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

Dear Community

Welcome back to 2020, a date which marks the start of a new year and decade at Scotch College. I have no doubt that like most years, 2020 will hold enriching, challenging and vibrant experiences for us all. Speaking to staff and parents across the three sub-schools, the first week appears to have gone very smoothly given the challenging start to the year due to the uncertainty of the Coronavirus. The most important places that seem to have got off to a smooth start is where it really matters, in our classrooms. I have no doubt there would have been some hidden challenges but then again there always are in such a large and vibrant college environment.

Speaking of challenges, it is important to recognise a lot of our schools and rural friends from across the country who have suffered so much as a result of the devastating bush fires. I happened to be overseas when the magnitude of this tragedy was unfolding, and the enormity of the 24/7coverage by the BBC left no doubt about just how significant this event was on the global stage. What did shine through the worldwide reporting, was the common thread of how rural communities support each other when the chips are down. Our own community has been involved in raising funds to donate to the rebuilding of these communities. There is a hard road ahead for so many families and we need to keep them in our thoughts and prayers as they commence the rebuilding process.

The tone and benchmark for the start of the year was well and truly set by our Scotch Parents Welcome Back BBQ. This came on the back of the work put in across the whole weekend from our boarding staff in transitioning our boarders back after their break. I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to Kate Reynolds, President of Scotch Parents, and her dedicated team for delivering such a great welcome back function.

During last week I attended some welcome back sessions where it was great to see so many returning and new faces. As Headmaster one of the main things I ask from all of the community is that we ensure we look after our new families during these initial settling back in weeks. I can still remember my first week at Scotch and how welcoming the community was and just what this meant to my own family. Engagement makes a huge difference for all of us when we start at somewhere new. To our new families I urge you to meet your class and year representatives and get involved in your son's journey. Furthermore, become engaged with Scotch Parents' meetings and activities. I know we are all busy but the more you get engaged with the Scotch community, the more you will realise just how special Scotch can be.

As we start a new year it is worth reinforcing that most successful organisations are those that keep the channels of communication open and streamlined. The school management structure of each sub-school is identical in that there is a Head of School, Dean of Teaching and Learning and Deputy of Administration and Pastoral. The first point of contact for all parents should be the person who can give you the quickest direct answer. In the first instance this is very often the classroom teacher or in Senior School the subject teacher. In essence if you are unsure who to contact then call the administrative support staff at the respective sub school and they will ensure your query is handled efficiently and effectively through getting the most relevant staff member to get back to you. In a world where we now overuse email and SMS due to convenience, an in-person chat or question can in many cases result in a far better outcome as opposed to a string of reply all emails.

Finally, if you are reading this message you have already made the correct start regarding College communication. The Thistle, in conjunction with the specific sub-school communications, is a critical part of our how our families keep abreast of what is happening. Over the course of a year it is extraordinary just how much occurs across our College. If in doubt just ask us for help.

On a personal note, if you are a new family and see me out and about either at the College or in the community, come up and say hello. This goes for returning parents who already have shown their willingness to have a chat over last week at various events.

Have a great start to the term and I look forward to catching up with you throughout the course of the year.