On behalf of the Senior School team, I welcome you to another action-packed year on the Penquite Campus. A very special welcome to the 18 Senior School students and their families who have enrolled for the first time at Scotch Oakburn. We are also delighted to welcome all our Year 9 students as they transition through the underpass from the Middle School.

During this first week there have been two significant opportunities for our senior students to work with their younger counterparts in the Middle School in authentic relationship building activities. On Monday all Year 12 students worked with the Year 7s and on Friday the Year 10s engaged in a full day of leadership training which involved the Year 6 students for part of the day. These vertically organized activities provide an outstanding opportunity to build strong peer-relationships across the age groups.

At Scotch Oakburn we like our students to thrive and enjoy a holistic educational experience. Therefore, there are many opportunities for students to extend themselves and enrich their learning experience as they test their comfort zone. I encourage students to pursue their passions and get involved, all the research shows that those who get involved in activities beyond the classroom perform better in the end, in the classroom.

All Senior School students are encouraged to embrace leadership opportunities, authentic student leadership is not an extra, when students have a chance to lead, they should see this as a major part of their learning journey – there are many and varied avenues for students to develop leadership skills here at Scotch Oakburn.

An appeal to Senior School parents as your children progress through the last stage of their secondary schooling. We encourage you, together with us, to create an environment where students are supported to develop the skills to address all issues, or that they know where to go to get the guidance about what steps they need to take.

We all want the best for our young people, and we hate to see them struggling, being upset, and sometimes failing. Teachers feel it because we care deeply about our students, and we know that it is ten times worse when you’re the parent.

However, it is important that we don’t fall into the trap of solving their issues for them, so that they never have to deal with disappointment, frustration, friendship issues, anxieties, failure and so on.

All experiences in life are learning opportunities but not if we solve life’s issues for them. If we do that, we rob them of the opportunity to develop the coping skills and abilities to become resilient, independent young adults. To become resilient young adults and to be able to cope successfully with all that life throws at them, our young people need to have had experiences of discomfort and need to have faced some hardship. That way they’ll know how to deal with those times when, as adults, the world requires them to.

Remember that FAIL stands for the First Attempt In Learning!

Wishing all our Senior School students and their families an exciting, rewarding and successful 2024.


Stuart Walls
Head of Senior School