/ Junior School

Promoting a culture of learning

Across the Elphin Campus, our students have been leading the learning culture through our Student-Led Conference process.

It is rewarding to witness the self-confidence, organisational skills and communication methods that our students develop during the lead-up and delivery of their conference.  It also provides a rare, uninterrupted time for families to be present with their child one-on-one.  The sense of ownership and trust developed between student-teacher-parent is a positive by-product of the time invested and it certainly helps to create a sense of clarity of the level of understanding that our learners have about various concepts, skills and goals.

The central point for these conferences for our community is to highlight ‘how’ we learn and not what we are learning.  Feedback is a crucial part of learning, the conferences provide a chance for families to provide feedback to their child and also to the teachers. This is always received openly as it enables continued growth, celebration of achievement and clarity of future learning.

The week ahead provides the chance for the Prep community to participate in their very unique Student-Led Conference, with their Bush Learning program in the Cataract Gorge.  What a setting for connecting to learning concepts in the outdoors, I am sure it will be a highlight for many, students, staff and parents!

Ben Green
Deputy Principal – Elphin 


/ Middle School

Readers’ Cup

Last Friday Scotch Oakburn hosted the Northern Secondary Schools’ Readers’ Cup competition run by the Australian School Library Association in conjunction with the Children’s Book Council.  Readers’ Cup promotes interest in reading and children’s literature. Contestants work in teams to read 7 set books, compete in a quiz about the books and each team then presents a timed creative response to at least three of the set books.

Scotch Oakburn was well represented by Elise Kingston, Ebony Richardson, Gina Kumar, Rafe Addison-Hall and Olive Kwan.  They put in a solid performance, placing third.  Thanks to Carrie Dunham for coordinating and mentoring the Scotch Oakburn team through to the Finals.

David Morris
College Librarian


/ Senior School

Senior Foundation Oratory

Our five senior speakers this year made everyone sit up straight with their evocative and engaging big speeches.   Congratulations to Pranav Sundaram for his first big win!  He bravely tackled the topic of men’s mental health with passion, heart and conviction to achieve thunderous applause.  Close on his coattails was our Captain of Public Speaking, Kulani Somarathna, with her very polished and heartfelt speech on our loneliness epidemic. And a big congratulations to the other three speakers: Trishla Singh, Hamish Fyffe and Kate Atherton for making it such a tough competition for our adjudicators Sharon Beattie, Carrie Dunham and David Morris.  It is times like these we can all be proud of our students who have the courage and confidence to speak up on matters that concern us all.

Katie Lester 
Person-in-Charge of Public Speaking

As mentioned above, Year 11 student Pranav Sundaram was judged to be the best speaker at the Senior Foundation Oratory with his very passionate and brave speech about the impact of toxic masculinity on men’s mental health. Congratulations to Pranav and we thank him for allowing us to share his speech here.

Stuart Walls
Head of Senior School

Men’s Mental Health and Toxic Masculinity:

In history, men are the protectors and providers of families, the hunters that slay the beasts. Being a man means exerting leadership, and authority and embodying stoic behaviour and strength. If men suffer, we don’t cry, it’s water off a duck’s back, because to exhibit emotion and be vulnerable is not very macho, now is it.

People say these are the conventions of masculinity, but in truth, these are oppressions in disguise. Society has pressured and shaped young men to adhere to the norms of masculinity, and any man who doesn’t is subjected to ridicule and rejection. This can cause men to face internal struggles and they can’t find help either because then they’re seen as a weak, inferior beta males, who aren’t self-sufficient.

According to Suicide Prevention Australia, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women, which can be traced back to emotional suppression. But suicide is not the only path for men struggling with mental health issues, another path is aggression and violence. The traits of asserting power and dominance are something that is embedded within every male’s psychology. Animals do this through aggressive displays and ritualised fighting, and I guess so do we as humans. The testosterone in our bodies drives us to settle everything with our fists.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, males are still committing the majority of assaults, at more than four times the rate of females and this has only been increasing. It’s not looking good for us. Domestic violence is also a major problem in Australia, approximately 3.8 million people aged 18 years and over have experienced violence (physical and/or sexual) by an intimate partner or family member since the age of 15, 70% of these victims were female, 30% were male and 75% of the identified perpetrators were men.

Is it a surprise that women experienced more of this violence, not really? A norm of toxic masculinity can lead to the stigmatization of anyone considered “unmanly.” This includes women and the LGBTQ community. This culture of toxic masculinity has been growing rapidly and has been popularized by infamous names such as Andrew Tate, who advertise that the duty of a man is to have a prime physique, an abundance of wealth, and to be surrounded by beautiful women.

But this is not correct and leads many young men to feel rejected, and unfulfilled with the lives they are living. In all honesty, I felt like this as well. But this did trigger self-improvement among men, but for the wrong reasons. Self-improvement is a not bad thing, I think it is great, and I think people should constantly strive to become better. But self-improvement should be for themselves, not to feel more masculine.

All these factors show how the conventions of masculinity can not only affect men but have repercussions on society as a whole. Even after all this, men’s mental health is still not taken seriously. Most people in this room will repost about it on their Instagram story during June, but this is not enough. We need to recreate a healthier definition of what it means to be a man. We need to show that being a man is not being afraid to show who you are, being a man is embracing the differences of others and uplifting those around you, and being a man is being vulnerable. Because vulnerability is not an admission of weakness, but rather a self-awareness that helps men become stronger.

Next time you look in the mirror, smile and accept who you are, because there is no one quite like you. Aspire to be your best self, and if you are feeling low talk to a good mate or family member. Because we’re all in this together.

Pranav Sundaram
Year 11

Outdoor Leadership

This Term, the Outdoor Leadership class has been focusing on human-nature relationships and how people will view nature differently, depending on their culture, upbringing and worldview. The town of Derby, in Tasmania’s North-East, provides an excellent example of this and was the venue for a two-day field trip last week. Throughout history, the area around Derby has seen the comings and goings of Aboriginal clans, tin miners from around the globe, loggers, farmers, and now mountain bikers. Each group perceived and valued the land differently, and each group has left a legacy of their time spent in the Derby area. The focus of the field trip was to experience the area through the eyes of the different groups to better understand the different perceptions and values and to link it to the theory we have been learning in class.

Mark Hassell
Dean of Students

Year 11 Leadership Program

This week a group of Year 11 students conducted a day of teambuilding activities at the Valley Campus for students from St Marys and Bicheno Primary Schools. Arriving at the Valley on Sunday afternoon to set up and rehearse the activities, the primary students then arrived on Monday morning. They were very excited and enthusiastic and were fully engaged in the program that our students had planned for them. It was a great day that provided an authentic leadership experience for our students and a fun day of teamwork and group bonding for the primary students.

Mark Hassell
Dean of Students


/ Junior School, Middle School, Senior School

What a joy it has been to serve at the Junior School’s Fruit with a Friend this week.   Every week we see students building community with each other, learning what relationship means when you can share the same values of the school together.  It was wonderful to see staff also join us in the Fruit with a Friend fun this week.  We hope to see more of your smiling faces as we journey together in this way.

Building capacity in our students’ social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing has been a real enhancement with these weekly events.

The addition to this week’s event was background music supplied by Mrs Renee Hodgetts and our Performance Arts team.  It was a welcome addition, as the students were heard humming and singing along as they came to receive their fruit.

With only two weeks left of this Term, we are hoping that more and more students will gather and begin to grow and enjoy community life together at Fruit with a Friend in our Tuesday program.

On Wednesday, our Year 11 and 12 students attended Chapel and heard various stories to empower them to be faithful to who they are as human beings.  The highlight of this presentation was the reminder of how being faithful as role models in their TCE years, can help our younger students look up to them and learn how to behave and what is expected of them in their senior years at our College.

Yothu Yindi’s words in their song, Treaty, reminded them not to let their promises be like writing in the sand that can be washed away so easily.  They were encouraged to keep the promises they make to themselves and be role models for living the future, just as they create it to be.

Rev Grace
College Chaplain


/ Middle School, Senior School

Swimming Success

Another great team achievement by the Scotch Oakburn Swimming team at the SATIS carnival held at the Hobart Aquatic Centre yesterday. The team took home all but one shield in a tremendous display of teamwork, strength and staying focussed during a long day. Well done to all students on your dedication to your training and performance on the day.

Ali Foot
Head of Sport


Our Equestrian team made hay while the sun shined, enjoying a sunny day at the Paul Coulson Memorial All Schools Gymkhana in Westbury on Sunday. It was heartwarming to see the athletes participating together, riding in pairs, and, my personal favourite, riders performing in a Team of Three.

The riders truly cherished the team experience, and it was wonderful to witness students from across the junior and senior schools, ranging from Year 1 to Year 12, coming together to share this enjoyable experience.

While the team achieved success by bringing home numerous trophies and ribbons, the true value of the event extends far beyond the impressive results. This success was the result of a colossal team effort, involving both parents and students.  The day yielded exceptional horsemanship, genuine friendships, and invaluable mentoring.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the families for their support and contributions, which played an integral role in making this event such a resounding success.

The team performed well winning three of the four trophies on offer:

• The overall Top School
• Best Performing Primary School
• Top team of Three, being Mercedes James, Annabel Peddie and Marnie Lyne.

The team’s top three showjumpers, Charlotte Chilvers, Annabel Peddie and Aggie Lyne narrowly missed out to Launceston Grammar School for the top Showjumping team trophy.
It was a privilege to be part of the strong and supportive team spirit that makes equestrian such an engaging sport.

Joy Russell
Person-in-Charge of Equestrian

Equestrian State Representation

Seven College riders have been selected for the Tasmanian team to compete at the 2023 Marcus Oldham College Australian Interschool Championships. Congratulations to Abbi Lloyd-Bostock, Ashlea Rees, Daisy Willows, Ella Nast, Lucy Johnston, Meg Kilby and Sophie Ranson.  Daisy Willows has also been named as Vice Captain of the team.  They will compete in Dressage, Showjumping, Combine Training and Eventing during the upcoming Term break.

Ali Foot
Head of Sport

Sports Mindset

Gymkana Magic!

With only two weeks to go until the end of Term, I decided to visit sports I don’t usually see when committed to a whole sports season, and last Sunday I visited our equestrian team at the Gymkana held at Westbury Showgrounds.

I have to say I was quite surprised by the mindset required of our Equestrian team.

For example, not only are the riders responsible for their own mindset, but they are also responsible for their horses’ mindset, ability and behaviour on the day.

I saw many great examples of how our students not only coped with their own requirements as a rider but also guided their horses along the journey to winning.

One of the biggest reminders of how ‘relationship’ works in mindset focus was the extraordinary need of a rider to be mindful of their ‘partnering’ relationship with their horse.  One might ask, why is this necessary?

What if your mindset is all ready to go, you are mid-competition, especially a jumping competition, and your horse doesn’t want to jump a particular part of the course?  The rider has to stop their momentum and tend to their horse’s mindset, calm them down, and do whatever it takes to help them continue with their jumping.  This might take a couple of turns, but they must make it after three attempts, or they are disqualified from the competition.

I asked one of our riders what was she thinking after the first balk, and she replied that she felt saddened, when I asked about the second time, she said she knew they weren’t going to get through that day.  What a true acknowledgment of the acute partnership that has to occur between the horse and its rider.   What an amazing mindset this young rider had to go through this journey and keep on riding, no matter what.

At the end, of the day, I saw another rider help a new horse win their second and hardest jump competition of the day.  I saw how they worked together and their absolute focus on the job to get done provided them with the winner’s flag.

I take my hat off to all our College riders.  They were an amazing team to watch and I do hope you enjoy the photos we have here so you can see their determination, their wins and their gentle relationships with their horses.

Well done riders.  You are true role models for all of us in sport who want to focus on being our best in all our relationships.

Rev Grace
College Sports Mindset Coach


/ Junior School

Our School is a learning ecosystem!

Our belief is that everything, everyone and every moment contributes to developing an ecosystem of learning.  The manner in which we promote questions, communicate and seek to find out more are part of the investigations in all settings, indoors, outdoors, in transit and with others.  As a school we are focused on developing the whole child, this in principle places value on a personalised connection with every student, deeply connecting the learner’s strengths to the curriculum opportunities and providing growth moments through targeted goal setting.

The upcoming Student-Led Conferences across the Elphin Campus next week, are a highlight of the learning ecosystem. Every student and every family is welcomed into the school for learning conversations, designed and led by the students. This is an example of the action of explaining ‘how do I know what I know’, a part of the cycle in the ecosystem.  I look forward to the students leading this process and our families enjoying the strengths/passions for learning and the accomplishments of personalised learning goals being celebrated.

Ben Green 
Deputy Principal – Elphin

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