From the Head Master
I took part in a panel discussion recently, in which I was asked the question ‘What are we aiming for at Trinity?’
On one level, it is a deceptively simple question. After all, if you don’t know what you are aiming for, how will you focus your efforts and how will you know if you have hit the target. Surely the leader of a school should know what he is trying to achieve!
Like many apparently simple things, there is a whole heap more to it. As a starting point, the question of what the School is aiming for cannot be considered independently of what the School’s parents are aiming for. After all, the parents are the primary educators of a child. The School is the chosen partner in this endeavour. This is not to suggest that the School’s agenda is dictated by our families, but there is a mutual recognition of the School’s expertise and professionalism, and of the parents’ responsibility.
It follows that the ‘simple’ question also requires reference to the boys concerned. After all, we believe that they have agency in their education. It is not done for them, or to them, but with them. As they grow from early childhood to adulthood, they take on increasing responsibility for their education. That is one reason why there is increasing choice available as the boys get older, either with reference to subject choice and co-curricular participation. By the end of the journey through school, students should themselves have some idea of the goal of their education.
Another layer to be considered is that there are multiple goals of a Trinity education. The final credential in school education, whether that is the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, is one very obvious goal. The achievement of this credential opens the doors of opportunity in the next chapter, so its importance is not to be understated.
However, it is misplaced to think that schools are all about the final academic result. The school experience of a boy at Trinity is not just a means of gaining a mark; the journey is the fabric of his life for years. The experience should be challenging and stimulating, it should broaden his horizons, and it should take place in a safe and supportive environment. Any consideration of the aims of the School has to take include the journey, as well as the destination.
Other aims of the School could be expounded at length. I could speak about the School’s commendation of the gospel and the development of a personal faith in Christ. It would be easy to talk about the pursuit of excellence in the varied aspects of School life. Perhaps the preparation of young men for success in their future endeavours should be the focus of my answer.
All these issues raced through my mind as I paused, before responding to the question. What to include, what to omit, what to mention and what to focus on …
In the end, and without a shadow of a doubt, I spoke about character. In particular, I spoke about trustworthiness, decency and respect. If a young man is trustworthy, he will be able to engage in rich and rewarding relationships. If he is decent, equipped with a moral compass that orients him to the service of others and the use of power and responsibility for good, he will make a positive difference in our world. If he is respectful, recognising the value and dignity of others, he will conduct himself in ways that make all of us proud.
As a School, while there are myriad activities and opportunities taking place, and there are many goals that we hope to achieve with our boys and in partnership with our families, ultimately, we are aiming for the formation of character. The success, or otherwise, of our endeavours is revealed only gradually.
Detur Gloria Soli Deo.
Tim Bowden | Head Master
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