 
Memorial Hall
Running time: 84 minutes (the screening commences at 6.45pm)

Mr Richard Ledger
Indigenous Programme Coordinator


Miss Penny Hooper Acting Head of Junior School

Junior School

Miss Penny Hooper
Acting Head of Junior School

Head of Junior School


The PYP attitude that the Junior School has been focusing on this last fortnight has been ‘confidence’.

‘I believe in my ability as a learner and have the courage to take risks, applying what I have learned, making appropriate decision and choices.’

I spoke to students through our online assembly, acknowledging the work that they have been doing to build this focus. As mentioned in my last Thistle article, the Year 5 boys were partaking in the Semester 2 Leadership Journey, the Kindergarten students ventured into the Junior School to spread some kindness, while the Year 2 students were wanting to take action to make a difference. The confidence focus has not stopped there.

Our Year 3 students have recently written to me to share their thoughts on the break times in the Junior School. Their writing was exceptional and while is was neatly written, it also showed the boys ability to write in cursive. Their arguments were well set out and supported. This showed that the students had confidence in their persuasive writing and construction of fair arguments.

Speaker’s Challenge

Year 5 classes have been completing speeches for the annual Speaker’s Challenge and recently the eight finalists came together to compete. The topics were entertaining and the boys who reached the final eight did an exceptional job in presenting to the Year 3–5 students and staff. This level of presentation, lasting three to four minutes, shows how confident the boys are at having a go. Congratulations to all Year 5 boys for presenting to their classes and well done to the final eight selected.


  • Angus McIntosh
  • Marcus Whittome
  • Samuel Keyte
  • Jasper Levy
  • Charlie Burton
  • Johnny Newall
  • Konrad Michael
  • Eugene Cha


The judges remarked on how close the competition was and that selecting the final three took a great deal of deliberation.

The overall winners for the competition for 2020 were:

  • 1st Place: Angus McIntosh with his speech “Positives and Negatives of Being a Kid”
  • 2nd Place: Charlie Burton with his speech “It’s a Pug’s Life”
  • 3rd Place: Eugene Cha with his speech “Why Tennis is Awesome”

Activity Days

The other major display of confidence surrounded the planned activity days that the Year 5 Captains hosted and organised. These days helped to raise environmental awareness and international awareness. The Junior School students wore green and blue to acknowledge the importance of the world around us. To appreciate the differences among us, students dressed up to show their international understanding for the International Dress Up Day. 

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Miss Penny Hooper
Acting Head of Junior School


Enrichment in the Junior School

Summer Term and Autumn Term have been an unusual period for our Junior School boys as the normal inter-school, regional and national competitions and initiatives were sadly cancelled due to COVID-19. However, we have continued to offer intra-school opportunities and external events are gradually resurfacing as restrictions are relaxed.

Speaker’s Challenge

Within the Junior School, we celebrated our first gathering in MacKellar Hall to hear the eight finalists in our Speaker’s Challenge event. The standard was exceptional and the boys both entertained and informed us with several cleverly crafted speeches that were confidently and eloquently delivered. Congratulations to our top three speakers, Angus McIntosh, Charlie Burton and Eugene Cha.

Tournament of Minds

Along with the Middle School, Scotch College has entered the Tournament of Minds competition once again. While this year’s challenge has been abbreviated and modified in order to satisfy social distancing regulations, we are nonetheless very excited to be a part of this event. This year there will only be one Super Challenge which will be filmed and submitted online, rather than the usual live competition day at ECU Joondalup. The boys will train throughout Autumn and Winter Term, giving up weekends and evenings, to prepare their submission. As a facilitator, the teacher’s role is one of supervision, as this challenge adheres to a strict policy that requires that the children have to do everything for themselves. Together our team is learning how to cooperate, innovate, design, evaluate and think critically, in order to produce a group video presentation that showcases their collaboration and work. Miss Cirillo and I are excited to watch our team develop and grow into a cohesive, creative unit. Well done to Billy Black, Charlie Burton, Angus McIntosh, Eryn Richards, James Ackerman, Ben Bloch and William Keenan for their efforts to date and we look forward to their final submission in September.

Lego League Club

Our First Lego League Club is midway through their preparations for this exciting event and their constantly evolving model encompasses coding, creativity and design for this technical challenge. Such is the popularity of this initiative that many of our previous contestants, now in Year 6, were so keen to be involved that two teams have now entered. Ms Louden and Mr Wells are overseeing this hub of innovation as the boys prepare for their finals in November of this year. Good luck to all competitors.


Meanwhile, many of our Junior School boys will be registering for the upcoming International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) and AMS papers, sitting test papers in Science, Mathematics, Writing and English. Please make sure to refer to the Head of Junior School Notices for all of the relevant dates should your son be interested in registering.

The College continues to be a stimulating place for our students; the cross-campus connections, the wide range of co-curricular opportunities and competitions; in addition to the skillful differentiated learning that occurs daily within each class, all add up to a programme of enrichment that crosses all domains and caters for all learning styles. The Junior School is continually developing in the area of enrichment and it is certainly an exciting time to be involved in such a growth sector.

Mrs Alison Webster
Junior School Enrichment Coordinator


French News

Bonjour everyone! As you may know, as well as teaching French in the Junior School, I coordinate the Sustainability Captains and I am a passionate environmentalist.

Our Junior School has a great track record for environmental awareness; with recycling bins in every class and the Environmental Club taking care of the school veggie patch and emptying the recycling bins every fortnight.

It was wonderful to see the two Semester 1 Sustainability Captains, Thomas Osling and Konrad Michael, run the very successful event to recognise World Environment Day on Friday 5 June. A day of free dress was held in the Junior School, where all boys were invited to wear a blue or green shirt to represent the ocean or the earth and to think about our planet.

Congratulations on a great event and to raising awareness amongst our students on issues that matter to all of us.


Au revoir,

Madame Vinton
Junior School Teacher


3W News

This term has been one of creativity and wonder, as I marvel at the imagination and originality of my students!

It has been utterly joyful to have the boys back in class and to be teaching face-to-face once again. We have been able to work collaboratively on STEM experiments (a big favourite), inquiry tasks and also engage in class discussions as we explored figurative language, genre, author's purpose and so much more. The class took action, employing their persuasive writing skills to pen a letter to Miss Hooper, asking for more recess time. Many boys have earned their pen licence and are to be congratulated on their wonderful penmanship. Sadly we were unsuccessful in our mission but the reasoning skills utilised were impressive and Miss Hooper was nearly convinced by their powers of persuasion.

Our new unit has explored 'How We Express Ourselves' and the boys have thoroughly enjoyed exploring different artists, styles and using a wide variety of mediums. Their work on Surrealism, Pop Art and Cubism showed a deep understanding of technique and the finished results were wonderful examples of how to interpret and showcase different perspectives. Such a talented class!

For our final assessment piece the Year 3 cohort are planning and rehearsing for Scotch Has Got Talent, a variety performance to showcase the individuality and skill of each boy as they produce an item that is an expression of themselves. I cannot wait to witness the spectacle and enjoy watching each boy celebrate their learning .

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Mrs Alison Webster
Year 3 Teacher


Mr Richard Ledger Head of Middle School

Middle School

Mr Richard Ledger
Head of Middle School

Head of Middle School

Thank you for your support over this very unusual Autumn Term. Your accommodation of the changes we have had to make, the boys' adaptability and the staff's flexibility has been amazing and is gratefully appreciated and recognised. Two big winners so to speak from the term has been the expansion of everyone's video creation and online skills and particularly for the boys the adoption of a much more rigorous hygiene regime. Long may it continue and the benefits be noticeable.

Our final online assembly of term was last Friday. From the commencement of next term we resume Assemblies in the Dickinson Centre or MacKellar Hall, while our Chapel services return to the College Chapel. I am particularly looking forward to the performance aspects of our assemblies once more and seeing the musicians and bands back on stage. If you have the opportunity to look at last Friday's online assembly, I encourage you to do so. Within it is an interview with Arad Rad, a Year 12 boarder who recounts his story as a refugee. Arad arrived at Scotch in Year 11. It is an impressive and uplifting story and beautifully compliments Rev Wall's homily about Dolly Parton's amazing backstory at the start of the assembly.

Semester Reports and Student Led Conferences

Semester 1 Reports are being finalised now and will be released online this Friday evening. Front and centre in the Semester 1 Reports is your son's reflection. It is a component your son has been working on this term and we hope it generates some conversation as the report is discussed and dissected over the holiday. Semester reports are just one component of the three-part reporting process: the continuous feedback following each assessment, Semester reports and in Week 3 next term your son will lead you through a Student Led Conference looking at his goals and strategies for the coming semester. For the first time our Student Led Conferences will be offered in an online format whereby interviews can be held with parents either at home or at work. I believe it will be just as rich an experience and hopefully a very time efficient experience too.

Enjoy the three week holiday, I look forward to seeing the boys again on Tuesday 28 July.


Year 8.6 – Exploring the Red Planet

Think into the future where the colonisation of Mars could become a reality. What would we need to survive on the Red Planet? How could we survive when the closest supermarket on Earth would take between 150–300 days to reach? Can we grow food in space?

This term, the students of 8.6 embarked on a scientific journey through our Earth and Space Science unit. This journey began by looking at the Red Planet, NASA and the International Space Station. Many boys took up the challenge to spot the space station and were excited to share their sightings with the class the following day.

During this scientific journey, through questioning, research and discussions, the boys identified that there was a need for a sustainable food source on Mars to allow human exploration to become a reality. This led to a scientific investigation to discover whether it is possible to grow food in space, and what would be the optimal conditions for plant growth. Through the use of an online plant growing simulator, the boys applied the scientific method and designed an experiment to test their hypothesis of the optimal growing conditions for tomatoes in space. If they produced a "monster tomato", they knew they were onto a winning combination of the optimal amount of water, fertiliser, temperature and light!

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Where to from here? To infinity and beyond!

Miss Rochelle Gaudieri
Year 8.6 Homeroom Teacher


Year 7.4 – Grateful to live in Perth

Throughout this term in iLearn the boys in 7.4 have been using critical thinking to explore what features make somewhere a great place to live. We explored factors such as environment, stability, health care, culture, infrastructure and education. The students and their teachers unanimously agreed that Perth is a fantastic place to live. The boys also recognised that they are very fortunate to be students at Scotch College.

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We also explored the impact that COVID-19 has had in many different countries. We soon realised that Perth is possibly one of the best places to be in the entire world right now. Tragically, some people in our Perth community have died and there are many people who have been economically impacted and have lost jobs; it is a challenging time for many. However when we compare the impacts of COVID-19 on our community, and the disruption it has caused to our daily life, to many other places around the world, we feel extremely lucky to live in such an amazing place.

Mr Peter Tresise
Year 7.4 Homeroom Teacher


Headmaster’s Commendations

Congratulations to the following Middle School boys who received a Headmaster's Commendation last week:




Cooper Campbell


AJ Merry


Austin Prendiville


Charlie Banfield


Xavier Risinger


James Wall


Cameron Sutherland


Joseph Finn


Jack Ashby


Cooper Royle


Jack Mayo


Important Dates — Middle School Autumn Term

For all upcoming events, visit our online calendar .



Wed 1 Jul

Free Dress Day

Year 6 Cross Country Trials lunchtime

Fri 3 Jul

Autumn Term concludes 3.15pm

Tue 28 Jul

Winter Term Commences Week 1B

Thu 30 Jul

Australian Mathematics Trust Competition

ySafe Student Workshops (TBC)

ySafe Parent Workshops (details to come)


Mr Peter Burt - Head of Senior School

Senior School

Mr Peter Burt
Head of Senior School

Year 12 Feedback Lunches

As the Headmaster mentioned in the previous edition of Thistle, over recent weeks the Year 12 students have met in House groups with the Headmaster and I to discuss different aspects of their time at Scotch College. This annual event takes place after the Semester 1 examination period and is an important part of the year where the Year 12s are encouraged to share their views about the school. Naturally, there are a number of different perspectives and we value the diversity of opinion and the varying suggestions contributed by these students. As each House group includes students who started in Junior, Middle and Senior School, their experiences are varied.

This year we focused on three main areas for discussion. The first was:

How do you think the COVID-19 situation has been handled by the school?

The students were encouraged to share their thoughts in an open and non-judgemental environment. The feedback was positive and focused mainly on communication, academics, wellbeing, co-curricular and connectedness to the College. Some points were raised that could be evolved further, such as how to improve the delivery of some of the courses' practical components, if a similar situation were to arise in the future. We will use these responses, as well as the feedback provided in the recent parent survey, to refine our approach if there is a need to return to online learning.

We will also look for opportunities to improve as a school, as we return to our 'normal' operations, hopefully in time for the start of Winter Term. It is incumbent on the College to learn from this experience and we feel it has provided us with a chance to look at how we operate and, more importantly, why we chose to do the things we do.

With that in mind, we also asked the Year 12 students to respond to two other questions:

Is there one thing about the College you would never change?

Is there one thing about the College you would change?

With a full cohort of students having the opportunity to respond, we gathered a wealth of information. The most common responses from our Year 12 cohort to the first question were:

  • Our traditions, for example: marching
  • The Mentor and House systems
  • Offering a choice of academic pathways
  • Compulsory PSA sport
  • Camps, tours and expeditions
  • Sense of community
  • Co-curricular opportunities in Music, Drama, Debating and Public Speaking

These are all areas that we value as a community and, while the feedback from our Year 12 students re-enforces their importance, we are always working to improve their delivery in order to engage the students, while remaining conscious of maintaining balance.

In terms of what the boys would change, the most consistent response was to further develop the pastoral connection with the Junior and Middle Schools. We have a number of activities that strengthen these links, including Year 2 and 12 get togethers, whole school events such as Boarding Day, Year 5 and 12 Leadership mornings, Transition Day for Year 8 boys and House activities that lead into the start of the year. However, we do believe we can further cultivate the pastoral connection between the sub-schools and will be exploring ways to advance this.

Mr. Peter Burt
Head of Senior School


Service and Citizenship

Mukti – Educate and Empower

"A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labour exploitation and disease and give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to reach their full potential."  – Audrey Hepburn

In December 2019, six Scotch College students and three teachers travelled to Maharashtra, India and spent a week working at Mukti Mission. The Mission was founded by Pandita Ramabai to educate disadvantaged and marginalised women and children. Ramabai established the school in 1889 in Mumbai with the opening of the Sharada Sadan, a school of learning for child widows. She proceeded to establish a residential community in Pune,  providing a home and loving community to all women in need. The intention was to ensure that women were accepted, nurtured, respected and equipped to take their place in Indian society.

Mukti Mission continues to be a place of empowerment and transformation – a Christian community committed to Christ's teachings. This community still provides shelter and a loving community to over 500 destitute women and children. The Mukti campus also has a hospital, nursing home, dental clinic, two primary and high schools, a special needs school, a nursery for abandoned babies and a church. It is estimated that Mukti has helped over 100,000 women and children since Pandita Ramabai first started the mission in 1889.

At Mukti, the Scotch College students and teachers were given the opportunity to participate in educational programmes and be a part of the Mukti Community. They experienced an organisation that cares for all: children loved and protected from exploitation; children empowered by education; children with hope for a better future.

Upon their return to Perth, the students and staff have entered into a partnership with the Mukti leadership and teachers to develop educational resources that will be beneficial to all who are involved. To that end, the student have proposed the following:

  • Develop a website that links Scotch College and Mukti. Guided by Mukti teachers who will specify their academic needs, Scotch teachers and students will create teaching resources and make them available online to Mukti teachers and students.
  • Fundraise to provide data projectors, improve internet facilities and transport textbooks.
  • Curate secondhand laptops to be used in Mukti classrooms by teachers and students.
  • Provide professional development for teachers through links with Scotch teachers.
  • Create support mechanisms for Mukti students struggling with the curriculum.
  • Devise support mechanisms to assist Mukti students to improve their proficiency in English, which is a language that provides more job opportunities in India.

This is a community service proposal fashioned by six students who appreciate the value of their Scotch education and wish to extend these opportunities to others.


Mr Michael Scaife
English Teacher


Year 12 Parents and Students

Year 12 WACE exam timetables have been released and students are able to access these via the Schools Curriculum & Standards Authority . Please ensure that you and your son are aware of this information and if you have any questions please get in touch.

Due to COVID19, the application process to respective tertiary institutions is different from previous years. From August to September, I will be conducting one-on-one interviews with all Year 12 students to discuss applications and to offer advice. Even if applications have been submitted, they are still able to be adjusted for several months.

All Year 12 students should have received a prospectus from each of the WA universities and a Year 12 WACE Information Handbook 2020.

For information on interstate and overseas universities visit the relevant websites or get in touch.

Year 12 Guide to University Entry in 2021

As a parent, what can you and your son do together?

  • Discuss various courses in the prospectuses that may be of interest to your son 
  • Gather more information by visiting university websites, or requesting further information from universities 
  • Be positive; don't panic (yet) and communicate with as many people as possible 

University Information

University of New South Wales Canberra

  • ADFA trainee officers study Arts, Business, Computing and Cyber Security, Engineering, Science, or Technology degrees (while receiving military training and subsidised accommodation and living costs)
  • Defence civilian undergraduate sponsorship students study Computing and Cyber Security or specialist Engineering degrees in Aeronautical, Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical (with full tuition fee scholarships and stipends)
  • Non-Defence undergraduate students study specialist Engineering degrees in Aeronautical, Civil, Electrical, or Mechanical or Engineering / Science double degrees (with paid work experience opportunities)

All students are provided with a unique study experience, access to custom-built facilities and resources, outstanding industry networks, and graduate with a degree from one of the top universities in the world. 

Learn more


Scholarship applications to most universities are now open and students need to start preparing their applications as soon as possible.

Scholarships information can be accessed on individual university websites  and by contacting myself . There are many different scholarships available with different criteria attached to each. Applications for scholarships are made directly to the university concerned but some are made via nomination by Scotch College and students will be notified of these in the near future

United States Education

The  EducationUSA Perth office is still closed, however, advisers are working from home to assist students and parents via phone and email. EducationUSA will be conducting a Virtual Week which will take place in the upcoming school holidays, beginning Monday 6 July.

Students need to register for these free events .

Virtual Week Flyer

Apprenticeships for 2021

Many large organisations are now recruiting for apprenticeships commencing in 2021.

Visit the Job Search sites or contact Apprenticeship Central at

Construction Futures

Learn about careers in construction and get involved with hands-on activities at the Construction Futures Open Day on Thursday 16 July 2020.

Session starts at 11am and run for 1.5 hours. To book a session time phone + 61 8 9244 0100 or email

July Revision Programmes

Mastermind — July Exam Preparation & Revision Programmes

This is a tuition opportunity for all students from Year 7 to 12. The July School Holiday Programs will offer students comprehensive subject revision in face-to-face physical classrooms as well as online virtual classrooms. These classes provide Year 12 ATAR students with comprehensive subject revision and help prepare them for their second semester exams. Students in Years 7–10 cover Study Skills, Essay Writing, Maths and English.

Week One
6–10 July
Christ Church Grammar School
Guildford Grammar School

Week Two
13–17 July
Hale School
Christ Church Grammar School
Methodist Ladies College


Mr Peter Frusher
Careers Advisor


Autumn Edition of The Raven

Congratulations to the following boys for their excellent writing or art and design work which is published in the new Autumn Edition of The Raven:

Xander Aakermann

Year 12, Stuart House

Taye Barlow

Year 11, St Andrews House

Lewis Castleden

Year 11, Stuart House

Digby Cleland

Year 12, Brisbane House

Patrick Eastough

Year 12, Ferguson House

Benjamin Edgar

Year 11, Brisbane House

David Falkiner

Year 12, Brisbane House

William Gagen

Year 11, Alexander House

Ethan Lamb

Year 12, Ross House

Jake Mackintosh

Year 11, Keys House

Elliott Mitchell

Year 11, Ferguson House

Will Partridge

Year 12, Shearer House

Cody Price

Year 11, Ferguson House

Andreas Schultz

Year 11, Cameron House

Hugo Ventouras

Year 11, Shearer House

Fraser Webb

Year 12, St Andrews House

Tom Westcott

Year 11, Shearer House

Sam Wolf

Year 12, Cameron House

Sebastian Wright

Year 12, Ross House

If students would like to submit creative writing to The Raven please send a copy to

Dr Jeannette Weeda
English Teacher – 2IC English


Important Dates — Senior School Autumn Term

For all upcoming events, visit our online calendar.


Boys' Achievements

Duke of Edinburgh

Bronze Level

Year 10

Tobias Evans (Alexander House), Thomas Sounness (Brisbane House), Julius Kain (Brisbane House), Kalani Locke (Shearer House)

Year 11

Oliver Barrett (Brisbane House), Remi Brossard (Brisbane House), Oliver Constantine (Shearer House)

Year 12

Will Partridge (Shearer House) and Charlie Radici (Cameron House)

Silver Level

Year 11

Jim Allan (Cameron House), Simon Arnott (Ross House), Max De Nardi (Stuart House), Hugh Mitchell (Keys House), Bailey Thomson (Brisbane House), Yan Zhou (Cameron House)

Year 12

Arad Rad (Shearer House), Gianni Kain (Brisbane House), Matthew Steinepreis (Cameron House)

View as a table

Winter Sport Captains


Captain: Rory Bruce (Stuart House)

Cross Country

Captain: Joshua (Josh) Keatch (Keys House)
Vice Captain: Max Shervington (Anderson House)


Captain: Hamish Gooch (Keys House)
Vice Captain: Riley Waters (Anderson House)


Captain: Max Freedman (St Andrews House)
Vice Captain: Angus Walsh (Ferguson House)


Captain: Damian Haynes (Stuart House)


Captain: Jamie Johnstone (Anderson House)
Co–Vice Captain: Liam Howgate (Anderson House)
Co–Vice Captain: Andrew Walton (Keys House)

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Certificates of Academic Excellence

Year 12

Charlie Bevan (Alexander House), Ronan Cameron (Anderson House), Alex Chew (Brisbane House), Adam Darley (Anderson House), James Devereux (Ferguson House), Ashley Edgar (Brisbane House), Santino Febbo (Ross House), Giancarlo (Gianni) Kain (Brisbane House), Patrick Latchem (Ferguson House), Casey Lawrence (Ferguson House), Aidan Matthews (Cameron House), Eden Messina (Keys House), Darius Opie (Shearer House), Charlie Radici (Cameron House), Max Shervington (Anderson House), Lachlan Simpson (Stuart House), William Steinberg (Brisbane House), Matthew (Matt) Steinepreis (Cameron House), Arun Tibballs (Shearer House), Sam  Wake (Brisbane House), Andrew Walton (Keys House), Reuben Westerman (Keys House), Daniel Wiese (Keys House), Samuel (Sam) Wolf (Cameron House).

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Year 11

Jim Allan (Cameron House),  Michael Arts (St Andrews House), Taye Barlow (St Andrews House), Oliver Barrett (Brisbane House), Pearson Chambel (St Andrews House), Oscar Clements (Alexander House), Max De Nardi (Stuart House), Xavier Dry (St Andrews House), Benjamin Edgar (Brisbane House), William Gale (Ross House), Jolyon Harrison-Murray (Stuart House), Matthew Kerfoot (Keys House), Nicolas Le Page (Anderson House), Joshua Ledger (Alexander House), William (Will) Marshall (Ross House), Taj Massey (Ferguson House), Alexander Melville (Ross House), Elliott Mitchell (Ferguson House), Hugh Mitchell (Keys House), Heath Muller (Ross House), Dylan Palmer (Keys House), Oliver Perrin (Cameron House), Andreas Schultz (Cameron House), Benjamin Scott (Ross House), James Shaw (Ferguson House), Connor Smith (Anderson House), William Taylor (Ferguson House), Thomas (Tom) Veitch (Keys House), Richard Walton (Keys House), Maxwell (Max) Weir (Brisbane House), Thomas (Tom) Westcott (Shearer House), Yan (Terry) Zhou (Cameron House).

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Year 10

Samuel (Sam) Beattie (Ross House), Henry Cooper (St Andrews House), Oliver Cropp-Chabanne (Brisbane House), Banjo Harold (Cameron House), Nelson Hegge (Stuart House), Mitchell Hyde (Stuart House), Harry Jenour (Brisbane House), Thomas (Tom) Liston (Ferguson House), Jackson Loader (Ross House), Aidan McKie (Cameron House), Julien Montandon (Cameron House), Lochlan O'Brien (Cameron House), Fletcher O'Connell (Cameron House), Sean Palmer (Keys House), Emanuel Radici (Cameron House), Kofi Raffan (Anderson House), Raphael (Raff) Schinazi (Keys House), Thomas Sounness (Brisbane House), Nicholas Van Wyk (Anderson House), Henry Vaughan (Alexander House), James Walker (Alexander House), Kody Waters (Keys House).

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Year 9

Benjamin Berglin (Shearer House), Aidan Brookes (Ross House), Harry Burbury (Shearer House), James Cowan (Stuart House), Jaxon Douglas (Keys House), Henry Feutrill (Stuart House), James Fraser (Anderson House), Marco Ghiselli (Alexander House), Thomas (Tom) Gray (Shearer House), Oliver Hayers (Ross House), Thomas Jackson (Brisbane House), Daniel Kerfoot (Keys House), Alexander Lee (Anderson House), Fletcher McIntosh (Alexander House), Alasdair Orr (Ferguson House), Jason Pocock (Cameron House), Samuel (Sam) Romero (Ferguson House), Harrison (Harry) Smith (St Andrews House), Oscar Sumich (Brisbane House), Andrew Walker (Keys House).

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Mathematics Competition Winners

Have Sum Fun Mathematics Competition (North Metropolitan Years 11 and 12)

First place (in a team): Jim Allan, Year 11 (Cameron House), Oliver Barrett, Year 11 (Brisbane House), William Steinberg, Year 12 (Brisbane House),  Thomas (Tom) Westcott, Year 11 (Shearer House), Daniel Wiese, Year 12 (Keys House), Yan (Terry) Zhou, Year 11 (Cameron House).

Australian Mathematical Olympiad

Perfect Score and Gold – William Steinberg, Year 12 (Brisbane House); Bronze – Daniel Wiese, Year 12 (Keys House); Honourable Mention – Oliver Barrett, Year 11 (Brisbane House); Participation – Yan (Terry) Zhou, Year 11 (Cameron House)

XXXII Asian Pacific Mathematical Olympiad 2020

Silver Award – William Steinberg, Year 12 (Brisbane House)

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Upcycling Free Dress Day

This year in the Senior School, the Service Council has put an emphasis on service activities that try to engage the students in the issues that they are helping, with this in mind, we are running events that do not solely involve the donation of money. Take for example the upcycling free dress day on the 25 June.

Scotch has a free dress day roughly every term, however this time, the Service Council wanted to try something a little bit different.

Normally, students would themed free dress and donate a gold coin, which would go towards a specific charity. With this free dress, instead of donating a gold coin, students had to bring in an item of old clothing which would be donated to the Salvation Army.

The Service Council felt that, by getting boys to donate something other than money, they would think about the sorts of clothes they were wearing and hopefully become more appreciative for the clothes that they have. All in all, it the slight change in the donation system paid off, with hundreds of items of clothing being donated.

The Service Council was very happy with this outcome and looks forward to implementing more service activities that don’t just revolve around fundraising.

Ronnie Fellows-Smith
Year 12, Service Council


Year 5–12 Activities

The Year 5–12 morning activities are a chance for the Senior School boys to get to know some of the younger members of our community.

Although we may be different in age, some of the experiences we are going through, especially the role of being leaders, is something that we share. Whether we're just having a chat or playing some sport, it's always great to learn about the boys and what Scotch is like for them.

I hope that they can gain something from spending time with us, as we certainly love the energy and excitement that they bring to our time together.

Charlie Bevan
Captain of School 
Year 12, Alexander House


Support Groups

Scotch Parents

We are excited to announce our next Scotch Parents meeting will be held 7pm, Wednesday 1 July  in the Dickinson Centre.

We are fortunate to have Headmaster Dr Alec O’Connell taking us on a tour of the new Mathematics and Commerce Building. To indicate your interest, please RSVP by Tuesday 30 June to This is our first evening meeting this year and we would love to get to know our new parents, so please come along to hear how you can become involved.

With WA moving into Phase 4 of social restrictions, we are happy to see the resumption of Scotch Parents’ functions, including coffee mornings, class and year functions from next term. As always these will be advertised in The Thistle and on the Scotch Parents webpage. If you haven’t already registered, please make sure to request membership access (via the website), so you can be kept up-to-date.

On behalf of Scotch Parents, I wish all our families a very safe and relaxing mid-year break and we look forward to a busier second half of 2020.

Ms Kate Reynolds
Scotch Parents President


Michael Silbert President of the OSC


Mr Michael Silbert
President of the OSC

Old Scotch Collegians

Following the disruption caused by COVID-19, it now feels as if we are moving towards normality.

Reunions & Events

We have tentatively set dates for a number of our reunions and events, and we hope that many members of the Old Scotch Collegians community will take the opportunity to reconnect with their fellow alumni. You will find the list of upcoming events in the latest edition of the OSC newsletter, The Talca-More.

As provisional forward planning, reunions will be spread over the last few months of 2020 and spill over into 2021. This means that for some cohorts, you will celebrate your 'decade+1' reunion.

We have also scheduled some of our annual events for the remaining months of 2020. Please note these are very much subject to change and will be dependent on what is happening in the external environment.

Industry Mentors

A number of our OSCs, who have recently graduated or are nearing graduation from tertiary education, have reached out in the hopes of connecting with industry mentors, contacts or work experience in their chosen field or endeavour. If you would like to offer your experience, advice or workplace, please contact the OSC office.


Community Notices

Community Notices

Footpath Reconstruction – Shenton Road

The Town of Claremont will be undertaking a footpath reconstruction project on the north side of Shenton Road, between Derby Street and Wright Avenue, from Monday 13 July. They aim to complete these major works before Friday 17 July, weather permitting.

Learn more

Skate Park Consultation – Cottesloe

The Town of Cottesloe are seeking feedback on the community’s interest in skate park and the proposed location of Grant Marine Park. 

Complete survey