Mark Hassell, Dean of Students, joins us this week from the Wetlands, highlighting
the benefits of this unique asset to our College, both to learning and to our community.


It is that time of year again. “Exam season” as one of my students observed. This week has seen the beginning of Year 10 exams and also the continuation of some TCE practical exams with written exams on the horizon. Despite teachers often telling students that exams are a wonderful opportunity to show what they have learned, for many students these are not wonderful times. They are times when heightened anxiety is experienced, a time of tears and frustration and of second-guessing themselves and their abilities. It can be easy for students to feel as though everything is riding on the performance in that final exam. However, it is important for us – teachers and parents – to reinforce to students that exams are also only one piece of the puzzle.

There is no doubt that exams are important summative assessments measuring discipline-specific learning. But these assessments should never be observed in isolation. The reason teachers use a range of formative assessments during the year, have internal ratings for TCE students and report ‘continuously’ via the Dash is to paint a picture of student learning through all the peaks and troughs, struggles and celebrations. In this way, the process is just as important as the product – the journey just as important as the destination.

The College’s adoption of our ten Learner Attributes reinforces our belief that the recognition of student success should be holistic. Yes, a particular exam might be assessing, for example, geometry skills but it is also vital for us to be able to recognise a student’s capacity to have the courage to be resilient as they try, fail and try again perhaps multiple times before achieving success in their geometry task. In this way, the success in particular Learning Outcomes is also the product of learner attributes. Finding ways to recognise this for every student is an important goal for the College.

Over the past few years there has been a noticeable shift in what universities and workplaces need and value but also in how they assess. How we assess students must also reflect this shift. Yesterday the TCE Student-Directed Inquiry students presented their learning to a panel of examiners. They were able to communicate how their learning had progressed, the challenges faced and, ultimately, how they had used attributes such as agility, collaboration, courage, self-regulation and curiosity to shape their year-long ethical research.  Assessments need to be meaningful and relevant. We need to provide students with opportunities to show not only what but also how and why they know.

Sarah Lillywhite 
Director of Curriculum 6-12


/ Junior School

Education Outdoors

What an exciting week for Year 2 students as they experienced their first overnight Education Outdoors program. Led by the College Education Outdoors staff, with the support of Year 2 teachers and learning assistants, students from the three Year 2 classes began their Thursday morning learning how to pitch tents as they set up the campsite on the oval at the Elphin Campus. They then embarked on the day’s bushwalking and associated activities in the Trevallyn Reserve before returning to school for dinner and evening games, followed by a night in tents, an early plover-initiated morning and then breakfast.

Students bring a wide range of prior experiences to this program but for all of them it is a significant and important contributor to their personal development individually and as a collective group. Planning and organisational skills, problem solving mindsets, resilience, environmental knowledge and awareness, empathy and inclusivity are among the key learnings for all participants in Education Outdoors programs.

For the Year 2’s this week has been one more big step in their growing independence and broader character development. From a curriculum perspective, this step builds on the Day programs they have had through Early Learning, Prep and Year 1 as well as setting more foundations for the Year 3 overnight program at the Valley Campus next year. Beyond Year 3 Education Outdoors opportunities steadily build in terms of degree of challenge and length of time through Primary and Middle School and then into Senior School years.

Congratulations to all Year 2 students on their personal achievements this week and thank you to all parents for the support of learning in this area. Thank you also to all the staff involved in the program.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Growth Mindsets

This week’s Connect@Elphin, led by Year 3 Ockerby students, reminded us all of the meaning of a growth mindset (as opposed to a fixed mindset) and the importance of this for all aspects of our learning and our daily lives. The students shared strategies they use as they tackle learning challenges in the classroom, as they support and encourage peers and teammates a range of activities, as they embrace unfamiliar experiences – and more. Always the underlying thoughts are: ‘I’ll give it a try, I’ll do my best, I’ll practice more or stick at it until I get there.’ ‘Yet’ is a key word – rather than ‘I can’t do this’, the mindset is ‘’I can’t do this yet, but I will find a way to do it.’

This school week has been full of challenges for students. Prep students beginning a Learn-to-Swim program, Prep Black and Year 3 Birt students standing in front of an audience to lead their respective LIVE@Elphins, the Year 3 Ockerby students themselves public speaking, Year 2 students camping at school, athletes from Years 3-6 representing the College at the NIJSSA carnival…. This is all on top of everyone’s in-class literacy, numeracy and other subjects learning and daily interactions around the Campus, all of which can bring hurdles both small and sometimes larger to navigate.

Widespread research links growth mindset with many benefits. These include preparedness to take personal risks and strive for more stretching goals, increased intrinsic motivation, enhanced brain development across wider ranges of tasks, lower stress, anxiety and depression, better peer relationships and higher academic achievement.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Learning Through Their Eyes

‘Learning Through Their Eyes’ provides an opportunity for Early Learning Elphin students to share their learning with parents through classroom visits to see learning in action. All families with students in Early Learning Greenwood, Schulz, Green, Brown and Blair have received invitations and details of the booking process for sessions that commence next week. There are a number of sessions in each classroom, spread over two weeks. Bookings are essential to ensure compliance with the number of visitors permitted in rooms at any one time.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

2022 Parent Information Meetings

Parents with students entering Early Learning, Prep, Year 1 or Year 2 next year have been invited to information session over the next two weeks. The first of these meetings is for 2022 Year 2 families and is on Tuesday November 9 from 7.00pm to 8.00pm. Details of the online booking process have been sent to all current and new families with children entering Year 2.

For all year levels the sessions commence in the Mary Fox Performing Arts Centre on the Elphin Campus and include a visit to the 2022 classroom areas.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School


/ Middle School

Student Achievements

Charlie Reynolds (Year 7) has been awarded the NTJSA Tom Strickland Scholarship Award for 2021, recognising his soccer achievements and his character and attitude towards the game.

Congratulations also to Ruby Ball (Year 8) who was named runner up in the junior section of the Young Tasmanian Writers competition held by Forty South.

Ben Green
Head of Middle School


/ Middle School, Senior School


We have had a great start to our NHSSA Basketball rosters in Term 4 and our sport continues to attract great student support across all year levels.

This weekend we will have another a record nine teams competing in the Basketball Tasmania Northern High Schools Tournament. There are five boys and four girls teams across two divisions. These are combined teams of Year 7/8 and Year 9/10 students. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those staff, coaches and parents who will be assisting with these teams over the weekend. This competition is part of a state-wide event being held this weekend in each of the North, North West and Southern regions. The top three teams from each Division 1 Competition in each Region will then meet for the State Championships on 20-21 November.

A summary of the games can be downloaded via this link – Basketball Tasmania Northern High Schools Tournament Roster Nov 2021. The majority of Sunday’s game times will be determined by placings from the Saturday games. It would be great to have as many supporters as possible at our games.

We wish all our teams the best of luck for their games and look forward to an exciting weekend of basketball.

Natalie Good
Director of Basketball


/ Junior School

Year 12 Leavers Assembly

Fifty Year 12 leavers were honoured at the Leavers Assembly at the Junior School this week. These were students who attended the Junior School as part of their journey through Scotch Oakburn – some of them all the way from Early Learning (14-15 years), others joining the cohort at various year levels prior to Middle School. For many of their parents, the assembly was a return to the scene of their early years as part of the College learning community.

Year 5 students, nearing their own departure from the Junior School and transition to a new campus and Middle School, led the assembly which featured the Year 5 choir, some wonderful reflective student photos, the giving of a symbolic gift to each leaver and a trip down memory lane from three Year 12 speakers.

All staff and students at the Junior School thank the Year 12 leavers for their contribution to the life of our College and wish them the very best for their upcoming examinations and for their chosen study, work or travel pathways in 2022 and beyond.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Grandparents and Friends Day

Grandparents and Friends Day for Year 5 students is a long-standing tradition at Scotch Oakburn. On Friday 12 November all Year 5 students will welcome and play host to their grandparents or a special family friend. Current travel restrictions limit the options for some family members to attend this year, but all students are looking forward to showing their school to visitors who are able to share the experience with us this year.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School

Coming Events

Families at each year level across the Junior School have now received a summary of key dates and events for their child’s class over the next 6 weeks. It is an action-packed period for everyone’s diary. Class teachers or the Junior School reception can provide additional information about any of the scheduled events if required.

Next week all Prep students commence their two-week Learn-to-Swim program at the College pool and on Thursday-Friday Year 2 students have their first overnight Education Outdoors experience at school with a night in tents on the Campus following a day of bushwalking and outdoor activities.

Lachie Wright
Head of Junior School


Thought spark for the week:

Innovative thinking is one of the core Learner Attributes in the Learning Strand of SOC2035. Developing a learning culture that encourages and nurtures innovative mindsets incorporates:

  • Courage to ask questions… and keep asking questions, especially ‘why’ questions. The questions are often more important than the answers.
  • Courage to think outside the square, or laterally, or beyond normal routines and processes.
  • Courage to take learning risks, experiment, make mistakes, persist when solutions aren’t readily forthcoming.
  • Courage not to always take the path of least resistance, but to delve into the unknown in search of a better process or better outcome.

Learners with an innovative mindset are forward-thinking, are creative and open to experimenting, making mistakes and trying again; they are collaborative and progress-loving: they are extremely observant and read widely. They know ‘new’ is always coming! They know they are in a safe and supportive learning environment where risks can be taken.

Lachie Wright
Head fo Junior School


Over the past two weekends, 114 students participated in the Primary School Basketball Championships.  We had eight Year 5/6 teams and seven Year 3/4 teams.  The success over both weekends was mixed, however some teams had a very tough draw and probably weren’t rewarded with the results deserved of their skill and commitment. Regardless of this, they still turned up and gave it their all every single game.

We had two teams make it through to a Grand Final.  One of the Year 5 girls’ teams were victorious in their final game, winning the Division 2 Year 5/6 Girls competition and one of the Year 4 girls’ teams were runners up in the Division 2 Year 3/4 Girls competition.

All teams improved immensely both personally and as a team as the weekends progressed. All teams showed tremendous sportsmanship, enthusiasm and a positive sense of team spirit, supporting and encouraging not only their own team but other teams as well over both weekends. It was great to see so many students find a love for the game and express interest to pursue it as a sport in the future. Those who had played before stepped up into positions of leadership and acted as mentors and coaches for those inexperienced players. All teams learnt valuable lessons in humility, courage and resilience.

Special thanks to all the coaches, many of whom were senior students, and team managers who offered their time and expertise, in the lead up to and on game day.  Thank you to all the parents and friends who assisted on bench duty and who came to support their child and others throughout the weekend. And lastly thank you to the players for trying their hardest right up to the final siren and representing their school with pride.

In the words of a parent… ‘It didn’t matter if they won or lost the actual game, they all won because they were able to play a sport they love with a bunch of their mates.”
Rachel Buck 
Cocurricular Coordinator 

Volunteers needed

With the Northern Junior Athletics postponed today until next Friday 05 November, we are in need of some volunteers to help out for the day.  If you can help, please contact  Thank you.



/ Middle School

With the Finish line in sight, keep focused!

The Middle School enjoyed connecting with the Year 12 students during their final week of on-campus learning.  The list of ‘lasts’ for our Year 12 students enabled many connections and memories with Middle School students, through Final House Meetings, Vertical Tutor Group Sessions and/or being an audience member to the Final Year 12 Assembly.  These cross-campus connections remind us all of the community connection and care within our College.  During the week many Year 12 students visited the Middle School to show gratitude to staff and to encourage today’s Middle School community to grab every opportunity.  A consistent theme in the reflections from Year 12 students has been around ‘taking every opportunity’; the more you accept, the more connections, memories and learning you enable!  To today’s Middle School students and families, our community has so many opportunities to join in, some exciting ones coming up include the Year 8 Peer Leaders assisting with Junior School Education Outdoors Day programs, the Schools Triathlon, Middle School Choir, Band and Ensembles for end of year events just to name a few!

With the 2021 year finish line in sight and rapidly approaching, I encourage all students to use this as an opportunity to stay focused, keep up their learning habits (intensity) and create a positive legacy for 2022.  This week, we welcomed all new families ahead of 2022 into the Middle School.  The atmosphere and community spirit was memorable, as our new students and families embraced the Inter-House spirit with a series of games and challenges.  Looking ahead to Week 6, Friday 19 November, the Middle School Orientation Day for 2022 will provide another opportunity for friendship connections and learning interests to be shared on a day of creating and making through many curriculum pursuits.  I am looking forward to seeing how we can continue to #bemore!

Ben Green
Head of Middle School

Student Achievement

Congratulations to Ruby Ball (Year 8) has been named runner up in the junior section of the Young Tasmanian Writers competition held by Forty South.

Ben Green
Head of Middle School 


/ Senior School

Connecting with Japan online

This week saw the Year 9 and Year 10 classes of Japanese have online interactions with our Sister school in Osaka, Japan.  As travel is not yet on the cards, both schools have been thinking creatively as to how to create opportunities for interactions between our students.  The process started with exchanging letters and some students were lucky enough to interact online with the person with whom they had been corresponding.  There was excitement and some nervousness but in the end, it was agreed that it was a positive experience.  Effective communication was achieved and all participating students were courageous.  A mix of Japanese and English was spoken.  Thank you to all who were involved!

Jenny Banbury
Coordinator of Japanese

M. L. Urquhart Mathematics Competition

Harry Furzer (Year 12) has won the M. L. Urquhart Mathematics Competition, an annual problem-solving competition for Tasmanian students in Years 11 and 12. This competition is the most mathematically demanding of competitions conducted within Tasmania. M.L. Urquhart was known for his work in Geometry, so this competition always has a few questions focusing on that aspect of Mathematical study – Harry’s solutions to these problems was noted as being also the best in the state. Students have three hours in which to attempt five questions. The winner of the competition receives the Urquhart Medal, a framed certificate and prize money. Congratulations Harry.

Nathan Peterson

Bridget Archer visits Legal Studies class

An important part of the TCE Legal Studies course is to better understand and engage with current political issues. Earlier this term Bridget Archer MP, Federal Member for Bass, was invited to a forum where students and their teacher, Mrs Jane Gregg, had the opportunity to ask her questions that would help them better understand the structures and processes of government and decision-making.

Bridget and Senator The Hon Richard Colbeck, who was an additional visitor that day, were put on the spot by students who were keen to understand the rationale behind decision making on issues such as division of powers in light of COVID challenges, voluntary assisted dying legislation, the treaty for indigenous communities, sentencing alternatives and the debate around raising the age of criminal liability.

Bridget commented that she was very impressed by the Legal Studies students; in particular the intelligent nature of their questions and their ability to understand the complex nature of the issues discussed.

Sarah Lillywhite
Director of Curriculum 6-12

From the Futures Centre

Are you looking for work this summer?

Summer’s almost here and school is almost over, yes! It’s the perfect time to start thinking about combining getting out and having some fun with earning dollars. There are opportunities in tourism and hospitality across the state. It doesn’t matter what experience you have, if you love talking to people, being part of the action, you know all the best places to go and things to do, there’s potentially a job waiting for you. It’s your chance to learn new things, meet new people, and pick up new skills.

In November, the Tourism and Hospitality industry will be launching a new jobs hub to help match people with jobs solely in Tourism and Hospitality. To get a head start, simply send your name and email address to and they will you know when it’s up and running.


30 & 31 October    Glion and Les Roches Hospitality Education Virtual Fair – Register here

30 October            Education USA Liberal Arts Colleges Info Session – Register Here

31 October            UTAS Scholarship Applications Close


1-5 November       TasTAFE Info Week – Register Here

15-19 November    Year 10 Work Experience – Group 2

21 November         UTAS Open Day – HOBART in person and virtual – Register Here

22,23,24, 26         Year 9 Futures Program

26 November         Last round of UTAS SRP applications is due

If you have any questions or need help at any time with, come and visit the Futures Centre.

Teresa Darcy
Careers Advisor / VET Coordinator



/ Middle School, Senior School

Well done to all students who competed in the recent Japanese Speech Competition across Tasmania.  Year 7 students memorised a 20 sentence self-introduction speech.  There was a set speech about Tasmania that the Year 8 students had to learn and deliver.  Year 9 students created their own script around the topic of “Last Saturday” to memorise and deliver and the Year 10 category was responding in Japanese to questions asked in Japanese.  Students showed courage and effective communication skills.  The following students were awarded  Honourable Mentions:

Year 7: Erin Grubert
Year 8: Lincoln Giasli
Year 9: Ella Fischer

Other participants were: Angus Poulsen, Emily Atherton, Jay Buist, Elise Kingston, Iona Hamilton, Maya Martin, Charlotte Oates Pryor, Mackenzie Buck and Kim Latt.

Jenny Banbury
Coordinator of Japanese

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