Achieving academic success is only one aspect of what it means to be at Trinity. Throughout our students’ time here they will doubtless achieve success in the classroom and in examinations, but it is also important that they develop as an individual and become the very best person they can be.
As a member of the Trinity community, students have a responsibility to learn about themselves, their community, other people and the world. Of course, a lot of this will take place in your lessons; however, a lot of it should also happen outside that time.
Education should take account of the inter-relationship between academic, intellectual, social, personal and emotional qualities. What happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside, and both influence each other.
Like the Lower School Award, our Middle School Award is unique, bespoke to each student, and designed to incorporate of the opportunities we have on offer. It is an opportunity for students to drive their broader education, reflect on who they are becoming, and who they want to become. The programme belongs to our students; a place for them to reflect on their experiences in school, and what impact they are having on their development.
Our students will plan the team ahead, identify opportunities, spot gaps and then reflect on what has happened and what they have learnt, working towards a Diploma Certificate at the end of the Fifth Year.
The core of the programme describes the key personal attributes students will develop as they move through the school. Engaging fully in this programme will help them develop passionate curiosity; a love of learning beyond just learning for exams and grades. They will also develop a sense of responsibility; to themselves, their community and to others. Students develop leadership skills and build resilience; the ability to learn from mistakes, to set goals and work towards them and overcome setbacks.
A love of learning is such a huge strength. If you can develop a desire to know more about the world that stays with you beyond school, you will never be bored; never static, always growing. By joining the Trinity community, you have already expressed that this is important to you. However, whilst an inspirational teacher or coach might light a fire for you in a particular area or discipline, only you can really determine whether you are going to become a life-long learner. To do this, you need to push yourself; as TS Eliot said, only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. So you must not drift with the current, however tempting it may be to simply do what is required to achieve in lessons. Throughout the course of this programme you are expected to take on a significant academic challenge at least once each school year. This could be a project prize, an essay competition, or another opportunity. What you need to demonstrate is that this challenge has taken you beyond the curriculum, and that there has been a significant level of personal academic challenge (for example, independent learning, research, critical thinking).
We are extremely lucky to be part of the Trinity community; the opportunities you have as a member of this school are far greater than the vast majority of individuals. Those who make a difference in this world do so because they recognise their power to influence the lives of others for the better; to effect change in their communities and societies. You have a great deal to offer those in our wider community but also in the school community and this is an essential part of being at Trinity. Looking outwards can take many forms, but the common thread is that you will make a difference to the lives of others. Don’t feel that because you are young you can’t do this. You can, and you will. There are many opportunities to do this in school but you are also encouraged to find opportunities to do this outside school. If you think that there is a space for you to make a difference, make it happen. You must do something that involves looking outwards in each year of the programme; this could be a small commitment in each term, or it could mean that you make a major commitment at one particular point.
‘Joining in’ is a fundamental part of what it means to be a member of the Trinity community. Mastery of a particular skill is to be applauded; becoming an expert musician, for example. The reward for this is obvious and is celebrated. However, just as important is the discovery that comes from trying something different. Trying new things involves developing personal, physical, and social skills as you work with different groups of people to achieve something you haven’t done before. This could mean learning a new instrument; taking part in a drama production (as crew or on stage); trying a new sport you haven’t done before; taking part in a long-term competition or debating; the list is endless. You will need to demonstrate that you have tried something new in each year of the Middle School, and it is highly likely that these experiences will be some of the richest you have over this time.
Essential skills like leadership, negotiation, listening, compromise and empathy are all products of experiences where you work as part of a team. There is a leader in each of you; not necessarily the ‘hero’ leader we so often think of when we consider this term, but certainly the ability to take others with you, and direct the activity of a group. As you mature, it is important you take these opportunities to collaborate with others and develop your own teamwork skills. These include the ability to be led as well, and to support those around you. Collaboration could mean working together on a long-term project together with some other students. It could mean running a club or society, playing a significant role in a team (note that simply ‘being in’ a team isn’t necessarily an indication that you are developing this attribute; you would need your coaches, band leaders etc to advise and confirm that you are being a good team member). It could mean a long-term commitment to a school council, representing your tutor group. There are a number of opportunities for you and it is up to you to identify which ones work for you and where you can make the biggest impact. You need to demonstrate collaboration in at least two terms of each year of the programme.
Our Middle School Award runs through seven terms, from the start of the Third Year, up to the end of the Autumn term of your Fifth Year.
During our students’ journey through this programme, they will set goals at the start of each term and reflect on these throughout. These reflections should inform the choices they make about the next stage of the programme, and it is the reflections that will determine what they get out of it.
In order to achieve the certificate, students will need to complete at least ten commitments over their time in the Middle School. This must include at least four commitments in the Third and Fourth Years, and in each year they should complete a commitment from each of the components of the programme. Students will also complete an additional one or two of your choice in the Autumn term of your Fifth Year.
What defines a ‘commitment’ will vary. Guidance is given, but the significance of each commitment varies between individuals, so this should always be agreed with a students’ tutor. Students who achieve 80% in terms of their commitment to the programme (which would mean 24 complete out of a possible 9) will be awarded a distinction.