Headmaster’s Blog

Graeme Yule

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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.

Campus Development

There has been a lot of work undertaken over the break to ensure the College is presented well. I would like to thank the admin and grounds staff for all they have done. Major projects undertaken are

  1. Gibb East – this sees the completion of the College’s strengthening programme. After deliberation the Board decided to strengthen rather than demolish this building which, when completed in March, will see Learning Development and International students relocated.
  2. New MLE Classroom – this is being developed by the ICT office and will allow staff and students to experience a modern learning environment (MLE). This area will be utilized to upskill staff in new pedagogy as outlined in our curriculum vision.
  3. The Hub – located in the area previously occupied by the senior common rooms. These rooms have been developed to create a tertiary type study environment that will be available to Year 12 and 13 students providing them with not only a better environment but also an area more closely aligned with tertiary study. This area should be completed by the end of February and will be a major addition to the College.
  4. Boarding House – we are nearing the completion of final plans and will shortly go to tender.

Special Dates – please note the Community Gala Day will be held on Sunday 26 February. Please save this date in your calendar. This day will be similar in format to last year’s centenary picnic and more information will be sent to you shortly.

Monday 30 January – Staff PD Day 2

Tuesday 31 January – Staff PD Day 3 and Boarding House opens

Wednesday 1 February – College opens for Y1-10 and Y13 and new Y11-12 students

Thursday 2 February – College opens for all Y1-13

Sunday 26 February – Community Gala Day

Staffing

New Teaching Appointments

I would particularly like to make a special welcome to the new Staff who join us this year:

  1. Matt Clayton – HOD Graphics
  2. Mike McKnight joins the Science department
  3. Lauren Watkinson – LAC Languages
  4. Gerald Yang – HOD Chinese
  5. Scott Giffen – Mathematics
  6. Kirsten Beard – Year 1
  7. Rachel Henry joins the English department
  8. Rosalyn-Joyce Fisher replaces Ani Belworthy who has been granted a year’s leave

New Administration Appointments

  1. Christine Newdick – Library
  2. Michela Turnbull takes over as our permanent Archivist
  3. Charlotte Wood remains on staff as a contractor looking after our StudyCare programme for international students and as our events manager
  4. Damian Ormsby joined us late in Term 4 2016 as our database operator
  5. Billy Reynolds – ICT support
  6. Charlotte Upton – Marketing and Design Co-ordinator
  7. Leigh Emmerton – Nurse
  8. James Hill – Cricket
  9. Susanne Henley-Smith – Sports Administration

The following Staff will also take up new responsibilities this year:

  1. Mike Hansen – Principal of the Prep School
  2. Rebecca Burton – Marketing Manager
  3. Holly McIntyre – LAC Technology
  4. Hannah McGee – HOD MS Art
  5. Claire Hall – HOD MS English
  6. Seamus Flood – House Activities Co-ordinator
  7. Govinda Lascelles – HOD Digital Technology
  8. Mark Capstick – TIC Business Studies
  9. Mike Royds – Dean of Smith House
  10. Ian Leslie – Dean of Uttley House  

We are looking forward to what promises to be a very exciting year for the College

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

Scots Song

Dear Community

In our centenary year I thought it timely to provide you some history on the Scots College Song. The College has had two songs in its history.

The first College song was set to the music of “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp. The boys are marching”  by the organist of St John’s in the City and visiting music teacher to Scots 1916-1927 Charles Kerry. The original words for this were lost.

The present song “Hurrah for Scots” was a combined effort by Charles Kerry and Samuel Jackson who was the treasurer of the Board of Governors.

Hurrah for Scots of noble name from north across the sea!
We’ll pass it on in the fairest fame for the years that yet shall be.
We’ll stride along and meet with song whatever life allots!
And play our game or chant our rhyme with a great ‘All hail!’ for Scots

So we sing a song of the boys that were
Who are men of today you see:
And we brace ourselves to do and dare,
As the men who are to be.

Then make the sounding rafters ring with lusty strains and long:
Our hearts leap in the song we sing with chorus full and strong.
Let God and right the watchword be, let Scots have honoured name:
And joy be ours to know that we were heralds of it’s fame.

So hurrah once more for the boys that were
Who are men of today you see:
And hurrah for us who will do and dare
In the greater days to be

As you can see the song is now quite quaint but the message and intent of the lyrics are still powerful and relevant to the College’s mission of creating good young men.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule
Headmaster

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

 

Understanding Qualifications and Future Pathways

Dear Community,

Please find below an article I have written around qualifications and pathways. 

I trust you will find this helpful reading with regard to decisions around your son’s education pathways.

Understanding Qualifications and Future Pathways 2016 (248KB)

Please feel free to contact me on email should you require any further information.

Kind regards,
Graeme Yule
March 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

 

99 Years of the All-round Man

As we approach the College’s centenary it is time to consider the contribution that Scots College has made to the young men who have attended it over the last century. While we are living through a time of great change as shown with the introduction of 1:1 computing at the College the essence of a Scots education has, I believe, been largely unchanged.

Matthew Strawbridge, Graeme and Maria Yule attending the New Zealander of the Year Awards

Matthew Strawbridge, Graeme and Maria Yule attending the New Zealander of the Year Awards

An excellent academic education based on Christian values has always been at the core of the education offered by the College and is key in the creation of the All-Round Man. Add to this a broad co-curricular programme, a service and leadership component and the young men of the College are well prepared for whatever challenges they face in the future.

Over the Christmas break a group of our students led by teacher Callum Brookes travelled to Africa. While there they undertook a service activity as well as climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. This year also sees a service trip return to Fiji in July. Such activities help to round our students as good citizens.

There is no doubt that as well as the academic qualifications that all students seek, Scots students benefit from their ability to conduct themselves in a variety of arenas. They can speak publicly, have a well developed values base and have the interpersonal skills that differentiate them from others.

I recently had the good fortune to attend the New Zealander of the Year awards as a guest of Scots College student Matthew Strawbridge. Matthew is 16 and was one of three finalists from over 200 nominees in the Young New Zealander of the Year category. It was inspiring to hear the stories of so many Kiwis who are making our country a better place for all. Matthew’s work with those affected by dyslexia is changing the lives of many young New Zealanders, and I was proud to see him there representing our College.

While an academic education is important, the type of rounded education we offer at Scots where students develop the soft skills needed for future success such as citizenship, leadership, public speaking and an understanding of service, have never been more important.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina.

Graeme Yule
Headmaster
April 2015

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