Headmasters Blog

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The Young Mind, Body and Soul

At Scotch we pride ourselves on preparing boys for life through providing boys with opportunities to learn and grow through various experiences and educational channels. However, one of the most important elements to prepare boys for life, is preparing them to take responsibility for their own health. If our boys focus on their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, then they will become the best versions of themselves.

A recent report by the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth looked at statistics surrounding youth health compared to 34 other countries including most of Europe, North America and advanced Asian, Latin American and Oceanic economies. The report indicated that Australia is one of the leading countries in the world in regards youth smoking rates, youth alcohol abuse rates, youth life satisfaction, and access to support networks and guidance counselors. So, it is clear that we are doing a lot right in regards to looking after the health of our youth.

Unfortunately, Australia ranked in the bottom third of countries in regards to bullying, feeling of belonging at school, child obesity and teenage pregnancy. In addition, Australia was ranked 23rd in youth suicide. These statistics indicate that while we do a lot to ensure the health and wellbeing of our youth, we can always do more.

At Scotch we recognize the importance of providing support for all our students, no matter what stage in life they're in or what kind of health issues they are dealing with. By making sport compulsory from a young age we are encouraging boys to stay active and healthy, getting them into good habits which are assisting boys in taking responsibility for their own physical fitness. This is combined with a number of health classes in all years at school, signaling to boys the importance of healthy eating, as well as educating them about the effects of drugs and alcohol.

Weekly chapel services provide boys with a space to relax, reflect and gain a spiritual understanding, while the school psychology services have a number of resources available to all boys who may be dealing with any type of mental health issue.

However, one of the proudest elements of how we handle health and wellbeing at Scotch is the initiatives started and promoted by the boys. RUOK Day and the World's Greatest Shave are just some of the events championed by our boys in order to increase awareness around mental health and various physical health issues that may impact boys at some stage in their life.

We are empowering boys to be the best versions of themselves by helping them take responsibility for their own health, and beyond that, encourage others such as family and friends to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This week Scotch has focused on Men's Health Week with a number of positive and friendly activities designed to encourage our boys to live a healthy lifestyle both mentally, spiritually and physically. This included activities in tutor groups about dealing with stress, mass mindfulness sessions focused on breathing and stretching, and Get Active sessions with Physical Education staff which encourage physical fitness in a fun and friendly environment.

Our goal is to ensure that our boys our given the best strategies to take them into adult life well after their graduation.

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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