Education Matters

Head Master: Leadership opportunities at Trinity

Posted by Tim Bowden on Jul 5, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Head Master: Leadership opportunities at TrinityBy Mr Tim Bowden, Head Master, Trinity Grammar School

As a Christian school, Trinity understands that the essence of leadership is service. Therefore, in aspiring to lead, we are aspiring to serve. Service is not always convenient, it is not always acknowledged, and it is not always enjoyable. Leadership requires us to do what is right, not what is popular, and to stand up when it would be more comfortable to stand back. Leadership roles require us to sacrifice time and to shoulder additional work. Nonetheless, service is honourable, and I am pleased that many of our young men indicate their willingness to serve in this way.

We do not look for young men who are perfect, because we know that there is no such student! However, we do look for exemplary Trinity students. They are self-disciplined and responsible young men who are held in high regard by their peers and by staff. They are characterised by virtues consistent with the Christian faith, and fully supportive of the Christian ethos and foundation of the School. In addition to a good record in the School with reference to behaviour, dress, and application to learning, the School Officers are demonstrably committed to the School.

A number of staff recently reviewed leadership opportunities at Trinity – the nature of these leadership roles, and the processes by which they are appointed. There were some changes to the formal leadership structures of the School this year. We appoint men to fill the positions of: the School Captain; three School Vice-Captains; 16 House Captains; and 12 Prefects. This group of 32 leaders is collectively known as the School Officers.

The School Officers have both general and specific duties. The general duties, which are common to all positions, involve serving the School in a range of ways. Some of these include attendance at events, supervising students, assisting staff with tasks, establishing and maintaining high standards of tone and morale in the School, and developing a positive School spirit.

Each of the School Officers also has a specific portfolio, or area of responsibility, in which they have the opportunity to take initiative in leadership. The School Captain and Vice-Captains constitute the Student Executive, which entails certain ceremonial and representative functions, along with leading the School Officers and the wider student body, as well as working closely with the Head Master. Each of the House Captains is responsible for the leadership of his House. The 12 Prefects also each have an area of responsibility; the identification of these portfolios is a flexible process, depending on the School’s need, the particular School Officer’s interests, and the overall agenda of the School Officer team.

The School Officers are announced to the student body at the Quad Assembly on the last day of Term 2. This announcement includes the specific roles of the School Captain, Vice-Captains, House Captains and Prefects. This timing allows these leaders of the leaders to play a more active role in the School Officers’ training and planning conference early in Term 3.

As is always the case, our young men take a risk when they nominate for a role, much as they will when they apply for a job or ask a girl on a date. They run the risk of failure, in that their desired outcome might not eventuate. Learning to take the risks, and to deal with the outcomes (whether positive or negative), is another one of the valuable life lessons we learn in miniature at school.


Trinity Grammar School students are given many opportunities to experience leadership, whether it be through sport, creative arts, in the classroom, through Cadets or through School Officer roles. The foundation of the School’s leadership programme is based on the Biblical principle of servant leadership as demonstrated by Jesus throughout the Gospels. The School Captain, Prefects and Officers spend a weekend learning about the application of servant leadership and its responsibilities. 

One of the most significant opportunities to learn leadership skills is through its Certificate II in Leadership through Cadets qualification – the only one of its kind in Australia.

Leadership through Cadets is designed to enable boys to acquire a range of technical, practical, personal and organisational skills associated with leadership. Trinity's Director of Vocational Education and RTO Manager (Careers Education), Dr Frederick Osman said, "The skills associated with leadership are highly valued in the workplace and in society in general. Potentially the course will afford them an advantage in the competitive quest for scholarships and jobs, but more importantly will equip them with vital life skills."

To find out more about the Trinity difference and how we can inspire your son to become a leader, register for our Open Day.

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Topics: Trinity difference, Risk-taking, Leadership