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

Year 9 and 10 students visit The Great Wall of China

Qualitative V Quantitative

There appears to be a line of thought by those tasked with making educational policy, that if elements of education or the job that teachers perform can’t be measured, then they are of lesser value than the elements that can.

There has even been suggestions that all actions and aspects of leadership roles that aren’t demonstrably measurable should be ceased, so that all work by educators can be quantified and assessed for their effectiveness.

Across the last week of Term 3, the holiday break and the first week of this term, a number of staff have taken our students to various locations around Tasmania and the world for some amazing cultural and educational experiences.

Late last term, Mr Goosen led a group of Year 8 students to Mongolia for the Young Round Square Conference.

Mr Munnings and Mr Brandwood took 22 TCE students on a caving trip in the Mersey Valley region.

Ms Dilger and Mr De Seymour ran a community art trip to Flinders Island with the assistance of our Art Captains, Maddie Johnston and James McCowan.

Mrs Croft, Mr Walls and five senior students attended a Pre-Round Square Conference service activity and then moved on to the International Conference in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Cordell have been leading a group of Year 10 students in a cultural trip to China.

The staff members in charge of these trips have been glowing in their praise for our students; highlighting how they approached the learning experiences so enthusiastically and how well they represented the College.

In addition, I have received communications from staff of other schools that spoke highly of the manner in which our students conducted themselves and were positively engaged in these activities.

It is testament to the attitude, values and character of our students that so many people we meet, in all manner of excursions and cultural trips, recognise these attributes even though they can’t always be measured.

I’m fully supportive of using quantitative data where it is available and making informed decisions based on research and evidence. There are, however, many aspects in the education of young people that don’t fit neatly on to a scale of 1 to 10, or can be objectively measured.

Scotch Oakburn prides itself on developing the whole person – mind, body and soul. Elements of that development can’t be quantitatively assessed or measured. That doesn’t mean they aren’t at least of equal importance to those things that can be measured, and in many cases exceed them.

I would hate to see a time come when schools are forced to stop educating for those intangible or immeasurable aspects that combine to make us who we are.

As Aristotle said, “Educating the mind, without educating the heart, is no education at all”.

Andy Müller

Spring Cocktail Party invitation

Come along to this year’s Friends of Scotch Oakburn Spring Cocktail Party,  ‘Coctel de la Primavera’, and you could be experiencing a night at the fabulous Low Head Beach House!
(Shown above)

With a Spanish flavour, Edrick “Casa Paella” will  produce his award-winning dish, which is best washed  down with a glass of traditional Sangria.

This is a chance to catch up with friends under the canopy of trees in our very own Claremont Garden.

Date: Friday 24 November 2017
Time: 6.30pm-9.00pm
Location: Claremont Garden (access via Claremont Street) 
* Wedges are wise, Sombreros are optional!
Price:  $65 inc a Mediterranean graze table,  paella and a selection of Tasmanian wines
RSVP: Tuesday 14 November 2017

We look forward to seeing you there.

Claire Allen
Event Coordinator

Opportunity to host visiting students

The College will soon host students form New Caledonia. They are visiting as part of a language and cultural discovery program and we are looking for home-stay billets for these students.

Our visitors will be here for 9 days from Tuesday 31 October to Thursday 9 November. They are between 13 and 15 years old of both genders.

They are all French speakers but will be here to improve their language skills, so students who choose to host do not need to be learning French.

The students will be based at the College during the day with occasional excursions and will follow the normal timetable for dropping off and picking up.

If you are interested in meeting a young French-speaking person, could you please let me know as soon as possible by emailing me –

Your assistant would be greatly appreciated.

Fabrice Dauchez
Teacher of French

Launceston Philharmonic Orchestra Concert features College community members

On Saturday 21 October at 7.30pm, the City of Launceston Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) presents its final concert for 2017 in Launceston’s majestic Albert Hall.

The LPO is Launceston’s premiere symphony orchestra and draws it players from a number of the finest semi-professional and community ensembles in the greater Launceston area.

Under the direction of the Scotch Oakburn College’s Head of Visual and Performing Arts, Mr Stephen King, the 70-piece orchestra boasts a number of members from the Scotch Oakburn College community in its playing ranks.

These include students Alexander Seen (Year 12) on viola, Eric March (Year 11) on violin, Hanlon Innocent (Year 11) on percussion, as well as music tutors Ms Kylie Long on french horn, Mrs Alexandra Harris on violin, Mr Michael Stocks on violin, Mrs Claire Corban-Banks on viola and Mrs Suzanne Turner playing the violin.

Past student and current parent Mrs Emily Sanzaro (’99) on harp, past student Stephanie Ransom (’09) on violin, and current parent Sandra Seen on violin,  are also members of the orchestra.

Tickets for the concert are available from Barratts Music in George Street or at the door on the evening.

Stephen King
Head of Visual and Performing Arts

Junior School

Term 4 has arrived!

It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which students across the campus are embracing the new learning opportunities and challenges which Term 4 is already yielding.

On Thursday 19 November at the Year 2-5 LIVE@Elphin, the Year 5 Peer Leaders and Year 5 Round Square Conference Delegates (fresh back from September’s conference in Victoria) shared their personal passions and immediate learning goals along with some key messages about service and environmental sustainability.

Connor O’Sign (Year 8) also shared information about his IY8 Project – raising awareness and taking action in relation to the plight of the Tasmanian wombat population.

Students and staff were inspired by the aspirations of all these young leaders and challenged to reflect on their own goals for the term ahead.

This week we also welcomed a number of new students and their families to the College community as we all look forward to a very engaging and productive term ahead.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Claremont Garden

Claremont is a very important and valuable learning space for all Junior School students.

Learning in all areas of the curriculum occurs in and through garden experiences targeted for each year level from Early Learning to Year 5.

This includes a focus on seasonal maintenance, planting, growing and harvesting of the specific ‘patch’ owned by each year group, as well as broader science and arts based investigations and inspirations.

The garden is a spectacular place to visit in the spring and visitors are always welcome to walk through the garden during the school term.

For those who would like a guided tour, every Junior School class has guides who would love to share some of their favourite places and activities in this beautiful area.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

2017 Athletics House Captains

Congratulations to the following Year 5 students on their election as 2017 House Athletics Captains, ahead of this week’s House Carnival at the St Leonards Athletics Centre.

Oak House
Matilda Legro and Freddie Cox

Willow  House
Ashlee Davey, Archie Edwards and Patrick Gatenby

Thistle House
Zac Reynolds and Georgia Reid

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Basketball championships

Year 3/4 basketball teams will be playing in the Northern Primary Schools Championships over Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 October.

Next week it will be the time for the 5/6 teams to shine throughout Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 October.

These weekends are large school community events with more than 90 players and their families involved.

Best wishes to all players and a big thank you to all staff, senior students and parents who are coaching, managing, time-keeping, umpiring and providing general support for teams.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Music in the making

The annual East Coast Schools Music Event will be taking place over the coming fortnight.

Upper-primary choirs from Scotch Oakburn College, as well as schools located in St Marys, St Helens and Bicheno will be involved.

The students will meet at St Marys District School on Thursday 26 October and at Scotch Oakburn College on Thursday 2 November, for combined workshops and music-making.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

2018 Information Evenings

Information evenings for parents of students in 2018 Junior School classes are scheduled for the week of 6 November as follows:

Students entering Year 2 in 2018  – Tuesday 7 November.
Students entering Prep and Year 1 – Wednesday 8 November.
Students entering Early Learning  – Thursday 9 November.

Details of each session will be forwarded to all families with students enrolled at these levels for next year.
Child care will be available on-campus for each evening.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Middle School

IY8 Presentation Evening

You are warmly invited to attend the Year 8 IY8 “Green” Open Night taking place on Wednesday 1 November from 4.00pm – 7.00pm at the Middle School Campus. (Please note the change in finish time from 7.30pm as advertised in the ePlanner to the new time of 7.00pm.)

All Year 8 students will be showcasing their IY8 “Green” projects.

Please come and support our students and feel free to enjoy a light refreshment hosted by the P & F Committee in Café 8.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Year 6 and 7 Student Led Conferences

Year 6 & 7 students have been busy preparing work for their Student Led Conferences, taking place on Wednesday 1 November, from 4.00pm – 7:00pm.

All students are expected to attend this evening and present their work to parents, guardians and family members.

Please be sure to book a time slot by contacting Mrs Kendal Selby via email at or by phoning 6336 3401.

At the end of your conferences, parents are invited and most welcome to move to the Year 8 area to view the IY8 presentations and to enjoy a light refreshment in Café 8.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Fred Hollows Humanity Award

Inspirational Year 6 students Chloe Leerson and Georgie Morris have been honoured for showing compassion and kindness to others.

The students were recognised at the Fred Hollows Awards ceremony at Government House in Hobart on 17 October.

Chloe and Georgie were among 29 Tasmanian Year 6 students from 22 schools who were recognised for showing care, compassion, kindness and generosity, and making a positive impact on their school and community.

Teachers Katie Marson and Clyde Goosen congratulated Chloe and Georgie and said the students epitomised the values inherent in the awards.

The time they have spent interacting with residents from Fred French Care Home brings joy and happiness to parties involved, the teachers said.

This dedication and commitment is a shining light of what it means to put others first and is one of the best examples of the Round Square Service IDEAL.

The awards began in 2012 but were only launched in Tasmania last year.

Fred Hollows, who died in 1993, was a New Zealand-born eye doctor credited with saving the sight of more than a million people. He worked to eliminate avoidable blindness that could be fixed through medical treatment. The Fred Hollows Foundation continues his work.

Time & Space sessions

We are delighted that a significant number of you have already registered for our annual Time & Space sessions next week.

If you have not yet registered, the process is simple – follow the prompts through the registration link here.

The Year 7/8 girls and their mother or female mentor event is being held on Wednesday 25 October.
The Year 7/8 boys and their father or male mentor will be held the following evening –  Thursday 26 October.

Please arrive at 6.45pm for a 7.00pm start in the HPEC@Elphin.

We look forward to seeing you.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Senior School

Welcome back

Welcome back to a busy Term 4!

We have only a few short weeks before we farewell our Year 12 students and there is a lot happening at school in a very short space of time.
There are a number of farewell events planned and this week marked the beginning of this with our House Chapel Services, ‘Handing on and laying down the Colours’ for 2017.

We have a number of activities during Valedictory Week to recognise and thank our leavers.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Head Start to TCE 2018

Just a reminder to all Year 10 and 11 students that the Head Start to TCE program begins on Tuesday 28 November.  Details of the program will be forthcoming.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Reminder – hats required

Students are required to wear their hats at lunchtime while outside.
The UV index is in the high range at this time of the year and it is imperative that students wear a navy blue floppy hat or a Scotch Oakburn design hat during this term.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Summer uniform reminder

With the change to summer uniform,  I need to remind all boys that the summer white shirt must be tucked in.
Girls need to check the length of their school dresses (see page 28 of the Student Planner).  Dresses should be knee length or longer.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Mobile phones in class

A friendly reminder that students in Years 9-12 should not be distracted by their mobile phone in class.  Phones should not be used in the classroom unless there is a specific learning need and staff will collect mobile phones if students are unable to manage this themselves.

Please refer to the research in the Wellbeing column this week.

This topic will be addressed further in a parent session run by Glen Gerreyn on Tuesday 31 October in the Horton Auditorium. I hope to see as many parents and interested community members present at this as possible.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal/Head of Senior School

Senior Debate Team Savour Success

After winning the Parliamentary Plate and the Parliamentary Shield in debating, teams were invited to celebrate their success at an official lunch at the Tasmanian Parliament with Michael Ferguson MP and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Elise Archer MP. Students also toured Parliament and watched debate in the House of Assembly during question time.

Sharon Beattie
Person-in-Charge of Debating

Student Achievements

Congratulations to Mika de Bruyn (Year 11) for her fantastic achievement at Gymnastic Australia’s National Clubs Championships, held in Bendigo during September. Mika came away with the bronze meal in the level 7 individual trampoline event.

Mika has had a very successful year – taking out the title of level 7 state champion for trampoline and level 6 double mini trampoline state champion in August this year, as well as the over 17s tumbling state champion in April.

Congratulations to Amy Duggan (Year 9), who has been selected in the Tasmanian Under-18 Cricket Team. This team will be participating in the National Competition in Canberra towards the end of term and we wish her all the very best.

Kate Croft
Deputy Principal / Head of Senior School

Project-based learning in Agricultural Systems

As part of their end-of-year externally assessed portfolios, the TCE Agricultural Systems students get to complete the design of an engineering solution to an agricultural problem.

As identified by the students, the chosen challenges included managing soil erosion digitally, producing food using minimal space and power, as well as utilising fruit waste to produce an antioxidant drink. There were also design solutions to inefficient sheep yard design, more efficient cattle weighing systems, manure spreading in paddocks and gate crossings for pivot irrigation.

On Wednesday 18 October, the students traveled to The University of Tasmania with their models and supportive materials to present their work to a group of five adjudicators from The University of Tasmania, the Beacon Foundation and the Department of Education – Curriculum Services.

The Project Based Agricultural Experience  (PBAE) ‘Project Pitch’, was an opportunity for the students to share their work in a relaxed, conversational environment and celebrate the learning they had achieved through their projects.

This inaugural competition included students from Years 7-12  from multiple schools where agriculture subjects are taught.

Each student spoke to the adjudicators at length and at the closing of proceedings the results were tallied.

In the Year 11/12 category the joint winners were Hugh Bradley (Year 12) with his innovative push gates for pivot crossings design, and Sam Herbert (Year 12) for his clever design of  a modular greenhouse system. Sam’s design utilised shipping containers retrofitted for low energy production of high quality foods.

The College was awarded the winning school for the Year 11/12 category, with judges commenting on the outstanding nature of all the projects submitted.

All students are to be congratulated for their efforts in this competition and for the way in which they represented the College.

‘Project Pitch’ was  an excellent event which will only grow in size as agricultural education programs continue to expand, both at Scotch Oakburn College as well as many other schools in the state, throughout 2018 and beyond.

Madeleine Scott
Teacher of TCE Agricultural Systems

Annual TCE Music Recital

On the evening of Thursday 26 October, the College’s TCE Music students will present their recital program at the annual TCE Recital.

The TCE Recital provides the students with an opportunity to perform in front of an audience prior to their final performance examinations.

This year’s TCE Recital will feature Year 11 student Eric March (violin) and Year 12 students Clare Broomby (flute), Sam Byron (trombone) and Clay Ritchie (violin).

I invite you to come and support our College’s TCE Music students as they share their end of year recital pieces commencing at 6.00pm in the Leigh Speedy Room.

Stephen King
Head of Visual and Performing Arts

Round Square

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Therapy dog training begins!

Over the next 5 days at Scotch Oakburn College Penquite Campus it will be raining cats and dogs (well, dogs anyway,) as our formal therapy-dog training commences.

Tessa from K9 Support in Victoria will be spending the week with 5 carefully selected dogs and their owners as they embark (pun intended) on their practical training. This will include our very own therapy-dog-in-training Beau.

You may see these special canines around campus and whining & dining in the Newstead community Saturday 21 October  through to Wednesday 25 October.

They have all been temperament tested, are fully vaccinated and very keen to prove what they have to offer.

For your piece of mind, they will always be on a leash and will not be near students. This said, there shall be oppawtunities (heheh) for some students to interact with the dogs in a controlled environment if they so wish.

If you see us please come and say hello, we are in for a pawsome time!

Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator/ Registered Psychologist

How smart is it to allow students to use mobile phones at school?

Richard Murphy   (Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Texas at Austin) 

Louis-Philippe Beland (Assistant Professor of Economics, Louisiana State University)

How does the presence of mobile phones in schools impact student achievement?

This is an ongoing debate in many countries today. Some advocate for a complete ban, while others promote the use of mobile phones as a teaching tool in classrooms.

So, the question is: Should schools allow the use of mobile phones?

While views remain divided, some schools are starting to allow a restricted use of mobile phones. Most recently, New York Mayor de Blasio lifted a ten-year-ban on phones on school premises, with the chancellor of schools stating that it would reduce inequality.

As researchers studying the economics of education, we conducted a study to find out what impact banning mobile phones has had on student test scores in subsequent years.

We found that not only did student achievement improve, but also that low-achieving and at-risk students gained the most. We found the impact of banning phones for these students equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days.

Increased student performance

We studied mobile phone bans in England, as mobile phones are very popular there amongst teenagers. The research involved surveying schools in four cities in England (Birmingham, London, Leicester and Manchester) about their mobile phone policies since 2001 and combining it with student achievement data from externally marked national exams.

After schools banned mobile phones, test scores of students aged 16 increased by 6.4% of a standard deviation, which means that it added the equivalent of five days to the school year.

While our study was based in the UK, where, by 2012, 90.3% of teenagers owned a mobile phone, these results are likely to be significant even here in the US, where 73% of teenagers own a mobile phone.

It is important to note that these gains are prominent amongst the lowest achievers, and changing policy to allow phones in schools has the potential to exacerbate learning inequalities.

Lowest achieving kids gained the most from mobile phone bans.

The gains observed amongst students with lowest achievement when phones were banned were double those recorded among average students. Our results also indicate the ban having a greater impact on special education needs students and those eligible for free school meals.

However, banning mobile phones had no discernible effect on high achievers. Also, interestingly, 14-year-olds were not significantly affected in either direction. This could be due to low phone use amongst this age group.

Impact on student performance

Schools in England have complete autonomy regarding their mobile phone policy. This has resulted in large differences in the timing of the introduction of mobile phone bans. This variation facilitated our study.

Our research used the differences in implementation dates across schools and noted subsequent changes in student test scores.

In 2001, none of the surveyed schools had a ban in place; by 2007 this had increased to 50%; and by 2012, 98% of schools did not allow phones on school premises (or required them to be handed in at the beginning of the day).

We compared the gains in student test scores within and across schools before and after a ban.

In addition, the administrative data gave us information on student characteristics such as gender, eligibility for free school meals, special education needs status and prior educational attainment. This allowed us to calculate the impact on students from each of these groups.

School policy on phones

Technological advancements are commonly viewed as increasing productivity. Modern technology is used in the classroom to engage students and improve performance. There are, however, potential drawbacks as well, as they could lead to distractions.

Mobile phones are a prime example of this, as they provide students with access to texting, games, social media and the internet. A review of literature in our study suggests ambiguous impact of use of technology in the classroom on student achievement.

We add to this by demonstrating that mobile phones could have a negative impact on students’ learning outcomes. The financial resources that schools would require for a similar gain in instruction time (the equivalent of restricting mobile phone use) would be quite substantial.

These findings do not discount the possibility that mobile phones and other forms of technology could be useful in schools if their use is properly structured.

However, our findings do suggest that the presence of mobile phones in schools should not be ignored.

The mayor of New York got rid of the ban on mobile phones with an argument that this would reduce inequalities. However, as our research shows, the exact opposite result is likely. Worse, allowing phones into schools would harm the lowest achieving and low income students the most.

Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator/ Registered Psychologist