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 have been reflecting this term, as we seek to ensure that the disruptions of 2020 and 2021 do not alter the fundamental character of the School. It is edifying that we are almost back in full swing*.

The first criteria was good relationships. 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. Trinity unapologetically demands high standards of behaviour, uniform and effort, both in the classroom and in the co-curricular programme, and it has been edifying to see that this seems to have weathered last year’s extended period of online learning and disruption to many of the activities (Music, Cadets, Sport and so on) that make Trinity, Trinity. 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. Enough said! Nonetheless, I have been encouraged over the last two years to witness, firsthand, my colleagues’ and your sons’ pragmatism, optimism, stoicism, and resilience on full display. It is also important to note, for the record, that the School does not take the support of parents for granted.

Lastly, the article suggested that great schools gave clear instructions and set achievable outcomes. 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.

* As a side note, and another sign that things are returning to normal, I was delighted to hear earlier this week that the 1st XV fixture against St Patrick’s College next week has been rescheduled as a Home fixture to be played on our No. 1 Oval, and that this gives us an opportunity for Year 7 students to attend and support our team.

Bradley Barr | Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill

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