The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

The Arts - great for the brain, the soul and personal wellbeing

We are not far away now from entering the part of the year where an education of a boy, and the success of his school, comes down to being measured by a single measure which we all know as an ATAR. Before we become engulfed by this annual feeding frenzy, it would be remiss of me not to reflect on the celebrations last week at Scotch College; a week that clearly highlighted just what a comprehensive offering can do for boys, especially given that it was Arts Week for our community.

Arts Week provided yet another exposé of our multi-talented boys from across the whole College. Whether it was in fine art, drama, film, graphic design, photography or music, our boys showcased just how important it is to pursue something from the Arts; not just for academic reasons, but also for the development of lifelong skills and their personal wellbeing.

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Interestingly, Senior School Chapel recently focused on RUOK. Having an outlet in some form of the Arts has shown to have a very positive effect on anxiety and depression in adolescents and adults. In a world that puts so much pressure on econometric success, it is critical that we pursue things for the betterment of the heart and soul.

One of the greatest challenges I find as an educator, is changing what appear to be very entrenched choices and beliefs when it comes to subject selection in schools; this is especially the case in Senior Schools when it becomes even more pronounced in the final two years of school. In my 37 years of working in education, not to mention my own schooling, we still appear to have a limited view on choosing an Arts related subject. While the subject choices and opportunities have definitely expanded over time, our attitude to the pursuit of the Arts appears to be very similar. While the old 'core subjects' may have changed their names, little has changed when one looks at the subjects that students choose at Year 11 and 12. We all have a critical role to play in ensuring that our boys pursue a balanced course of study, of which some form of study in the Arts is a great option.

To finish off on the topic of balance and opportunity, I would like to congratulate both our JPSSA and PSA Athletic teams for the way they represented our College with distinction last week. Our young JPSSA athletes did a fantastic job coming second to a very strong Trinity team. As we now all know our PSA team won their seventh title in nine years - an amazing achievement. In particular I would like to thank and acknowledge our Year 12s who represented their College for the last time.

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To all of our other athletes, staff, parents and many other supporters, thanks for making last week another one of personal achievement and collective celebration.

The celebration of Arts Week coupled with our PSA success reinforces that culture wins out every time. Now more than ever, it is important to remember that not everything that can be measured is worth measuring or for that matter, important. Sometimes the things that really make a great school are the hardest to measure or not valued by those who profess they know what makes a great school.

Our job is to reinforce what really matters for our boys and our community.