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

Head of Junior School

It is always a pleasure to see our students return at the start of the new school year. With new shoes donned, fresh haircuts, uniforms ready for the potential growth to come with much anticipated excitement to be back at school to see everyone. The same can be said of the staff. The few days in the lead up to the boys' return is always a hive of busyness with everyone catching up and checking in, and this reminds me of the strong community we truly have here at Scotch. The level of productivity is echoed with excitement. A warm welcome back to everyone.

At the recent Commissioning service, I reflected on the strength of teams and my belief that the strongest teams are capable of achieving so much more than any individual. Team members are there to provide support to each other, to share the load, and to brainstorm fresh and better ways of doing things.

Key aspects to any team include; collaboration and the ability to work together even if we may not always agree.  It links closely to one of the key strengths of a good leader – being able to solve problems and analyze issues. It is a challenge to be able to work together knowing that there may be differences amongst members of the team. Great teams use the differences within to find creative solutions.

A good team is built on trust. Being trusted and trusting others is important in enabling a team to achieve their goal. A strong leader displays high integrity and honesty and by displaying these attributes, members of the team will see you for who you are and gain trust in you. When we can trust others to perform their role within the group, it gives us the confidence to perform our own.

Communication is critical to a team's success. All members need to understand what the goal is, and what their role is in reaching that goal. A strong leader communicates powerfully and prolifically. The key is how we deliver our messages. If something is important, it needs to be shared, but this can sometimes be challenging for members of the team to hear. Letting others see where we are going is essential, but so is listening to the views of others so we might reach that goal quicker.

Great teams will encourage their members to take risks and embrace change. If an effective leader inspires and motivates others, then team members will feel confident to use their individual talents to benefit the group and reach the goal. One of the keys is for team members to encourage courage - being available to talk to team members, workshop ideas and share thoughts whilst providing constructive feedback are just some of the ways a good team member and leader can assist.

If a quality of a strong leader is being able to drive for results, another important aspect of this must be to ensure that all members of the team understand not only what their role is, but how they are performing in that role. This means ensuring everyone understands what they are doing well as well as what else needs to be done. It involves setting and keeping to deadlines, as well as celebrating achievements. The only way we get better is by reflecting on the job we have done and successful teams embrace this.

At the end of last year, Mr Wells and Ms Louden took the First LEGO League team to compete in the nationals at Curtin University on Saturday 14 December. Our Year 5 boys, Brenn Armstrong, Jack Ashby, Zachary Blakey, Leon Hugo, Abe Prendiville and Luca Regli excelled in their teamwork and achieved first place for Strategy and Innovation. This award recognises a team that uses solid engineering practices competently and demonstrates the ability to develop strategies to design and build an innovative and high performing robot.

I welcome all new families to the start of 2020 and into the Junior School team. I remind myself what processes are put into place for new families and staff alike. Induction and set up of technology devices is a must, linking and helping connections to be formed is equally critical as is answering those additional questions in order to be ready for the year to begin. All completed by many teams who help with ensuring that the school starts as smoothly as possible. I look forward to a good term ahead seeing what our strong team can achieve.