Introducing our new Director of Co-Curricular Richard Foster

Formerly our Head of Sport, Richard Foster has traded the sneakers for a suit to lead us in the next phase of Co-Curricular at Scotch. Richard discusses what the new position is all about and tells us more about the future of Co-Curricular.

Congratulations on your new role as Director of Co-Curricular at Scotch College. Can you tell us what the newly created position is all about?

The Director of Co-Curricular position has been created to provide strategic oversight across Co-Curricular programmes in our Junior, Middle and Senior Schools. Any activities outside the classroom, whether it be Kindergarten or Year 12, will be administered with a view of equipping our students with valuable life skills. Co-Curricular at Scotch encompasses Round Square (student exchanges, service and student conferences which are historically all international), Sport, Drama, Music, Debating and clubs. I will be supporting the implementation of Community Service experiences at our College, including the Year 10 Community Service Programme. The development of our Tours and Camps (exclusive of Outdoor Education Programmes) in a COVID-19 impacted world is a large reason for the development of a Co-Curricular focused position.

Co-Curricular allows our students to achieve personal success and develop a sense of belonging in their area of interest.

The question on everyone's mind – how's it been wearing a suit for the first time in over 10 years?

Somebody said to me it's like wearing barbed wire and I couldn't agree more. I'd much prefer to be wearing sports gear. I've only owned one suit for the last 15 years so I headed out to purchase some new suits – crikey, I didn't know where to begin!

What are your favourite memories from your eight-year tenure as Head of Sport?

It was great to see students achieving personal or team success, particularly when our First teams won PSA cups. Looking back on my time as Head of Sport, I'm proud of our team and strong working relationships that were built. I believe my greatest achievements were resourcing, recruiting and retaining high calibre people, each enabling our Sport programme to reach the level it's at today. That was a critical component of my role and it's hopefully a legacy that I lay behind. When I commenced the role in 2014, maximising participation and enthusiasm about Sport was a strong focus of mine. I think I've been able to expand resourcing and opportunities within Sport to ensure it's an enjoyable experience for everyone. I hope that our students are excited to play Sport and enjoy working with a team to achieve goals, no matter their sporting level. The unique nature of PSA Sport is playing with your mates over six years. Witnessing the bonds and memories built amongst our students was one of the best parts of my job as Head of Sport.

How do you think activities and sports you've engaged with have equipped you with valuable life skills?

When I grew up in Broome in the 70s, my family didn't own a TV and there weren't many organised sports available for kids after-school. So, my friends and I learned to create our own fun. I lived next door to a family of five kids, and my sister and I would spend most afternoons playing or engaged in some sort of activity with them. Sometimes it would be sport based, sometimes not. This upbringing instilled a sense of creativity and love of the outdoors, moulding who I am today.

We are fortunate to work with wonderful kids and families who are equally invested in our community and what we aspire to do.

Why do you think Co-Curricular is so important for students to engage with?

I think it exposes students to a range of experiences, skills and fields. Our Co-Curricular activities often occur off-campus, out of the classroom and involve the opposite gender, which is vital for us as an all-boys school. Our Programme provides students with opportunities to develop passion and skills in the areas of their choosing, hopefully carrying these interests beyond school. Covering a breadth of activities outside Teaching and Learning, Co-Curricular allows our students to achieve personal success and develop a sense of belonging in their area of interest. Importantly, developing friendships through those experiences is a great outcome of being engaged in Co-Curricular activities.

What do you enjoy most about working at and being a part of the Scotch community?

Firstly, working with similar minded people is wonderful. I'm also fortunate to be able to make a difference with my job – that's important for me. We are fortunate to work with wonderful kids and families who are equally invested in our community and what we aspire to do. Our students work hard and have a desire to be the best they can be; working with students like that is a pleasure.

Could you tell us more about the future of Co-Curricular at Scotch?

COVID-19 and border closures have meant that programmes, tours and activities we've historically run cannot take place in the same format. In the immediate future, I hope to create opportunities with exciting tours and camps within Western Australia. I think there are wonderful places and communities within our state that could offer world-class learning experiences. This could be through Music, Sport or a combination of other Co-Curricular offerings. I'd also like to strengthen connections with our Boarding communities and families with regional camps and tours.