I’m looking forward to welcoming new and returning students back on campus from as early as Friday.
I have loved my time off over the holiday period but there is nothing as uplifting as seeing students return to school after a long break, refreshed and eager to catch up with their friends and begin the year.
I hope everyone has had an opportunity to rest and recharge, enjoyed some time with loved ones and perhaps even taken the opportunity to travel interstate.
Yvonne and I had a relaxing family Christmas with our three adult daughters and we spent some time on the beach in Victoria. There wasn’t much surf, so I couldn’t get in any surfing, but I bought a paddle board and taught myself a new skill. So I am refreshed and ready to go!
I had hoped COVID-19 restrictions and regulations would be a thing of the past, but so far the start to 2022 has proven that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while yet.
Rest assured that we are working hard to keep our students, staff and community safe. I am constantly in touch with a collaboration of Principals from across the State, we take advice from NSW Health and comply with Public Health Orders. We also have the resources of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW to guide us safely through every step of this pandemic.
Please read on for all the latest information about returning to school in the current environment.
The NSW Premier has released its NSW Return to School Roadmap. It is committed to ensuring school operations continue while prioritising the safety and wellbeing of students and school staff.
Pertinent information from the Roadmap and Scots’ responses are summarised below.
Also, there is a COVID-19 tab on our website which is the home of regular updates, status of classes and relevant letters, documents or information relating to the pandemic. The webpage will go live on Monday 31 January so keep an eye on it to stay up to date.
QR Codes Visitors to Scots will be required to sign in using the QR code at the entrance.
Vaccination status for visitors Visitors to the School must be fully vaccinated. At this stage, that is two vaccine shots, but is likely to include a booster vaccination in coming weeks or months.
Rapid Antigen Test Kits All families should have received an email this week asking them to collect free rapid antigen test kits from the School in line with the NSW Government announcement about new COVID-smart measures for Term 1.
These key measures include the use of rapid antigen tests (RAT) by students and staff.
Before the start of Term 1, it is highly recommended all students take a RAT. If your child’s RAT result is negative, they may attend school as normal.
Free RAT kits are available for collection from the School. Each student will receive 4 x RAT kits - enabling 2 weeks of screening (2 tests per week).
The kits for day students are available for collection from the Scots marquee positioned at the Boarding House Gates in Wood Street:
Thursday 27 January from 11.30am - 1.30pm
Friday 28 January from 9.30am - 11.30am
Boarding students will receive their test kits from Boarding Staff.
For the first 4 weeks of Term 1, NSW Health has recommended students take a RAT twice a week on mornings before attending school. More RAT kits will be provided by the School as soon as they are available.
If your child’s RAT result is negative, they may attend school as normal.
Positive COVID-19 cases If your child's RAT result is positive for COVID-19, you are required to:
Register it on the Service NSW app or NSW Government website here.
Notify the school immediately by calling 02 6022 0000
Isolate for 7 days following the positive test
Leave isolation after 7 days if no symptoms
If there are symptoms after 7 days, remain in isolation until 24 hours after symptoms have resolved
Schools no longer have to send whole classes home or undertake contact tracing when there is a case within the school. We will communicate with you as needed when there has been a case and advise you to monitor for symptoms.
What is the definition of a household/close contact? A household contact is a person who lives with someone who has COVID-19.
Only household contacts are required by NSW Health to isolate for 7 days (unless the person is a staff member at Scots or has previously tested positive to COVID and ended their isolation for this in the past 28 days).
Previously, anyone who had been with a positive case for 4 or more hours was also considered a close contact – the definition has been updated and this no longer makes someone a close contact (i.e., close contacts are household contacts only).
Any other individual that has contact with a COVID positive person is not required to isolate but is advised by NSW Health to assess the level of risk of the contact and respond accordingly. This means any exposure to COVID-19 at school or socially does not result in a person being a close contact.
Note: An authorised NSW Health contact tracer can direct a close contact to self-isolate. It is anticipated that this will not occur routinely.
What happens if a student is identified as a household/close contact? Can they attend school during their isolation period? No. A student is no longer able to attend school through the use of RAT if they are identified as a household/close contact. Students identified as household/close contacts are required to complete the 7 day period of isolation.
Note: This is a change in recent days.
What happens if a teacher tests positive or is a close contact? Classes will continue as normal, even if a teacher is required to isolate. Scots will support students in classes by utilising existing Scots staff or cover teachers.
What support is being offered for students who are isolating at home. Scots will continue to offer (via Scotty or Seesaw) our Scots@Home hybrid learning model for students who are isolating but well enough to continue their studies at home.
COVID-19 Vaccination The requirement for all staff to be fully vaccinated remains unchanged.
Children aged 5-11 years can now be vaccinated and we encourage students and their families to get their vaccinations as soon as possible.
All Senior School and Junior School staff will be required to wear a mask indoors.
All Senior School students will be required to wear a mask indoors.
All Junior School students are strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors.
All students over the age of 12 are required to wear a mask on the bus.
School activities such as camps At the start of Term 1 2022, there are currently minimal restrictions on school activities with the emphasis on planning for business as usual in a COVID-safe way by implementing risk assessment processes and risk mitigation to enable continuity of education and to support well-being.
Our planned year level camps will go ahead. We will continue to communicate with parents and carers about our COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies and we will always give parents and carers the information they need to make informed decisions and provide consent.
Additionally, when a year level is on camp, we will:
prevent anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms from attending camp.
record attendance and participation details of groups in residential facilities (each cabin/room) to support specific notifications to any students or staff with a higher likelihood for secondary cases following the exposure
require all students in Year 7 and above, and all staff to wear masks indoors, including in common residential areas but excluding sleeping areas.
Welcome events for new families
We have been advised that parents of students who are on orientation in Kindergarten or parents of a new student transitioning to Scots are permitted on campus. This means our welcome events will continue as planned. Follow the signs after drop-off.
Congratulations to our Class of 2021 students, who deservedly celebrated some outstanding HSC results last week. Through their efforts and talents, The Scots School Albury was the highest-ranked school on the Border based on the number of top score results its students received.
Scots was ranked 166 in the State by the school-ranking website Better Education and is the only Albury school to make it into the Top 200. Our ranking puts us in the top 20% of schools in the State and one of only 17 non-metropolitan schools to feature in the top 200.
The School’s results were led by Class of 2021 School Captain Ziggy Lamond, who achieved five top band results for an ATAR of 96.3, boarding student Kaxton Wu, who scored an ATAR of 96.25 and Sarah Shannon who excelled in Mathematics Extension 1 and 2 to earn an ATAR of 95.6.
Seventy per cent of courses at Scots were above the State mean and students scored in the top band across a broad range of subjects.
But importantly, HSC results are enabling our students to go the places they want to go!
Laila Armsden has secured a place at Reading University in the UK to study Agriculture, Class of 2021 School Captain Dylan Forge was among the top achieving Music students and it helped secure his place in the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide; while Sarah Shannon’s result has allowed her to secure a graduate degree package in engineering at Melbourne University.
Snapshot of Scots results
26 Band 6 results from 227 subjects
70% of courses undertaken achieved results above the state mean
96% of 2-unit courses earned Band 5 or Band 6 results
78% of students achieved at least one Band 5 or 6 result
100% of Mathematics Extension 2 students score top band results (State mean 42.7%)
100% of Mathematics Extension 1 students scored top band results (State mean 37.2%)
Agriculture was 10.7% above the state mean
Mathematics Extension 1 (2-unit) was 13.3% above the State mean
Scots and the media
It’s an indication of our standing in the community that the media often turns to us first for expert comment on many aspects of Education, particularly the impact on education by COVID-19.
We appeared on Prime7 News last week and WIN News this week in stories about the impact of new COVID-19 regulations and the return to school. We also were included in coverage of HSC results on Prime7 and in The Border Mail.
Scots will start the year with 616 students, a Boarding House almost filled to the brim and student waitlists in several year levels.
We are in a wonderfully healthy situation. But we are busily planning our next steps because it is equally important for us to consolidate at the same time as embracing continued growth.
In 2022 we have introduced our hugely popular Pre-Kindergarten program, which has a very healthy waitlist already and an additional class in Year 3 which ensures we have two streams in every year level from Kindergarten to Year 6.
We have waitlists in Year 7 and 9 and are on track to be fully three-streamed in the Senior School much sooner than we anticipated.
It bodes well for the coming years, but parents need not worry - we do not plan to compromise the key reasons you chose a Scots education - small class sizes, a personalised learning environment, great facilities, academic rigour, amazing co-curricular opportunities and caring teachers. We will not expand exponentially and your child won’t get lost in the crowd.
We have reinvested in employing quality staff, we have an ambitious building program planned and we are always investigating ways to better our co-curricular offering and pedagogy.
As places become limited in certain year levels, it would be wise for existing families to submit enrolments early for siblings. It helps us to accurately plan, but it also ensures you lock in your place. Siblings, along with children of alumni, are offered preferential enrolment but if a class is already full, there is potential for disappointment.
Welcome to new staff
Along with the rapid growth in enrolments at Scots, comes the need to employ more staff. We also have farewelled staff who have chosen to change direction in their career. So as we start the 2022 school year, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the following staff and hope you will take the opportunity, whenever you see them, to say hello and make them feel they are a part of our Scots family.
Samantha Menzies – School Chaplain & Head of Service Learning
Junior School teaching staff
Adele Withers – Pre Kindergarten
Rachael Webb – Pre School
Jacob Hanna – Year 4
Annabel Blunden – Year 3
Stephanie Bruce – Visual Arts
Caoimhe McMillan – Music (also SS French)
Keiko Sanderink – Japanese (also SS Japanese)
Pre School Educators
Senior School Teaching Staff
Sarah Bowman – English & Assistant Learning Area Leader: Connecting with Culture
Stephanie Clancy – Agriculture & Technology
David Coughlan – Learning Area Leader: Expressing, Music Teacher
Paula Gleeson – Learning Area Leader: Connecting with Culture, HSIE & English Teacher
Kari Tainton – HSIE
Nathan Tainton – Mathematics, Science, Economics
Stephen Orr - English
Joshua Zhao – Mathematics
A welcome return to Karlen McDonald
Senior School Support Staff
Tracie Davis – Lab Manager
Amanda Pyle – Learning Assistant
Alice Geddes - Canteen Assistant
Vale Angela Hogg
Former staff member and colleague, Angela Hogg, sadly passed away unexpectedly earlier this month.
Angela began working at The Scots School Albury in April 2004, three days a week in Reception and two days a week in the Development Office. She was a valued member of the administration team, filling in as Personal Assistant to the Principal briefly in 2004 and 2005, before moving to the general office until 2012.
Angela was then appointed to the new position of Student Services Officer in 2012, which she held until taking maternity leave in late 2014. She returned in 2016 as relief Student Services for several months and then in 2018, she re-joined Scots in the role of International Administrative Officer and General Administration Support into early 2020.
Angela could make anyone smile with her humour and good-natured way. She always had a wisecrack to begin the day and had a measured approach to any situation. We are so lucky to have had Angela in our team at Scots, she played an integral role in the development of so many areas and she will be dearly missed.
Angela is survived by her partner Steve, and children, Dylan 7 and Harley 5. Her funeral is on Friday at 11am at the Tallangatta cemetery.
Rest in peace Ange.
A big year of development
The year ahead will be known in our Business Office as the Year of Development!
We have committed funding for the completion of the Agricultural Learning Space, construction will start on our Senior Study Centre in the back half of the year and the concept development for our Junior School and the funding submission will be completed.
And on top of all these exciting projects will be the continued refurbishment of the School; to protect and maintain the excellent facilities we already have.
Scots Fair - Saturday 19 March
The 2022 Scots Fair will be on Saturday 19 March from 3.00pm-7.00pm.
The aim of the Fair is to fundraise for the Scots Community Foundation, which will support the construction of the Senior Study Centre, and to bring together our whole school community to share in a day of fun and activity.
The Scots Fair will be held in conjunction with the Time to Shine Dance Competition, involving more than 200 dancers in our Alistair Todd Chapel Hall, and a Pipe Band Competition, involving more than 20 Pipe Bands from across Victoria and NSW.
We have secured several high-profile carnival rides including Dodgem Cars, Giant Atomic Obstacle Course, Big Blue Jumping Castle and Adrenalin Rush which will complement a variety of stalls, including food vendors and product stalls. Wristbands will be available for unlimited rides on the carnival rides.
We also are planning a range of fun activities that will appeal to a range of ages. Older students should start thinking about partners for the hay stacking competition, how they might win the greasy pole contest or whether they can lift the Scots Sprint. Younger students might like the face painting, the three-legged race or crazy hair stall.
And everyone should start preparing for the Egg Toss Challenge!
50 Years of Scots
Scots celebrates 50 years in the Albury community this year. In 1972, Albury Grammar School and Woodstock Presbyterian Ladies College amalgamated to form The Scots School Albury and we plan to celebrate the milestone in many ways throughout the year. We have planned an exciting program of events, including a black-tie birthday dinner for parents and a student-focused birthday celebration at school. Stay tuned for more birthday news.
Major events in 2022
This is Scots - Friday 25 February Parents will have an opportunity to hear our vision for the future, meet their child’s teacher and connect with others in our Scots community at this whole school event. The Principal’s address will be followed by drinks in the Quad where parents also will be able to catch up with their child’s year parent. All families are encouraged to attend.
Scots Fair - Saturday 19 March See separate section on our fair in this newsletter.
More information to follow on: Anzac Day - Monday 25 April 50th Birthday Dinner - 18 June