From the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hilldeveloper
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.Julian of Norwich
You may or may not be aware that the Head Master, the Head of the Middle School, the Head of the Senior School and one of the Chaplains presents a piece to camera for your sons each week during Remote Learning. They are in lieu of the Head Master’s weekly address to the Quad Assembly, the Middle School and Senior School Assemblies and Chapel. They are only a couple of minutes long and tend to focus on wellbeing, encouragement, advice around help-seeking and mental health, and the perspective that only adults can provide for children and young people when times are tough. If you have not seen one of these, and your son is not a regular viewer, I think you may be surprisingly edified at the positive messages that continue to be delivered, and which reflect the deeply held values of Trinity. This week I have borrowed, with permission, the quote from Julian of Norwich that Mr Lee referred to in his homily. In 2021, it is eerily apposite for something that was written over 700 years ago. I enjoyed his talk ‘from the garage’ and thought I would share it with you.
Last Tuesday evening the School hosted a webinar to share with the community the reasoning and the arrangements for the significant decision to discontinue the so-called ‘rollover’. A replay has been made available to provide an opportunity to listen again to the information as it pertains to you and your son. The link to a webpage hosting all the material is found at the end of this Bulletin.
A number of questions were asked and answered during the presentation, but there were also a significant number that were not able to be attended to on the night. I have attempted to group them by theme.
Broadly, the questions asked for clarity around HSC and IBD examinations, valedictory arrangements, and the plans for Year 12 classes in the first four weeks of next term.
As you will have seen in both the media and in communication from the School, the HSC start date has been pushed back to the 9th of November. The School is in the hands of NSW Health and NESA regarding the examination arrangements and we will update you as, and when, new information is released. The 2021 IBD examinations will go ahead if the Public Health Orders permit. If we are unable to run the examinations, the IBO has procedures in place to calculate results and ranks to facilitate matriculation to university. Again, we will update you as, and when, information becomes available. Our advice is unambiguous. Year 12 students should continue to prepare for both the HSC and IBD examinations.
Like the Class of 2020, Year 12 are facing a disappointing end to their time at Trinity and are likely to miss out on many of the traditional valedictory events and celebrations. However, the School continues to plan how it might be possible to offer a Valedictory event that combines the customary Final Assembly, Year 12 Prizegiving and, hopefully, a House function for the young men of the Class of 2021, if Public Health Orders permit. It is likely that any event would be held on campus and for students only. Planning is ongoing and we are at the mercy of NSW Health, but if we can do something to celebrate the conclusion of Year 12, we will.
Year 12 classes will run according to the timetable in the first four weeks of next term. Their teachers will provide revision programmes and be available to support students through video-conferencing, while still providing opportunities for self-directed study and individual examination preparation.
The Year 11 questions focussed on clarifying whether Year 12 content will be taught in Michaelmas Term and when Focus Days will commence.
Year 11 are the least effected by the decision to wind back the ‘rollover’. They will commence their Year 12 programme in both the HSC and IBD next term.
Focus Days will commence in 2022.
The new School Officers will take up their duties next term.
These questions focussed primarily on the concern that Michaelmas Term would be wasted and that students would be marking time.
A comprehensive suite of adjustments and provisions will be implemented to ensure that Year 10 students are catered for. It goes against everything that Trinity stands for to waste a term’s learning. The Academic Dean’s presentation was clear, and it is available via the link at the foot of this page.
A Course Information Booklet will be distributed to Year 10 students next Tuesday, and there will be an Information Webinar for Year 10 students on Tuesday afternoon, and another Information Webinar specifically for Year 10 parents next Wednesday evening. Questions around subject choices, independent projects, and the commencement of the CAS component of the IBD will be addressed in the Course Information Booklet and in both Webinars.
The primary focus of the Year 9 questions went to the arrangements for the Field Studies Programme, and particularly to the disappointment that the 80 students allocated to Residentials 5 and 6 are feeling after having their programme delayed and the uncertainty around whether it will go ahead in some form.
The School is committed to providing an opportunity for the Year 9 students allocated to Residentials 5 and 6 if Health Orders permit. At this stage, the two programmes will be combined and will run for all 80 students from the 15th of November. If it is not possible to run the full programme, it may be that an abbreviated programme may still commence later in November. If that is not possible, the School has set aside a time in the January 2022 holiday break for an abbreviated residential programme. If the Public Health Orders do not permit a January programme, an abbreviated residential programme has been tentatively scheduled for the July 2022 holiday break.
I understand that the uncertainty for you and your sons feels like death by a thousand cuts, but the Field Studies Residential Programme is of such high value that we will do all we can to ensure your son can have his experience. The structure of the Middle and Senior School Timetable means it will not be possible for Year 9/2021 Residentials 5 and 6 to run during Term time in 2022, and this provides some context to the January and July 2022 holiday options.
However, as I shared with my colleagues when we were discussing this very matter, the Programme has undergone many transformations over the years. It commenced at Pine Bluff as a ten-week programme in 1993, became a five-week programme, then a four-week programme, then, after years of drought, it became a three-week programme with no showers, and no water in the Abercrombie River. Following the closure of the Pine Bluff Campus, the Field Studies Programme was nomadic for a number of years, bouncing back and forth between the Anglican Youthworks site, Koloona, in Nowra, and the NSW Sport and Recreation site at Berry, before finally relocating to our current campus at Woollamia. If your sons have an abbreviated programme, whether it is in Summer 2022 or Winter 2022, they will not be experiencing anything that young men at Trinity have not endured before. If they miss out, it will be a big deal, but we must have faith that they have the resilience to cope. It is up to us and you to give them a sense of perspective, and reassure them that there will be plenty of halcyon days ahead.
Year 7 and 8/2021
There were almost no questions about the effect of the removal of the rollover for Stage 4.
For the boys of Year 7 and 8 it will largely be business as usual for Michaelmas Term. In most cases, they will do the units of work that were planned.
Covid-Safe Plans, Rapid Antigen Testing and Vaccination
There were a number of questions about whether the School could organise access to vaccinations, whether we would conduct rapid antigen testing and whether it would be safe for students to return to School.
The School has no ability to source Pfizer vaccines or to roll out a vaccination programme. In the event that NSW Health decide to run a schools’ vaccination programme, we will, of course, comply.
The question of when it is safe to return to School is a decision over which we have no control. We will follow the advice of NSW Health. The School strongly encourages you and your son to get vaccinated in accordance with the NSW Health and ATAGI advice.
We remain committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for all students, employees, and visitors to the School. As we have done to this point, we will follow the advice of Independent and Government agencies and Public Health authorities in response to COVID-19, including following any, and all, Public Heath Orders, and including, if required, the implementation of Rapid Antigen Testing.
Reports, Assessments and Prizegiving
There were a number of questions pertaining to Reports and Assessments.
Academic Reports for Year 11 and 12 will be released as scheduled over the September holiday break. Academic Reports for Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 will be made available in early December.
All assessments for Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 in Michaelmas Term will count towards Academic Reports and Academic Prizes.
A Prizegiving ceremony will be held for students in Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 in early December, subject to Public Health Orders.
There were also questions relating to a concern for the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
The School continues to provide support and therapy for students who may be struggling with poor mental health. If you are concerned for your son’s mental health, please reach out to the School through your son’s Housemaster, Mr Allen or Dr De Lany, or the TESS Counselling & Psychological Support Service.
A small number of people asked about School fees.
This is a policy decision that is the preserve of the School Council. As with all decisions concerning fees, you will be notified when, and if, any decisions are taken regarding the Fee Schedule.
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill