The new statue at Scotch evokes old memories while sparking new thoughts – no bad thing in the current climate of proposed educational change.
The weather was kind to us on Family Day and we responded with a celebration of those special ties which define our School.
This year brought the unveiling of the Mother and Son statue, which began life as an idea in the minds of two Jims, Beattie and Derham. Imagination became a physical reality through their determination, generosity and creative design, and via the skilled hands of sculptor Julie Squires. It is a statue of beauty and significance and it sits at the gateway to our School, expressing the gratitude of the Scotch Family for the contribution generations of mothers have made to Scotch. It is a contribution which spans the complete spectrum of Scotch life, all strands of the rich tartan which knots our community together.
As I walked to take my first look, I was drawn to the positioning of the statue among the footprints of those Year 7 boys who head down from the Junior School to take their first steps into Senior School life. It is a time when boys are stretching those maternal bonds as they start to explore a wider world, increasingly under the influence of those outside the immediate family unit.
For me, the mother in the statue shows a loving acceptance that her son has reached this juncture in his life’s journey: the arm outstretched lets go, but continues to steer him on his way. The young child on the shoulder is a reminder to all of just how strong the bonds are, and how forcefully ‘Father Time’ tugs at them. Wandering around the statue will evoke old memories while lighting the fires of new thoughts in young and old alike.
Parents, staff and students watching the unveiling of the Mother and Son statue on Family Day
In the current climate of proposed educational change it is no bad thing to have such a powerful reminder at the centre of our community. The bonds which hold a school together and engender the relationships which enable boys to question, initiate and lead, are not easy to measure or scale. Boys like to have a secure base, to feel solid ground beneath their feet from which they can jump and take a few risks, secure in the knowledge that safe, familiar ground is there to return to. The very same values which provide the security deliver the confidence to take a leap. They are values which create strong bonds that can be stretched without breaking; values which allow boys to explore, but find boundaries; values which exist in the relationships which connect our community.
They were the values present at the APS Athletics finals back in October where the hard work and skill of athletes and coaches, and the commitment of parents, gave rise to some fine individual and relay performances. And they were there again when spring brought a first for the Scotch family as OSCA’s magnificent production of Les Misérables extended our performing arts into the wider community.
Just prior to the November long weekend, I was fortunate to travel north to the Tiwi Islands and meet some wonderful people dedicated to harnessing the power of education to bring about real change in their community. They have worked hard over a protracted period to line up the pieces of the puzzle: jobs, housing and healthcare. All now hinges on the success of their newly built school, Tiwi College. It is the school which must inculcate a culture of participation through shared values. It is the school which must provide stability while opening the doors of possibility.
Changes in education currently wending their way through Parliament include the launching of a national curriculum. There is much sense in establishing an inner core to what children learn across Australia, but sense can have a habit of going out the window when the opportunity to measure and compare across a country rears its head. If done with care the process can bring about positive change, but it is a difficult beast to control, in among a language controlled by those looking to wield a financial rather than an educational stick. It is hard to measure many things which count!
Any national curriculum will always be a subset of our offering at Scotch. We will continue to deliver the very best results possible in any measure thrown at us: to do otherwise would be to deprive the boys of their ‘one shot’; but we are aware that education involves much, much more, and that even in a culture of testing, intellects are best challenged, nurtured and sculpted in a broadly based liberal curriculum such as ours.
Visit to the Tiwi Islands
|Tom Batty speaking at the Mother–Son statue unveiling||Athletics on Family Day|
With the staff, I have embarked on the process of formulating an educational strategy for Scotch, one which will build on the strengths of our past while embracing opportunities to improve what we do for Scotch boys. It is a process that will ultimately drive our master planning, as we look to develop our campus to best support our educational initiatives, and provide the very best learning environment for those at the School and those yet to come.
Those things societies like to measure will remain at the top of our priorities, but the building blocks are far harder to put a number on: foundations like Christian principles; relationships of trust and intimacy; the importance of a sense of self; the need for companionship, and gratitude for the contribution of mothers. GS
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)