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

Sleep – an often overlooked vital element

With the coalescing of the shortest day, coughs and colds, the end of the term, exams and the World Cup, there is always the chance that we will ‘burn the candle at both ends’ and not get enough sleep.

Apart from feeling tired, and the negative impact on our mood and our learning by skimping on sleep, there can be serious implications for our health. Although I wrote about this a number of years ago, I feel that the topic is very pertinent at the moment.

There are two basic components to the sleep cycle: slow wave sleep (deep sleep) and REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). The slow wave component is that which we refer to as ‘sleeping like a baby’, when breathing and heart rates slow and the body relaxes. This is when the body renews and repairs itself and this is vitally important for teenagers who are growing, as their body is going through significant changes and they are typically active during the day.

Some research has also suggested that it is during this phase that the body’s immune system is repaired. To put some perspective on these assertions and quantify these effects, studies performed on athletes found that reaction time, running speed and skills all improved as a result of undergoing extended periods of sleep.

The REM component of sleep has the same effect on the brain as slow wave sleep has on the body. It is when dreaming occurs and reorganisation of information from the day, clearing out irrelevant information and in so doing, boosting memory by connections being made between previous experiences and those of the last 24 hours. This is where learning is facilitated and neural growth occurs. Further to that, sleep allows the neurons to rest and the glial cells in the brain to clean away the toxins created in the brain during the day.

In the vast majority of adults that cleansing process requires between seven and nine hours of sleep. That minimum amount of sleep is required to maximise our attention, memory, clarity of thinking and even ensure correct insulin levels that impact our metabolism, the following day.

In short, if you do not get enough sleep you can’t recover physically, your immune system is supressed and your brain can’t think clearly.

In today’s world of technology, one of the most important behaviours that will assist all of us in being able to get to sleep in the first place is making sure that we cease our exposure to screens for an hour prior to going to bed. The light from the screens tells our brain to stay active and suppresses the production of melatonin which helps prepare our body for sleep; so bedrooms should be free of technology. The other negative impact of technology in the bedroom is the potential for broken sleep when messages arrive during the night. Broken sleep doesn’t allow the brain to flow through the sleep cycles and so body and brain do not get a chance to repair and revitalise.

For our TCE students, as you embark on your mid-year exams, it is vital to adhere to a study program that factors in sufficient sleep. So if you are revising and have the feeling that your brain is ‘full’, nothing is making sense and it is late at night, I suggest you go to bed and have a good night’s sleep’; the answers will be there in the morning.

Andy Müller

Mid Winter Dinner – bookings open

The Friends of Scotch Oakburn College Mid Winter Dinner will be held at Peppers Silo Hotel, Friday 10 August.

Bookings are now open!

This is an exciting opportunity to experience this newly opened venue and sample some of Tasmania’s finest food and wine.

Entertainment will be delivered by the Bad Dad Orchestra, a 9-piece part soul, part funk juggernaut, who have played in Launceston for the past decade.

An event not to be missed, book the babysitter and we look forward to seeing you there!

Peppers Silo Hotel
89/91 Lindsay St, Invermay
Time: 6.30pm for 7.00pm
Dress: Cocktail     Cost: $99 per person
Includes three courses of shared platters,
drinks on arrival and top-class entertainment
RSVP: Wednesday 1 August 

Any enquiries please contact our Community & Events Manager, Nicole Willcox, on 6336 3368 or email

Launceston Competition success

The last three weeks have seen many individual musicians and Scotch Oakburn College music ensembles from the Middle and Senior School reach the peak of their performance skills, with some outstanding achievements at the Launceston Competitions.

Special congratulations to our individual musicians and ensembles who achieved the following results:

Clare Munnings (Year 11)
1st – Contemporary Vocal Solo, 16 under
1st – Self-Accompanied Vocal Solo, 16 under
1st – Junior Jazz Vocal, 16 under

Bronte Kendell (Year 10)
1st – Sacred Solo, 14 under
1st – Vocal Solo, 14 under
2nd – Solo, Stage or Film Musical, 14 under
2nd – Junior Vocal Championship, 14-18 years
2nd – Modern Vocal Solo Acoustic (Pop. Style), 14 under

Eilidh Hamilton (Year 8)
1st – National or Folk Song Solo. 14 under
2nd – Sacred Solo, 14 under
Equal 3rd – Solo, Stage or Film Musical, 14 under

Lucy Chesterman (Year 9)
3rd – Modern Vocal Solo Acoustic (Pop. Style), 14 under
Equal 3rd – Solo, Stage or Film Musical, 14 under

William Bennett (Year 10)
3rd – 20th/21st Century Piano Solo, 16 under

Middle School Choir
1st – Secondary School Choir, 14 under

Intermediate Concert Band
3rd – Secondary School Band, up to Grade 10

Senior Choir
3rd – Champion Choir, 19 under

Stay Sharp
1st – Vocal Ensemble, Open

Stephen King
Head of Visual and Performing Arts

Reporting Survey – Penquite Campus

On Friday, 15 June, an email was sent to all Penquite parents requesting their feedback on the current system of reporting.

Thank you to all the parents who have completed this survey to date.

I invite all other parents to provide their feedback, by completing the short survey, by the end of term.

Penquite parents can access the survey now using the link below.

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:

  • PCYC holiday program

Junior School

What inspires you? What is Humility?

These two ‘big questions’ were explored by students in Year 3 Gibson and Year 5 Harding this week. The connection between the two questions according to our students’ is that we can learn from each other’s skills, by being open minded to different opinions and learning from ‘experts’.

Some of the inspirational moments according to Year 3 Gibson have been learning more about ‘number talks’ and ‘creating a solution to  local problems’. Both class groups reinforced that success doesn’t need to be boasted but more importantly respected. A great quote shared by Year 5 Harding students… ”humility is more of YOU and less of ME”!

We can all act on this advice.

Ben Green
Deputy Head of Junior School

Learning in the Dark!

On Thursday evening the Early Learning Elphin community celebrated ‘Learning in the Dark’ by creating a festival of light around the Elphin Campus. Families explored light (and dark), made lanterns and wondered about the night sky. It was a joy to witness and to be a part of.

Ben Green
Deputy Head of Junior School

What makes a design?

I invite all families to visit the Visual Art studio to find out more about how students are investigating and creating artist responses to this question! If you would like your child to show you around, please come to the Junior School reception and we can organise.

Ben Green
Deputy Head of Junior School

Successful Soirees

Thank you for the students in Year 4 and Year 5 Ensembles over the past two weeks for their inspiring performances with our Mid-Year Soirees. The commitment for instrumental learning is a highlight for our learning community.

Thank you to our Music Staff, Tutors and families for ongoing support, the effort is worth the rewards!

Ben Green
Deputy Head of Junior School

Year 4 Biggest Morning Tea

As part of the Round Square IDEALS relating to ‘Service’, Year 4 students have raised funds for the Australian Cancer Council by hosting Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

Dr Mark Bell, a parent of SOC students (Charlotte and Harriet) and a practising Radiation Oncologist was our engaging guest speaker. Mark spoke with compassion and sincerity about cancer with a key message being that most people who are diagnosed with a form of cancer actually survive.

Our goal was to raise $500 and we are very pleased to say that we raised $1471.35!

Thank you to all the families of Year 4 students, many grandparents, who assisted with baking and cooking for our morning tea and/or for donating to our service project. Lastly, thank you to our school community for being part of this annual event with the cause being very close to many of our hearts.

Jenny Gibson

Readers’ Cup winners

This week 65 Year 5 and 6 students met together in conneXions to compete in the 2018 Readers’ Cup event.

This event challenges students to read widely, work collaboratively in a team and continue developing a love of reading. Having spent the past nine weeks reading six books, students undertook a quiz testing their knowledge of the books and performed their own creative presentations in teams.

Congratulations to Year 5 team ‘Papercuts’ who won the event and will represent the College in the interschool competition next week.

Jamon Dingemanse

Artist Jennifer Cossins visits conneXions

On Friday, Junior School students experienced a day of illustration and inspiration through our sessions with artist, Jennifer Cossins. A born and bred Tasmanian, Jennifer has her own store in Hobart, and her company Red Parka Pty Ltd has become a local institution for contemporary and original art and design.

Jennifer’s passion for the animal kingdom is evident through all her children’s books, with the A-Z of Endangered Animals being shortlisted for the CBCA BookWeek awards in 2017. She used her tablet to create a unique collaborative drawing of an animal for each year level, full of all things bright and colourful as children drew alongside, learning how to create detail using simple line and circle shapes.

Jennifer was also recently featured on the Ellen show, via a recommendation from Anne Hathaway and has since, experienced a world-wide shortage of her first book, 101 Collective Nouns.

Her work endeavours to make people smile and laugh and teach them something new while encouraging and fostering love and care for the natural world around us.

Please see our dash page for student learning experiences prior to her visit, alongside her creative drawing progressions via time-lapse video.

Kylie Brewster
21st Century Literacy Teacher

Middle School

SOC2City#Y7 Presentation Evening

On Tuesday, 26 June, we will be holding the SOC2City #Y7 Presentation Evening in the Horton Auditorium from 7.00pm – 8.30pm. All students are required to attend this presentation. Parents are more than welcome to join us to view the student submissions.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School


Recently we have had a whole school focus on bullying to ensure that our school continues to be a safe and supportive environment for all students. Our students have heard from a number of speakers about the types of behaviours that constitute bullying, such as social bullying, including exclusion, coercing others to exclude, name calling, cyber bullying and banter. None of these behaviours are acceptable. The students have also been told the types of behaviours that are not considered bullying, including assuming someone is looking at them in a funny way, minor acts of conflict, not liking someone, not being invited to a party, being bossy, arguments and disagreements and a single act of meanness or spite.

Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying is when one person (or a group of people) with more power than someone else tries to upset or hurt them. This power can come from being more popular, stronger or part of the group. They might repeatedly try to hurt the person physically, socially isolate them, or say and do mean or humiliating things to them.

Continuing with this theme, Middle School students will be working with their House Heads to reflect on bullying and to identify some areas that we can address in the future. This theme will continue into Term 3.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Readers’ Cup

This week a number of our Year 6 students travelled to conneXions to participate in the Readers’ Cup.

Readers Cup is a state wide competition for young readers. Teams of students together read a set of books and compete with other teams to answer quiz questions from the books. The purpose behind Readers Cup is to challenge students to read widely, work collaboratively in a team and continue developing a love of reading. The teams all had a great morning, including fierce competition between the Year 5 and Year 6.

Well done to all students involved.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Wellbeing and Values Education (WAVE)

This week’s WAVE session attended by the Middle School featured an episode of Australian Story titled The Man in Bed 10.

This told the story of  Dinesh Palipana who, in his third year of medical school, was involved in a serious car accident which resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic. Despite this Dinesh went on to become a fully qualified and highly respected practicing doctor. This episode highlighted to our students the power of positive thinking and perseverance against all odds.

Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist

Textiles needed

Next term Year 8 Textiles will be making Boomerang Bags, reusable bags made from recycled materials, in order to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.

We are in need of donations of material, old sheets, pillow cases etc. that could be used as a part of this project.

Donations can be dropped at Middle or Senior school reception until the end of the term.

Thank you.

Lucy Laino

Middle School Arts Evening

The College’s Performing Arts Centre was a hive of activity on Thursday evening as Middle School students shared some of the learning that has taken place in their Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Art classes this semester.  Dance, Drama and Music performances were held in the Horton Auditorium and a wonderful exhibition of student art was on display in the s.p.a.c.e. Gallery.  It was wonderful to see our talented students share and celebrate their learning in the Arts.

The Arts develop innovative thinkers, problem-solvers, leaders, and it develops teamwork skills.  For example, every member of a performance must know their part, trust their peers to know their part, and then they work together to achieve a common goal.  Even when they are not actively performing, such as waiting off stage for their entrance, they are engaged in and with the performance.  They are constantly thinking, listening and analysing, creating, reflecting, and responding.  An education rich in the Arts maximises opportunities for our learners to engage with their own creativity and the creativity of others.

An evening such as this would not happen if it wasn’t for the College’s dedicated Visual and Performing Arts teachers.  I would to acknowledge and thank the team of teachers who have guided and supported the students this semester. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Mrs Tamara Hollister and Mrs Jo Hutchison for their assistance in setting up the artworks in the s.p.a.c.e. Gallery, and Ms Katie Hill for her technical assistance in the auditorium.

Stephen King
Head of Visual and Performing Arts

Student Achievement

Riley Donlon (Year 6) has been named in the AFL Tasmania SSA State Under 12 AFL team. He will be travelling to Canberra from 11 August to 18 August to compete in the SSA National Carnival representing Tasmania.

Stuart Walls
Deputy Head of Middle School

Senior School

Singing success for Hanlon Innocent

College Captain of Music, Hanlon Innocent, recently competed in the  Hobart Eisteddfod’s Open Music Theatre competition.

Open to singers of all ages, Hanlon achieved great success gaining second place.  He was awarded the Don Gay Memorial Music Theatre Award for performers Under 18 Years as the musician showing the most potential.

As the recipient of this award, Hanlon has been invited to sing on the upcoming Hobart Eisteddfod’s Highlights Concert on Sunday 8 July in the Hobart Town Hall.  Congratulations Hanlon on such a wonderful achievement.

Stephen King
Head of Visual and Performing Arts

SATIS Football final

The 1st XVIII Boys Football team will travel to Hobart to play in the SATIS State Final at Hutchins on Saturday.

For those interested in watching the game live,  it starts at  1.30pm and for those at home, a live streaming link will be promoted via Facebook.  A spectator bus, which is already full of students, will provide support and encouragement. Please wish the boys a successful journey south.

Bo Power
Person-in-Charge of Football

Round Square

Reflections on Conference Friendships

When students attend Round Square conferences they connect with many new friends from all over the world. There is often much sadness on the final day as young people say goodbye and realise they will probably never see their new friends again. Many do stay in contact with each other for years into the future but even those that don’t have grown into better people for having known these new friends for a short time.

Kate Atherton in Year 7 recently attended a regional conference at Keystone Academy in Beijing, China. She wrote the poem below as a response to her experience, without being asked to do so. It is an impressive piece of prose which I have no doubt reflects the experiences of many ex-conference delegates, who have enjoyed the excitement of meeting new people in strange places. Well done to Kate for her creative response to this personal experience and thanks to her for sharing it with all of us.

Stuart Walls
Round Square Representative

I am so glad that I met you all
Although our acquaintances weren’t that long
You have made a big impact in my life
And it is thanks to you
Why I remain strong

Your friendships mean the world to me
Believe me, they truly do
We had such incredible experiences together
Thanks to all of you

Now we are all going our separate ways
Maybe never to meet again
As long as our friendships hold true
Our connection will forever stand

We may not have been best friends
But that is just a title
For the kind of friendship we have shared
Is more active than it is idle

I am going to miss you all
I know we said we would keep in touch
But that is what everyone always says
But it never seems to mean much

So this is why I am telling you all now
How much you truly meant to me
Because anything could happen in the future
Tomorrow is something I may never see.

Kate Atherton
Year 7


Dealing with video game crazes: Fortnite and fanaticism

Author: Martine Oglethorpe

Working with kids in schools these past weeks, and indeed having five children of my own, has alerted me to the seemingly unprecedented obsession with the new online game Fortnite. Not since Pokémon Go has something seemed to take the world by storm, leaving parents wondering when it will ever stop.

The answer to that last question is probably that it will stop when the next big thing comes along. These fads may well be a modern day version of the Rubik’s Cube, elastics or swap cards, though of course the effects of the obsession can be much more pervasive than with my childhood obsession with PacMan.

If Fortnite is the latest craze to hit your household, or you are being nagged and cajoled to let them have the game “that everyone else is playing”, then here are a few things you should know:

  • It is violent. The aim of the game is to be the last person standing, and in order to do that, you must kill all the other players.
  • However, the violence is portrayed as less real and almost cartoonish. There is no blood and gore as such, and so the violence is not comparable to that portrayed in other games such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.
  • You can work in a team or on your own; working in a team can develop some effective teamwork skills.
  • You can chat to team members but also random strangers who make up the remainder of the 100 players who are playing at the time.
  • You can turn the chat function off by going to the settings and clicking on Audio options. This limits chatting to a player’s friends or team members.
  • Kids will be very loud playing this game so there is little chance of them playing it behind your back!
  • Each game goes for about 20 minutes so it is an easy one to put time limits on by stipulating the number of games.
  • It is frequently described as addictive so it is unlikely they will leave a game midway through.

As with any new game, social network or fad, it is crucial that we familiarise ourselves with it. Have a game with them, play around with the app or read about what the possible dangers may be so that you can have the right conversations and put the right boundaries in place.

Whilst there are certainly many areas of video gaming to be concerned about, it is also important to recognise that most video games can build skills and can also have social, emotional and cognitive benefits.

Now of course in order to enjoy these benefits parents need to ensure that gaming remains under control and that the games being played are at an appropriate level for their child.

Five things to keep in mind

  1. Discuss any themes or concepts you are concerned about to see if your child has a grasp on the reality (or lack thereof) when it comes to certain games.
  2. Monitor how your individual child is coping with a game and the amount of time they are playing. If their mood is changing, they are having a fight to come to the dinner table or they are staying up all night and neglecting other areas of their lives, then you will need to step in and make some changes.
  3. Remember it is your house and your rules. But making these rules and boundaries from a place of knowledge and understanding makes them a lot easier to enforce.
  4. If a child is struggling with time limits, warnings may help and you may wish to slowly reduce the time being played (rather than go cold turkey). However, some parents have had success with giving their kids a total break from games when things were getting out of hand.
  5. Always go to the settings area of any game or network as there you will find ways to make the experience as safe and positive as possible. Minimising the number of people they have the ability to connect with and who can make contact with them is a good place to start.

Remember that every child is different and so the effects that gaming has on each child will be different. The key to enjoying a positive experience with whatever game or craze comes your way is to ensure your child maintains control over their play, that they are playing safely and that they are still leaving plenty of time to do all of the many other things they need to experience on any given day.

Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist