Boarding at Scotch College
Boarding life is characterised by the formation of enduring friendships. Students share in each other’s joys, successes and disappointments. They are challenged to appreciate the strengths and individuality of others, and they begin to establish their own personal goals and visions for the future.
Life at Scotch during term time is hectic. School work, sport, music, drama, camps and outdoor and service activities make for a very busy life for all Scotch boys, but more particularly for boarders. Supported by a team of experienced teachers who provide additional academic support, the boarders throw themselves into a wide range of activities with vigour and enthusiasm.
Scotch College has an outstanding reputation for the standard of its academic program and extensive sporting, outdoor and cultural activities. Enrolment in the Boarding School at Scotch provides boys with an education of the highest standard in combination with accommodation in a caring, well equipped environment. The boarding lifestyle represents an integrated, comprehensive package for the education of a student from the country or overseas.
On the 'Hill' overlooking the Scotch Senior School, the college's 160 boarders live in one of three separate boarding houses: School House, McMeckan House and Arthur Robinson House. The houses are set around a broad drive and are surrounded by trees and beautiful, well manicured gardens.
Each of the three boarding houses is well staffed. Houses are under the direction of a Head of House, who is a member of the teaching staff and resides in the house with his family. Two other members of staff are also resident in each house, with two other staff members living with their families in flats and houses either on the grounds or nearby. Each house has a school chaplain attached to the house, who assists in providing pastoral support, as well as a House Manager who looks after laundry, sewing and basic first aid. Overall responsibility for ‘The Hill’ rests with the Dean of Boarding, who also lives on-site with his family.
In all, there are about 20 members of staff providing care and guidance for the boys.
Where do boarders come from?
Approximately 70% of boarders are from rural Victoria and southern New South Wales and about 30% local and overseas. Some are sons of expatriate Australians living in South East Asia and elsewhere; others are sons of families from a wide variety of countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, The Middle East, USA and Europe.
Boarders are members of almost every academic class, sporting team and interest group in the Scotch Senior School. By virtue of the diversity of experiences that boarders bring with them, this group of boys makes an enormous and essential contribution to the character of the school.
Maximum access to Senior School facilities
Boarders are able to use the College’s excellent facilities to their fullest potential. The Centre for Learning is open on weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm with teachers available for additional tutoring from 3:30 pm until 5:00 pm. The extensive school grounds and most of the sporting facilities are available for use by boarders during leisure hours.
With artificial grass tennis courts, an indoor heated swimming pool and diving pool, squash courts, weight training room, gymnasium, basketball courts and over 27 hectares of grounds, boarders have the best backyard in Melbourne in which to expend their energy.
Homework is supervised on week day evenings by the Head of House or one of their assistants. Help is never far away, whether from a member of staff, an older boy, or from a student in the same year level. There is a structured approach to study to ensure all students perform to the best of their ability. The first session of ‘prep’ is a quiet time where each boy works on their own without interruption. The second part of prep boys can seek help from each other and work in groups, as required.
English and Mathematics tutors visit the boarders each week during prep time and are available to any boy that would like additional help. Scotch has a strong tradition of boys continuing to university, with the two most popular tertiary institutions being the University of Melbourne and Monash University. Some boys study overseas and others choose to join the workforce or take a gap year once completing their Year 12. Careers guidance is provided to boys and families through the school’s Course and Careers Centre.
At Scotch we have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. This allows families to make their own decision about the type and brand of device that your son uses. Boys access technology at Scotch College via their device. They also have access in the Technology Labs, the Library and specialist areas of the school. Boys have wireless internet access on their device across the entire campus, including the boarding precinct, and are able to connect to the School’s Learning Management System.
Many boarders learn musical instruments and make use of the school’s practice rooms located in the James Forbes Academy as well as an allocated room in each house for practice.
Bedroom and study facilities
In Years 7 to 11 boys sleep in small dormitory groups, with the numbers in each dormitory reducing as boys advance through the school. Year 7 to 10 boarders complete their homework in 'Prep rooms', where each boy has his own desk in an open plan area. Years 11 and 12 have a desk in their rooms with the Year 12 boys residing in their own single room.
The boys from all three houses come together for all meals which are served in a communal dining hall adjacent to the living accommodation. The food is of a high standard and is prepared in a modern kitchen, staffed by professional chefs and their assistants.
Every endeavour is made to ensure that each boy receives a balanced diet and there is sufficient quantity for healthy appetites. Consultation with a dietitian takes place regularly and a 'food committee' comprising senior boys across the three houses meet with the Head Chef on a fortnightly basis. Boys with special food requirements are catered for within limits and all meals are supervised by staff.
There are recreational rooms in each house, providing comfortable areas for conversation, listening to music or reading. Table tennis tables, billiard tables and gaming consoles in the 'rec.' rooms are well used. A kitchenette is also available for preparing beverages and light snacks.
The College doctor holds clinics one lunchtime each week. The doctor is also available on request and, together with other consultants used by the College, provides a full range of medical services to ensure the health of boarders.
The Boarders' Health Centre is well equipped, with a six bed ward, a two bed ward, a single ward, convalescence room, doctor's consulting room, dispensary and accommodation for nursing sisters. A resident nurse lives on site, providing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week care. Whenever boys are admitted to the sick bay parents and/or guardians are contacted as quickly as possible by telephone.
Full fee paying overseas students are covered by the Australian Government's Overseas Student Health Scheme. Documentation for this scheme and payment of the annual subscription is organised by the College. The scheme covers 85% of the scheduled fee for a consultation with a doctor and full cover in a shared ward in any public hospital.
Boys who are Australian residents and permanent citizens are covered by the national health insurance scheme, Medicare. They may take out additional private insurance if desired.
A laundry is located in the boarding house complex and is operated on weekdays by College staff. Boarders are not required to do their own washing and ironing: allocated in each house is an area where the boys leave their laundry, and it is collected and returned to each boy's individual pigeonhole. Sewing is also performed for the boys by the House Manager or her assistant. This service is included in the fees.
Boarders attend Chapel each Sunday evening, helping to remind boys of the spiritual dimension to their lives.
The weekday routine
Boarders rise around 7.00am, in time for breakfast in the Dining Hall between 7.20 and 8.15am. Following breakfast there is time to gather books before strolling down the Hill in time for the start of school at 8.35am. Year 7 boys collect their lunch in the day school whilst the Year 8-12 boys return for lunch in the Dining Hall, departing for further classes that begin in the afternoon.
When lessons conclude, many boys are involved in sports training. Others may go to the Centre for Learning for further study or return to their Boarding House. They may continue to work, or relax with friends, play computer games, listen to music or practise musical instruments.
Dinner commences at 6.00 pm. and is followed by a study period, between 7.00 pm and 8.45 pm. The boys may then relax, perhaps with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee in their house's recreation room. If necessary, they may decide to continue with their studies, from 9.30 pm until bedtime. On weeknights, each house holds a house meeting at 8.45 pm. All boys get together to hear announcements, any congratulations to individual boys and other housekeeping matters.
Bed time varies from 9.20 pm for Year 7 to 10.30 pm for Year 11. Since Year 12 students have their own rooms, they can study until late in the evening when examinations and deadlines for assignments are imminent.
All boys appreciate the break in the busy weekday routine that a weekend provides. There is plenty of activity on weekends. Whilst older boys often have homework to complete and may need to study for forthcoming exams and tests, there is much more for boarders to do. The boarding house activity co-ordinator organises a wide range of trips and activities which have included snow sports, fishing, paint ball, shopping trips and many more.
On Saturday mornings, school sporting teams of all age groups compete against teams from other private schools. Participation in the program is compulsory and there is up to 20 different sports to choose from, varying in different levels of ability.
|Television and in-house cinema
||The television rooms in each house are fitted with a home cinema and boys can watch DVDs and free-to-air or cable television.
||Because Scotch College is located only a short train or tram ride from the centre of Australia's second largest city, boarders have the opportunity to be exposed to and benefit from its cultural life. Large groups frequently go to the sporting events, theatre, art galleries, special exhibitions and the cinema, often at a cost considerably less than normal. Boys may also obtain city leave on weekends for these activities.
||Where parents have given permission for boarders to visit friends, Heads of House grant leave for visits on weekends.
||Weekends are often a time for informal games between boarders. Boys might choose to play tennis, or perhaps kick a football on one of the school ovals. The Glenn Centre, the College's indoor sporting complex, is open on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Boarders may swim in the heated swimming and diving pool, under the supervision of duty staff, or use the other facilities of the Centre for a game of squash, basketball, badminton or volleyball.
|| Boarders are often invited to socials conducted by local private girls' and co-educational schools. Heads of Houses ensure that arrangements for transport and other details are appropriate. Activities with neighbouring girls' schools are also held at Scotch. Dancing classes for Year 10 boys are held in conjunction with girls from local schools such as Methodist Ladies' College.
||The annual musical revue provides an opportunity for boarders to display their theatrical talents. The presentation varies in style from year to year, but involves acting, singing, backstage work and co-operative activity that the boys find thoroughly enjoyable.
All leave for the boys is managed and granted online with a program called Boardingware. This portal allows both parents, staff and the boys to put requests in for leave. The boys are required to log their leave type whether is it is ‘on campus sport’ or leaving the school grounds. For all leave involving the boys leaving the school grounds a duty staff member has to give final approval. For leave where the boys would like to visit another family, permission has to be granted by parents or guardians as well.
There is one long weekend of three or four days three times in the year, called an ‘exeat’, in which all boarders leave the Boarding School. The exeat provides boarders with a change of routine and country boys the opportunity to visit their parents. Overseas students usually stay with friends in Melbourne, or travel with country boarders to their homes.
One weekend a term is a ‘closed’ weekend for inter-house activities. Overnight leave is not granted for this weekend as various excursions and competitions take place as each house tries to win the coveted Wedderburn Cup.
Scholarships are available for entry at Year 7, Year 9 and Year 10. There are scholarships for boarding that are not solely based on academic performance and provide an opportunity for a family to experience life at Scotch that might not otherwise be able to send their sons to the school.