The College weekly news highlights all activities throughout the College each week. A reminder of weekly news is distributed to the College community via email each Friday but can be viewed online at any time.

Across Campus

Principal’s Message

Vale Dr John Morris AO MBE

On Monday of this week, family, representatives of Scotch Oakburn College and members of the community paid their respects to Dr John Morris AO MBE at his Memorial Service at St John’s Church in Launceston. Dr John made an incredible contribution to Scotch Oakburn College and the Launceston community over his lifetime. His service to our College extended for over 45 years at Board, Committee and Foundation level.

He became Chairman of the Oakburn College Council in 1973 and remained Chairman of Scotch Oakburn College Council after amalgamation until he ‘retired’ to the position of Deputy Chairman in 1991 where he served until 1995. In his role as Chairman of the Oakburn College Council, Dr John played a significant and leadership role in championing the amalgamation of the two schools, which had its beginnings in about 1970. Dr John’s diplomacy and sensitivity with all aspects of the amalgamation (leading up to and during) led to a smooth and successful transition to the new Scotch Oakburn College. He served on many sub-committees of Council, including: directing Strategic Planning and as a member of the Capital Planning Committee, worked tirelessly to make improvements to the facilities at the College. The 1978 press release announcing the amalgamation emphasises Dr John’s strong support and commitment to providing a quality education and the need for a school to be “…flexible to meet the changing needs of society”.

Dr John was involved in the College as a member of the Foundation until 2016 and in this way remained a great contributor to our Board and the College. He was one of the founding members of the organisation and was one of the Directors on the inaugural Executive of the Foundation in 1985. In 1992 he assumed the role of President of the Foundation and guided it to becoming a very successful and important associated body of the College. He was a Life Member of the Foundation.

In 1987 the Council honoured his contribution to the College by naming the new Senior School Library the Dr John Morris Library. In the Scotch Oakburn Newsletter in 1987, the then Principal, Mr David Hone, provided an insight into Dr John’s contribution at that time, which continued until so very recently.

“Today Sir, in naming our new Library the John Morris Library we are saying thank you for all you have done, and will continue to do for the school without ever counting the personal cost in time and energy and without ever receiving or expecting to receive any material reward. We thank you for your leadership, wisdom, guidance and humility over 14 years as Chairman of the Oakburn College Council and the Scotch Oakburn College Council.”

On behalf of the College, our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr John’s wife, Judy, and the whole family at this difficult time.

Andy Müller

Cricket and sportsmanship

This Saturday our Second XI cricket team will be travelling to Hobart to play The Hutchins School in the State 2nds cricket final.

The team had a miraculous win against previously undefeated Hutchins to make the final. Chasing 178 Scotch Oakburn 2nd XI were 7 for 48 staring at defeat. However a wonderful partnership between Sam Canny (91 no) and Angus Winspear (37 no) carried the team to an outstanding win. To say the team was excited is an understatement and we wish them and coach Ian Hunt all the best for the final on Saturday.

On another inspiring note during our Year 8 game against St Patricks College, coach John Gaby was in awe of the sportsmanship shown by one of our players. The player, Harry Bayles, after the St Patricks player was given out run out, called the batsman back as he believed he knocked the bails off before he had the ball in his hand. John commented that this type of sportsmanship is why he coaches and is involved with Middle School cricket. Harry and the team are to be congratulated on this display of sportsmanship.

Rob Jeffery
Director of Cricket

2017 Head of the River

Ninety two rowers  from Under 13 through to the Senior Boys/Girls competed at the annual Head of the River held at Lake Barrington 18 March. Rowers competed in a range of events including Singles, Double and Quad Scull events and in addition to Under 16 and Senior Fours and Eight’s.

For our Under 13 Girls and a few of the Under 13 Boys, this would be their first Regatta experience this season, they did a wonderful job in their Quad Sculls races. We look forward to seeing them continue to develop their skills over the coming seasons.

The conditions Lake Barrington were at times difficult; however, all our rowers did their very best on the day and should be proud of their achievements. A just reward for all the hard work put in this season.

Scotch Oakburn College had some excellent results in both Division One and Division Two races.

Division Two races:

Second place to Under 16 Boys Quad Sculls – Will Birchmore, Sam Williams, George Taylor, Harry Cook, Ben Russell (cox)
First place to Under 15 Boys Double Sculls – Reagan Lipplegoes and Lachlan Stewart

Division One races:

Third place to Under 16 Boys Double Scull – Oliver Cox & George McShane, Under 15 Boys Quad Sculls – Reagan Lipplegoes, Lachlan Stewart, Harry Cook, Roo Colley, Ben Russell (cox), Lachlan Breden Under 13 Boys Single Sculls, Lindsay Calvert Under 14 Girls Single Sculls, Lachlan Breden and Harry Birchmore Under 13 Boys Double Sculls.

Second place to Senior Boys Four – Hugh Bradley, Cameron George, Sam Hebert, Jacob Finnigan, Ned Napier (cox), Under 16 Boys Quad Sculls – Tom Dowling, Bradley Lawrence, Oliver Cox, George McShane, Roland Lockwood (cox), Senior Boys First Eight – Henry Napier, Finn Colley, Hamilton Cox, Hugh Bradley, Cameron George, Sam Herbert, Jacob Finnigan, Ned Napier (cox).

First place to Under 16 Boys Eight – first time Scotch Oakburn College has won this event. Tom Dowling, Bradley Lawrence, George Taylor, Sam Williams, Hamilton Cox, Will Birchmore, Oliver Cox, George McShane, Roland Lockwood (cox).

On behalf of the rowers, I would like to take this opportunity to thank teachers and fellow students for their support leading up to the Head of the River and to those of you who were at Lake Barrington at the weekend. Your support and encouragement was fantastic. All the best to those still competing in their summer sport as you head towards the conclusion of your competitions this term.

Jamie Breden
Director of Rowing

Japanese Visitors to Scotch Oakburn College

The beginning of the March long weekend saw the beginning of our Japanese visitors to Scotch Oakburn College.  Three boys from our sister school, Owada International Junior High School, have been experiencing how life is as a student at TCE level for the past two weeks.  Many thanks go to the Preece family and the Stuart family for their generosity with hosting.

This week another contingency of 18 Japanese students have experienced a week-long home stay, classes with their host, Japanese classes with Years 8 to TCE students and some specialist sessions.  These included creating Australiana photograms with Miss Dilger, making keyrings out of Australian woods with one of Mr Dobson’s TCE classes’ guidance, a cooking demonstration and food sampling session with Mrs Knight, an energetic singing segment with Mrs Denise Sam and joining in with some fun and high energy PE classes.  It was great to see the enjoyment on the faces of the Japanese students when undertaking this program.

All students from Year 8 to TCE studying Japanese this year had the opportunity to interact with the Japanese visitors and many discovered that what you put into a situation was what you reaped.  It was a time to test out spoken and written Japanese skills with the visitors and they in turn tried out their English.  There were some funny moments and no doubt the visitors will have many fond memories of their school experience at Scotch Oakburn.

A highlight was probably going to Trowunna wildlife park to see Australian animals at close range.

Special thanks go to all the hosts who generously opened their homes so that this experience could be possible for the Japanese students.

Jenny Banbury
Japanese Teacher

SATIS Swimming Carnival

The SATIS Swimming Carnival will be held in Hobart at the Hobart Aquatic Centre on Thursday 30 March.  The bus will depart the Boarding House at 6.45am and return around 5.30 pm. Warmup begins at 9.30am with races beginning at 10.30am sharp.

Jane Gregg
Person-in-Charge – Swimming

Swimmers Shine at NSATIS Swimming Carnival

On Wednesday 15 March our swimmers competed at the annual NSATIS Swimming Carnival, held at Launceston Aquatic Centre.  All students put in an outstanding effort and were justly rewarded with an overall third placing at the conclusion of the day.  The College was successful in securing the U13 and U16 Girls Pennant. Whilst the majority of our relays came 1st, 2nd or 3rd, reflecting the depth of our swimmers at the College, the highlights of the meet was the record achieved by the U16 Girls in the 4 x 50m Freeestyle Relay in a time of 2.05.49.  Members of this relay were Dawson Howell (Year 10), Zoe Neville (Year 10), Layne De Jonge (Year 10) and Amy Halaby (Year 10). Other outstanding performances on the day were as follows:


Amy Muldoon (Year 7)  50m Freestyle – 1st  50m Butterfly – 1st  50m Backstroke – 1st
Wylie Howell (Year 7)  50m Breastroke-1st  50m Freestyle – 3rd Madison Mackenzie (Year 7) 50m Breastroke – 2nd


Ellie Muller (Year 8) 50m Breastroke – 3rd 50m Backstroke – 3rd
Cooper Foot-Hill (Year 8) 50m Breastroke – 2nd


Jonty Pretorius (Year 9)  50m Freestyle – 2nd  50m Breastroke – 1st  100m Freestyle – 3rd


Dawson Howell (Year 10)  50m Freestyle – 1st  50m Breastroke – 1st  50m Backstroke – 1st  100m Freestyle – 1st
Zoe Neville (Year 10)  50m Freestyle – 2nd  50m Backstroke – 3rd
Sam Canny (Year 11)  50m Breastroke – 2nd
Edward Watson (Year 9)  50m Backstroke – 3rd


Alex Grove (Year 11)  50m Breastroke – 3rd

All swimmers are to be congratulated for their performance on the day.  We now look forward to the SATIS Swimming Carnival which will be held on Thursday 30 March at the Hobart Aquatic Centre.

Jane Gregg
Person-in-Charge Swimming

Student Attendance – Penquite Campus

There are a number of regular procedures we have in place at the College to assist us in keeping track of student movement during school hours.

There are two key Student Reception locations on the Penquite Campus:

Middle School Reception – Front of HPEC Building
Senior School Student Reception – John Morris Centre

If a student is absent from the College for any reason for all or part of a school day, we ask parents/guardians to contact the SOC HOTLINE –  6336 3400.

We would appreciate calls to be made as early in the day as possible.  For longer term absence, please contact the appropriate Head of School well in advance of the proposed absence.

Late Arrival
Should a student arrive late for any reason he/she must report to the relevant Student Reception location.  Students will be asked to produce a note from their parent/guardian to explain the reason for lateness and this reason will be entered into the College database.  Please use the Student Planner to record these notes.

Early Departure
If a student needs to leave the College during the school day, they must report to the relevant Student Reception with a note from their parent/guardian indicating the reason for early departure.  Details of the early departure will be recorded in the College database by Student Reception staff.  Should a note not be provided, staff in Reception will contact the student’s parent/guardian by telephone to obtain verbal permission for the student to leave the Campus.

Senior Students participating in cooperative classes with other schools are required to check into Student Reception upon their departure and return.  A list of these students is kept at Student Reception.

Year 12 Students
Year 12 students are expected to be on campus for all scheduled classes but are afforded the opportunity to independently manage their study lines classes in Periods 1 and 2 or Periods 6 and 7 should they prefer to study at home. In such instances, students must sign in and out at Student Reception as they arrive on, or depart the campus. It is imperative that Year 12 students recognise that this opportunity to study from home does not extend to Periods 3, 4 and 5 on any day.

This information can be found on page 12 of the Student Planner.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Nance House Chapel rescheduled

A reminder that the rescheduled Nance House Chapel service will be on Wednesday 29 March at 5.45pm. We look forward to seeing all Nance House families.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

ANZAC Day March – Tuesday 25 April

The ANZAC Day March is during the Term One break. Students wishing to march this year are to meet at the fountain in Princes Square at 9.45am wearing their full winter uniform. An information letter can be collected from either Reception or found here on The Dash .

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Community news

We are pleased to provide a community news section in our news highlighting news from the wider Launceston community that may be of interest to families. Included this week:

  • Rotary Youth Exchange information evening – Year 9 to 11

Junior School

Harmony Week

‘Put a little love in your heart’, sung by the Year 2 choir at this week’s Friday Junior School Chapel gathering, was the theme of the Chapel time led by Year 2 Gibson. The messages about love, kindness and generosity, shared so well by the students, drew together much of Harmony Week’s learning for us all.

Students in Early Learning Beaumont, Black, Hurd and Preece prepared and shared together a multicultural morning tea during the week. A wonderful cultural display and exhibition organised by three of our Chinese teachers, Lutong Cordell, Lexie Liu and Lei Sun, was followed by a special lunch on Friday.

This year’s Harmony theme, ‘everyone belongs’ links directly to the College’s core value of ‘inclusivity’ and has been a focal point for all members of the school community as we celebrate our rich cultural diversity.

Curious about Lemana

Who carved and made the details of the features in Lemana building?

How was the dome made?

Who lived here when Lemana was a home?  Did they have servants?

These are some of the questions which have inspired Year 2 Robinson students in their history investigations this term. All Year 2-5 students and staff, along with parents and friends of 2 Robinson, felt the passion with which the class has embraced their research and recording of the history of Lemana when the students shared their learning at this week’s LIVE@Elphin.

The ‘Super Sleuths’, ‘Camera Squad’ and ‘Recreators’ have gathered information about Lemana’s rich history through on-site observations, researching written records and interviewing or writing to people with links to earlier years at the College. They have recorded their findings in writing, in drawings and sculptures, and with photos and videos. In conjunction with class teacher Pip Robinson, Junior School Media Arts teacher Jane Roberts has worked with the students, as has College Archivist Veronica Macno.

Historical inquiry is a core element of the Australian Curriculum. This involves ‘the process of developing knowledge and understanding in history by asking questions about the past, and applying skills associated with analysing, interpreting and evaluating sources of evidence.’ Our students are very fortunate to have an ideal site, together with associated resources, to build their knowledge and skills in this area.

One of Launceston’s most outstanding Federation style buildings, built in 1906 and acquired by the College in 1941, the Heritage listed Lemana is currently home to all our Years 2 and 4 students. A Year 3 class is based in the adjacent ‘Stables’, part of the original Lemana home block. Many of the remarkable architectural features of the building, both internal and external, have been highlighted in the studies of the Year 2 students.

Maintaining links and understandings of the history of the College, be this through our buildings, people, values or special traditions, continues to be an extremely valuable component of learning at Scotch Oakburn College.

Visitors are always welcome to view and experience Lemana and the interactive online College timeline (recently updated by our Archivist) offers another vehicle for this. A link to the timeline can be found at

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Bebras Thinking Challenge

Taking advantage of new learning opportunities is integral to a growth mindset, so it is fantastic to see 167 students from Years 3-5 choose to participate in the 2017 Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge. This international challenge is designed to promote computational thinking by getting students to break down computer science problems up and solve them; over 23 000 students participated in Australia this year.  Our students enjoyed collaborating in teams of up to 4 to bounce ideas and think about logic, digital technologies, discrete structures, computation, data processing and algorithmic concepts. The overall results were quite exceptional. Congratulations to every student who embraced this opportunity and special congratulations to those who achieved Distinctions or Credits.

Year 3

Distinction: Linus Beck, Isabella Wilson, Oliver Knight-Leighton, Harry Dennis, Makaela Fulton, Abigail Rigney, Rital Saeedi
Credit: Meg Kilby, Elizabeth Popa, Amelie Donald , Lucy van der Aa, Gemma Hodgetts, Emily Frame, Abhinav Sundaram, Kai Randall, William Nicholls, Heyns Jacobs, Harry Frith, Isabella Skirving, Herleen Thompson, Hour Alenezi, Madeline Hassell, Samantha Kirschbaum, Claudia Beaumont, George Willows, Tyson Rusden, James Walker, Monty Moses, Aaron Dunphy, Bella Shaw, Emily Atherton, Lucas Wood

Year 4

Distinction: Jack Creak, Ollie O’Brien, Spencer Taylor, Samuel Batt, Campbell Skirving, Angus Scott, Sam Mulford, Mia Green, Mollie Gray, Mia Irani, Nathan Kurien, Liam Lloyd, Zoe Ballantyne, Brody Wallace, Grace Mitchell, Lincoln Giasli, Chloe Robins, Georgina Wilson, Ruby Hirst
Credit:  Iona Hamilton, Amy Macfarlane, Ava Napier, Chelsea Rees, Sasi Palmer, Sophie Marshall, Layla Dyson-Oliver, Violet Haysom, Hamish Callow, Harry Lillywhite, Tahlia Muller, Eden Laws, Oscar Sellars, Isabella Muldoon, Elise Kingston, Lucy Waites, Badr Majeed, Henry Jones, Beatrix Williams, Anya Randall, Molly Crosby, Isabelle Gower, Alexandria Purchase, Olivia Darcey, Eddie Fox, Harry Newman, Luca Alessio, Max Callow

Year 5

Credit: Annabel Peddie, Matilda Legro, Elyas Alghaffari, Abdulrahman Alenezi, Archie Edwards, Oliver Knowles, Noah Wallis, Georgia Reid, Stephanie Dunphy, Tom Watters, Mathew Brock, Patrick Gatenby, Lucy Wilson, Ashlee Davey, Kulani Somarathna, Zac Reynolds, Alex Campbell, Xavier Nesbit, Ella Fischer, Arabella Rigney, Sophie Ranson, Liam Hodgetts, Jorgen Beck, Lydia Harper, Jade Cleary, Rhys Pigden, Sebastian Gale, Mackenzie Buck

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School


Congratulations to all members of the team which represented the College at this week’s NIJSSA swimming carnival. The Year 3-6 team performed exceptionally well to see Scotch Oakburn finish the day at the top of the overall scoreboard. The team spirit, teamwork, commitment to achieving personal bests, and support across the Year levels were all outstanding features of the day.

The Year 4 Girls Relay team (Mollie Gray, Chloe Robins, Isabella Muldoon and Mia Green) set the only new record of the day.

Thank you to all swimmers and coaches for the work put into a very successful swimming season, and to parents who worked as officials at the carnival, along with all who were able to support the team as spectators.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Healthy soil

A range of students across the Junior School have collected soil samples from Claremont Garden, looking at the texture, the type and the pH level of the soil, as well as looking for living organisms.

This has made them more aware of what makes healthy soil and how can the soil in the garden can be improved for optimal plant growth.

One of the steps taken to help improve the soil was to add mushroom compost and pea-straw to the garden beds.  Due to the size of the garden space we are looking for anyone who has newspapers, manure or mulch which they could spare. If you can help, please contact me at

Thank you in advance.

Georgia Gee

Dancing in The Rain

Our Early Learning Elphin students  love to take any opportunity to learn through nature play.

We witness emotions of joy, happiness and curiosity. Experiential learning enables us to explore deeper relationships with nature, finding answers to our wonderings through our senses. The experience of watching and feeling what happens when we jump in a puddle, enables children to develop emotional, physical and intellectual thinking.

“Nothing without joy!”  – Loris Malaguzi

Louise Black
Early Learning Teacher

We are Different, We are Unique, We are Special

This week was Harmony Week, a celebration of all the different cultures around the world.  Harmony Week is a time to celebrate internationalism and diversity.

At Scotch Oakburn College, through our Round Square ideal of Internationalism, we learn about and embrace different cultures from around the world.

Early Learning Preece have been busy building new friendships and exploring their new learning space. This has led to our inquiry…’We are Different, We are Unique, We are Special!’  It was fitting that we celebrate our special, unique and different cultural diversity in Harmony Week, and so we invited our friends on the Elphin setting to join us for morning tea, eating lots of delicious food from around the world. Eighteen different countries and their cultures were represented.

The children made hummus, fried rice, popcorn and pizza as well as bringing food from home.  On a beautiful sunny morning, we were excited to try new tastes and we became very full!

Catherine Preece
Early Learning Teacher

Middle School

Year 7 Fox and Briggs camp

This week Fox and Briggs students spent time at the Valley campus enjoying the crate stack, community service activities, canoeing and rafting. Survival night, once again, proved challenging with rain overnight, allowing for great learning opportunities in resilience and responsibility. Thanks to Mark Munnings and the Education Outdoors team for their efforts in coordinating such a memorable experience for our Year 7 students.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Year 7 Quest through the Decades

This week Nance and Dean students participated in Quest through the Decades.  Some amazing bridges were built, many withholding large weights.  One bridge in particular was sturdy enough to hold 8 – 10 kilos.  The students learnt so much about each decade of the 20th Century as well as life skills such as perseverance, decision making, teamwork and responsibility.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

NIJSSA Swimming

Congratulations to our Year 6 swimming team who competed at the NIJSSA Swimming carnival at the Riverside Pool on Thursday.  The students represented the College exceptionally well and led the swimming team with great aplomb!  The team spirit, comradery and support for all team members were outstanding.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Year 7 Parent Student Teacher Conferences

On Monday, 27 March Year 7 Parent Student Teacher conferences are being held in the Middle School from 4.00pm – 6.30pm (Session 1) and 7.30pm – 9.00pm (Session 2).  Parents have received information regarding the booking process; however, if you are experiencing any issues and would like some assistance, please contact Mrs Kendal Selby at Middle School Reception.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Student Achievements

Last week a number of Scotch Oakburn Middle School students participated in the Bicheno Surf Life Saving Club Championship Day.  The following students gained significant achievements.

Jack Briggs – Under 12 Participation in the Junior Activity Program, Under 12 Runner Up Champion

Harry Bell – Surf Rescue Certificate; Coaches Encouragement Award; 100% Attendance Certificate; Cadet third place Champion

Callum Ackers – Surf Rescue Certificate; Coaches High Achiever Award (Runner Up); 100% Attendance Certificate

Congratulations to all participants.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Year 7 Immunisations

On Monday, 3 April all Year 7 students will have their first round of immunisations.

Immunisation information has been sent home to families and it is important that this information has been returned to the school and signed by parents prior to your child receiving their immunisations.  Immunisations are for Boostrix (dTpa) and Gardasil (HPV).  If you would like further information about these immunisations, please contact the Launceston City Council.

Year 6 Virtual Debating

Last week, four Year 6 students participated in an virtual debate against Snowy Mountains Grammar School, in New South Wales. The students prepared a debate topic and then Skyped for the debate.

One student was chosen from each class:

Ashlea Ranson – Year 6 Robinson
Isabella Gillies-Parsons – Year 6 Auton
Daisy Willows – Year 6 Marson
Chelsea Byerley – Year 6 Goosen

The virtual debating team worked together with teachers Helen Dosser and Sharon Beattie together with some Year 11 and 12 debaters, Claire Broomby, Yaya Mackeddie, and Heather Collins.

The topic was ‘We should eat more meat’ and Scotch Oakburn College was awarded the negative. Our Year 6 team won the virtual debate very successfully, with all students performing well as a team.

Consequently, they have made it into the next round, where they will debate again in a few weeks time.

This has been a wonderful opportunity for a small group of Year 6 students, and also a great opportunity for each class to have an ‘student expert’ in each classroom when all Year 6 students partake in a debating unit in Term 3 later this year.

Fiona Auton
Year 6 Coordinator

Senior School

da Vinci Decathlon

On Friday 30 March Scotch Oakburn College will be hosting the first Tasmanian Year 9/10 da Vinci Decathlon.  This academic competition is designed to challenge and stimulate the minds of school students.  Students compete in teams of eight across 10 disciplines: engineering, mathematics and chess, code breaking, art and poetry, science, English, philosophy, creative producers, cartography and general knowledge.

The da Vinci Decathlon is a national and global phenomenon, involving thousands of students worldwide.  We feel very privileged to be hosting the first ever Year 9/10 state completion. A number of schools from around the State will be competing at Scotch Oakburn College and we look forward to engaging the minds of these young students.

Luke Hammond
Year 9/10 Coordinator

Tasmanian Independent Schools leadership conference

Scotch Oakburn College hosted the annual Tasmanian Independent Schools leadership conference on Wednesday.

The program was hosted by our College Captains, Grace Badcock and Max Neville and Deputy Captains, YaYa Mackeddie and David Hodson. Around 30 students attended.

The theme was ‘leading change’ and  students shared ideas on leadership structures in their respective schools and participated in Baraza group discussions. Chris Duffy, the founder of the organisation ‘Just Like Jack’ was the guest speaker.  His story was a great inspiration to us all and he challenged us to go back and make a difference in our schools. We thank Chris for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

David Brill Forum for Senior Students – Friday 31 March

Legendary cinematographer and journalist David Brill, will visit Scotch Oakburn College and will speak to the Senior students. David has won many awards during his career, he has been inducted into the Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame, and in the 2017 Australia Day honours he was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to journalism and Tasmania. David Brill’s first big story was filming (for the ABC) the devastating 1967 bush fires in Tasmania. He then went on to work for Four Corners, covering the Vietnam war, followed by a posting to the ABC’s New York bureau. He’s also worked for aid agencies and as a video journalist for the SBS Dateline program and is the subject of a book called ‘The Man Who Saw Too Much’. We look forward to hearing him speak.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Round Square

Year 5 and 6 students at Billanook Mini-conference

Sixteen students from Year 5 and 6 attended the second Round Square VIC/TAS cluster mini-conference at Billanook College in eastern Melbourne yesterday.

Students worked with 6 other schools to explore the theme: ‘Democracy: Making the CHOICE to impact our world’. It was an opportunity for our younger students to broaden their understanding of this IDEAL, learning that Democracy is about more than voting, that it is about protecting the interests of all people, no matter what their race, gender, political opinion or religion is.

Kalvin Hart from the Thank-You Foundation inspired the 70 students and 15 teachers present with stories of how young people really are making a difference through their action.  Students were able to discuss their own ideas in Baraza groups that were named after some of the most inspiring democratic figures in history – Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Edward Mabo and Malala Yousafzai to mention a few.

Our students represented the college and Tasmania very well and are full of ideas of how to share their learning back at the Middle and Junior Schools. Once again our involvement with Round Square has provided a unique learning opportunity and experience for another sixteen Scotch Oakburn students.

Today the group go on a behind the scenes tour of the MCG and visit the First People’s Exhibition at the Melbourne Museum before flying home this afternoon.

Stuart Walls
Round Square Representative

Round Square

This week I am sharing an article written by Katie Di Feliciantonio who is a member of the Round Square Worldwide Management Team, based in Windsor, UK. Katie is the Digital Communications Manager and is responsible for website content and documentation. She also complete’s the team’s blog and coordinates parent communication for Round Square International Service Projects (RSIS). Her article provides an insight into how the awesome travel opportunities provided through the Round Square network help young people to grow into caring, globally-minded young adults. This has been very evident to me over the seven years that I have been involved with Round Square. I have had the pleasure of witnessing the astonishing growth that has occurred in Scotch Oakburn students after they have experienced an international conference, exchange or service project. Katie highlights the benefits that I have witnessed in our young people.

Enjoy the article – The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page

Stuart Walls
Round Square Representative


How to talk to children about terrorist attacks

Author:  Jenny Anderson, Quartz Media

At least four people have died and around 20 others were injured in an attack near the British Parliament in London yesterday. The attacker reportedly ran over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, attacked and killed a police officer with a knife, and was later shot and killed by security services. The incident is being treated as a terror attack.

Around-the-clock reporting about the event will dominate the news on TV, radio, and social media in the coming days, leaving parents wondering what to tell their children, if anything at all.

After the brutal November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, Quartz wrote a guide for parents about how to discuss scary news. Many will opt to say nothing, especially if their children are young, not in school, or do not have older siblings. Others will have no choice, knowing that their kids will likely hear some version of the news in class, on the football pitch, or on the web.

Below is a condensed, edited version of the guide.

After the horror of the Paris attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured another 300, parents had to figure out what to say to their kids, and when.

For kids around six and older, the time is now.

If parents don’t frame something like the Paris attacks for kids, their own vivid imaginations or some other kid on the playground will. At that point, there is no guarantee that the framing will be accurate, age-appropriate, or thoughtful enough to teach something useful. Starting a conversation—no matter how basic—sends the message that the door is open and questions are welcome.

“Don’t delay telling your children,” Harold Koplewicz, president of the Child Mind Institute, told Time. “It’s very likely that your child will hear about what happened, and it’s best that it comes from you so that you are able to answer any questions, convey the facts, and set the emotional tone.”

My seven-year-old figured out what was happening pretty quickly, so I told my five-year-old: “Some bad people attacked a small number of people in Paris. The police are on it. It is very sad.”

High school kids are both easier and harder: they will know from their own media-saturated world what has happened, so parents need to find the time and space to discuss the issues surrounding it: racism, religion, extremism, ethics, and politics.

With younger, school-aged children, parents need to offer age-appropriate information and stay calm.

Kids like control: parenting is often the necessary façade of offering it.

Validate their feelings

The worst thing to say to a child who says: “I am scared” is to respond, “there is no reason to be scared.”

Acknowledge their fear or sadness while looking for ways to make them feel safe.

“If they’re scared, say ‘Lots of kids and even adults feel scared. That was scary,” writes Ellen Hendriksen on Savvy Psychologist. Acknowledging your own fear, or sadness, shows it is okay to be scared.

If you dismiss the fear, kids “will feel dismissed and learn you’re not someone who’s safe to talk to,” Hendriksen writes.

Ask open-ended questions

More information is better than no information, after a certain age. But too much information can be overwhelming.

Ask kids “what have you heard about what happened in Paris?” and then let them talk. If it’s nothing, you can choose whether to fill in the void so they have a grounding when it comes up. “For kids this age [6-11], knowledge can be empowering and helps relieve anxiety,” Koplewicz told Time.

But refrain from a history of ISIL. “Leave out details that may create increased fear or compromise your child’s sense of safety,” writes Ritamaria Laird, an expert in pediatric mental health in Chicago. “Remember, your main goal is to convey a sense of security for your child. Listen to your child and provide information based on your child’s questions.”

Remind them about the security all around them

Kids love learning about the police when they are little because they inherently believe in authority. Remind them of all the people in their lives who can protect them: teachers, coaches, babysitters, grandparents, police, security guards, soldiers. If they are suddenly scared to leave you, talk about all the times you have been separated and then reunited. Ask them what would make them feel safe. Listen. Talk about heroes to counterbalance stories of terrorists.

Teach them the broad lesson they need to learn

Kids love to divide the world into good guys and bad guys. After an event like Paris, it is important to contextualize the bad guys for what they are: a tiny minority.

Many of us would love to keep reality at bay for as long as possible. We cannot. Our kids know more than we realize, and they need us to make sense of nonsensical things.

Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist