26 November 2018

Dear Community,

Welcome back to the start of the 2017 school year. It is always great to see our boys return and bring back the heart and soul to our College.

It is with great pleasure that I can inform the Scotch community of the appointment of the new Chair of the Scotch College Council, Mr Mark Paganin. Mark commenced his new role on 1 January 2017.

Mark and his wife Carissa have four sons, Benjamin and Luke (OSC'13), Daniel (Year 11) and Nic (Year 8) and have been part of the Scotch community since 2006. Mark has served on the Council of Scotch College since 2014.

Mark is a Partner of Australian law firm, Clayton Utz, and serves as a member on their National Board.

He is:

  • the Chairman of the University Club of the The University of Western Australia;
  • a member of the Council of the Hospital Benefit Fund (HBF);
  • a Senior Fellow, former WA Chairman and National Board member of the financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).

He is an alumnus member of the:

  • University of Western Australia, having completed Law and Commence degrees;
  • Harvard Business School having completed an Executive Management Program;
  • Australian Government's Takeovers Panel.

I know Mark will continue to make a significant contribution to our community in his role as Chair of Council.

This time of the year marks a major time of renewal with the feeling of excitement for the challenges that lay ahead.

Without doubt one of the most exciting new developments for 2017 is the launch of our new parent body Scotch Parents. This group is the result of the coming together of the Scotch Auxiliary and the Parent Association. Their focus is to continue to develop and grow the level of parental community engagement at Scotch. I urge all parents no matter whether you are new or seasoned campaigners to find a way to engage with Scotch Parents whether through volunteering, support groups, class representatives or any of the many other touch points we have at Scotch.

The tone and benchmark for the start of the year was well and truly set by our Scotch Parents Welcome Back BBQ. This came off the back of the work put in across the whole weekend from our boarding staff in transitioning our boarders back after their break. I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to the committee and their dedicated team for delivering such a great welcome back function on Monday 30 January despite the rainy weather and last minute changes to logistics.

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

As we start a new year it is worth reinforcing that most successful organisations are those that keep the channels of communication open and streamlined. The school management structure for each sub-school is identical in that there is a Head of School, Dean of Teaching and Learning and Deputy of Administration and Wellbeing. In Residential Life the structure is identical however, there is a Director of Residential Life instead of Head of School.

The first point of contact for all parents should be the person who can give you the quickest direct answer. In the first instance this is very often the classroom teacher or in Senior School the subject teacher. In essence, if you are unsure who to contact then call the administrative support staff at the respective sub-school and they will ensure your query is handled efficiently and effectively through getting the most relevant staff member to get back to you. In a world where we now over use email and SMS due to convenience, an in-person chat or question can in many cases result in a far better outcome as opposed to a string of reply-all emails.

In our duty of care to boys and families I request that if you have experienced a change in circumstances in the family or legal changes to custody and access orders please send updated copies of documents or alert my Personal Assistant Mrs Fern Purio via email on Fern.Purio@scotch.wa.edu.au.

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

On a personal note, if you are a new family and see me out and about either at the College or in the community, come up and say hello.

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

Dr Alec J O'Connell