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

I trust your last couple of weeks have been as exciting and rewarding as have mine. This term is disappearing quicker than it commenced, and the more things return to normal the quicker the time seems to be going.

Year 12 Lunches

Last week I commenced my annual House lunches with our Year 12s. Without doubt I find this one of the most useful and enjoyable activities of my year. Why? Well the answer is very simple. It is extremely rewarding to spend some quality time with this group of young men who are not far from completing their individual journeys at Scotch. It is their individual journey which is most intriguing. At these lunches we ask the boys to reflect on their time at the College, good and bad times, and to share the things they would and would not change about their College. Without doubt, the information we receive each year from these sessions outweighs any other form of annual market survey information we obtain. Each lunch is a reaffirmation that every boy sees the benefits of a Scotch education from so many different perspectives. Most importantly, the feedback is personal, realistic and generous, with a view to improving the College for the future generations.

Of course, the 2020 group of Year 12s had a unique topic to discuss: COVID-19 and how they have felt working through all of the challenges it has created over the last few months. It will come as no real surprise that while the boys are extremely positive about how the College transitioned into an online environment and back, the aspect they missed the most was person-to-person contact with their mates and teachers, a common thread among everyone since returning to school this term.

Hopefully they will not have to face this again.

JPSSA and PSA hit the playing fields

If we needed any further confirmation about the value of personal contact through being in a community, then the return to an almost fully operational PSA programme last week highlighted just how much the boys in JPSSA and PSA and their families revelled in the opportunity to return to the playing fields. The atmosphere down at our ovals and other venues where our teams played across the three days was amazing and palpable, culminating in Saturday's blockbuster PSA AFL match against Aquinas College, which received press coverage on p52 of The Sunday Times and in the football lift out in Monday's The West Australian.

More than just sport

While returning to sport is a great moment, we must not lose sight that the return to normal opens the door for a return to our other non-classroom pursuits in the form of the practical and performing arts. Our major production is rescheduled to commence from 26–29 August, and while the return to PSA with some extended fixtures will mean some small adjustments to our matinee performance, we must remember that there are many of our boys who place the Arts at the top of their priority list. Keep an eye out for the return of assemblies, musical and drama performances, and many other groups as we work towards getting our Scotch engine room fully operational and balanced.

Balance matters

When speaking to the Year 12s the word balance and multiple opportunities comes up. It is something the seven PSA schools are looking at currently, with a strategy to expand the PSA brand beyond just our sporting fields and into the arts and other non-sporting activities. This commenced in 2019 with the start of our 'Model United Nation' competition, held between the seven schools at the UWA Club function hall. This will be an ongoing journey and an exciting one as we continue to ensure that a PSA education is one to be highly sought after and valued, not just for the time one is at school, but for the rest of one's working and social life.

Current community our best advocates

As we exit what has been a series of very challenging personal, social and economic moments, with some challenges yet to come, my eye is very much on the future of our great College. You often hear about brand, marketing and enrolments in the local papers and other media. I have a very simple view on this: while it is critical we continue to keep a public profile through print, digital and other media, our most important advocates for a Scotch education are you – the parents, friends, families and OSC that make Scotch what it is now and what it can become.

I encourage you to consider how you can add to our journey through introducing potential families to our community who would fit our values and culture. If you would like to introduce a family or have any ideas you would like to share about why you chose Scotch for your child, or to share what you have experienced thus far, then please do not hesitate to contact David Kyle, Director of Admissions, Engagement and Communications at or +61 8 9383 6926.

As we come through this first period of COVID-19 and prepare for any unknown challenges that may lay ahead, our shared commitment to the College will, as it has always done through history, be the reason why we continue to grow and thrive.

Have a great fortnight,

Dr A J O'Connell