From the Principal • Mark Geraets
Welcome to Scots in 2022 - the year we celebrate 50 years of Scots in Albury.
Our wonderful founding schools Woodstock and Albury Grammar School, which together give us a long and proud history spanning 156 years, amalgamated in 1972 to form The Scots School Albury. In 1972, Scots started with 415 students and 79 staff. Our crest came from Albury Grammar School and the motto, Fide et Literis, was from Woodstock.
In the ensuing 50 years, our school has reached some outstanding milestones.
- Educated Oympians, key leaders in science, business, the arts and politics
- Been led by six Principals, I’m the sixth
- Established a Primary School, that has blossomed to cater for 266 students
- Built the Chapel Hall, Indoor Sports Centre and the Warren Howlett Science Centre
- Established an Agricultural Learning Centre
We are not alone in celebrating 1972; some pretty famous songs were released in 1972 and, like Scots, are still going strong today. Songs like: Don McLean’s American Pie, Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Elvis Presley’s Always on My Mind, Elton John’s Rocket Man, The Rolling Stones’ Shine a Light, Paul Simon’s Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard, Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water and Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side.
Back when the boys of Albury Grammar and the girls of Woodstock were acclimatising to their new status quo of co-ed classes, NASA’s space shuttle program was officially launched and terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics; AFL player Nathan Buckley and actress Toni Collette were born and William McMahon was Prime Minister until he was replaced by Gough Whitlam in December that year.
Who knows what 2022 will be remembered for in 50 years time; what songs will still be going strong and which child born this year will become famous. I won’t see it, but I do know that by belonging to the Scots community, we all have a part to play in writing the next chapter.
We often talk about the strength of the Scots community; about belonging to the Scots family and we often attribute a good deal of Scots’ success to the fact that we all feel that sense of belonging. So it’s interesting, and probably not surprising, to know that research is now supporting the notion that a sense of belonging has a profound positive influence on students' outlooks and achievements.
The NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation produced a paper titled Supporting students’ sense of belonging. In short, it revealed when students feel a sense of belonging at school, they have positive relationships, value learning and engage with their school environment.
This graphic is a nice, simple way to explain why schools, with the sense of belonging that we enjoy at Scots, succeed.
The paper’s key findings:
- Students who experience a positive sense of belonging at school also have improved overall wellbeing, mental health and long-term academic success.
- Sense of belonging is linked to both student engagement and wellbeing and teaching practices.
- Students who experience a positive sense of belonging are more likely to experience positive friendships, an absence of bullying at school and co-curricular participation at school. They also tend to value learning, show high levels of effort, interest and motivation, as well as positive homework behaviour.
- Effective classroom management, teaching relevant content, leading by example in the classroom, positive teacher-student relationships and advocacy (or support) at school can all enhance students’ sense of belonging.
- A positive sense of belonging is important throughout a child’s schooling, particularly during periods of transition.
The research indicates that the sense of belonging changes throughout a student’s life and so as educators, we need to be aware of that and proactively work to find solutions.
We do this through offering different opportunities for different year levels and for people with differing interests.
It’s one of the reasons why we run School Camps and the very reason the Year 7 camp is upfront and early in Term 1. The transition from Junior School to Senior School is probably the biggest transition a student will experience and Camp helps build camaraderie in an encouraging environment.
Our award-winning co-curricular program gives students and their parents a chance to nurture a passion with like-minded people; a group where a student is highly likely to find a kindred spirit and develop friendships beyond their immediate cohort.
But our uniform is by far the most visible means of connecting families. Our school uniform and our sports uniforms immediately identify students as belonging to the Scots family, which is why we place so much emphasis on it being worn correctly and with pride.
We will continue to engage students and their parents through assemblies, chapel services and leadership activities, the Scots Fair, hosting parent functions and celebrating milestones such as the Year 12 graduating class. These connections with the Scots family, and the broader family through our founding schools, has stood the test of time. Long may it continue.
Read the full paper Supporting students’ sense of belonging here.