From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

C.S. Lewis


This week the School spoke with your sons about integrity, which The Oxford Dictionary defines as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” and lists “uprightness” and, interestingly, “wholeness” as synonyms. It is a quality that is spoken about ad nauseam at Trinity, a reflection of the high value we place on it. Often character is used as a synonym when talking about integrity, that having a good character is worthwhile and valuable. It is often pitched to your sons as an encouragement to “do the right thing, even when no-one is watching”. Do the right thing and don’t expect to be praised. Do the right thing just because it is the right thing.

It was a central theme in the context of online assessments. For Year 12, the stakes are relatively high in moving the final assessments for the HSC and IBD to an online locked down browser. They will be presenting for their assessments in an unfamiliar way, they will be taking them off campus, and, for many of their assessments, they will be typing answers rather than writing by hand. The young men of Year 12 were made aware of the significant trust the School is placing in them by offering this opportunity to receive feedback on their learning progress. However, it was also made clear, both in the information session with the Head Master and Academic Dean on Monday evening, as well as in a series of briefings for Year 12 students and their Housemasters, that there are significant consequences for any academic misconduct during the Final Online Assessments. Whilst this subject is a little grim, it is critical that the adults are on the same page and crystal clear about the School’s expectations for academic integrity, that we are clear about the basis for those expectations, and that you, and particularly your son, are clear about the penalties that apply in the event of any attempt to gain an unfair advantage. Those penalties are made clear in the Trinity Grammar School Assessment Policy.

Whilst making the right choice is not always straightforward or easy, in this instance the School’s position is unambiguous, and that is why your role is so crucial. As with all the values we cherish and want to pass on, it is underpinned by a biblical principle, beautifully expressed in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians when he exhorts us to focus on “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – (whatever) is excellent or praiseworthy, (to) think on such things”. For me, that rules out hubris, dishonesty, discrimination, deliberate unkindness, slander, ingratitude, and disrespect for authority. It also rules out academic misconduct during the Final Online Assessments.

Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

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