I extend a very warm welcome to Mr Graeme Hanger, Mayor of Bathurst, Mr Jeof Falls, General Manager of the Presbyterian Church in NSW, Mr Hamish Thompson, Chairman of the College Council and other Council members, representatives of the Old Boys and Girls Association of All Saints College and The Scots School, staff, parents and especially the students.
WOW!. I can’t believe this day has arrived. What a journey! 17 months of planning, lots of meetings and lots of decisions. This has been a very big job. I particularly wish to acknowledge and thank Mr Jeof Falls who has been the leader of this whole process as General Manager of the Church. He has been supported by experts who were able to give us advice and direction. The Senior staff, P & F, Old Boys & Girls Association, parents, teachers and students also played a very big role.
This Commencement Service therefore is not just any Commencement Service in any year; this service is to celebrate and give thanks for our new College – Scots All Saints College. You are the first students so many years from now, when you are old, you will be able to say that you were at the new College on the first day. Wear your new uniform and badge with pride.
This service today aims to do three things:
- Firstly, we are here to give thanks to our God for his goodness to us. We are a Christian College, specifically supported by the Presbyterian Church to share the message of Gods’ love for all of us. This is very important to me and the new College will put the Christian message at the very front of all we do.
- Secondly, we are here today to say thank you to all those people who have worked so incredibly hard over the last 17 months to bring two schools together into one new college – Scots All Saints College.
- Thirdly, we are here to mark this time in history and to celebrate our wonderful new College.
Our new College has 775 students on three campuses on beautiful grounds. In terms of land size we are one of the largest schools in Australia with over 200 acres or 85 hectares of land. By joining two schools together we will be a very strong independent College in Bathurst with students from the local region, the Central West, Sydney, interstate and overseas.
The new College will be able to provide:
- Greater economies of scale so that more money can be invested in infrastructure, teaching programs and a rich and diverse co-curricular programs.
- Greater flexibility and offerings of elective subjects in the Senior School; this has already happened.
- A Junior and Middle School structure that really caters for the specific needs of very young children and pre-adolescents and young teenagers with double stream from Kindergarten to Year 6.
- Four distinct smaller schools with 40 at the Lithgow Campus, 150 in the Junior School right here, 240 in the Middle School just up the hill and 330 on the Scots Campus with Pre-Kindergarten and Years 9-12.
- Greater social diversity in year groups for the creation of more friendships.
- Increased boarding numbers, to keep the strong tradition of a boarding school, with all the benefits that provides in terms of school culture for all students. We currently have 130 boarders on the Scots Campus this year.
- Greater competition and academic opportunities to aim for excellent academic results at the top end and for all students to achieve above what they thougth was possible with the help of a wonderful learning environment and very dedicated and professional teachers.
- Stronger sporting teams to improve our skills and competitiveness;
- And… a greater presence in the educational landscape of Bathurst, the Central West, Sydney and the international student market.
Most important of all, it means an increased student population who will be introduced to the truth of Jesus love for us, God’s grace, the assurance of our redemption if we look to Him and the Christian values that are central to all we do in caring for the students.
Visitors to the College campuses often comment on the expansive grounds and the beauty of the College with its range of deciduous trees to present the beauty of four seasons. Such a beautiful environment allows students to thrive and to find ‘space to be’ through the wide range of co-curricular opportunities including Sport, Music, Pipes and Drums, Cadets, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Equestrian and Cattle Team just to mention a few. This environment allows students to be challenged to persevere and to strive to achieve their best in all areas and most especially in their academic studies.
For a student to achieve to their full potential outstanding pastoral care and a strong sense of community are vital. This has been a very strong priority at the two schools with staff who care for their students and a very strong community where the school and parents are encouraged to work in cooperation for the very best outcome for the students. At our new College, this will be even more important with a program of Positive Psychology to be introduced in the context of a Christian world view.
The new College will be strongly focused on the achievement of academic excellence. Student academic development will be tracked closely from the early years in order to harness resources, provide learning support and to extend and enrich the learning opportunities for all students. Above all, every student is known as an individual and is provided with an opportunity to build confidence and resilience, to be challenged to move out of their comfort zone, to develop skills and foster personal growth as they journey through the College.
It is my hope and prayer that the new Scots All Saints College will prepare graduating students who are young men and women of purpose and confident leaders ready to contribute to the local and global community.
Scots All Saints College will be a place were every student will find:
Space to be challenged; space to thrive, space to grow, space to think, space to make friends, space to achieve and excel, space to reflect, space to make mistakes and learn from them, space to be challenged by God and…
Space to just be.
All of you are part of this new wonderful College. Please work together to make this year a very special one at the very beginning of our new College- Scots All Saints College.
David Gates, Headmaster
7 February 2019.