Headmaster’s Blog

Graeme Yule

Founders Service and Founders Break

Dear Community

I often get asked this question. Founders Service celebrates the commencement of the College. It is held at St John’s in the City as this is where our Founders John Aitken and James Gibb worshipped. James Gibb was the Minister there. We also share this service with Queen Margaret College as they were founded in 1919 on the Hobson St site, where Scots started when Scots moved to Miramar in 1919.

The Founders Break is held the week after to coincide with the national winter tournament week. This year we have 9 teams out at various events. We also schedule our Year 7&8 visit to Auckland at this time. These events have a major impact with many boys and Staff absent. To assist in managing this we close the College for a mid term break.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Staff who manage and coach these groups as they give up their break time to provide these opportunities for our students to have these experiences.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Building the All Round Man


Winter sport is fast coming to an end and while it has been a terrible winter weather wise College Staff have been busy providing a wide range of opportunities for College students outside the classroom for our students in the areas of sport, culture, service, chapel and leadership. It is important that our community realises that while this is part of our culture here and provides many avenues for our students this dedication is not found in all other schools. In the Wellington area only 31% of teachers are involved outside the classroom. As well as assisting our students to develop it also builds quality relationships between staff and students which assist in raising educational attainment.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff involved in activities and the Parents who give generously of their time to support them in developing our students as the all round man.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Preparing our students for their futures

Dear Parents/CareGivers

The aim of a Scots education has always been about the holistic development of our students. This was reaffirmed at last weekend’s Board strategy day.

This week’s presentation from Michael Kimmel on gender equality was a good example of the pastoral emphasis in this area. One of our basic values is respect for others regardless of sex, race or religion . Earlier this year we saw the community reaction when the actions of some students at other schools contravened this in social media. None of us are exempt from our students getting this wrong but events and programs such as this reinforce to our students the changing nature of our society and the importance of valuing others.

At this time of year we also see students applying for various scholarships and internships. This is again a measure of the quality of our students. The fact that all 5 of our students nominated for the PWC awards were selected for interview and the achievement of Leander Schubert being shortlisted for the Russell McVeagh Scholarship demonstrates the high quality of the young men we educate.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Exciting news as we commence Term 3


Dear Parents/Care Givers

Welcome back to Term 3. During the latter part of Term 2 I was fortunate to be awarded a sabbatical from the Board. During this time I travelled to the US and visited Hi Tech High School in San Diego. This was the school featured in the film evening run by the Parents’ Association earlier in the year. It was very informative to see the school in action and to talk to Staff and students. There are a number of elements of their programs that could be of benefit to our students.

Recently management and the Board have been strategizing abut how we can best prepare Scots students to be 21C learners and assist them in acquiring the requisite skills for their futures.

In this light we are delighted to have

  1. Achieved our MYP Authorisation – credit needs to go to the hard working staff and also to Matt Allen and Roger Doig who led this process. We are now fully authorized for all three IB programs
  2. At its June meeting the Board signed off on a $1m upgrade to our ICT infrastructure which will see the College better able to provide the necessary support for a more integrated online learning environment where staff and students are increasingly seeking more access to sites, visual content and of course faster bandwidth. This installation has commenced with some cabling over these holidays and will be completed by the start of 2018 and will include the new boarding house.

We are also continuing to discuss how we can best design our curriculum and its content and are currently reviewing Year 11 to see what changes may be of benefit. In addition we are continuing with the implementation of the iQualify platform which will provide the College with learning that is ubiquitous.

We recognize that education is currently being disrupted by technology and that there are great demands on schools and teachers however we feel we are well placed to continue to take advantage of this change and to continue to provide an excellent student centred education for your sons.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those Parents who filled in our recent survey. We value your feedback and I will write to you separately to outline a summary of your feedback and our next steps. The feedback was overwhelmingly favourable and compares well against our Australasian benchmarks, however as ever, there are always things we can improve upon.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina
Regards Graeme

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Dear Parents and Care Givers

As we look at the future of work we are considering how we can best prepare our students for their futures.

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. You can read more here and see a short video.

We know that our students will need different skills. Here are the top 10 job skills you will need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

1.Complex problem solving
2.Critical thinking
3.Creativity
4.People management
5.Co-ordinating with others
6.Emotional intelligence
7.Judgment and decision making
8.Service orientation
9.Negotiation
10.Cognitive flexibility

(Source: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum)

With these changes occurring we are considering how we can best prepare our students for making Career decisions. We are currently developing a “Careers Pathway” which outlines the steps we will take to assist students making these decisions about their future. We are seeking to establish a program that includes career advice, work experience and placements, mentoring, and psychometric testing to assist students develop career readiness. We also need to ensure that we assist the students to develop the necessary skills to be able to be competitive in the Fourth Revolution.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

The Hub

Dear Parents and Care Givers

This week we formally opened the Hub and I thought that I would share with you an excerpt from my speech (below) which outlines some of the rationale for this development and also the history of the Tony Shelly Centre.

The Hub has been in use for a number of weeks now and I have been very pleased with how the senior students are using the new facility and also the positive feedback from students about how it is aiding their study and of course food preparation.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Why did we undertake this project Hub?

The College’s strategic vision is focused on how we can prepare our students for their futures. We are all affected by digital disruption in our lives. The rate of change is increasing and change seems to be the only constant.

Research shows that many of the jobs our students will undertake have not been thought of yet just as social media managers, baristas and the like weren’t a decade or two ago. We also know that our students are unlikely to have a job for life, rather they will have a life of jobs and will need to be the lifelong learners the College prides itself on producing.

As a College how then do we prepare our students for futures?

We are focused on 21C learning and have created a Curriculum vision covering 3 areas

  1. Curriculum design – looking at how we design our curriculum to develop the skills students will need. Examples of this are our coding curriculum operating in the Prep School, 3D printing, Robotics, Digital animation ScotsTV and the like
  2. Pedagogical development – for our staff in the use of digital technologies and e-learning. At the start of this year our whole teaching staff undertook a course at Mindlab
  3. The third aspect is looking at the Design of learning spaces and giving staff and students the opportunity to teach and learn in modern environments such as the Hub and our new trial classroom.

It is our hope that facilities such as the hub ensure our students are prepared for tertiary study and opportunities beyond and that we have developed in them the skills to be successful and productive citizens as we build the all round man.

The Tony Shelly Centre

Tony Shelly was a boarding student at the College from 1942 – 1955. Tony commenced at Scots as a 5 year old boarder. He spent 13 years as a boarder, 1 year as a day boy in Form V and was made Gibb House Prefect in his final year. Tony was a member of the 1st XV 54-55. He also won the College Senior Athletic Championship and Didsbury Cup, and was a member of the Tennis VIII, swimming and gymnastics teams. He also won the Senior Public Speaking competition in 1955. Tony was also Drum Major of the Pipe Band in 1954 and 1955, and a member of our cadet unit.   

Tony and Lesley visited Scots in August 1998 to meet with Headmaster Ian McKinnon, Head Prefect Jonathon White and Deputy Head Seby Reeves.

Sadly Tony died of cancer soon afterwards with the Tony Shelly Centre opening on 7 March 2000. Lesley Shelly supported the project to be completed after Tony’s death and we have acknowledged this in the naming of the Lesley Shelly lecture theatre.

Tony’s desire in his gift was to provide students with extra facilities to enhance their learning and experience at the College. The Tony Shelly Centre includes the Lesley Shelley lecture theatre, senior seminar room, careers office, archives office, Chaplains office and classrooms.

Social Media

Dear Community

I am sure that many of you, like me have looked at recent events publicised in the media with some dismay. As parents and educators we all want to keep our children safe and also ensure they exhibit good judgement when dealing with such issues. I view these issues not only as an educator but also as a parent with three daughters.

I was in Auckland at a SCOBA event when much of this was going on and spoke to staff and students at a special assembly last Friday. I pointed out it was not ok to write comments on social media such as those by some Wellington College students, that it was not ok to fight as students from Rongotai and St Pats Town did after McEvedy, it was not right to video staff and post on the internet as some St Pats Silverstream students did and staging and videoing fights as HVHS students did was not appropriate either. I have been pleased to see the comments from these schools and their efforts in dealing with these issues. They are not a norm but the actions of a misguided minority that reflect badly on their schools.

At Scots we are emphasising the building of positive relationships as part of our PERFORM and tutorial program where people are treated with respect regardless of their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. As I pointed out to our students they would be offended if unsavoury comments were made to their sister, mother or relatives and they in turn must show this respect to others.

At the assembly I also reinforced our school rules and reminded students about the potential consequences of bringing their school into disrepute. The effect on the students, schools and families involved in these incidents is huge and we do not wish to see our students dragged into this debate. It is naive of our students to think what they post will remain private. It was also pointed out to our students that what they post on social media in many ways defines them as people. At this time in particular they need to be very careful with what they post or like.

If anything positive has come out of these incidents it is that we are having these discussions about what is acceptable and what is not and causing us as schools to reflect on our programmes.

What can you as parents do?

  1. Be proactive, discuss this with your sons
  2. Monitor their access and periodically ask to see their social media accounts
  3. Ensure that your son(s) don’t have unlimited access overnight to their devices i.e. get them to charge their devices (including phones) in an area of the house that you can monitor

Parents have also asked what we as a school are doing in this area.

Our major pastoral program is PERFORM which operates from Years 7-13 in tutor groups. The focus is on building positive Relationships is a key theme throughout the tutorial programme and becomes a major focus at various points in the year.

  1. External consultants – Pattacake Productions ran workshops on gender equality and consent for Yr10 in Term 3 2016. This will continue in 2017.
  2. Our Year 12 Religious Education program teaches a unit on consent and rape culture.
  3. Cyber-safety and Digital Citizenship was a key focus for PERFORM tutorials across Yr7-13 in T2 2016. This will continue in 2017.
  4. Susan McClean (The “Cyber Cop”) visiting speaker in T2 2016 spoke to Yrs7-13 about digital citizenship and the law.
  5. Term 3 2016: Nic Dalton’s speech on Feminism and gender equality was delivered to the Yr10 cohort followed by a Q&A session

In addition we have established a Cyber Safety and Digital Citizen focus group this year combining staff, students and parents onto a committee dedicated to raising awareness, programmes and action regarding key issues

The College also works closely with the Parents’ Association to raise awareness and education through an annual speaker series. Last year saw Dr Sven Hansen at the College and this year we have partnered with 3 other independent schools to bring Michael Kimmel, an expert in the area of gender equality, boys and growing good young men from the USA in August. Michael will run sessions for students and parents.

In the Prep school teachers use the Learner Profile (eg. principled, caring, open minded etc) with the boys to reflect on actions of various groups of people and individuals. This enables the boys to reflect on their actions relating it back to key terminology used in the PYP. Relationships and interactions are a common theme taught across Yr1-6 ensuring that the boys are aware of different dynamics in particular when we collaborate with Queen Margaret College for QUOTS or competing in extra-curricular sport. With the introduction of BYOD at Year 5 the senior syndicate dedicates learning focussed on digital citizenship and cyber safety to ensure that boys understand the impact of having an online presence.

In our Health program from Years 7-10 we cover the following topics:

Year 7

  • Relationships
  • Online digital footprint
  • Entire unit on stereotyping of gender roles
  • Online citizenship
  • Online safety

Year 8

  • Puberty and conception
  • Entire unit on stereotyping of females and males – body image
  • Accepting sexual diversity
  • Cyber bullying
  • Social media etiquette
  • Relationships/friendships

Year 9

  • Dating and relationships communication
  • Stereotyping
  • Digital footprint
  • Sharing of online pics
  • Digital law and relationships
  • Body image
  • Cultural sexual diversity
  • Friendships
  • Social media etiquette

Year 10 – Good man project

  • Sexual consent
  • Alcohol/drugs and consent
  • Sexuality stereotyping
  • Safe sex – sti’s
  • Accepting sexual diversity
  • Body image/stereotyping
  • Negative impacts of pornography on hauora
  • Online digital footprint
  • Online sex ed
  • Online relationships
  • Online law
  • Unplugging online
  • Social media and well being
  • Social media bullying

I hope this letter gives Parents some sense of comfort regarding these issues. While recent events are of concern I would also like to point out that the vast majority of our students are good citizens with a good moral compass. On a daily and weekly basis we are seeing them develop their citizenship and leadership skills in College service activities.

Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact me or your School Principal.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Manner maketh the man.

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Our year has started well with students settling into their courses. As well as academic study our mantra of the all round man encourages students to be involved in sport, culture, service and leadership. We also aim to develop their social skills. As the saying goes “Manners maketh the man” and I would like to share the following article with you on this topic. In our increasingly digital age these soft skills are becoming more important.

GOOD MANNERS

Because of students’ constant heads-down focus on their electronic devices, it’s often hard for them to learn to interact appropriately with other people. They are more comfortable texting or sending an e-mail to communicate than offering a firm handshake or a warm smile. To prepare students for interviews and the modern workplace, not to mention their personal relationships, they need to be taught the skills of interacting with others.

Our students should aim to be “special”. The first impression they make has a lasting impression and they can improve their social interactions by the following:

S.P.E.C.I.A.L.

  • Shake hands – a firm, appropriate grip
  • Posture – standing up straight, shoulders back, conveying confidence and awareness;
  • Eye contact – looking the other person in the eye during the entire interaction;
  • Charm –a smile, head nod, laugh;
  • Introduce yourself – saying, “Hi, I’m —-” gets the ball rolling;
  • Ask a question – “What brings you here?” or “Don’t you hate this weather?” begins a conversation and shows interest in the other person;
  • Lean in and listen – without invading the person’s space, getting a little closer signals engagement and helps you listen and respond appropriately.

As Parents you can reinforce this. They need practice so they become natural. It’s good to start at an early age teaching children to introduce themselves, start a conversation, look people in the eye and answer politely. By high school, students should be able to start a good conversation with a stranger and mingle in a crowd.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster


Dear Community

2017 promises to be a little bit less busy than our centenary year was. This being said there are a number of projects and exciting changes that we will look to complete this year.

The year has started well with some excellent examination results:

International Baccalaureate

18 of the 20 students achieved the Diploma with the two students who narrowly missed undertaking some remedial work. The College’s average 31 was once again the global average of 29.

NCEA

These results are still provisional but once again are at record levels. Of particular note are the excellent results of the Year 13 cohort.

Education Funding Review

Dear Community

Independent Schools of NZ Director Sally King has been attending meetings of the Funding Advisory Group. This body has been charged by the Minister to make recommendations about the future funding of education.

You may be aware that there has been some criticism of the decile funding and the Minster is keen to ensure that the right funding goes to the right areas. The basic principle being discussed is how to ensure the funding in education is spread effectively. Private school funding has been effectively capped for the last 15 years and this review has recognised the positive contribution our schools make. In the short term it is unlikely that our funding will increase but if it is based on a per student model then future increases will at least flow through to our schools who

  1. Receive less in funding than the GST Parents pay in school fees
  2. Save the Government an estimated $240m each year by not having your children in the State system

Private schools stand for choice in education and we will support any measure that allows students the ability to seek an education that best suits their needs. I see the PPTA has taken a very negative and industrial view of this review and is seeking to maintain the status quo which is simply not working. Their view of this as the old “bulk funding model” is simply not correct and I believe is simply scaremongering.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Curriculum

The PDF below links to the College’s Curriculum Vision. You may have seen a number of articles in the media about future curriculum and ICT. As per my previous emails we have been working on this for some time and this vision encapsulates our strategy in this area. We are working to ensure that our curriculum meets the needs of our students and their futures.

Curriculum Vision

The Classroom of the Future

Dear Community

In recent years the College has grown and developed both its curriculum and pedagogy. We are also considering the nature of the classroom of the future. Much has been written about future learning spaces. This week will see the first meeting of a professional learning group to study the literature around this.

Assistant Principal Alistair West will also present his report which he undertook with the aid of a Staff scholarship last year. The development of curriculum, pedagogy and facilities needs to occur hand in hand with the associated professional development for Staff. I recently submitted to the Board a new curriculum vision based around this thinking. (Please see the summary diagram below).

classroom_future

It is my belief that we are well prepared for this change and are approaching it in a managed and systematic manner. In addition to the careful implementation of our 1:1 program we are also looking at a new platform iQualify for the delivery of our content which once tested we hope to start implementing next year. This will also give us the ability to deliver our curriculum to those who do not currently attend the College. The Board has been discussing the implications of this for the College and its mission. We remain committed to delivering an holistic education to those attending the College which will best prepare them for their futures.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster
May 2016

100 Years of Boarding

Gibb House and boarding have been a key part of Scots College since its inception in 1916. Historically the boarding house was home for farming students who came to town from the regional farming community to receive their education. In the initial years the boarding house flourished and coped with such calamities as the influenza epidemic and the Great Depression. Its numbers were strong peaking in the early hundreds. It has always provided a safe “home away from home” for College families.

Scots College Boarding

Over time the nature of boarding has changed. Society would no longer find acceptable the type of discipline and other restrictions associated with boarding, the change in the farming demographic has seen fewer rural families and ease of access has seen more students travel to school on a daily basis.

In the early 2000s boarding numbers at the College had declined to a point where the Board considered closing Gibb House. A decision was made to reinvigorate boarding through the construction of the new wing and increasing capacity to 60 places. This facility was opened in 2007 with a roll of 36 including three 7-day boarders. The Board’s faith in boarding has been richly rewarded. We soon filled the vacant beds and over the last few years we have grown by purchasing adjoining properties and creating senior flats. This increased our capacity to 80. Last year the College purchased a key property on Strathmore Avenue. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the College Foundation, namely Roger Miller, Stuart Pritchard and John Feast for their assistance in this acquisition. A decision was made to renovate this property and in Term 2 this year this facility was opened providing another 20 beds to take our capacity to 100 students.

Why is boarding so popular?

  1. I believe that we have moved to meet the demands of our community. In contrast to the restrictive practices of the past, Geoff Hall and his team are responsive to family needs and have created a wonderful culture in Gibb House. This flexibility sees a large number of students wishing to board in their senior years, providing excellent preparation for University. It should be noted that the academic results for boarding exceed that of the College as a whole.
  2. As well as having excellent facilities Gibb House is a diverse environment with students from numerous nationalities adding a richness to its culture.
  3. Gibb House is staffed by teaching staff who are able to assist the boys not only academically but also pastorally
  4. It continues to provide access to the College for families outside the immediate Wellington region

As we approach the Centenary boarding is flourishing at the College and we are already looking at further expansion opportunities.

To reflect this growing area of the College we have added a new section dedicated to the boarding community to the Quad magazine.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster
July 2015

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