Headmasters Blog

Residential Life – a community within a community

As I prepare to commence a week-long tour of regional WA to visit boarding families, I find myself reflecting on a question I am quite often asked, 'What it is like to work at a boarding school?' In actual fact, Scotch is not a boarding school; it is a school which happens to have a boarding community.

The Residential Community, as it is now known at Scotch, has been an integral part of College life for the entire history of the School; it is not an add on, nor is boarding part of an income driven strategy. In actual fact, anyone who knows anything about running a boarding operation would attest to the fact that most boarding communities could not survive as stand-alone operations separated from a day school.

Residential Life is not merely about accommodation for the boys, it is a community within a community. The decision to offer boarding is key to who we are. If one examines our core values, Service is an integral part of who we are at Scotch. Our residential community continues to serve our boys and their families who can't always access the type of education to which they aspire.

So why would parents choose boarding? What needs may it fulfil? Consider the following:

  • When you live remotely or outside Australia and want to ensure that your child has a stable and well-rounded educational experience
  • When you need greater flexibility and convenience for your family
  • When you want to foster your child's independence and personal growth

Residential Life provides a structured, supportive and caring educational environment in which boys develop skills and attitudes which prepare them to become contributing and caring adults in modern society.

At Scotch, we believe in maximising the opportunities for each boy, including, allowing them the flexibility to manage their time, so as to experience all that living in Perth has to offer. Opportunities such as part-time work, outside sporting/cultural activities or even extra study programs or courses are core to our offerings.

Our motto is, 'Preparing boys for life', and we aim to do this by planning activities and experiences that touch on all aspects of the type of life that boys need during, and after their time at Scotch.

As a residential community, we aim to provide the boys with a balance between academic, social, physical and cultural experiences that foster:

  • an environment where academic pursuit is values and pursued
  • independent study and thought through providing a quiet and conducive atmosphere
  • access to modern educational facilities and resources at all levels
  • skills to work efficiently and independently, while encouraging boys to seek assistance and share their ideas
  • encouragement to set their personal goals as high as possible and to work with purpose to achieve their academic and personal goals
  • understanding about personal wellbeing, and that of their fellow residents, so as to understand what a balanced life truly means
  • communal living that promotes social values such as trust, co-operation, tolerance, responsibility, respect, loyalty and pride
  • a sense of having a second family, and being a part of a special community
  • encouragement to participate in appropriate activities that enhance their minds, bodies and souls,
  • broadening of their appreciation of others' skills and beliefs
  • understanding of each other's differences and appreciation of other talents achievements together
  • an understanding that as a Uniting Church school we are firmly founded on Christian values
  • challenging and developing their faith in order to live by Christian principles.

In essence, Residential Life at Scotch College strives to develop the whole person. Boys will be given the opportunity to share, to lead and to serve in various environments and situations so that they have the opportunity to reach their potential.

Residential Life is designed to offer a tangible value add, well and above what we can offer to our day boys. Most importantly, we are locus parentis for all of the boys; and while Residential Life can never replace a boy's 'real home', we endeavor to provide a home like environment, that works in conjunction with all families, to support, nurture and graduate young men with a very different outlook on their world.

Dr Alec O'Connell FACE, FAIM, FNAAUC

As Scotch College's 7th Headmaster, I focus on preparing boys for life through focusing on values and cultural alignment.

I am a passionate educator focussed on student and community engagement. My goal as a Headmaster is to graduate future thought leaders who are prepared for life after school.


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