This week I am exploring the connection between Wellbeing and Learning, two strands of the College’s Strategic Vision, SOC2035.
Supporting the wellbeing of young people is not a revolutionary idea in schools. For a long time, we have understood and prioritised the wellbeing needs of our learners. This has traditionally been through reactionary interventions, such as the work of Schools Psychologists and Counsellors.
Increasingly, educators and educational theorists are researching and implementing programs and initiatives aimed at explicitly developing and teaching the skills of wellbeing. This enables students to positively influence their wellbeing and develop strategies for working through the inevitable challenges along the way.
So, what is wellbeing? Well for me, it’s as simple as feeling good and functioning well.
The science of wellbeing tells us that we process information emotionally before we can process it cognitively and that improved positive emotion leads to cognitive change. This includes a broader attention span, increased working memory, enhanced verbal fluency and heightened creativity and engagement. We also know that that the skills of wellbeing can be taught, learnt and developed.
Recently our Pastoral Leaders have been collaborating on a refreshed Wellbeing Framework, to be implemented across Elphin and Penquite campuses in 2022. The Resilience Project (TRP) will continue to provide a proactive intervention to support the wellbeing of students and, for that matter, staff. Additionally, there will be reduced pastoral group sizes across the Penquite campus and the addition of a Middle School Counsellor to the Wellbeing Team.
In Senior School there will be a maximum of 15 students from Years 9 and 10 or 11 and 12 working with a Mentor throughout their senior years, reducing the size of these groups by around half. This will allow Mentors to build meaningful relationships with the students under their care. In Middle School, students will have fewer core teachers and the link between learning and wellbeing will be supported through one of these core teachers also mentoring a class within each year level.
Our Learner Attributes provide another pathway between learning and wellbeing outcomes. The development of these attributes directly influences our wellbeing. For example, people who are effective communicators and can self-regulate, also experience increased positive emotion and overall wellbeing.
At the Elphin campus, a new role has been created to support the Social and Emotional needs of our younger learners. The Social Emotional Learning Coordinator will work with the Deputy Head of Junior School to promote the wellbeing of Junior School students and build links through the curriculum.
It is not only our students who will benefit from this refreshed Wellbeing Framework. Throughout 2021 a group of dedicated staff, under the direction of Head of Professional Learning Research and Innovation, Virginia Berechree, have explored ways to improve staff wellbeing. This week the group has made some key recommendations to the College Executive. Furthermore, the launch of SchoolTV has provided an important resource for our parent community to engage with and better understand the wellbeing needs of our students.
Ultimately, our objective is to build people of good character who are resilient, that experience positive emotion in their lives and are able to achieve in their academic learning. The College’s refreshed Wellbeing Framework will support this objective into the future.
Parenting, alcohol, parties and sleepovers in Year 9: Why this year group can be so challenging and the importance of putting things into place now. Thursday, 20 January 2022 7.00-8.30pm (AEDT)
If you’re a parent of a child about to begin Year 9 it’s important to prepare yourself for issues around sleepovers, parties and gatherings. Putting things into place now can prevent potential problems in the year (and years) ahead.
This presentation will focus on the positive influence that parents can have on their child’s drinking behaviour, even during adolescence, as well as the barriers that they may face during this time. Peer influence is a significant issue at this time and it is important for parents to have clear rules and boundaries in the area of sleepovers, parties, gatherings and alcohol.
This presentation will also examine the latest data on Australian teen drinking behaviour and the growing evidence on the risks associated with this practice.
Scotch Oakburn College has clear expectations around the non-use of mobile phones by students when at school. That is, once students enter the College, their phone is to be ‘off and away’. If a student brings their mobile phone to school, it is their responsibility to ensure that it is not used while at school. However, it is recognised that there are times when mobile phones can be used for legitimate educational purposes and in those instances, students will be given direct permission by their teacher. Additionally, if a student needs to be given an urgent message, then that can be passed on via the relevant student reception, Junior, Middle or Senior School.
In situations where ‘we’, staff (teaching and non-teaching) experience students using their mobile phones during the school day, we find that as a minimum they are a distraction from learning and in the extreme become a means by which harassment and bullying can occur. Neither of these outcomes are acceptable nor can be allowed to continue due to the negative impact on our students’ learning and wellbeing. Hence, any mobile phone being used without express permission by a staff member will be confiscated, handed to reception and the owner can collect it from the appropriate reception at the end of the day.
The Year 3-5 members of the team representing Scotch Oakburn at this year’s NIJSSA Athletics Carnival are all congratulated on a wonderful day of personal bests. Our Year 3 Girls, Year 4 Boys Year 5 Girls each finished first, the Year 3 Boys second and the Year 4 Girls and Year 5 Boys fourth, with the whole Year 3-6 team placed second in the overall results for the day.
21 members of the team won individual events, with Year 5 girls Bronte Krapf (5+ Relay), Zoe Jarvis (4+ Relay) Poppy Beaumont (3+ Relay), Year 4 Boys Deacon Sims (2) , Hugh O’Connor (2) and Year 3 Girls Alice Hyde (3), Georgia Byrne (2) Clementine Gee (2) all multiple event winners.
Thank you to Mrs Claire Rockliffe, Mrs Kiran Oates-Pryor and Mr Tim Bristow who accompanied our team.
Close to 500 athletes from nine schools enjoyed the full-day program with the whole event which was coordinated this year by Scotch Oakburn. Thank you to Ms Justin Clarke from our Community and Marketing team who oversaw the COVID linked protocols for the whole event, to all staff and parents who worked as officials, and particularly Ms Nicky Reid who led the planning of the full carnival.
Lachie Wright Head of Junior School
The latter part of the school year includes a lot of transition support for all students. The finish of one school year and the beginning of another is a time of significant change for students, parents and staff. Through this time it is important to bear in mind that many important ‘big picture’ aspects of school life and relationships do remain constant. Enjoying and celebrating the finish of the current year with current teachers and peers is to be savoured at the same time as planning and preparing for the excitement and opportunities of the new school year with new teachers and classmates in our sights.
This week’s Orientation Days for all Year 5 students at the Middle School, and for all new students joining the College in Prep-Year 5 in 2022 have been important steps in the transition process for students. The recent Parent Information evenings for 2022 Early Learning, Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 families are also part of the process.
Transitioning from Early Learning into Prep, and from Year 5 into Year 6, are identified as key change points and in recent weeks students at these levels have had a number of visits to meet staff and experience facilities in their new areas. For three-year-olds (and their parents) starting school for the first time will be a major change and this Term’s Learning Together program in the Early Learning Centre is designed to support everyone involved in this. At an individual level, many students at different levels across the Junior School have had arranged visits to 2022 indoor and outdoor learning areas and time with a House Head or other staff who will be working with them next year.
Behind the scenes, the passing on of student learning and wellbeing information and records between staff teams at different levels is taking place and will be an important focus as class teachers and class placements are finalised during the next month.
A major benefit of being part of one Early Learning to Year 12 College is transition support at all levels as we ensure the move from one school year to the next is as seamless as possible for every student and every family.
Lachie Wright Head of Junior School
Cast your vote for fishing!
Year 3 students Zachary Dondas and Henry Bishop are looking to establish the Barracudas Fishing Club for 8 to 14 year-olds. They have entered The Great Regional City Challenge competition in the hope of gaining some funds to start the club. You can support the boys by voting in the competition for their project.
Today the Middle School was buzzing with the 2022 Year 6 and Year 7 students enjoying an action-packed orientation day. A day full of energy, creativity and collaboration.
There was excitement meeting new classmates, new teachers and mentors, plenty of House spirit in our House competition and many opportunities to experience new things in the specialist learning domains of food technology, textiles and design, digital technologies and coding, scientific research, orienteering and sport and languages. The key outcome was for every student to feel that they belong, that they feel comfortable to be themselves and to contribute positively to their learning community. The greatest daily test of courage is to be oneself! This is can only be truly tested in real-world situations. I encourage every student to ‘live’ this learning lesson, it is certainly a life-long behaviour and quality that is highly desirable in every social setting. Thank you to our Year 8 Peer Leaders and the Year 9 Student Leaders for their servant leadership to assist with the learning program and guide our Middle School students of 2022.
From today, I hope that our ‘new’ Middle School students feel energised and connected ahead of the formal start of the academic year next February.
Ben Green Head of Middle School
Year 8 students Adelaide Ambrose, Zoe Ballantyne and Layla Dyson-Oliver shared some great results at the state ‘Infinite Spirit‘ cheerleading and dance competition in Hobart last weekend. The girls are all part of local team “Allstar Cheer and Dance”.
Layla and Zoe were in the Open Level 3 winning cheer team ‘Odin’. Layla, Zoe and Adelaide were all part of Senior Level 2 cheer team ‘Aura’ who came second. Adelaide also came third as part of the Junior Level 1 cheer team ‘Apollo’. Layla won the overall Solo/Duo Grand Champion for the highest scoring solo performance.
I had the pleasure of spending a few days with our Year 10s this week as they tackled their Education Outdoors Pinnacle Program. My two days with colleagues and students reminded me of the incredible life experiences that our students are offered when they embark on their annual Education Outdoors opportunity. These incredibly well planned, highly organised programs often spark a passion for our young people that stays with them for life. One thing is certain, these memorable experiences are so much more than a camp.
One group spent the week based out at the Arm River Education Centre in the Mersey Valley. They have spent the week White Water Rafting with a team of professional guides who have taught them the skills needed to navigate the rapids in large eight-man rafts, smaller two-man rafts and one-man kayaks. On Monday they woke up to a winter wonderland, providing an opportunity for some snowball fights but by Wednesday when I was with them it was 18 degrees with bright sunshine. The feedback from the team of teachers and guides regarding the willingness of students to hone their skills and cooperate as a team was incredibly positive. I witnessed students that look ready to take on the Franklin, no surprise after spending a week with highly experienced passionate river guides.
On Thursday I shared the excitement with the Caving and Canyoning group, led by colleague Steve Jacobs, who is a passionate caving guide himself. During the week this group of young people visited three different wild caves, one tourist cave and spent a day canyoning, all in the North-West of Tassie. The students explored Sassafras, Baldock’s, Honeycomb and Marakoopa caves. On my day with them, the students were very keen to show off their cave guiding skills and share the immense knowledge that they had learnt about the extensive, fragile karst environment that they have spent the week in.
On behalf of the Year 10 community, I extend a massive thank you to all members of our very highly qualified Education Outdoors team who care so much about the unique experiences that our students get to take part in.
Stuart Walls Head of Senior School
Year 10 Work Experience
This week 64 Year 10 students have been out in the “real world” of work, experiencing a wide variety of occupations in over 90 workplaces around Launceston, and in other parts of Tasmania. Teaching, veterinary science, professional writing, trades, hospitality, aquaculture, agriculture, health professions, architecture, engineering … the huge variety of career options being investigated during our work experience week has given students the opportunity to “test drive” future career ideas, as well as providing valuable learning with regard to their understanding of education and training pathways. This experience inevitably results in students returning to school with a renewed appreciation of the value and relevance of their learning, in preparation for their TCE years and beyond.