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

Student Absence: Changes to the Education Act

Last August I provided the following information to alert our community of changes to the Tasmanian Education Act in relation to student absences. With the school year underway, I thought it would be good to remind you of those details.

The 2016 Tasmanian Education Act came in to effect on 1 July 2017, covering a range of areas, all designed to improve the standard of education across the State. One element of those changes that has raised some questions in the community is that of student absences. Under the new Education Act, as of the 2018 school year, absences are either authorised or unauthorised. Reasons a child can be authorised to be absent include:

• sickness/incapacity;
• medical, legal or related appointments ;
• natural disaster or extreme weather preventing your child from safely attending their enrolled school;
• terminal illness of an immediate family member ;
• bereavement of a person your child had a close, significant or family relationship with;
• having witnessed or been subjected to family violence;
• being a participant or official at a recognised National or International sporting, academic or cultural event; and
• an application for home education being received by the Education Registrar and provisional registration being granted.

One particular type of absence that, from the start of this year, is no longer at the discretion of the Principal to approve and must now be recorded as an ‘unauthorised’ absence, is leave for family holidays. To clarify, from the 2018 school year onwards, the College has to record student absences due to family holidays during school term time as ‘unauthorised absences’.

As is currently the case for any period of foreseeable absence, after notifying the appropriate Head of School of your intention to take your child(ren) out of school for a period of time, arrangements for continued learning can be put in place. After discussions with the appropriate teachers prior to being absent, access to the learning that will take place in the student’s classroom(s) and applicable resources will be available via the Dash. This means there can be continuity in students’ learning, which is the aim of this change to the legislation.

The legislation states that if the holiday and arrangements for learning during the absence have been discussed with, and explained to, the Principal or his/her delegate (Head of School) penalties will not apply. I have been assured that penalties are not applicable in this situation.

If you have any further questions please call or email me.

Andy Müller

Spirit at the swimming carnival the winner

House spirit, student spirit and participation were the winners at this year’s Middle and Senior School House Swimming Carnival.

The wonderful atmosphere produced very close finishes in the House Competition with Fox House first, followed by Nance House, Briggs House and Dean House.

Congratulations to all students for their participation and to the record breakers on the day (listed below).

Thank you to staff, parents and other volunteers for their assistance and support.

The Scotch Oakburn Swimming team will now compete in the NSATIS Carnival at the Launceston Aquatic Centre on Thursday 15 March, and the SATIS Carnival on Tuesday 27 March in Hobart. We wish them all the best.

Records set at this year’s carnival:

F U/21 50m Freestyle Dawson Howell (Year 11) 28.98
-Old Record: 29.86

F U/13 50m Backstroke Emily Mitchell (Year 7) 36.12
-Old Record: 36.78

F U/14 50m Backstroke Amy Muldoon (Year 8) 35.74
-Old Record: 35.80

F U/21 50m Backstroke Dawson Howell (Year 11) 34.73
-Old Record: 36.22

F U/14 100m Freestyle Amy Muldoon (Year 8) 1:06.79
-Old Record: 1:07.68

M U/21 4 x50m Free Relay   Briggs 1:53.88 – Alex Grove (Year 12), Edward Watson (Year 10), Nick Cash (Year 12) and William Birchmore(Year 11)
-Old record 1:56.62

Rob Jeffery
Sports Administrator

Rowing news

Last weekend, Scotch Oakburn College Rowing competed in the annual Launceston and Henley Regatta on the Tamar River.

Rowers in Under 13 and Under 14 age groups (Years 7 and 8) competed on the Saturday with crews and individuals enjoying the rowing and winning a number of Division One races:

Anna Golovko in the U13 Girls Single Scull, U13 Boys Quad of Matt Russell, Sam Brown, Rupert Mackenzie, Nathaniel Elijah and Lachie Stewart (cox), Rupert Mackenzie U13 Boys Single, Rupert Mackenzie and Sam Brown in U13 Boys Double Scull, U14 Boys Quad – Lachlan Breden, Jack Briggs, Harry Birchmore, Will Gray, Will Dowling (cox), Will Gray U14 Boys Single and Will Gray and Harry Birchmore U14 Boys Double.

Our Under 15 rowers competed on the Sunday, whilst our Under 16 and Senior rowers competed across both days of the Regatta.

The Under 16 and Senior crews started the Regatta in great form on Saturday, winning the Schoolgirls Coxed Four and then the Schoolboys Coxed Four, whilst the Under 16 Boys Eight which includes our Under 15 Boys rowers, finished strongly in second place to St Patrick’s College.

The Senior Boys and Girls Eights races at the end of the day saw our Senior Girls winning the Major of Launceston trophy, and Boys victorious over Launceston Church Grammar School (LCGS), winning The Alan Cunningham trophy. The Senior Boys Eight also won convincingly over the Tasmanian Youth Eight.

  • Senior Girls’ crew – India Veevers, Taylor Brown, Greta Brown, Alice Breier, Sophie Loane, Laura Green, Caoilainn O’Loughlin, Claudia Gruber, Molly Fox – cox
  • Senior Boys’ crew – Oliver Cox, Hamilton Cox, Henry Napier, Nicholas Cash, Samuel Gray, Finnian Colley, Jacob Finnigan, Cameron George, Edward Napier – cox

On Sunday, our rowers continued to excel, with the Under 15 Girls of Jessica Finnigan and Heidi Schouten winning the Double Sculls and Lindsay Calvert the Single Sculls. The Under 16 Boys built on their excellent performance from the previous day, winning both the Coxed Four and Quad events, crew of Karl Breier-Mackie, Lachie Stewart, Roo Cooley, Harry Cook, and Ned Napier – cox.

The Under 15 Girls and Boys also enjoyed a successful Regatta, showing strong performances in their events as they continue to develop their rowing skills.

In the Eight’s race at the end of the event, the Senior Boys Eight maintained their dominance over LCGS whilst our Under 16 Girls Eight rowed strongly behind LCGS’s Senior crew in the last race of the day.

The consistency and performance of our senior rowers at the Regatta resulted in the Scotch Oakburn College winning the aggregate for best overall Open School – The Graham and Liz Quinn Trophy.

Congratulations to all our rowers and thank you to the many parents, families and friends who supported the rowers on a fantastic weekend of rowing.

This weekend we head to Lake Barrington for the North West School Championships. Our rowers have a busy month of Regatta’s coming up culminating with the SATIS Head of the River on Saturday 17 March. Details regarding the annual Head of the River Luncheon will be circulated shortly.

Jamie Breden
Director of Rowing



As part of the College Fair lamingtons are once again available for purchase.

Lamingtons are a great idea for school lunches, afternoon teas, or desserts (sliced with jam and cream) and are able to be frozen and thawed quickly and conveniently. They are available for $8 per dozen in chocolate or strawberry.

Download your order form here – Lamington order form 2018.  Orders must be received by Wednesday 21 February.

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:

  • AusKick @ East launceston junior Football Club – aged 5 and up
  • Army Cadets now recruiting – 13 years and over
  • Milo in2Cricket for children aged 5 – 8 years
  • Northern Junior Soccer – registration open ages 5-16 years
  • Roller Hockey – years 1 to 6
  • Aikido (defensive martial arts) – beginners classes ages 12 to adult

Junior School


This week’s Friday Year 2-5 Connect@Elphin was led by students from Year 5 Cullen and provoked our thinking with the headline: ‘No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else!’

We all have special qualities and personal character strengths as well as traits that we are still striving to strengthen. Students shared their thoughts about their own personal character strengths as well as qualities which they are working to strengthen this year. They then encouraged us all to reflect on our own strengths and how we can utilise these in our daily learning and relationships.

At the same time, they asked us to dentify the character traits that we know we would personally benefit from developing further. This is a key first step towards practising and persisting with these in our own quests to be ‘the best me that I can be.’

5 Cullen’s work is an example of the ‘Positive Education’ focus which many schools are now adapting in their own contexts. Some of the research from which the 24 universal, cross-cultural character strengths have been drawn can be accessed at

Education Outdoors

All Year 5 students will be at the Valley Campus from Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 February as they undertake an Education Outdoors program focused on personal development, teamwork, environmental understanding and local cultural history. The Round Square Ideals of Adventure, Leadership, Service and Environmental Stewardship will be embedded in the learning and activities will include camping, bushwalking, landscape drawing, high ropes challenges and more.

The program is led by the College’s Education Outdoors teachers, along with Year 5 teaching and support staff. Other year levels will have Education Outdoors programs, tailored to their age groups, throughout the year, and families will receive full details well in advance of these.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Class Meetings

Thank you to all parents who were able to attend class meetings for their child(ren)s year level this week. Anybody who was not able to attend is most welcome to contact their class teacher when they have an opportunity to do so.

Meetings for Year 2 and Year 3 parents will be held on Tuesday 20 February, 5.45pm for Year 2 and 6.45pm for Year 3. Each session commences in the Mary Fox Arts Centre. Childcare is available on campus.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Working Bee @ Claremont Garden

There will be a Junior School working bee on Tuesday 27 February  from 3.30pm –  6.30pm in Claremont Garden.

BYO: Garden tools (pitch fork, hand shovel, gloves, hat and appropriate foot wear)

All students, parents, grandparents and friends welcome!

Contact Junior School reception for more details.

Middle School


On Wednesday, all Middle School students participated in the annual Middle and Senior School House Swimming carnival.  It was a wonderful day with a great display of sportsmanship by all students.

Congratulations to all those how competed in various events. The House spirit and atmosphere all day was outstanding.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

House Chapel Services

On Tuesday, 20 February, Dean House will hold their annual House Chapel Service followed by supper in the Briggs House Dining Hall.

Nance House will have their House Chapel Service on Thursday, 22 February.

Parents are warmly invited to attend.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Maths Club

This year Maths help will be held in Helix every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 3.45pm – 5.00pm for students who require extra assistance with Mathematics.

All students in the Middle School are welcome to attend and a supervising Maths teacher will be present to assist with any difficulties or challenges that may arise.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Home learning

Last Friday all Year 7 and Year 8 students received their home learning schedules, which outline the subjects that students are required to undertake each day for home learning.

Please be aware that Year 7 students are required to undertake a minimum of two subjects (but up to three subjects) per evening for approximately 20 minutes per subject.

Year 8 students are required to undertake three subjects per evening, including 10 minutes of Mathematics each day they have Mathematics at school.

Students have been briefed about the correct way to use their Student Planner, which includes the subject, task and due date, and we ask that parents sign Student Planners on a weekly basis.  House Heads will check and sign student planners regularly.

We thank you for your ongoing support of this.

Julie Kemp
Head of Middle School

Thailand Round Square Sheep Poo Drive

This year the Year 8 Scotch Oakburn Round Square Conference delegation (travelling to Thailand), will be working with the organisation ‘No Limit Volunteers’ on a service project at a Kindergarten School 80km from Chiang Mai city.

The Ban Palai Tribal school is in the Chiang Dao district and has 72 kindergarten students. Mostly they are from the hill tribes: Lisu, Akha, Karen, Lahu and Dara Ang. There are 5 teachers at the school.

Project background & details

As the students are very young (about 3-5 years old) and the school has no proper fences, they use the bamboo which does not last long. For the students’ safety, the school needs proper fences.

The service project will involve building the fences around the front and side of the school, about 100 metres long.

To raise the funds to build this fence our service group is bagging sheep poo. Please support this worthy project by placing your orders for sheep poo – GET IN EARLY OR YOU WILL MISS OUT!!!

Email Round Square Representative Stuart Walls ( to place your order – please provide the following information:

  • Name and Contact phone number and email address
  • Number of bags required.

The bags of sheep poo will be available after Sunday 4 March.

Senior School

Are you interested in studying at the University of Melbourne?

Then the Aspiring Scholars program may be for you!

What is the Aspiring Scholars Program?

A community of high achieving Year 12 students from across Australia who are connected by their interest in coming to the University of Melbourne to study.

What will happen if I become an Aspiring Scholar?

• You join an Australia-wide online community of like-minded students
• Get connected to a group of current UoM student mentors who will answer any questions you have about the uni
• Access to one of our staff during scheduled times each week to ask any other questions you might have
• Participate in a series of webinars on topics that you need to know about, e.g. accommodation
• Win a bursary to attend Open Day with a parent (includes flight and over night accommodation)
• Receive University of Melbourne merchandise when you attend our events
• Catch up with other Aspiring Scholars, the mentors or a University of Melbourne staff member when they visit your state (parents are invited too!)

Who should apply?

• Students who are interested in coming to the University of Melbourne to study in 2019
• Current Year 12 students only
• Open to domestic and international students


A maximum of three students per school will be selected. Selection will be conducted by Onshore
Recruitment staff at the University of Melbourne.

How to apply?
Applications close 9.00am, Friday 23 February 2018. Successful applicants will be notified by Wednesday 28 February 2018.

Visit the Futures Centre any time for assistance or more information.

Teresa Darcy
Careers Advisor / VET Coordinator

Senior piper donates time for servicemen

One of the College’s senior pipers, Robbie McLauchlan (Year 12), performed at the National Servicemen’s Commemoration Service held in Longford 11 February.

Robbie gave freely and selflessly of his time and talents to support the Commemoration Service, and to pay his respects to those men and women who have served our country in the armed forces.

Stephen King
Head of Visual and Performing Arts

Maths Matters

The after school Mathematics tutorial program has begun.

This is a free program that offers help to students who are experiencing difficulties with their Mathematics.  The program is available on most Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 3.45pm to 5.00pm and is held in HX1-6.  If there is to be a change to the nights a notice with the amended nights will be placed on my office window in the Helix.

Further details are available from any Mathematics teacher but feel free to contact me on 6336 3300.

Ian Britcliffe
Head of Mathematics

Tuckshop help needed

The Penquite Tuckshop is looking for volunteers to assist during the lunch time period, from 1.00pm to 2.00pm.

If you are able to help, please email or call the College on 6336 3357 between 9.00am and 2.00pm.

Thank you.

Amanda Hill and Kellie Smith
Tuckshop Coordinators

Round Square

Round Square Cake Stall

The Round Square committee held a bake stall at the the swimming carnival on Wednesday.

It was a great success with a total of $422.80 being raised.  We would like to thank all of the families that contributed so generously with delicious home baked goods and the students who volunteered to help on the day.

Lachie Warren and Eliza Clements
Round Square Chairs

Exchange at Gordonstoun

  • Cumming House concert

Year 10 student James Russell has been on exchange at Gordonstoun School in Scotland since the middle of January.

Exchanges with Gordonstoun involve all exchange students attending the school at the same time, from all over the world. The exchange partners from Gordonstoun travel to their partner’s schools at the same time. The student that James has swapped with, Phelan Moeller, is currently attending Scotch Oakburn College and staying in our boarding house. Phelan lives in Zurich, Switzerland but attends school in Scotland.

James reports that he has made some very close friends and that he is in the boarding house called Cumming. Every year they have the Cumming concert, which is an event where groups or individuals in the house compose an act which they then perform in front of a rowdy crowd of girls, who they have invited to attend the concert. One week after James arrived his new found house mates roped him into doing a Magic Mike style act. They practiced for 4 weeks and then performed. James says that it is one of the best experiences of his life and that he will always cherish it.

Over the past week James and a group of other students have been on seamanship (sailing). He reports that it is freezing cold but when he works with a crew of seven other people out on the sea, he enjoys it, especially with one of the other exchanges, Alex, who is from South Africa. The conditions are often quite unpleasant and challenging.

A few weeks ago James and a group of others went on a field trip to Loch Ness. James reports that the loch is absolutely beautiful. They visited a castle which was stunning, with architecture that he had never seen before.

James loves the people in his house, both the younger students and the older ones, and he reports that they are involved in a lot of banter. He is involved in exercise every day and therefore his fitness has improved greatly.

He has just departed to Switzerland for his half-term break for 11 days where he will be hosted by Phelan’s family. James sends his regards to all his mates at Scotch Oakburn.

Stuart Walls
Round Square Representative


Cyberbullying – teach kids to be resilient

Author: Michael Hawton

No doubt we are all on the same page when it comes to cyberbullying. It’s a terrible thing that some young people find themselves driven to taking their own lives and that cyberbullying appears to be a growing problem.

However, I don’t think the issue of bullying is a new problem at all. Far from it. Cyberbullying is just another version of a problem that has existed for generations. Bullies have always been around. Yes, I hear some of you saying, but the bullies didn’t use a device and the bullies didn’t follow you home! Granted. What I am saying though is that the same teasers and taunters and name-callers were there in many now-adults’ lives.

In other words, there have always been and there will always be young people who want to hurt other young people, even back in the dark old days, when I was a teenager.

When the topic of cyberbullying comes up I often hear commentators addressing the problem of dealing with the perpetrators and not actually helping our kids learn self-defence skills. While I absolutely think that we should be doing everything that we can to prevent this behaviour, I also believe we could approach the problem from another perspective. What if we flipped this conversation on its head and we became better teachers of how to help our kids to be tougher in the face of this kind of harassment?

I look back at how I dealt with being teased (although I never would have said I was bullied) and what I remember, is fighting back. I suppose I was taught by my parents to ‘appropriately’ stick-up for myself! I was also taught how and when to walk away. “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” my mother used to teach me. While the name-calling could hurt, I also learnt quick-smart that I didn’t have to sit there and take it.

In other words, I learnt to discriminate between what was harassment and what was just mucking-about. I really don’t think things are that different now. The very same kind of bullies that existed then, exist now.

The research is showing that bullying usually starts face-to-face and then it morphs to an online form. So, if you’re talking to a young person, here are my 7 tips for helping them to rise above the poor behaviour of others in real life or online:

  • Tell them to ‘self-talk’ themselves – both sternly and strongly – only people close to you matter. Someone once told me that in life many people will hold views about you and some of those views will be ill-founded. Only worry about what your family and close friends think about you, the others do not know who you really are, and their views are less important.
  • Report the bullies. The more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle an authority has (e.g., a school leader) the more they can see a pattern, which they can use in holding a tough conversation with a bully.
  • Disconnect – and just ‘stop’ using your device for a while – and give yourself time to work out what to do. It’s tempting to go into a tizz when you first feel insulted by someone, but part of becoming more mature is knowing when and ‘how’ to give a proportional response – including when to stop worrying about things that have no easy solution. You can’t control other people, but you can control what you do.
  • Sleep well – and even meditate. Sleep for 8.5 hrs per night (minimum) if you’re a teenager – and learn to meditate.
  • Don’t confuse people’s ‘right’ to complain or disagree with you as abuse or as an affront; they’re not the same thing as bullying. Ask your teenager to tell you what happened and give them feedback. For example, someone looking at you the wrong way is not bullying. It may be unpleasant but it’s not that bad.
  • Encourage your child to build an army of allies: Being a bystander is being complicit to bullying but being part of a bigger network, who refuse to allow bullying to occur and report it as a team, is empowering.
  • Embrace social media, positively: know how to block, mute and report trolls and hate speech. Digital abstinence is unrealistic, managing a ‘friendship’ network so allies are central is key to using social media to be…social!

On a concluding note, we teach young people to defend themselves in Karate or Taiquando .

Shouldn’t we also be helping them to defend themselves psychologically?]

Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Pychologist