The Scots College comes to Sydney’s south

Bright future … The Scots College is opening Brighton Preparatory School at Dolls Point next year.

Sydney families may soon be heard to cry, “Go south, young man” with the opening of a new independent school in Sydney’s southern suburbs next year.

The Scots College, one of Sydney’s oldest boys’ schools, has announced the establishment of a preparatory school to serve the College’s Botany Bay-area community.

Situated on the picturesque waterfront at Dolls Point, The Scots College Brighton Preparatory School will, from February, welcome boys from Kindergarten to Year 4, with Years 5 and 6 set to follow in subsequent years.

The primary school has been founded to meet local demand, The Scots College Principal Dr Ian Lambert says. “The College attracts many students from the area already so a new preparatory school locally just makes sense.”

“Scots” has a long history in the district. In 1893, it accepted its first class of students at its original site on The Grand Parade in Brighton-Le-Sands, before moving to the current Bellevue Hill address two years later.

The prep school’s name pays tribute to the College’s past and the school’s bayside location, Dr Lambert says.

As a part of The Scots College, students at Brighton Prep will benefit from its Brave Hearts Bold Minds philosophy of education, which fosters a culture of excellence achieved through “adventure, curiosity, creativity and growth”.

Being a non-selective school, Scots’ pedagogical focus extends beyond academic success to develop the whole character, with a special emphasis on experiential education.

“Sport is synonymous with the Scots experience,” Dr Lambert says and the new Brighton Preparatory School’s setting makes it ideally located to build on the College’s strong sailing program.

The Scots College’s new school has already received significant notice in local media thanks to its role in preserving a much-loved landmark — Primrose House.

Historic site … Primrose House at Dolls Point in Sydney’s south.

Fearing that it would be demolished, Dolls Point residents fought to protect the stately mansion after it was put up for sale by the NSW Health Department last year.

The College’s establishment of Brighton Preparatory School on the site is welcomed by the Dolls Point community with the NSW member for Rockdale, Steve Kamper, telling The Leader, that the project “will build on the heritage value of Primrose House and provide a new school in a beautiful location.”

The historic property will now undergo a full restoration to return it to its Victorian grandeur. The conservation effort will retain the building’s original design and features, such as floorboards and fireplaces, while incorporating contemporary facilities.

“The College has a history of caring for heritage buildings. Primrose House very much fits in that category,” says Dr Lambert. “We look forward to becoming the new custodians of its rich heritage for future generations.”

Brighton Preparatory School enrollments are now open. For more information including school bus services to please contact 9391 7668 or visit www.tsc.nsw.edu.au/brighton.

Or take the opportunity to meet in person with staff from The Scots College and a variety of other schools servicing Sydney’s south at the Southern Sydney School Expo on Sunday, June 4.

At the Expo, parents are encouraged to engage with school representatives and explore their offerings in detail.

Teachers and administrators are happy to answer all your questions to help you make the best decision for your child.

This is a wonderful opportunity not to be missed.

The Southern Sydney School Expo
Where: Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach, Cnr Grand Parade and Princess St, Brighton-Le-Sands
When: Sunday, June 4, 2017
Time: 10 am to 4pm
Cost: Free

For more information contact Dorothy Willoughby on 0412 233 742.

The Scots College comes to Sydney’s south
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Beyond Hogwarts: the real-life benefits of boarding

Extended family … Cranbrook School offers boarders excellent pastoral care in a supportive environment.

If you didn’t attend a boarding school yourself, your impressions of residential schools have probably been formed, at least in part, by Hollywood.

It seems that every decade produces an era-defining tale set in a boarding school. From the 60s counter-culture touchstone, If, to Australia’s own haunting 70s classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Dead Poets Society in the 80s, and, of course, the Harry Potter blockbusters of recent times, there is no shortage of movies that centre on the intrigue and exhilaration of adolescent communal living.

Reality is usually a little more mundane than the big screen version but that hasn’t slowed the resurgence of Australia’s boarding schools.

Boarding is well and truly back in vogue with more than 25,000 students nation-wide choosing to live at their school — an increase of 25 per cent over the last decade.

Many of these students come from rural and regional areas where boarding is often a necessity but changing family dynamics are seeing more city-based and international students opting to board.

In families where both parents work full-time, the close supervision and access to extracurricular activities that boarding provides makes it an attractive option. In the senior years, students are increasingly choosing to board so they can concentrate on their studies free of the distractions of home and the time-drain of commuting.

Living at school offers students many unique advantages including:

Academic support and extra tuition
When you live at school a teacher is never very far away to lend a hand with a sticky problem or read through a draft essay. Allocated study periods ensure that students have adequate time in their days to get through their homework and no excuses for not doing it.

A structured environment
Boarding is characterised by routine and stability. Students learn good habits early on and for busy parents working long hours, the inbuilt structure of boarding environments is a boon. At schools such as The King’s School in Parramatta, fully a quarter of boarders are Sydney-based; boarding not out of need but because their parents want them to benefit from the “boarding experience”, the school says.

Extracurricular opportunities
Living at school means never missing footy practice again. Even better, it allows students to participate in everything on offer and try new sports and activities. Most boarding schools emphasise physical activity to help promote resilience and teamwork and keep their students fit and healthy, but creative and intellectual opportunities abound. Meanwhile, regular excursions, entertainment and social events keep students busy and engaged with life outside of school. Boarding is rarely boring.

Self-reliance
By its nature, boarding promotes independence and self-management; skills that prove useful throughout a lifetime.

“Boarders develop resilience and independence at an earlier age,” says Wenona principal, Dr Briony Scott. “It’s not that they grow up quicker but they definitely do become more independent.

“Boarders learn to look after themselves really well. They learn to look after their things and take responsibility for their time.”

Kate Obermayer, a Cochlear executive and former Wenona boarder agrees, telling the Weekly Times: “Boarding gave me an inner dependence on myself, which continues to help me on a daily basis in my role — no one is cracking the whip except me.

“I have to be proactive. I have to think about all angles. I have to be organised. I learnt all of that at boarding school.”

Lifelong friendships
Close-quarters living promotes tight bonds between students that often carry through their whole lives. Schools with a significant international boarding cohort like Cranbrook in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs offer students the opportunity to make “friends from all corners of the globe”, the school says.

This view is supported by research conducted by the University of Adelaide. A 2004 survey of boarding school students revealed that the overwhelming majority of respondents had formed “intense, enduring” friendships at boarding school with fellow students from around the world. The report author concluded that for these students boarding “was a significant factor in fostering independence and embracing cultural diversity”, which helped to “prepare them for life in an increasingly global world”.

Overall, the respondents viewed boarding with fondness and appreciation. As one survey respondent wrote: “For all Grammar’s faults, I wouldn’t exchange this experience for anything in the world!”

Hogwarts may be a fantasy but it seems that, for many students, boarding does, in fact, add a touch of magic to school life.

References:

Boarding schools appealing to the city as much as the country — Emily Parkinson, Australian Financial Review, May 6, 2016
http://www.afr.com/news/special-reports/boarding-schools-appealing-to-the-city-as-much-as-the-country-20160503-golmnt

Wenona alumnae explain how boarding at the North Sydney school has shaped their lives — Weekly Times, November 1, 2016
http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/country-living/education/secondary/wenona-alumnae-explain-how-boarding-at-the-north-sydney-school-has-shaped-their-lives/news-story/760604de5f5f2811d3e8a98a739c3753?nk=71c909cf3ea5cdff59e0c34f1859f415-1495110031

An Australian co-educational boarding school as a crucible for life: a humanistic sociological study of students’ attitudes from their own memoirs — Matthew A White, PhD Thesis, School of Education, University of Adelaide, 2004
https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/37957/8/02whole.pdf

Beyond Hogwarts: the real-life benefits of boarding
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Co-ed Or Single Sex: What Will Work Best For Your Child?

Australia has perhaps the widest range of schooling options in the English-speaking world, including a comparatively high proportion of single-sex schools in both the public and non-government sectors.

While co-education is the predominant mode of schooling in the US and Canada, and is rapidly becoming so in the UK as well, gender-specific education remains a popular choice for Australian families.

Greater than the sum of its parts … consider all the elements to find the right school for your child.

This is especially true in NSW, where there are more than 130 single-sex schools throughout the independent, public and Catholic school systems.

Sydney-based parents have many excellent schools of either type to choose from and deciding between the two can present a real dilemma for many.

With a wealth of research on the topic available, there is a strong case to be made for the merits of each. Excellent academic results can be seen in both types of schools and there are no distinct drawbacks to either schooling style.

However, they do differ in terms of environment and social factors.

Research shows that girls are more likely to excel in music, maths, and science subjects when they attend single-sex schools. It is presupposed that the absence of boys may help girls to develop greater self-confidence in their abilities as well as making them more willing to speak out and perform for an audience.

Meanwhile, boys are said to benefit from male-centric teaching methods, which are more readily delivered in boys-only schools.

Dr Tim Hawkes, former headmaster of The King’s School in Parramatta, is a vocal advocate of gender-specific teaching methods.

“We must allow boys to be boys, we must allow them run in the playground and learn according to their learning style and not try to force them to adopt learning behaviours that are antithetical to the way they discover and learn new information,” he says.

On the co-ed side of the ledger, Barker College head Phillip Heath makes the point that the contemporary workplace is a mixed-gender environment and that schools need to prepare students for adult reality. Last year he announced that Barker College would be transitioning to a fully co-ed school by 2022 because “life is co-ed.”

“Barker College aims to prepare young people for much more than an ATAR or even for life at university. The real purpose of a school is to support students to reach their full potential in the workplace and in their communities, and in building strong relationships and families,” Mr Heath told the Hornsby Advocate.

Proponents of single-sex schooling counter this view with the argument that schools aren’t employment training centres but are instead, as MamaMia contributor Zoe Rochford wrote in defence of girls’ schools, “a safe place where developing brains can learn about things, both conceptually and practically, from a distance. They’re a recognition that our adolescents aren’t ready for the “real world” yet – that they still have learning and growing to do… If that means that single-sex education suits some brains better, the way it did mine, then so be it.”

That said, international research demonstrates that teacher quality is the most decisive factor in academic outcomes. Breaking down the various influences on education attainment including individual capability, family background, teachers, principal, peers and school, the data shows that 50 per cent of achievement can be attributed to a student’s academic potential and 30 per cent to teacher ability, with the other elements making up the balance.

It’s probably fair to say that a school is greater than the sum of its parts. No single institutional component will make or break a student’s education but the overall mix will have a huge impact.

In a column for the Manly Daily, Greg Whitby, executive director of schools for the Parramatta Catholic diocese, counsels parents against focussing solely on the single sex vs co-ed issue, advising them to look at the bigger picture.

“To put it simply, there are good single-sex schools but also some pretty poor ones. The same applies to co-educational schools.

“The best learning environments for young people are the ones that respond to their social, emotional and learning needs, that allow for diverse opinions, encourage healthy and positive relationships­ and ultimately reflect the diversity of the communities in which they live,” he writes.

When it comes to deciding between a single sex or coed school, there is no clear winner. Like many complex questions, the honest answer is: it depends. There are distinct advantages to each type of school but, ultimately, the best option is the one that suits your child the best.

References:

Research versus the media: Mixed or single-gender settings? — Helen J Forgasz, Gilah C Leder and Calvin Taylor, Monash University, 2007
http://www.aare.edu.au/data/publications/2007/for07148.pdf

Teachers Make a Difference: What is the research evidence? — John Hattie, University of Auckland, Australian Council for Educational Research, October 2003
https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/docs/pdf/qt_hattie.pdf

Barker College becomes Sydney’s first private boys’ school to welcome girls across all grades — Jake McCallum, Hornsby Advocate, November 4, 2016
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/hornsby-advocate/barker-college-in-hornsby-will-introduce-female-students-to-junior-year-groups-in-new-coeducational-scheme/news-story/32934b26dbcbd698426a48e89d884b40?nk=71c909cf3ea5cdff59e0c34f1859f415-1493967386

A prestigious school goes co-ed and suddenly everyone’s saying how evil single sex schools are. Rubbish. — Zoe Rochford, MamaMia, November 8, 2016
http://www.mamamia.com.au/benefits-of-single-sex-schools/

Dividing line not key to success – Greg Whitby, Manly Daily, February 18, 2017
http://www.pressreader.com/australia/manly-daily/20170218/283167198322183

Co-ed Or Single Sex: What Will Work Best For Your Child?
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