From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

Some time ago I came across an article in The Age, The four secret ingredients that can turn good schools into great schools. The headline caught my attention because I think Trinity is already a great school and I was interested to see how we stacked up. Some of what follows is a precis from an article I wrote in 2019, and on which I was reflecting this week.

The first criteria was good relationships. Tick. One of the hallmarks of the School over the years has been an emphasis on respectful, positive relationships. Teachers and students can never, and should never, be friends, but we strive to be a respectful and inclusive community for the youngest boy in Pre-K, my colleagues, whether new graduates or experienced, and for the extended Trinity family of parents, grandparents, Old Boys and friends of the School.

Next was a culture of high expectations. Tick. Trinity unapologetically demands high standards of behaviour, uniform and effort, and it has been edifying to see this translated into an extended period of online learning. We believe all students can achieve, and we encourage the boys and young men of the School to have a growth mindset, to be diligent, determined and to develop those habits and values that will make your sons good employees, leaders, husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons.

Third was flexibility. Tick. As I watched my colleagues and your sons adapt to the rapidly evolving public health situation, I was very encouraged to see pragmatism, optimism, stoicism and resilience on full display.

Lastly, the article suggested that great schools gave clear instructions and set achievable outcomes. Tick. We have always been explicit about what is required for success and about the goals of lessons and programmes, and because we have an institutional growth mindset, we also have a culture of continual improvement.

Trinity is not a perfect school, because no institution made up of individuals can be perfect, but I am confident that there is enough evidence to believe, without hubris, that we are a great school and that we do not, and will not, rest on our laurels.

May I take this opportunity to commend the boys and young men of Year 7 to Year 11 on a successful assessment period. It has been good to see that, even though the mode in which we delivered the curriculum has changed this term, your sons have continued to do their best. It has been very gratifying. Likewise, my admiration goes to the young men of Year 12, albeit they are only at the halfway point of their final online assessments. One of the things we all hope for is that our young people will be resilient, sanguine and determined, and the Class of 2021 have adapted with remarkable maturity and pragmatism to a very fluid situation. Their resilience gives me confidence that in the years to come, this cohort of young people will take the vicissitudes of life in their stride. I think there is probably more than a grain of truth in Nietzche’s adage; Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.

Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master-Summer Hill

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