The Trinity Field Studies Centre

Year 9 Field Studies Programme

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The Trinity Field Studies Centre

Year 9 Field Studies Programme

Overview of the Trinity Field Studies Programme

The Year 9 Field Studies Programme (FSP) is a mandatory residential programme based at our purpose-built Field Studies Centre at Woollamia on the South Coast.

Purpose and benefits of the FSP

Trinity provides an education that challenges our students. As they meet these challenges, they are being prepared for the road ahead. The immersive education provided by the FSP equips them by providing opportunities for self-discovery, building relationships, exploring new ways of being in community together, and providing time for self-reflection and spiritual growth in a unique environment.

The value of Trinity education is seen in the character of Trinity men long after graduation; the FSP plays an important role in developing their moral compass, being of service to others, and helping them take responsibility for things within their power.

The School has been committed to residential outdoor education since opening its first residential programme at the original Pine Bluff campus in 1993.  A growing body of research indicates the vital importance of this sort of immersive education. It is proving to be an effective antidote to apathy and alienation, increasing student engagement, boosting academic outcomes, as well as impacting the communities in which the immersive education takes places.

The School encourages parents to view the FSP as a vital rung on the curriculum ladder that creates the set of dispositions for all future academic success.

On this page there is a small image gallery that provides a peak into what each student experiences, answers to frequently asked questions from parents, plus feedback from boys who have experienced the Trinity Field Studies Programme. We also recommend you read the FSC section in the weekly School Bulletin as this contains news from current residential programmes.

Student voice

“I loved the camp, it was the best experience”

“Now I feel like I can do anything that I put my mind to since I came back”

“I didn’t know most of the people, actually only a few, but I became friends with many, now I notice people I never did before”

“At home they say I’ve gotten less reliant on my parents and I can do more things myself, the point was to teach us to be young men and it really helped with that”

“ I really enjoyed the whole experience, I spoke to the older boys before I went who told me it was a fun camp and it was as good as I expected.”

Benefits of the FSP

During the extended FSP, a Trinity boy develops:

  • Optimism – confidence he can achieve success in the learning ahead of him because he has overcome challenges in the past and so he knows he can do so again
  • Belonging – he connects to and values the place in which he learns
  • Self-management – a set of behaviours that allow him to deal with obstacles such as periods of demotivation, competing priorities, frustration – or just the reality that he probably has to master knowledge and skills that are not numbered in his favourite things to know and do
  • Resilience and adaptability – to use mistakes as motivation to discover new strategies and embrace escalating challenge

We cannot over stress the importance immersive, residential learning plays in the development of these attitudes and behaviours. It is the somewhat paradoxical notion that while each boy has to do the learning himself – it is in fact relational. We accelerate and deepen learning when we learn with others, when we pose questions with others and when we are willing to generate and test our own ideas with the help of others. That is what will take place during a Trinity student’s FSP.

Allocation and timing

When does the Field Studies Programme run?

There is one FSP per term throughout Year 9.

How are students allocated to each term’s FSP?

The School allocates students to each term’s FSP, taking into account a range of learning, emotional and social considerations. We are aware there will be activities that clash – such as participating at an elite co-curricular level – and endeavour to take these into account when planning allocations.

Can parents pick who they want their son to attend with?

The boys do not choose a preferential buddy, or pick with whom they share a cabin. One of the aims of the residential is fostering independence and developing the skills in students to make meaningful connections with those outside of their usual social group.

When are parents advised to which residential / term their son is allocated? 

Families are advised of allocations towards the middle of Term 3.

Attendance and costs

Does every Year 9 student have to attend?

Yes. The FSP is a mandatory part of the curriculum at the School.

Are there additional fees to attend the FSP?

No, the cost of the FSP is included in school fees… with the added cost-saving of having one less ravenous teenage mouth to feed during your son’s time away! The time at the FSP includes full board, all meals and all activities.

Academics and co-curricular

How do students continue their academic programme during the FSP?

The academic elements of the extended FSP are accommodated within the new Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) curriculum structure. This structure allows students to maintain progress in key learning areas as well as afford opportunities to engage in experiential learning designed for the Field Studies location. The boys learn about dispositions for academic success during the residential and enjoy greater elective choice throughout the two years of Stage 5.

What about accelerated learning, NAPLAN, assessments and academic support usually accessed at the Summer Hill campus?

The way the School has structured the two years of  9 and 10  means the learning that takes place during the FSP at Woollamia is equally as important as the learning that takes place at Summer Hill.

Academic teaching is not compromised. The academic elements of the FSP are accommodated within the Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) curriculum structure. This structure allows students to maintain progress in key learning areas as well as affording opportunities to engage in experiential learning designed for the Field Studies location.

During the extended FSP:

  • NAPLAN is sat
  • Accelerated academic streams are maintained
  • Maths streaming, with appropriate tutors, continues
  • Classes are streamed as they currently are at Summer Hill
  • Learning support is provided
  • Specialist language teaching is provided
  • Academic teaching ratios are maintained

Will my son be able to keep up with his music practice?

Yes, there is opportunity to continue instrumental practice, Specialist music teachers deliver lessons remotely to students at the FSC.

How will Maths and/or English honours students be taught at the FSC. Will they continue with their usual (accelerated) curriculum or will only a single mainstream one be delivered at the FSC?

Curriculum will continue to be delivered in-line with the continuing academic programme at Summer Hill. Accelerated academic streams are maintained.

A helpful way to think about the extended FSP and the curriculum is not that students are missing out on important learning taking place at Summer Hill whilst spending a term at Woollamia; rather the way the School has structured the two years of  9 and 10  means the learning that takes place during the extended FSP is equally as important as the learning that takes place at Summer Hill.

Will there be the opportunity to continue swim training during my son’s time at the Field Studies Centre and if so where and how often will he and the others be able to train? What other daily cross-training will be available?

Yes, there will be opportunity to continue swim training, the FSC has established links with local swim clubs and is arranging dedicated lane access for Trinity students. There is also appropriate on-site training developed in conjunction with our PT and conditioning staff.

Will the students at the field centre be expected to complete quizzes, exams and hand-in assessments that the boys do at Summer Hill that term? I understand the value of assessments but it would be quite nice for the boys at the field study centre to focus on enjoying outdoor education without having to spend hours at their computer doing assessments and revising for tests!

As the FSP is a continuation of the curriculum at Summer Hill, yes, the boys are still expected to complete assignments. However, as the academic elements of the extended FSP are accommodated within the Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) curriculum structure the School has built in specific, experiential curriculum tasks that are designed for the Field Studies location. Your son may not even be aware he’s completing a geography assessment as we ask him to bushwalk and navigate using a compass!

 

Visiting

Can parents visit?

There are opportunities for parent contact. The boys use a combination of letter writing and parent check-in, either through videoconference (the COVID-restricted version) or an in-person visit, if COVID restrictions allow.

How will communication and visiting be structured?

Part of the benefit of the FSP is allowing boys to disconnect from our hyper-connected world. Letters are written, stamped and mailed – something for the parent memento box in years to come that will invoke more memories than an SMS or printed email on their 21st birthday! However, in response to this day and age, a certain amount of video conferencing and in-person visits supplement what appears in a parent’s physical mailbox.

What about family emergencies? 

Emergency visits/ leave are absolutely available for family emergencies.

 

Logistics

What are the sleeping / living arrangements?

Students are responsible for their own four or eight bed dorms and bathrooms; they assist within the kitchen; handle general chores around campus and do their own laundry.

What about food?

Menus and daily meals are prepared by the School’s caterers and individual special diets are catered for.

How is medical support provided and safety addressed?

FSC staff are trained in remote first aid, there is a clinic morning and night, and the hospital is 25 minutes away. Staff are trained and experienced in outdoor education with expedition areas and programme activities all risk assessed. Weather-checks are maintained and the FSC is equipped with satellite phone communications. External emergency services are available. For the School, safety overrides challenge; decisions are made to re-schedule planned activities appropriate to conditions.