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

From the Head of Senior School


The commencement of Autumn Term, with the first semester behind us, provides a great opportunity to reflect on one of the areas that helps make Scotch College such a vibrant and engaging environment. Our Year 12 boys have been outstanding in the manner in which they have led the school and set the tone for the younger students to follow. They have stepped up individually and collectively to encourage, support, challenge and guide. This has been evident around the yard, in House time and in co-curricular activities. An example of this was their presentation to the Year 11 boys in the lead up to the examination period, where they discussed their study habits and approaches to study, and provided some helpful hints about what to avoid.

Our vertical Mentor Groups are vital to this leadership model as they encourage the integration of our students from Years 9 through to 12. The senior students have the opportunity to lead their groups and boys are supported in having the opportunity to speak in front of that group. This skill is an important one and two of the activities undertaken in the Year 11 leadership course further add to this. The Triple H speeches, where students talk about a hero, hardship or highlight in their life and The Gettysburg Address, are both central to the course. The boys made their Triple H speeches last term in front of their peers within each House, and these were an outstanding success. It was not always the story or the manner of delivery that made a speech successful. In some cases, it was the fact that an individual had the courage to stand before his peers and share something close to his heart, or even just to step out of his comfort zone and speak in front of a group. Many of us find this very challenging, but it is an important skill to develop. We obviously see the fruits of this experience when our boys speak at events such as Assemblies or House Meetings or give readings in Chapel, but it is also evident in the smaller incidents that may go unnoticed by many. The times when a boy is now more comfortable in sharing his opinion within a small group, or is confident enough to raise his hand and ask a question in class or is more willing to engage in conversation with people he does not normally mix with. This is obviously just a very small part of leadership, but is a life skill that will help our students speak up, build new friendships and find new opportunities that they may have missed if they had not engaged with those around them.