Headmaster's Blog | Scots College

Headmaster’s Blog

Graeme Yule2022

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

I look forward to welcoming back students and starting the new year. We have had a busy time over the break as we ready for the start of a new year, two new science labs have been created and the new classroom block is on track for completion at the beginning of term 2.

We start the year with a roll of just over 1000 students and strong waitlists as demand for places exceeds places available by a considerable margin. This year also sees the completion of our move to full co-education with co-ed classes at all levels throughout the College.

Examinations results
Our IB results are again excellent with record IB Diploma results and early indications as we access our NCEA results is that these again will be at or near record levels. This is testament to the excellent work of staff during a difficult year.

Covid update
We have been monitoring the situation carefully and planning should community spread occur. It is inevitable that we will be affected, and we will ensure we do all we can to minimise any disruption to learning at the College. We expect a key challenge will be around maintaining our staffing levels.

New pastoral initiatives
I wrote to the community last year regarding our move to maintain personalised pastoral care as the College grows. The House system review committee is managing the process to split Houses into Middle and Senior from the start of 2023 with Glasgow House undertaking a role as a pilot House for 2022. Last year I also emailed out to our community our Strategic Intent outlining the key initiatives for this year and this is attached again for the benefit of our new whanau.

College Bus
In a joint initiative with the Parents’ Association the College now has its own Bus which will be used for Class and other EOTC and sporting trips. It will be wrapped and an example of how it may look is shown below.

Staff news
The increase in roll has led to the appointment of many new staff in both teaching and administration. This has allowed us to ensure we keep class sizes manageable and also deliver good support and pastoral care


  • We welcome back Edit McIntosh to the Science department
  • We also welcome back Alison Stevens to the Science department and as House Dean of Plimmer House
  • Duke Pomare (a Collegian) joins the Science department
  • Katarina McInnes joins us as teacher of Te Reo
  • Maggie Trapp joins us as teacher of English
  • Raphael Kim joins us as teacher of Maths
  • John Vogel (a Collegian) joins us as teacher of Humanities on a 6 month LTR contract until Matthew Roberts joins us in term 3
  • Georgina Rarity joins us as teacher of DVC
  • Jamie Blake joins us as teacher of PE
  • Michelle Barnes is maternity cover for Rosie Roland who returns on 17 October
  • Alison Lundy remains with us the Visual Arts Department for 2022
  • Daisy Clement joins the languages department
  • Sean Tholen joins the Digitech department
  • Andy York commences as HOD Materials Design Technology
  • Susan Levett re-joins the Junior School as LTR for 2022
  • Guadalupe Zarazaga, Angie LeCarpentier and Rachael Spencer join us as new teacher aides
  • Pesamino Morrison joins us as teacher of PE
  • Rachel More (Henry) joins the English and Drama departments


  • Marina Cook commences as our new CFO in March
  • Connie Denison joins the Finance team as Payroll and Accounts Officer
  • Emma Phelps commences as Director of Sport
  • Samuel Allen (a Collegian) joins us as our new part time Science Technician
  • Rebecca Wilcox commences as our new Assistant Chaplain
  • Linh Quan joins our permanent, full time staff in Chartres
  • Gabi Scott commences as one of our Gap Tutors

Other changes:

  • Shane Gaffney joins the senior leadership team as Assistant Principal Co-Curricular
  • Richard Found is the new House Dean for Glasgow House (Senior School)
  • Katherine Bertram returns as Design and Religious Education teacher and House Dean for Glasgow House (Middle School)
  • Kate Jones is the new MacKenzie House Dean
  • Jo Calvert has been appointed to the new position of MYP assistant
  • Michelle McCorkindale commences as HOD Religious Education
  • Mitchell Edwards takes over as TIC Health for 2022
  • Glenn Wilson takes up a new position of Head of MS Languages
  • Imogen Neil and Scott Giffin join the boarding House Staff, with Mike McKnight moving out of his role in Boarding.

We are looking forward to another busy and productive term.

Yours sincerely,
Graeme Yule

What is your why?

Dear Parents/Care Givers

We are currently in the middle of our goal setting. Unfortunately the scheduled interviews were unable to be held due to Covid however your Deans and tutors will be in touch regarding this. Today I would like to share with you some thoughts on this process that you may wish to share with your child. I discussed these points with the Middle School in their Wednesday assembly.

We all crave success. Success is like an iceberg while we see the small part above the surface there is much more below. Often we look at successful people and wonder how they do it. From our perspective it seems easy for them and impossible for us however while we see their outcomes we don’t see what they have gone through to achieve this.

The starting point for all of this is discovering your why. What is your why? Simon Sinek has some wonderful background on this if you wish to search him on YouTube

Obviously it helps to understand your motives for doing something. If you want to learn to shoot 3 point shots in basketball for example you are more likely to go out and practice, similarly if you wish to play in a band with some friends it is more motivating to practice your skills.

Your why is like a compass, it gives you direction. We can be in a car and enjoy the scenery on a journey without knowing where we are going but your why gives you a destination and a reason for your travel. You can still enjoy the journey and scenery but now you have a purpose.

Your mindset as you approach things is also very important. This is shown in the work undertaken by Carol Dweck.

Your attitude is critical. How you view things makes a big difference. This is called your mindset. People with a fixed mindset do not believe they can make a difference. Research shows, unsurprisingly that those with a growth mindset are more successful.

Some people say I can be successful and are, others say they can’t and they aren’t. In both cases they are right. Some people say I can’t succeed as I am not smart enough or don’t have enough talent. These things are really all about your CHARACTER – the type of person you are

Not everything we do ends in success. Often we will fail that is why resilience and goals are important. Often we don’t like to talk about our failures yet we fail often and can learn from them.

“There is a quote that I would paraphrase that goes something like

The quickest way to become successful is to double your failure rate”

Over lockdown last year like many of you I watched a lot of Netflix and one series I really enjoyed was The Last Dance profiling the life and career of Michael Jordan.

Failure is not the problem, what we do about failure is the key issue. Do we simply give up when the going gets tough? Or do we show resilience and character and use failure as a spur to try harder?

Here is another story of resilience

Many years ago a young man drifted through his teen years and then into his 20’s. When he was 31, he thought, “I’d better get going and do something!”

He formed a partnership, went into business, but in 18 months was bankrupt. Then he decided since he was broke he would go into politics. At his first election he lost badly.

Two years later at the age of 34, he went into business again. Bankruptcy followed again.

A year later he thought things were improving when he met and fell in love with a lovely woman. She died.

At 36 he suffered a nervous breakdown and was confined to bed for 6 months. He recovered, went back into politics, and ran for another local government post. He lost again. He started another business, this time with a little more success.

So at 43, he decided to run for the US Congress. He lost. At 46, he ran for Congress again, and lost again. At 48 he ran for the Senate and lost that as well. When he was 55, he tried for his parties nomination for Vice President. He was badly defeated.

At age 58 he ran for the Senate again, and again he lost. Finally at 60 years of age Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first public office – President of the United States of America.

The moral of the story is that “failure is only a temporary setback and provides an opportunity to go forward and achieve success.”

So as you set your goals this year

  1. Think about your why
  2. Realise what it takes to be successful
  3. Have a growth mindset
  4. Don’t forget about character
  5. Persist and don’t see failure as an end point

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

An Historic occasion

Last weekend saw the official opening of the McKinnon Block and a reunion of the McKinnon era 1992-2002.

We were delighted to have the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy officially open the building with the whole College and 160 invited guests in attendance. Saturday saw Scots Collegians and ex- Staff luncheon with 120 attendees and a formal Dinner for 250. The success of these events were testament to our hardworking Development team. I was humbled to see the support of our community for these events and once again I was impressed by the manner in which all of our students supported these occasions.

This weekend marked another step in our Future Focussed learning strategy and also saw us honour the contribution of Ian and Jenny McKinnon during Ian’s tenure as Headmaster.  My opening speech below gives detail of their achievements.

Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne, The Honourable Paul Eagle, Mayor Andy Foster, Moderator of Presbytery Central Rev. Diane Gilliam-Weeks, Chairman of the Board Philip Poppe, Chair of the Foundation Peter Griffiths, Chair of the Scots Collegian’s Association James Gould, Chair of the Parent’s Association Bella Bartley, Invited guests, members of the Board, Staff and students of the College, welcome to the official opening of the McKinnon Block. Also a warm welcome to our special guests Ian and Jenny McKinnon.

Thank you to those involved in our welcome. The Kuia Mrs Te Ripowai Higgins and Kamatua Mr Joe Harawira from Government House, Marie Swanson and Emerson Nikora.  It is also special to have our Old Boy Piper, Ian MacKenzie involved in today’s proceedings. Later he will play a piece for us that he has composed himself.

I would like to begin with a Whakatauki – Ka mua, ka muri (walking backwards into the future) It is important that we look at the past to help shape our future. Today as we look to the future we also honour those who have built Scots College. This building and our new Future Focussed Learning strategy are part of the writing of next chapter of the history of Scots College.

In 2018 the College announced its Future Focussed learning strategy which encompassed significant curriculum reform, the introduction of a co-educational senior school and a building program to accommodate this strategic intent.

Projects such as this do not simply happen they are the culmination of the efforts of many and today I would like to acknowledge
Kevin O’Neill the College’s CFO
Hamish Plimmer Chair of the Board’s Development Committee
Jeremy Perrott, Ari Stevens and Sophie Vial from Athfield Architects
Vaughan Plant from Rider Levett Bucknall
Craig Bristol and Stella Robertson-Hale from ANZ Bank
Byron Roff, Gwena Gilbert and Jeremy Wilson from the Building Intelligence Group
Patrick Arnold and James Chrystall from E-Cubed
Anthony Taylor from Clendon Burns and Park

Scots Collegian Aaron McGuiness and our Contractors, the team at L.T. McGuiness especially Steve Becker, Matt Kontze and Kerrin Manuel
I would also acknowledge the Parents Association who have supported the project with a substantial donation and the sponsors of our reunion weekend the Scots Collegians Association and Fuji Xerox.

The decision to name this building after Ian and Jenny McKinnon recognizes the contribution they made during Ian’s tenure as Headmaster of the College from 1992-2002. This weekend we will also have further celebrations as part of the reunion of old Collegians who attended the College during this decade.

As the students gathered here today weren’t born when Ian and Jenny commenced at the College I will give a little background about them. Ian McKinnon commenced his tenure on 15th September 1992 returning to NZ from his post as Lower Master at Eton College in the UK. Prior to this Mr McKinnon had taught at King’s College in Auckland and had been the Headmaster at Wanganui Collegiate School. Immediately upon his appointment Mr McKinnon had a major impact upon the College introducing the House system we know today and upgrading the College’s facilities. The major project in his time was the construction of the Tony Shelley Centre which replaced an area known colloquially as “The Bronx”.

As we know behind every good man is a better woman and Ian and Jenny were indeed a team. Jenny supported the College and Ian working as Matron in the Boarding House and developing initiatives such as the Fergusson tartan carpet we now have at the College and the major fundraising drive to build the fence around the College. Part of this project was the installation of the Plimmer gates which is entirely appropriate as Ian and Jenny are part of the Plimmer family many of whom are with us today and are taking the opportunity to hold a reunion over the weekend.

Ian is without doubt one of New Zealand’s most prominent educators, the College flourished during his time here and many students benefitted from his leadership. Upon his departure from the College Ian became a Wellington City Councillor from 2004-2013 and during that time was appointed Deputy Mayor. He was also pro-chancellor at Victoria University from 2003-2015. In 2013 Ian was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to education and the community. It is entirely fitting then that we record his and Jenny’s contribution to the College by naming this significant new building after them.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina
Graeme Yule

Words of Encouragement

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

It is hard to believe that we are approaching the end of the year so quickly. Recently I attended the Aitken House Dinner and was asked to reply to the toast to the College. In my response I looked to two aspects

Firstly – some words of encouragement for students. In 2014 an old boy Hamish Edwards spoke to a group at the College. Hamish is a successful businessman and advised the following which I thought was equally relevant to both leavers and returnees

  • Don’t be afraid to fail
  • Think really big – Of course your failures can be really catastrophic!
  • Build a network
  • Always present well
  • Be honorable and have personal integrity
  • Make decisions and be responsible for the results
  • Be free with your time, It comes back in spades when you least expect it
  • See the world
  • Remember where you came from
  • You carry the name of your family and your actions reflect on them
  • Find someone to share your life with

Secondly I reflected on the importance of the House system in building community and relationships using the recent example of Mason Pendrous and I shared part of an email that I received from Mason’s father after his recent funeral.

I want to thank you and your staff for the part that Scots College played in my son’s ‘Celebration of Life’ at Khandallah on Friday. We had the opportunity to meet some of the boys and staff, but there were many others there who we would also like to thank.

Please pass on my heart felt thanks to all those that attended or sent messages. Including the ex students from Mason’s year who came from all parts of New Zealand to be there for him. 

Mason loved his time at Scots College. He didn’t always do as well as he could academically, but Scots helped build his core values and character. The bonds and friendships that Mason created at Scots were the strongest in his short life. Mason treated many of the students as his brothers. He really enjoyed and appreciated the comradery that being part of the Scots College rowing team gave him.

Encourage all students and alumni to stay in contact with the wider Scots College community. It could help them through difficult times when they might be at their lowest. Very few students will be lucky enough to create the same bonds and friendships in life, that they have at Scots College.    

I finished with the following challenge for the students

  1. To those returning – be kind, get involved, support one another, and build your relationships within your House and year group
  2. To those leaving – Make sure you stay in touch with us and each other as you carry on your journey in life

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

IB Awards Ceremony 2019

The national IB awards ceremony was held in Auckland over the weekend. Three of our 2018 cohort were recognized for achieving marks in excess of 40 points which puts them in the top echelon of students globally. Unfortunately Campbell Bensemann and Louis Davis were unable to attend however Dhariya Thakkar was in attendance. Chris Luxon the CEO of Air New Zealand presented the awards and spoke to the awardees.

2019 Developments

Dear Community

We have had a smooth start to the year and we are all settling well into our routines. The building developments are going well with the new staffroom on track to be open by the end of this term. We have also nearly completed the groundworks for the McKinnon building which is also well on target.

Shortly I will begin the appointment process for the new Deputy Principal Pastoral who will have responsibility for the oversight of the welfare of girls from 2020. We have had considerable interest in places and will be seeking to firm a number of these up in late term 1 and early term 2. If any current families have interest I would suggest they register this interest with Maria hmpa@scotscollege.school.nz as soon as possible as places are limited for domestic students and we will need to keep some places for boarding and international students.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

2019 Update and ERO Report

Dear Parents/ Caregivers

Welcome to 2019. I hope you have had a restful break and enjoyed family time over Christmas.

2019 promises to be another exciting year. It has started well with some excellent examination results from our senior students in the 2018 NCEA and IB Diploma examinations. These results again place Scots College students at the forefront of educational achievement nationally and globally. Senior School Principal Christian Zachariassen will outline these in more detail for you. We also continue to attract quality Staff and I am pleased this year to announce to Prep School families that we have added additional senior staffing in the form of Assistant Principal Mandy Patrick to the Prep School team. Mandy is an experienced IB educator who has returned from overseas and will assist Principal Mike Hansen in running the growing Prep School.

At the end of 2018 we were visited by ERPO and their full report is now publicly available. I have attached it here. It shows clearly the quality of our teaching, learning and pastoral care provided here at the College across all three schools.

A lot of work has been undertaken over the break to ensure we are ready for the start of the year with our property team in particular being very busy. The following work has been completed:
1. Demolition of Gibb North has been completed and work is well underway to have the new Staffroom operational by late March
2. The southern end of the Harford wing has been refurbished
3. The Technology block has undergone a major transformation
4. The Development/Marketing area and upstairs weights rooms have been converted into classrooms for 2019
5. Learning support has been relocated to Gibb East
6. Physics has been relocated to the international student/learning support area
7. The McKinnon block piling is underway
8. Prep toilets have been relocated into the main teaching area by the Prep Science Lab
9. The upstairs of the Monorgan Road Block has had a major refurbishment
10. The Library has been relocated to the Prep Library and P15

This sees us well placed to operate efficiently until the McKinnon block classrooms are available in 2020. We will assess options for the information centre during the year.

This year also sees us implement our new timetable and associated curriculum and assessment at Year 11. While the various national reviews are underway we are well down this path which promises to provide excellent future focused learning opportunities for our students.

We are very much looking forward to 2019 and the opportunities it will bring.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Fees for 2019

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Last week you will have received notification of our fees increase for 2019. Obviously a key factor in setting the 2019 fees is the likelihood of a sizeable pay increase for teaching staff.

We are pleased that once again we were able to keep fee increases to a minimum through sound financial management. Across NZ most schools seem to be increasing their fees by 4.5% – 5% but we were able to limit our to 2.95% with other schools increasing their fees by more than 50% of our increase. We remain committed to offering excellent value and keeping independent education accessible.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Future focussed learning

This term sees the College implement its new curriculum management structure to deliver its future focussed learning strategy. We welcome Alan Smith as our new Curriculum Deputy Principal and Daniel Dyer as the new Year 11 Coordinator and Principals nominee at the start of the term. Craig Morrison commences as our Director of teaching and learning in term 3. We look forward to implementing this new structure and the changes to our curriculum and assessment at Year 11 in 2019.

Mr West leaves us at the end of the month to take up a contracting position with the Ministry of Education. I would like to thank him for his valuable contribution to the senior management team in recent years and wish him well for his future.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina 
Graeme Yule
Scots College

Founders Break

Dear Community

Recently we held our Founders Service and during national tournament week we hold our Founders Break. This lessens the impact of these many activities on both staff and students.

The national tournament week sees a huge number of middle and senior school students competing at the highest level nationally and provides a wonderful experience for our students. I am grateful to our staff who give so generously of their time and expertise to enable our students to have these experiences.

At the Founders service we spoke about the reason Scots was founded and the type of holistic and personalized education it was established to provide. I am sure Gibb and Aitken would approve of the life lessons learned in such experiences.

We will be sending out regular updates via the website and social media.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Gym Updates

Dear Community

Some of you will have seen the recent photos on social media of our new gym floor.  While we still have some new backboards to install at some stage this will see the completion of the gymnasium refurbishment project with the new weight room, upgrade of the walls, roof repairs, and refurbishment of the entrance foyer.

We know that Basketball is growing in popularity and this facility will support this as well as our Badminton and Volleyball players. I would like to acknowledge the support of the Basketball Club led by Mike Hansen and the Parents Association who have assisted greatly in enhancing this area.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Heading into the winter break

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of term 2. Recently we have held awards ceremonies in the Prep and Middle/Senior schools celebrating student achievement. As we head to our winter break I hope staff and students get the opportunity to shake off winter illnesses and reset for the remainder of the year. Term 3 is crucial for senior students as they prepare for their examinations which are looming. In addition term 3 sees the culmination of winter sport and our various national tournaments.

I trust you all have a restful break and I look forward to seeing you all back next term.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

NCEA Changes

Dear Parents/CareGivers

During Queens birthday we ran a successful professional development day for our Staff looking at 21C learning. In the evening we also hosted a similar event for Parents which was sold out.

Recently the Government has announced a number of reviews including NCEA. Early signs as per an email I sent out to you a week or so ago is that feedback aligns nicely with our thinking and planning.

Senior School Principal Christian Zachariassen is holding a number of sessions at present to outline our changes that will be implemented for next year. I would urge Parents with questions to attend these.

As ever, our focus remains to best prepare our students fr their futures.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

A bright start

Dear Community

We have had a wonderful start to the term. The highlight for me has been our Production of Shrek and I would like to congratulate all of the Staff and students involved in putting together this great show. Another highlight was celebrating Ken Longmore’s (our oldest old boy) 100th birthday, we used this as an occasion to also open the new front entrance. As you will be aware this project has taken longer than hoped but as a heritage building it has been important that we repair it in a sympathetic manner. It is hoped that the new tiling will be in this week and we can again use this main access.

As we move into the full swing of winter codes I am also meeting with Year 13 students to ensure they have their focus on their upcoming examinations and are underway with their application process for options next year, these deadlines are fast approaching.

We have also distributed our annual Parent Survey and I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to fill this in. We value your feedback.

Virtutuem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Future Focussed Learning Update – 28 May 2018

Dear Parents and Caregivers

I am writing to update you on progress with regards to our Future Focussed Learning (FFL) changes. We have recently completed our timetable review and will communicate the key changes with you shortly. Principal of the Senior School, Christian Zachariassen has also been meeting with staff regarding the first changes in courses and assessment that we will begin to phase in at Year 11 next year.

Curriculum and assessment changes in relation to providing a Future Focussed education have been developed across the College over recent years. A good example of this is project based assessment which staff and students have been implementing as part of PYP and MYP, for example Exhibition, Personal Project and Community Project. As well as this the interdisciplinary units we have developed in the Middle School support the planning behind these changes. Thus our staff and students are already well advanced in this area. For your information you can view a copy of our Future Focussed Learning Handbook here. This outlines the key changes we are making and the philosophy underpinning them.

There is a growing consensus that Level 1 NCEA needs revamping and the planning we have undertaken over recent years will ensure that as NCEA changes are implemented we are not left with a vacuum. I believe that our planning in this area will see us deliver programmes well advanced of other Colleges who are yet to look at these issues.

We are currently waiting to see the review recommendations before we make a final decision on how many credits we will offer in NCEA L1 in 2019. Current discussions indicate a reduction to 40 credits focusing on literacy and numeracy. We will also update you shortly and seek feedback as we outline progress on our proposals. It is not anticipated that we will make major changes next year, we have a longer horizon on this with the development of new facilities in 2020.

I have attached the link to the NCEA announcement made by Minister Hipkins yesterday https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/104217671/a-complete-overhaul-of-ncea-level-one-has-been-recommended-to-government and would summarise the key points as

  1. There is too much assessment in NCEA which is placing undue pressure on students and staff and sees assessment driving learning rather than learning being the key outcome
  2. The system motivates students to “credit farm” rather than learn
  3. Students are likely to have access to less, perhaps 40 credits at L1 focussing more heavily on literacy and numeracy
  4. The current system causes undue stress and anxiety for students
  5. The current system does not prepare students well for future pathways.

At Scots we have developed a new pathways programme with Bullseye and Swivel which will better prepare our students for their futures. These programmes we already have in place will meet the recommendation that in the future schools should “Explicitly build into NCEA Levels 2 and 3 a requirement to prepare young people for further study, work, and life”. Detail on our Future Pathways Programme can be viewed at https://www.scotscollege.school.nz/about-us/future-focussed-learning/future-pathways-programme/ and more information is available on our partnership with Swivel through this video: https://vimeo.com/259607198

Minister Hipkins states “Employers are telling us that students coming out of school don’t have the right skills, students say more flexibility is needed and teachers say there’s too much assessment, getting in the way of learning,”

I believe this review will continue to vindicate the direction taken by Scots over recent years and the changes we have announced as part of our FFL strategy, which will continue to see Scots students well prepared for their futures beyond the College in an ever changing world.

To find out more about the future of work and how we can support our children I would urge families to attend the Parents’ Association speaker event held at the College next week. The evening is from 7-8.30pm on Tuesday 5 June here at the College with the 21C Skills Lab and a panel of Business Experts. Parents with children of all ages are welcome, you do not need to be a College parent. 

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Dear Community

Last week we held a special service to commission the Ie Faitaga/Sulu as a part of our school uniform.

This reflects an inclusiveness that is an important part of the culture and the values we aim to instill in our community where all feel valued and we are accepting of all religions, genders and ethnicities.

It was very special to have one of our first Island student William (Bill) Evaroa attend. Bill started the College in 1947.

This week I am in Australia running reunions for our Old Boys and I am looking forward to the celebration of our oldest Old Boys 100th birthday on 15 May.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule


Dear Parents and Care Givers

As we start term 2 I would like to thank all the Staff who gave so freely of their time to enable our students to have the experiences and opportunities provided to them during EOTC week. We know that these are important developmental opportunities for our students.

As we start term 2 we need to be aware the year is progressing fast and I would urge Parents to discuss their son’s goals and recent reports with them to ensure they are focussed. I would also encourage families to contact their Deans to discuss any concerns.

We are looking forward to another exciting term of learning, winter sport and of course our College production of Shrek.


We finish the term with our EOTC week. A week that offers much to our students in terms of experiential learning. I am deeply grateful to all of our staff who sacrifice their time and effort to provide our students with these experiences.

Sacrifice is often described to us when we read stories of courage when people put themselves in terrible danger to save someone else, we always ask ourselves, “What would I have done? Would I have been brave enough?”

Until we are tested, we can never know how we would behave in a life or death situation. But the idea of sacrifice is not only for those moments of crisis. Sacrifice can be seen every day in small and big actions, when we put aside our own selfish needs.

  • It is sacrifice when your mother stays up late into the night to make a costume for you for the school play.
  • It is sacrifice when your best friend misses a party to stay with you when you are sick and cannot go.
  • It is sacrifice when you give up a seat on the bus for someone older or weaker than yourself.
  • It is sacrifice when you spend time helping someone instead of enjoying your time off.
  • It is sacrifice when you give your brother or sister the last piece of cake.

By these everyday sacrifices, we learn important lessons for life.  We learn that our needs often come second to the needs of others.  We learn we like ourselves better when we think of others.  We become the kind of person other people admire and rely on.

Sacrifice is an important part of the Easter story. Sacrifice is also one of the ANZAC ideals. At this time of year it is appropriate to reflect on sacrifice and what others do for us and perhaps more importantly what we are prepared to do for others

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

End of summer

Last week I attended the rowing dinner and this week sees many of our students attending summer tournament week. As we approach the end of the summer season I would like to thank all the staff, coaches and parents who have assisted in a myriad of ways to support the students this term. Shortly we will see our middle school and senior school students attend our annual EOTC week events. Planning for these has been underway for months and again this requires a major commitment from our staff, many of whom leave their own families and support our students to offer them a range of activities that are designed to assist their personal growth.

As we focus on these things I am acutely aware the year is already racing by, goals have been set, assignments are due and students are seeing the academic expectations bite. I would encourage all families to ensure they maintain regular communication with Deans and tutors if there are any areas of concern.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Swivel Careers

This year the College has partnered with Swivel Careers as part of the Year 11 future pathways programme. Swivel Careers is a subsidiary of Kinetic Recruitment providing a personalised, in-depth career-coaching service that helps students set a pathway to a job they’re passionate about.

During Term 2 Year 11 students will work with the professional coaches from Swivel Careers, interpreting their results from the Bulls-eye online questionnaire they have completed this term. Then during Term 3 students will undertake work-experience on-site at one of Kinetic Recruitment’s Clients or a Scots College community connection. This work experience will allow each student to gain insight into employment, what is involved day to day and where the career path may lead them long-term. 

I would like to share the below video with you from a recent visit by Swivel Careers. In this video I discuss the benefits of a good future pathways programme, the essential skills to be ready for work and my own personal career pathway.

Future Focused Learning – Next Steps

Dear Parents/Care Givers

Last week you will have received an update regarding the next stages in the development of our FFL programs. Principal of the Senior School, Christian Zachariassen has been working on a draft document which he is currently seeking input from staff on. This will then be collated and distributed to Parents early in term 2. We will also schedule opportunities for parents to meet with senior staff and discuss.

Interestingly the Government last week released details of its 3 year education work programme to develop an education system that meets the needs of the 21st Century from early learning through tertiary and beyond.

The education work programme includes:

  • the NCEA review
  • a review of Tomorrow’s Schools
  • developing a future-focused Education Workforce Strategy
  • a continuous focus on raising achievement for Maori and Pasifika learners
  • an action plan for learning support
  • an early learning strategic plan
  • a comprehensive review of school property
  • a programme of change for vocational education
  • a full review of the Performance Based Research Fund
  • more support for the research aspirations of our tertiary sector

Looking at this list Scots seems well placed to make progress in these areas while these reviews take place.

It was also with great pleasure that we officially opened the new boarding development last Sunday. This is an excellent facility that provides the best possible facilities for students who board at the College.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule


Spoiled by Choice

Dear Community,

I would like to share with you an article published on Sunday, March 4. The link is below.  It covers the topic of NCEA and has a theme that current students are “Spoiled by Choice” in that they often choose or are pushed into easier pathways to collect credits so schools can increase their pass rates. As a result this is having a negative effect on base literacy and numeracy skills and despite seemingly increasing pass rates our education system continues to slip behind in international measures such as PISA (Program for international student assessment). This saw NZ schools fall from being in the top half dozen or so countries in the OECD to 15th – 19th in maths, science and reading.

These figures show the quality of our independent schools. No wonder then the Ministry of Education is insistent in contacting our schools and encouraging us to participate. I find this ironic when they do little to support our schools, this is becoming more evident in recent Government announcements such as the axing of the Aspire scheme which disadvantages the very students they are aiming to help.

Results of PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 2014

NZ Independent Schools vs all Independent schools globally – Maths 3rd, Reading 2nd, and Science 2nd
NZ Independent Schools vs all schools globally – Maths 3rd, Reading 1st, and Science 1st
NZ Independent Schools vs NZ Public Schools  = differential in achievement of Maths +17.6%, Reading +16.5% and Science +15.7%

The Spoiled by choice article: www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/03/spoiled-by-choice-ncea-is-letting-our-kids-down-new-report-claims.html

The Government has announced a number of reviews over the next few years including that of NCEA. Articles such as these show why it is imperative that we continue to offer an alternative. The Principal of the senior school Christian Zachariassen will publish relative school data to the community later this month that shows that our insistence in retaining academic rigor benefits our students. The recent successes across the board in NCEA, IB Diploma and NZ Scholarship examinations show our students achieving at the highest levels.

Reports such as this show the need for us to follow the pathways we are outlining for our students in our future focussed learning announcements.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Building All Round Character

At this time of year we see the academic results of our students efforts in their examinations. We have had another wonderful year with Pranay Mistry and Leander Schubert featuring at the IB Awards ceremony, another exceptional set of NCEA results ( we will send a full comparison out when comparative results become available) and of course excellent scholarship results.

While never being able to get the quantity of scholarships results other larger Colleges do, we have performed exceptionally well with Benji Hartfield (Photography) and Andrew Tang (Economics) achieving the top result in the country. It also appears that Andrew will be the top overall student. It is noteworthy that we achieved our scholarships across 16 different subjects showing quality teaching in all areas.

In addition to this it is wonderful to see Lewis Clareburt selected for the Commonwealth Games team.

All of these results on their own are amazing but coupled with the other contributions all of these students have made in the areas of leadership, sport, culture, service and academia it shows vividly the type of all round students developed at the College.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

The benefits of the IB Diploma Programme

Last weekend I attended the national IB Awards ceremony in Auckland where two of our IB students Pranay Mistry and Leander Schubert were awarded certificates as part of an elite group who scored 40+ points in the IB Diploma. They were joined by two students from our sister school QMC who also achieved this feat. They join an elite group globally who have achieved this.

The IB Diploma has developed a proud reputation in New Zealand since it was first offered in 1989. In the Asia-Pacific region, the IB supports over 800 schools with over 500 offering the Diploma programme. Candidate numbers globally have grown by nearly 40% over the last five years, and they join a community of more than 1.61 million Diploma graduates in 150 countries across the world.

I would like to share with you a speech from Tessa Meyer. Tessa graduated with the IB Diploma in 2011 and in her speech shared how the Diploma has helped her go beyond what she thought she could achieve. Tessa now holds a Masters in Urban Resilience & Renewal and is currently working for Auckland’s urban regeneration agency, Panuku Development. Tessa has recently been shortlisted for the Auckland property Awards.

Dr Michelle Tewkesbury, Pranay Mistry and Graeme Yule at the IB Awards Ceremony

Kia ora koutou. Good afternoon everybody.

Thank you for inviting me here today. I’m really honoured to be here – in the company of perhaps the most well-rounded, intelligent, high-achieving young people that have recently graduated in this country.

I completed IB in 2011 at Saint Kentigern College in Auckland, and I have a confesion to make: I graduated with a score of 36.. and I was thrilled with that. Achieving 40, more than 40 – you guys are incredible and can be so proud of yourselves. Congratulations on what you have achieved. I stand here today in awe of you.

I’d also like to congratulate families and teachers who are here today. I know from my own experience how critical ongoing encouragment and behind the scenes support is – so it’s really special that today we can celebrate that this is a also product of a team effort. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some pivotal moments in my journey from IB graduate to where I am today.

Last year I finished a Masters degree in Urban Resilience & Renewal and I’m currently working at Auckland’s urban regeneration agency, Panuku Development. I was recently shortlisted for Young Professional of the year at the Auckland Property Awards through that role. The category was for under 35’s, so I was blown away as a new comer to the industry. However, I think the essence of my nomination recoginzed what I brought with me to my role from my experiences at University. That’s what I’d like to focus on today.

University is incredible because there are 101 ways to go about doing it – you study where you want, what you want, and there’s no compulsory CAS! We’re agents of our own destiny – and that can be pretty daunting. I was certainly nervous so I took a gap year to have a better sense of what I wanted to do. If there’s one key message I want you to take from what I share with you today – it’s that no matter what you choose to do, IB equips us with knowledge, awareness and habits that help us to broaden our horizons, make the most of opportunities and seek chances to succeed.

Pivotal moment number one – IB’s first gift – presented itself to me right as I started University and had to choose my degree. 
Now I went through school being very committed to visual art, and I enjoyed subjects like English and History. Everyone (including me) was convinced I’d do Fine Art. Saint Kents even invested in some of my artworks, assuming I’d one day be some well known artist! However, during my gap year my interests changed a bit. I was completely captivated by foreign cities – Barcelona, London, Vienna – how they were abuzz with life, how they functioned, what made them sustainable, livable, or not. I had also been to Kathmandu in Nepal for my Duke of Edinburgh expedition, and that was really eye opening. I decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Science – in a double major in environmental science and urban geography. Something that couldn’t be futher from Fine Art. The gift was that I had done science and math – two subjects that pre-IB weren’t on my radar. I had premturely accepted I wasn’t good at them and really had to peservere to keep up during my first year of IB. I ended up enjoying them more than I thought I would and surprising myself with my final results. By my second year of University, I was top in my class and in my third I was offered a Master’s scholarship. Funnily enough, I now run economic analyses on urban regeneration projects – all thanks to IB broadening my intelletual horizons. So, if you’re anything like me and don’t know what you want to study yet, that’s completely okay! Have an open mind and explore a few subjects, take it a year at a time. If a subject sparks your interest, change tact and explore it. The awesome thing is that you’re equipped to do whatever you set your mind to with this Diploma.

IB’s second gift was a habit of extra curricular activity – CAS. Being creative, active, and serving others is engrained in how we operate. I remember at Saint Kent’s we all way exceeded our hourly requirements simply because it added value, reward and fun to our lives. I studied at Canterbury (prompted by my interest in the city’s rebuild process) and I got really involved in the Student Volunteer Army. By that time, two years after the earthquake, the focus shifted from emergency-response clean ups to neighbourhood engagement and restoration volunteer work.

I got so involved because volunteering makes you feel good right? You guys know this – it’s rewarding to connect with people of all walks of life and to contribute to something larger than yourself. Beyond being fulfilling in a personal sense, it also helped me develop my leadership skills as vice-president of a 20-person lead team. And, unknowingly it also inspired what would be my masters research. I ended up analyzing the relationship between community resilience and urban design  in Christchurch – essentially how our physical environment affects our wellbeing and connections on a neighbourhood scale. I think it just goes to show how rewarding it is to enage and invest time in things that are meaningful, to see a bit more in life, to enhance your perspective – and CAS encapsulates that philosophy.

Undertaking my Masters was also where the third gift came into play in the form of an extended essay’s much bigger cousin – a thesis. Despite differences in time and volume, they are fundementally similar in what they require of you. You need to have an inquiring mind to pose a question, and you need to take initiative to pull together original research. Having the confidence to back yourself and come up with something new or inventive isn’t a skill that everyone gains from school or standard University assignments. I’m tempted to say this confidence has been the single most valuable compentency in working life too. It’s having confidence and initiative to innovate and explore things you don’t know – which I think is mission critical in a rapidly changing world. 

Before I finish, I want to briefly reflect on the purpose of IB: “To instill in learners knowledge that will make them better learners and better people, equiped to think critically and independently, and to enquire with care and logic. Since the IB was founded in the 60’s, it’s mission has been to create a better would through this kind of education”.

It’s pretty awesome isn’t it. And you guys have achieved that with highest acollades.

I have no doubt that from this room will spring extraordinary leaders and academics, movers and shakers. I hope that you continue to benefit from the amazing platfom that you have established for yourselves. Congratulations for what you have achieved and all the very best with whatever you choose to do.

A warm welcome to Term 1 2018

Dear Community,

I trust you have enjoyed what has been a lovely summer break. We are looking forward to welcoming students back next week.

The year has begun well with some excellent examination results:

Exam Results

International Baccalaureate Diploma: Some results are yet to be finalised. Three students have achieved outstanding results with Pranay Mistry 41, Leander Schubert 40 and Manraj Rahi scoring 39.

Number of candidates


Top score


Points average


NCEA results are still provisional at present however once again these results see Scots College achieving amoungst the top students nationally. These are fine results and I would like to congratulate staff and students on this success. 

Level of award

Scots 2017

Scots 2016

NCEA Level 1



NCEA Level 1 Merit endorsement



NCEA Level 1 Excellence endorsement



NCEA Level 2



NCEA Level 2 Merit endorsement



NCEA Level 2 Excellence endorsement



NCEA Level 3



NCEA Level 3 Merit endorsement



NCEA Level 3 Excellence endorsement



University Entrance



Once again these results see Scots College students achieving amongst the top students nationally and we are very proud of these achievements. These are fine results and I would like to congratulate the staff and students on this success. These results have improved upon last year and are exceptional particularly at Level 3. A full breakdown along with comparative results will be available at a later stage once they are available.

It has been a busy time at the College with a number of projects nearing completion for the beginning of the 2018 school year. I would like to thank the ICT and property teams for their hard work. Some of these projects have included:

An ICT network upgrade that has implemented a new network throughout the College bringing our network to a level akin to Victoria University.

The New Boarding House on Strathmore Ave has been completed opening up new beds, a dedicated boarding office, sick bay and recreational areas. The official opening is in early March. This expansion also allows us to offer short term boarding for middle and senior students. Click here if you would like to know more.

Classroom upgrades in both G3 and G4, S10 has been renovated into a Flexible Learning Space and O2 has been converted to a new science lab.

Staff News:

A number of new staff are joining the College this term alongside many current staff who have been appointed to new positions. I would like to make a special welcome to them all.

New Teaching Appointments
– Catherine Pratt joins the Maths department    
– Anthony Rehutai joins the Maths department
– Sammy Seau joins the RE and Music departments   
– Jason Jamison – LTR Technology for Holly McIntyre
– Mark Redgrave has been appointed HOD Biology
– Elizabeth Perez joins the Science department
– Serge Snel – LTR Science department
– Jah Wee Lee joins the PE and Chinese departments
– Joanna Calvert joins the music department
– David French joins the Prep School Staff
– Eli Gilfedder and Nathan Keys join the PE department. Nathan will also be teaching English

Other Appointments
– Maximillian Bosch joins us as a Film intern from the Babelsberg Film School
– Jasmin He joins us as our Mandarin Language Assistant
– Carol Bewley joins the tuck shop staff
– Ray Choice joins us as the College Carpenter
– Freddie Fielding and Freddie Bennett join the Gap Tutors team
– Beatrice Kearney and Jessica Richardson will be with us this year as Masters Teaching and Learning students from Victoria University and will be working in our Science department

The following Staff will also take up new responsibilities this year:
– David Jackson – College Chaplain
– Kate Jones – HOD RE
– Matt Clayton – House Dean of MacKenzie House  
– Hannah McGee – House Dean of Fergusson House
– Peter Connell – HOD PE
– Roger Doig – e-Learning Resource Teacher
– Brian Nelson – Acting HOD Materials Technology
– Matt Clayton – Aacting LAC Technology
– Heather Miller moves to the Prep School as their Arts teacher
– Mike McKnight – Acting LAC Science
– Barbara Manighetti – Acting HOD Chemistry  
– Maria Marquez joins the permanent Staff
– Nick Sinnamon takes up the role of Student Activities Coordinator

– Mike Dennis joins us as our Executive Chef
– Roni James, Oki Ruarangi-Mita, Luisa Feleti, and Seema Dahya have transferred their employment to the College and now form our in house catering team.

I have discussed with you previously the rapidly changing world our students will face and its impact on education. A topic highlighted recently in the media in response to the government announcing plans to review the amount of assessment in NCEA. On January 17 the Dominion Post published this opinion editorial that I would like to share with you, where I have further discussed some of the failings of the current NCEA curriculum and areas schools need to evaluate and develop to ensure students’ succeed in tertiary study and the workplace.

The College is announcing tomorrow a number of specific initiatives where it is implementing our strategy for future focussed learning.


Focusing on Future Learning

Dear Community

Recently I have spoken about how we best prepare our students for their futures at our various Prize Givings. Below are some thoughts and an indication of the directions that we as a College are intending to take. Early next year we will update you further.


Last year we celebrated the College’s centenary. This year our focus has been on how we best prepare our students for their futures. A future that is dynamic and fast changing. To this end we have put much strategic thought into how we best proceed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have contributed to our recent surveys. I like this rowing image as it represents how we often approach the future – by looking back. We as Parents base our future expectations for our children on our experiences, but given the rate of change how realistic is this?

I have followed the discussion over the recent NCEA exam with much interest. There is no doubt the exam didn’t look like it is supposed to and had some issues with its wording but I think this is a good example of what is inherently wrong with our education system at present.

I had a discussion with a Year 11 student who was delighted that the exam was being criticised. As they said I have now got the excuse I need for not doing well. You see this student had studied past papers, exemplars in class and their teacher had studiously followed the descriptors of the standard. Everything the way it should be. Predictable, homogenised.

But as soon at the exam changed the wording, or confused things slightly it was ok not to do well because it was the tests fault, NZQAs fault. In fact anyone’s fault rather that the students. I was also bemused by the response of a young maths teacher I watched on TV, so incensed that he was writing an open letter to NZQA complaining the exam didn’t look the way he thought it should.

Here lies the problem. What are we teaching our students by this reaction? That all problems are discrete and predictable. As soon as something looks different it is ok to simply say I can’t do that and it’s someone else’s fault. I wonder what would happen to an employee or a business who took that approach to a new or unforeseen problem?

Undoubtedly the paper had some faults but where is the resilience? The problem solving? The creativity? Are we teaching students to be able to transfer knowledge and solve problems? Not so in this type of assessment model.

Here is an example from the recent PISA examinations run by OECD. We all know financial literacy is important. In Australia they implemented a new curriculum to teach it. It was assessed in the recent PISA assessments and Australian students did worse than their Chinese counterparts who aren’t even taught financial literacy. Why? Because the test was different from what they thought it would be. The Chinese students were able to transfer skills and knowledge to think critically and problem solve.

We know that the world our students face is changing rapidly and we need to prepare them, make them resilient and able to live with change and the uncertainty that inevitably comes with it. What does this type of assessment do in this regard. Very little I would think. It can show a knowledge base but looking forward we need to look at alternative means of preparing and assessing our students.

To this end we have been looking at how we best do this. We have identified Year 11 as a space where we can implement some changes to better prepare students for their futures. To this end next year we are starting with the implementation of a real world careers experience for our students that will assist them in ensuring they are taking the right subjects for their preferred options and provide them with an insight into real world occupations.

We are also looking at further developing interdisciplinary teaching that is part of the PYP and MYP into this level and changing the type of assessment from examinations to project based assessment. We have been trialing this throughout the school and with the PYP exhibition, MYP personal and community projects we have been gaining valuable experience for both our teachers and students.

There is no doubt that the validity of NCEA Level 1 will come increasingly under scrutiny and we are well advanced in the provision of a better alternative. Next year we will make further announcements about what we intend to implement in this area.

Students participating in an NZQA digital exam

NZQA is signalling a move to online assessment. We have participated in all the trials offered and have a good understanding of how this will work. Dr Camilla Highfield of the University of Auckland recently wrote an article in the Dominion Post bemoaning the end of the year where students leave school at the beginning of November to sit tests that we have already assessed them for with trial assessments in school. She asks why we do this when we can already predict their outcomes with a fair degree of certainty.

Why finish so early and put students through the stress of sitting them and markers the stress of marking them when we know the likely outcomes? If you step back and look at this system does it meet the future needs of our students? Does it prepare them better for their futures? How can we best prepare them and assess them in a way that better reflects the real world and provide the flexibility in thinking needed as well as building critical thinking and problem solving?

We will aim to normalise project based assessment and develop the soft skills that students need. Allow flexibility for real world situations, have students working collaboratively and use an interdisciplinary approach where students can develop and transfer skills from one area to another.

Recently I wrote to you summarising the findings of our surveys and focus groups and attached our updated Strategic Statement. In reviewing our educational aims the notion of the all round man was reinforced. This encapsulates the soft skills of emotional and social intelligence as well as IQ.

Change and disruption is upon us as educators. As one of the great poets of his generation, Bob Dylan put it we need to decide what we need to do to meet this change and best prepare our students for their futures.

Future Focus – Curriculum

The Board has resolved in its strategic review that a key focus is to ensure that College students are well prepared for their futures. It is recognised that the future is fast changing and uncertain and that as well as providing the necessary knowledge to prepare our students for their futures we need to focus on the soft skills they will require to be successful in their futures such as emotional intelligence, social intelligence and cultural intelligence.

Core competencies will include digital preparedness and well being strategies to assist students to be resilient. They will also need to be creative, good communicators, collaborative and be able to think critically. We will continue to develop rounded young people who are good citizens with excellent character.

We will continue to develop our curriculum online and look to innovate to provide more interdisciplinary learning opportunities and provide project based assessment. We are also aware of the impact that three levels of assessment is having on the well being of staff and students and will look to implement timetable and assessment changes that support teaching and learning at the College.

I think we would all agree with the basic premise of interdisciplinary learning that when we can see knowledge from more than one viewpoint we are more likely to gain a deeper understanding of it.

Andreas Schleicher is a key educational advisor to the OECD. He also oversees the PISA study which measures educational achievement across OECD countries.

He sees the current move to the digitisation as leading to a homogenisation of education and stresses that we need to:

  1. Ensure we offer an education with rigour, coherence and focus
  2. Remain true to our traditional disciplines while developing an interdisciplinary approach to enable students to see problems through multiple lenses
  3. Focus on areas with the highest transfer value – where the knowledge learned can be used in multiple ways.
  4. Fully immerse students in learning by making it real world and having a clear purpose.

He sees future success via

  1. Quality teachers
  2. Generative rather than top down education systems
  3. Integration of subject content
  4. Diversity in pedagogical practices
  5. Personalised learning
  6. Making learning relevant beyond the classroom
  7. Increasing teacher professionalism

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Quality Staffing

Dear Community

We all know the effect that good teachers have on our children. There are numerous studies that show it is a key determinant of educational success. We work hard at the College to attract and retain good Staff via a number of key strategies. There is much discussion in the media at present regarding a teacher shortage and we are fortunate as an IB World School that we continue to attract Staff from a global talent pool. In addition to this we continue to run our aspiring leaders program to develop our Staff internally.

Next year will see a number of Staff depart and others return. In addition there are a number of internal changes to management responsibilities which I will outline in the new year.

Staff returning or joining us

  • Ani Belworthy returns from a year’s leave
  • Maximillian Bosch joins us from Babelsberg Film School (Germany) as an intern
  • Catherine Pratt joins the Maths department. Catherine replaces Giles Moiser who was covered in the short term by Mathew Ancheril
  • With the appointment of David Jackson to Chaplain at Scots, Sammy Seau joins us as a teacher of RE

Staff leaving us or on leave in 2018. The list below sees 9 staff leave us with 1 member of staff changing careers, 2 staff returning overseas, 2 staff taking maternity leave and 4 staff gaining promotion.

  1. Holly McIntyre takes maternity leave and will be covered by Jason Jamieson LTR
  2. Anthony Rehutai joins us from Palmerston North Boys’ High School to teach Maths replacing Rosalyn Fisher who returns to the UK
  3. Margaret Sutton takes maternity leave. We are currently interviewing for her replacement
  4. Nicola Keuh leaves to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering and is replaced by Elizabeth Perez an experienced IB teacher
  5. Stuart Land has been promoted to Head of Science at Cromwell College
  6. Cameron Smith has been appointed to HOD PE at Wellington East Girls College. Jah Wee Lee has been appointed to replace him
  7. Geoff Charles has been appointed to the position of Guidance Counsellor at St Pats Silverstream. We are currently interviewing for a replacement
  8. Giancarlo Lisi has been appointed to HOD Music at Kristin School in Auckland. Joanna Calvert is an experienced IB teacher and previous HOD who joins us from Hong Kong
  9. Matt McManaway has resigned to return to Hong Kong and we are in the process of appointing a replacement

 In addition our mandarin language assistant Neal Li Tong finishes his contract with us and will return to China. The College will host another MLA next year.

These Staff have made a significant contribution to the College in their time here and I will acknowledge them more fully at Prize Giving.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

Year 6 PYP Exhibition

Dear Parents/Care Givers

A recent highlight for me has been the Year 6 PYP Exhibition. This showcases the student learning over the PYP program. The passion of these students for their learning and the quality of their work is noteworthy. They are able to take their inquiries and relate to real world situations.

A good example of this is seen at the rear of the College where a new bike track is being installed. This arose from a PYP project last year and these boys collaborated with Bike NZ Trust, the Council and the Scots Board to create this community asset. A wonderful outcome!

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

Graeme Yule

The future of our curriculum

Dear Parents/CareGivers

Last week Principal of the Senior School, Christian Zachariassen and I visited schools in Auckland to look at ideas for modernizing the curriculum. This is the last stage of a process involving and Staff survey, Parent survey and focus groups with our entire community.

This has been an enlightening process that has given us much to consider. The next steps are to look at any changes we need to make to our timetable, curriculum structures, staffing and teaching spaces. Our senior managers will be considering this in the coming months and we expect to announce any changes early in the new year. Our current timeline would see some initial changes implemented in 2019 and a full roll out of changes in 2020.

Once again thank you for your input into this process as we consider how we can best prepare your sons for their futures.

Virtutem Paret Doctrina

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

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

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

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
4.People management
5.Co-ordinating with others
6.Emotional intelligence
7.Judgment and decision making
8.Service orientation
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

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

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

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.


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:


  • 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

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.


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


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.

Our Assistant Principal 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).


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
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
July 2015

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Scots College
1 Monorgan Road
Strathmore Park
Wellington 6022
New Zealand
Scots College
PO Box 15064
Wellington 6243
New Zealand