From the Head of the Junior School

From the Head of the Junior School

Dear Parents and Friends of the Junior School,

I commend the boys and staff on the manner in which they have handled a very wet and disrupted week at school. There have been a number of changes to routine and many breaks and outdoor lessons that have coincided with downpours. Yet, all have been flexible and accommodating, handling the changes with a minimum of fuss. The forecast indicates further disruption to sport this afternoon, tomorrow morning and potentially for activities next week. The School App is the best way to receive alerts about changes to activities brought on by adverse weather.

There have also been many student and staff absences that have impacted the week. Many families are in the midst of isolation periods. As a result, some grades combined classes on some days. I thank parents for your vigilance in monitoring for symptoms, testing and keeping boys at home when he or a family member is either unwell or receives a positive result. Your cooperation assists greatly in protecting others in our community. We have been relieved that the experience of our students with COVID-19 has almost exclusively been limited to mild symptoms that pass well before the completion of the mandatory isolation period. We look forward to many students and a number of staff re-joining us through next week.

Congratulations to the boys who represented Trinity at IPSHA Swimming and Diving Championships on Tuesday. The carnival at SOPAC was a wonderful gathering of children from many schools with a very high standard of performance. Our boys were excellent ambassadors and performed well, with many peaking to post personal bests. Particular congratulations go to Nathan Jones, Alexander Chung and the U10 Freestyle Relay Team of Daniel Zhang, Nicholas Ma, Leo Chen and Andrew Zeng who have now been selected to represent IPSHA at the CIS Carnival later this term.

There are a number of opportunities for parents to connect with the School and your son’s learning in coming weeks:

  • Next Monday evening, Year 6 parents will have the opportunity to attend an on-line presentation with Professor Andrew Martin, the creator of the Motivation and Engagement Scale, commencing at 6.30pm. The boys completed an individual on-line survey towards the end of Year 5 to identify strengths and areas for development relating to motivation and engagement at school. Year 6 parents are strongly encouraged to tune-in to learn about the impact of motivation and engagement on learning and wellbeing, and how to interpret your son’s survey results. The link to the session was emailed earlier this week. A handout to support the presentation has been sent home (check your son’s bag) or will be if he is returning on Monday. Your son’s Motivation and Engagement profile will be distributed on Tuesday.
  • Next week, parents in 3N will have an opportunity to meet with their son and Mr Niulala (before he commences Long Service Leave) to discuss the start of the year and learning goals. Bookings for these conferences close today. All other classes will participate in conferences in Week 9 of this term.
  • On Monday 14 March at 6pm, we will be offering parents the opportunity to tour the Junior School and see the facilities and learning spaces that your son is using every day, including his home classroom. This is especially for those parents new to the school in 2022 who have not been able to come onto campus due to restrictions affecting orientation and start-of-year events. Details to register will be emailed next week.
  • On Tuesday 15 March from 8.45am-9.30am, we will be running our first ‘Cuppa’n’chat’ with the Junior School Executive (Mr Hassall, Mrs Ormes, Mrs Richards and myself). The termly Cuppa’n’chat has no agenda and is an opportunity for parents to ask questions, offer feedback, or simply to have a cuppa and get to know us and each other better. Details to register will be emailed next week. On this occasion, immediately following the gathering, we will also offer another opportunity to tour the Junior School for new parents preferring daytime or unable to tour on the previous evening.
  • The next meeting of the Junior School Auxiliary will be on Thursday 17 March at Café Envy commencing at 9am. Feel free to attend, or contact your Year/Class Parent if there are any questions or issues you would like covered in your absence.

Parents familiar with events at Trinity are aware that we often have a professional or in-house photographer capture many shots at some of our special events. These photographs are generally made available to parents afterwards via this link. For example, there are many, many shots (actually, 747!) of last year’s Prize Giving Ceremony, including of individual prize winners receiving their award from Mr Bowden. It is worth bookmarking the link for any events that you may be unable to attend or simply wish to re-visit.

Despite numerous pleas, it is apparent that many boys participating in after-school activities are not registered with OSH Club, which is an expectation for participation. It has become clear that many families have applied on the OSHClub website but not seen or accepted the subsequent email from OSHClub triggered by the application, which requires a response in order to finalise registration. We will be writing to families in this situation as a prompt to try again and OSHClub staff are happy to support you through the process. If you receive this notification next week, we would appreciate you attending to it as soon as possible to ensure that we can exercise our duty of care to students who stay back for activities in the afternoon.

I am pleased to see that there has not been too many items of lost property in the box located at the courtyard entrance to the Junior School. The task of returning lost items is made almost impossible when an item is unnamed. Parents are reminded of the importance of clearly labelling all their son’s clothing, lunch boxes and other items. If it isn’t named, it shouldn’t come to school! Whilst we encourage the boys to develop responsibility in this area, it is inevitable that enthusiastic boys who are regularly required to move around school will leave items behind. Lost items are almost always returned to their owner if they are clearly labelled. But, it is very difficult to make a legitimate claim for a piece of found or disputed property if it does not have your name on it.

For a number of years, the School has made available the opportunity to Years 3-6 students to choose to compete in International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) in English, Writing or Mathematics. These independent skills-based assessments are rigorous competitions with many questions set beyond grade level, and as such do not suit all boys. Whilst we will again offer this competition, I ask parents to think very carefully before opting-in. In addition to the reasons above, it is worth considering whether the time out of the classroom justifies any benefits. Those benefits are less apparent in an age when students already get considerable exposure to formal testing and when teachers have access to a wealth of growth data which we find more valuable than that provided by ICAS. However, should you decide that your son should participate in some or all of these competitions, I alert you to the announcement from Mrs Ormes that will appear in next week’s newsletter about enrolling your son.

For the first time in a year, we will have non-Trinity families touring the Junior School next Wednesday morning for Open Day. I am proud and excited to have the chance to show visitors the incredible learning community in the Junior School. If you know of any families considering Trinity as the school for their sons, please have them register for next Wednesday or future Open Days.

Mark Dunn | Head of the Junior School

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

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