From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hilldeveloper
ethos – (n. characteristic spirit and beliefs of a community, people (or) system)
What makes Trinity, Trinity? It is an important question for us to consider given the fact that for consecutive years, the School has faced disruption to our programmes, and, at present, students are not attending the campus in all but a very few cases. Likewise, in the light of the Head Master’s communique today that effectively does away with the academic rollover, it would be unsurprising to form a view that it was reasonable to ask; is Trinity the same school in 2021, and will it be the same school in 2022?
The answer to that question for me, in my thirty-sixth year at Trinity Grammar School, is a resounding yes. I have been the Acting Master of the Preparatory School, I was the founding Master of the Junior School, held the role of Master of the Middle School for over a decade, and I even worked for a short period as the Master (Elect) of the Southern Campus at Oatley prior to my appointment as Deputy Head Master, and I have developed a great fondness for the School. My values are its values, and it would take, for me, something far more seismic than remote learning, cancelled sporting fixtures, getting rid of the rollover, or postponed Field Studies programmes to rent the fabric of the School, because Trinity Grammar School is far more than the sum of its parts.
I have previously shared the elegantly drafted ethos statement that captures, in a single page, the heart of Trinity; what we believe, why we do the things we do, and our hopes for your sons. Its purpose was not to be produced as a glossy pamphlet for inclusion in our prospectus, nor is it generally a public document, although it is not a secret either, but the desire was to create a document to inform policy and procedure. It is a document that has come to sit behind and inform the decisions the School takes and its future planning, including the decisions that have been shared with you today, and which will be unpacked next Tuesday evening. When times are tough, as they are at the moment, we do well to reconsider that which is most important.
First and foremost, Trinity Grammar School is Christian in its foundation and in its orientation. The School is built on the convictions that this is God’s world, that we are wonderfully made in His image, and tragically broken in sin. Sustained by Him and loved by Him, all people are called to look to Jesus Christ as both Lord and Saviour. This Christian faith is reflected in the life of the School, and shapes our understanding of ultimate meaning, purpose and identity.
Reflecting the meaning, purpose and identity found in relationship with God, Trinity is a School that prioritises relationships and community. Relationships shaped by respect and humility build a community in which people belong and to which they will contribute. More and more, we want to be a community that considers, includes, and cares for others.
Educating boys in mind, body and spirit requires us to value breadth in educational experiences. In these formative years of schooling, boys benefit from their participation in, and exposure to, a wide variety of curricular and co-curricular activities and experiences. School should be a time for expanding horizons and exploring new possibilities. We are convinced that our boys are better equipped for the years to come if they have a broad base of interests, capabilities, experiences and memories by the end of their school years.
This breadth of our educational offering necessarily challenges our students. We believe that there is more in them than they know. Therefore, we require and encourage them to lean into the challenges that they face, and to seek to overcome obstacles. In academics, in co-curricular, and in their participation in our community, we have high expectations of them. Their experience of these challenges is preparing them for the road ahead.
However, at the same time that we challenge our students, we also support them. The journey from childhood through adolescence to adulthood is not easy, and each of our boys has unique needs and circumstances. In partnership with families, we aim to ensure that they are adequately and appropriately supported, at whatever stage of their development, to give them every chance of experiencing success. They do not face their battles alone; their School is for them.
In challenging and supporting our students across the breadth of our education, our focus is on growth. The School celebrates excellence in performance, and many of our boys rise to the highest of standards in the various spheres of their endeavour, but growth is the more important lens through which we look. Every student can learn, every skill can be developed, and every boy can make progress.
Ultimately, our goal is the formation of character. Our world needs men who are decent and trustworthy, and our School aims to play our role in shaping them. Through a Trinity education, we want boys to develop their moral compass, to act in service to others, to take responsibility for those things that are within their power, and perhaps even to form a personal faith in Christ. The true value of a Trinity education is seen in the character of our men in the years long after their graduation.
2020 and 2021 have been challenging years, but, long after the disappointments have receded into the rear vision mirror of history, it is our hope the essential character of Trinity, that which makes us the school we are, will endure.
Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill