Principal Andy Muller discusses what’s happening around the College.


At Scotch Oakburn Belonging and Inclusivity are two of our College Values, Inclusive and Ethical are two of the Learner Attributes and Appreciation of Diversity is one of the Round Square Discoveries. These dispositions that we promote demonstrate how important it is to the Scotch Oakburn community that we are always learning to embrace and celebrate difference. Differences in our community that are related to ethnicity, cultural and social background, religion, language, ability and gender provide for a richer learning experience for all of us.

Part of our teaching and learning about understanding difference involves using the correct language and sometimes we need to explicitly learn what that is. Using the correct terminology can make individuals and groups feel valued and respected. Inclusive language acknowledges everyone and treats people equitably and with the sensitivity and respect to which they are entitled. Exclusive language on the other hand can discriminate against people if they are different from you because of their ethnicity, race, religion, gender, level of education or if they have a disability.

In the College’s soon to be released Inclusion and Diversity Policy it states clearly that Scotch Oakburn is committed to providing all students with access to high-quality schooling that is free from discrimination based on: ability (of all kinds), culture, ethnicity, faith or lack thereof, religion, race, sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.

As part of us all learning to honour our stated policy and celebrating the rich diversity in our community this article aims to focus on the language of gender identity which has been ever evolving over the past 15-20 years, as society learns and understands important differences between the various sexual and gender minorities. As times and attitudes have changed the language used to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity has also changed, all in the interests of inclusion.

There are many iterations of the abbreviations used to describe the gender and sexuality spectrums, depending on which source you refer to. I have chosen to use The New York Times, who in 2019 asked readers to share how they identify when the World Pride celebration was held in New York. The abbreviation used by them is LGBTQIA+. It is acknowledged that this by-no-means includes all possible vocabulary, but for our purposes here we will explore what these letters refer to so that we can all improve our understanding of this important inclusive terminology.

L refers to Lesbian and G to Gay. The term gay became the mainstream term referring to same-sex attraction in the late 1960s. Later the phrase ‘gay and lesbian’ became popular as a way of highlighting issues faced by women in the fight for tolerance. Gay is still sometimes used as an umbrella term, but it is common now that it refers specifically to men, as in ‘gay men and lesbians’.

B refers to Bisexual and refers to those who are attracted to people of their own gender or other gender identities. Advocates emphasise that this term does not only refer to a male/female gender binary but includes attraction to people across the gender identity spectrum.

T refers to Transgender which is a wide-ranging term for people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the biological sex they were assigned at birth.

Q is widely accepted as standing for Queer, a term that no longer has derogatory connotations and may now be used as a catchall term by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. There are some who insist that it stands for questioning and represents people who are uncertain of their sexual orientations or gender identities.

I refers to Intersex, a term used for someone born with biological sex characteristics that are neither traditionally associated with male or female bodies. Intersexuality does not refer to sexual orientation or gender identity.

A refers to Asexual and describes people who experience low level or no sexual attraction. People of different sexual orientations and gender identities can be asexual.

The + sign at the end of the abbreviation acknowledges that there are many individuals who may not fall into the groups encompassed by the previous letters.

So why is it important for us to understand the meaning of these words and to use the terminology correctly? Everybody in our community has the right to be respected for who they are and to be recognised with the appropriate inclusive language. In order for all of us to show the respect that others deserve it is important that we expand our own understanding.

Stuart Walls
Head of Senior School

The ABCs of LGBTQIA+, Michael Gold, New York Times, June 2019
Inclusive Language Guidelines, Department of Education, Tasmania, 2020
Scotch Oakburn College Inclusivity and Diversity Policy (DRAFT), 2021




How do Learning, Wellbeing, Community and Capacity influence education?

We would be delighted for you to join Scotch Oakburn College Principal, Andy Muller, for an informative conversation as he launches the College’s 15-year Strategic Vision and Facility Masterplan which will set the tone and framework for the future.

Learn about the development of the Scotch Oakburn College Learner Profile and recognition of learner attributes beyond current academic performance measures (eg. NAPLAN, ATAR).

Find out how wellbeing, community, strategic partnerships and the College’s growth plans inform this conversation.

A partnership event with the Launceston Chamber of Commerce.

When:  Thursday 25 Febraury
5.30pm to 7.00pm

Where: Robert Dean Senior Student Centre
Penquite Campus


/ Junior School

Education Outdoors

Over these last two weeks Year 5 and Year 4 students have been on Education Outdoors programs at the Valley Campus.

As well as being a very exciting experience these programs prioritise personal development learning, collaborative skill development and learning about the environment. A Valley Campus experience introduces in a concentrated 2 or 3 or 4-day program all of the Learner Attributes which are foundation stones for student learning and wellbeing in every aspect of their school lives. Agility, collaboration, compassion, courage, curiosity, effective communication, ethical behaviour, inclusion, innovation and self-regulation are all in the spotlight as staff and students live and work together through their time at the Valley Campus. The College’s specialist Education Outdoors teachers lead the programs and class teachers and other support staff participate and support the students during their Valley Campus time. Over the course of the year, every year level has some time with the Education Outdoors team, beginning with one-day programs at and near the Elphin Campus for Early Primary years, then to one-night overnight experiences by Year 2 and on to 3-night programs by Year 5. Once in Middle and then Senior Schools the adventures stretch out further in both time and degree of challenge.

A significant body of research confirms that students of all ages who spend significant time learning in natural environments, compared to learning indoors or in constructed, unnatural environments,  have better outcomes with respect to their health and wellbeing, academic learning, social and emotional skills and environmental awareness.

Throughout the Junior School years at Scotch Oakburn students spend significant periods of time learning in natural environments. For Junior School students these include Claremont Garden and Claremont Park on the Elphin Campus, the Wetlands at Scotch Oakburn Park and the Valley Campus, along with other local areas such as the Cataract Gorge and Trevallyn Reserve.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School


Current Illnesses

Thank you to all families who are so supportive of the need for students who are unwell to stay at home during this time of COVID linked protocols. This last week has seen a significant number of absentees with coughs, runny noses and in some cases gastric upsets, diarrhoea or vomiting, particularly in Early Learning, Prep and Year 1 age groups. While not linked to COVID-19 (although in many cases leading to tests to confirm this), from a school perspective where students spend considerable time together in learning spaces, these ailments all highlight the importance of staying home if unwell, and of hand hygiene, appropriate coughing and sneezing etiquette and social distancing where possible.

If in doubt when children are unwell, especially with gastric upsets, they should not return to school until they have fully recovered. A family GP should be consulted where necessary.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School


Swimming Carnival

All Years 3-5 students will be representing their House in the Junior School Swimming Carnival at the Elphin Campus on Wednesday 24 February. Year 2 students will also be swimming in the program around lunchtime.  Students will bring home details of their own events and times for these prior to the day.

Spectators are most welcome at the carnival during the day. Sign-in on arrival via the main Elphin road entry gate only, will be required and the importance of social distancing during the day remains as always.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School



/ Middle School

Real World Learning Connections

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn” –  Benjamin Franklin.

Being engaged (involved) as a learner is a key indicator of achieving goals and fulfilling your potential.  Sometimes this is referred to as ‘motivation for learning’. The intrinsic desire to question, to challenge, to participate and to celebrate are some of the ingredients required to feel connected, included and engaged as a person and as a learner in the Middle School.

We learn through doing, through our emotions and through ‘play’.  Play is the highest form of research and we are never too old to ‘play’.  Our current Middle School community has many ‘experts’ in ‘play’.  Every day I receive questions, statements and wonderings from students about their learning, their group investigation or a challenge for us to think about.  This is why we should never judge or preconceive who is the expert is, as often the ‘experts’ are at ‘play’ finding ways to connect deeper, find a new method or simply prove that an old method still works.

A major focus for the Middle School curriculum is to firstly recognise the power of ‘play’, to ask questions, to investigate, to synthesise and then make reasonings. We can all become ‘experts in play’.

This belief is supported by Education researcher A.J Juliani; who states that “our ‘job’ as teachers, mentors and parents, is not to prepare students for something, collectively our job is to help students prepare themselves for anything!”

Ben Green
Head of Middle School


Swimming Season – in full flight!

Congratulations to our Middle School students for their enthusiasm and House Spirit during our Year 7/8 Carnival and Year 6 Carnival respectively.  Thank you to our Year 8 Peer Leaders for their leadership across both carnivals.  I wish the students who are in our squads every success as they prepare for the NSATIS and NIJSSA representative carnivals in coming weeks.

Ben Green
Head of Middle School

Lunar New Year Celebrations

Thursday 11 March marked the start of Lunar New Year celebrations across many East Asian and South East Asian countries and for countless people throughout the world. At Scotch Oakburn College, many members of our community including students observe, in some way, the Lunar New Year holiday period.

Various activities were organised throughout Friday to share the diverse cultures and traditions behind the New Year festival. These included a dumpling tasting and inquiry session in Early Learning led by Mrs Lutong Cordell, various dumpling making experiences for Year 6, 7 and 9 lead by Mrs Doreen Liang and a Lion Dance across the Penquite Campus led by various TCE students and organised by Mrs Joy Russell; a big thank you to all those people involved. All these experiences were extremely popular with the students with some tasting a dumpling for the first time, learning about what’s inside Red Pockets or the significance of spending time with family.

I am sure we can all agree that we hope the Year of the Ox is a more positive one for the world! Happy Lunar New Year of the Ox!

Leigh Cordell
Head of LOTE

Reminders from the Middle School

Parent-Student-Teacher Interviews
A reminder that Parent-Teacher-Student interviews will be held on Tuesday 23 February, from 4.00pm to 8.00pm in the Middle School for all Year 6 and Year 7 families.  Please ensure you have made your booking via the Middle School Reception.

Year 7 Immunisation Forms
A final reminder that Year 7 Immunisation forms need to be returned to Middle School Reception by 22 February regardless of whether your child is having the immunisation at school. Forms are being collected by the City of Launceston early next week.


/ Senior School

Positivity as Student Leadership shines!

Week 3 in the Senior School has seen students and teachers well settled into 2021 routines and student leaders establishing themselves in their new roles. A special mention goes to the Student Executive who have wholeheartedly embraced their roles in a very short space of time. Meeting with the College Captains each Monday and the entire Student Executive each Tuesday are highlights of my week. Their enthusiasm to ensure that the Scotch Oakburn environment continues to be a positive environment for all is infectious.

Assemblies on Mondays are once again becoming an important time to gather and focus on College culture. Jack Oates-Pryor and Lucy Chesterman are responsible for the TCE assemblies while Ellie Muller and Oscar Edwards have volunteered to take on the responsibility of coordinating the Year 9/10 assemblies on the Helix terraces. Their role is to work with Year 10 students and help them to develop their leadership skills.

Carl Els and Jessica Finnigan organised the first whole of Penquite gathering in almost 12 months as Round Square celebrated Lunar New Year last Friday in the HPEC. Many thanks to Sam Chan who shared his reflections on what this important time of year means to him and his family in Hong Kong. This formal gathering was followed at lunch by a very courageous group of TCE students who dressed up in a Lion Dance costume and performed on both the Senior and Middle School Greens, with only a bare minimum of rehearsal.

Student leaders have also started their visits to the Junior School. Year 12 students will visit the Elphin Campus on a rostered basis depending on when they have study lines. This is another great opportunity to develop cross-campus relationships. Students will also attend special events in the Junior School, a group have already been part of the Year 5 Leadership Day and others will attend the swimming carnival next week.

The eight House Captains came into their own yesterday as they led students in their houses to show rousing school spirit and competed to see who could soak who the most with an interesting armoury of water weapons. Creativity was evident in the pool as some of the leaders found it easier to complete their laps with the help of inflatable sharks and various other swimming aids. While some of the swimming was serious and many records were broken, the most notable part of the day was that students were enjoying each other’s company and building relationships.

Overall, the Year 12s have set an outstanding tone for the year in these first three weeks and we look forward to their continued positive leadership as 2021 unfolds.

Stuart Walls
Head of Senior School

Year 10 Festive Foods

The Year 10 Festive Foods class is well underway with their hands-on learning in the kitchen, filling the corridors with all sorts of delicious smells!

The class focuses on creating, designing and evaluating a range of dishes and meals that are used for celebrations around the world and learn about the significance of food for various special occasions throughout history and how foods have been changed or adapted to reflect our modern lifestyle. So far they have made Raspberry Souffle, Chocolate Fondant Puddings, a valentines gift box full of yummy treats such as Brownies, Choc Coated Salty Pretzels, Red Velvet Pops and Chinese New Year recipes of Egg dumplings and Pork Spring Rolls. The focus for learning in the coming weeks will see students choose and create their own sweet and savoury recipes for a festive celebration of their choosing. What a great start to the school year!

Lauren Knight


Year 9 Architectural Drawing

Year 9 studying Architectural Drawing this year are designing the layout of an inner-city apartment space for a young professional. This introduces them to the concept of accurate communication through their drawings. They will then start to look at methods of showing their design work in 3D form.

Students studying this elective in Year 9 will be exposed to a broad range of concepts and drawing skills used in the documentation of the development of the built environment.  The design process, which is fundamental to all electives in the Technology Department, is used to help students with the concept of designing for human comfort.

Basic sketching techniques, as well as more structured drawing components such as floor plans, elevations and sections, are explored through a range of small in class projects.
Students are encouraged to look at the built environment from a sustainable and energy-efficient point of view and are provided with an insight into the impact of buildings on the global environment.

Classwork is completed in a folio which documents the progress of each student and this elective can also be viewed as a taster for further studied in Year 11/12 where Housing and Design is offered as a pre-tertiary subject.
John Poynter 


Author: Dr Justin Coulson


Parents and teachers influence children most during their first twelve years of life. We have less influence over teens as they become increasingly independent and look to their peers for guidance and approval.

The following strategies will help ensure that you have a positive influence on children at any age.

1.Be available

Nothing says “You matter” more than a busy parent giving a child undivided attention. Research has established that children whose parents are emotionally present for their kids have better social, academic, and wellbeing outcomes than those whose parents aren’t available.

2. Be warm

Sometimes we can forget that our children are people too – particularly when they’re irritable, tired and obnoxious. By responding to kids warmly (even when you don’t feel like it), you show that you value them as people. A gentle touch, a smile, or soft words bring warmth to a relationship, and increase the likelihood that you’ll be listened to and be a positive influence on their lives.

3. Listen, but don’t fix

Parents can fix sore knees, broken hearts, messy friendships, and even some difficult homework projects. But kids generally don’t need adults to fix them. They just want us to ‘get’ what they’re going through. When you see the world through their eyes, you are more understanding – and more likely to be listened to when they need us.

4. Set limits

Nothing says “I love you” more than a firm and clear “No!” from mum or dad.

“No, you can’t say that to your sister. How can you make things right?”

“No, it’s not ok for you to stay out until midnight. You’re 14.”

“No, I don’t feel right about you having your smartphone/tablet/laptop in your bedroom. Ever!”

Children and young people will often argue with you, but setting limits means that you are having a positive influence on your children. The trick is to not become too authoritarian or you’ll simply drive unwanted behaviour underground.

5. Play

Playing games and laughing together binds us close to our kids. Through play, you build a relationship of trust with them that facilitates our ongoing positive influence.

6. Be grateful

Grateful people are happier, healthier, have better relationships, sleep better, have more income, are less materialistic, achieve better academic outcomes and are more energetic. By being grateful you’ll be a positive influence in the lives of your children. Say thanks often – and mean it.

7. Love them and show it every day

We’re always correcting our kids or telling them what to do. Pick this up, put that away, get off the computer, pack your bag, tidy up your room, and so on… and that’s before 7.30 in the morning! Our ratio of negative to positive statements can often be the wrong way round. So find opportunities to tell your kids such things as:

“You really make a positive difference around here.”
“I am amazed at the exceptional effort you make at…”
“I love you – no matter what.”

Your time with kids is short. By setting a positive example, you can be a positive and lasting influence in your children’s lives.


Kylie Wolstencroft
Wellbeing Coordinator / Registered Psychologist


Before the much-anticipated return of the students, all teaching staff spent 3 days the previous week engaging in professional learning (PL). We call it Week 0. There were many highlights but a key one from the outset was having so many non-teaching staff attend the first half of Day One together with the teaching staff prior to enjoying a collegial lunch.  Across the three days, a variety of engaging opportunities were on offer including the launch of our Strategic Vision – SOC2035, updates from the Principal, Marketing and Community and eServices, the launch of The Resilience Project, a fantastic guest speaker and collaborative meeting time.  Whilst all were valuable, I want to focus on the guest speaker who zoomed in from the mainland to work with us.

We have been lucky enough to engage the services of Gavin Grift who is an internationally renowned presenter and author.  Gavin strongly believes that all students should have the same chances of success.  As such, his mission is to help develop teachers and leaders through transformational programs that focus on coaching, collaboration and teaching practice.  We hope to be working with him for the next three years so Week 0 was just the beginning.

Gavin cleverly led the teaching staff through a series of reflective questions to make it clear that we all believe in the ability of every child to experience growth and success and, furthermore, we all believe that that outcome is more likely to occur through collaboration.  We explored the notion of purposeful collaboration and focused in on the four most important questions that we all need to ask ourselves as educators.  We are energised by the thought of even deeper collaborative practice with each other and we are looking forward to our next steps with Gavin.  Through structured professional learning teams we will become a Professional Learning Community (PLC), hence meeting one of the key goals in the Learning Strand of SOC2035.

In the words of famous American poet, Mattie Stepanek, “Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

Virginia Berechree
Head of Professional Learning, Research & Innovation


/ Middle School, Senior School

Last weekend 113 rowers from Scotch Oakburn College represented the College at the 181St staging of the Launceston and Henley Regatta. This regatta would be the first for the many students new to rowing, including the U13 Boys and Girls who a fantastic first up regatta in front of family and friends.

Our U13 Girls won all their Division One races and our other crews in the races took out a clean sweep on the podium. Our winning crews were Singles – Isabella Wilson, Doubles – Chaeli Barron and Isabella Wilson and Quad – Aria Byron, Payton Brown, Sophie Storay, Elizabeth Popa, coxed by Ava Napier. In the Quad race, second place – Saffron Dick, Lilly Gurudoss, Chaeli Barron, Isabella Wilson, coxed by Lucy O’Connor. Third place – Mary Gale, Isabella Skirving, Abby Saunders, Olivia Stevens, coxed by Eloise Breden and fourth place – Makaela Fulton, Sophie Christie, Lucy van der Aa, Emily Atherton, coxed by Zoe Ballantyne.

Our U13 Boys won the Quad race. Crew – Oscar Davey, Jack Bamford, Harry Dennis, Tennison Stopford, coxed by Charlotte Ball. In Doubles Bamford and Stopford placed second as did Harry Dennis in the Singles race.

Our U14’s Girls finished second in Division One. Crew – Grace Briggs, Lucy Carter, Sienna Donlon, Ava Napier, coxed by Pranav Sundaram. Our U14 Boys won the Quad event. Crew – Lawson Hoare, Spencer Taylor, Fletcher Wagner, Ollie Dowling, coxed by Ava Napier. Ollie Dowling also won the U14 Boys Singles event.

In the U15’s events Cameron Parker won the Singles event and our U15 Boys and Girls crews competed strongly across their other events.

In the U16’s the Boys won the Eight’s, Four and Double (M. Russell and S. Brown) events, placed second in the Quads and third on Singles (S. Wells). Our U16 Girls finished second in the Fours, third in the Quad and Singles (K. Atherton). Our Open rowers dominated most events held at the regatta winning the Senior Girls and Boys 8’s Sprint, Fours, Girls Single (Lindsay Calvert), Girls Doubles (Schouten and Lindsay) and second place Girls and Boys Quad, Third place Boys Quad and Double (Gray and Birchmore).

Overall, our rowers won 16 Division One events and placed second and/or third in 19 of the 36 Division One races at the weekend. A fantastic effort which saw Scotch Oakburn finish a close second to Grammar in the Junior Rowing aggregate trophy and retain for the fourth year in a row the Graham and Liz Quinn trophy for Open rowers points score. Thank you to all our coaches for the great results at the weekend and for the parents who assisted in volunteer roles at the regatta and with assisting our rowers at the regatta.

Out next regatta will see the U16 and Senior rowers compete at the State Club Rowing Championships at Lake Barrington on 20-21 February.

New Boats in the Rowing Shed

On Saturday 6 February the College Rowing community christened and named three new boats for the program. The John Poynter name was carried over on to a new pair/double. Our Principal, Andy Muller was recognised for his support and involvement in Rowing at the College with his name now appearing on a new Quad/Four in the Seniors program. I am very honoured by the fact that the third boat, a Double for the program was named after yours truly (Jamie Breden). We all had an opportunity to speak and thank both the College and Rowing Community for these honours. We look forward to seeing the boats enjoyed, hopefully achieve some success along the way.

Jamie Breden
Director of Rowing