ALL BOYS’ EDUCATION: HOW TO DECIDE
When choosing a school for your child many factors should be considered. One of these is whether to choose single sex or co-education. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both, it is important to remember that gender is just one of the considerations you will encounter.
WHY A BOYS’ SCHOOL?
Ultimately, boys and girls will flourish in both single sex and co-educational settings. Recently, the International Boys’ School Coalition (IBSC) published the Why a Boys’ School brochure to highlight the benefits of attending an all-boys school.
According to the IBSC, the six benefits of all-boys’ schools is that they:
- Understand and celebrate boys
- Seek first to build good men
- Know that boys develop and learn in different ways
- Teach in ways that boys learn best
- Help students discover and explore their full potential
- Foster brotherhood and lifelong friendships
There are a number of important factors that parents should consider when selecting a school for their child. These include:
- Pastoral care structure and network
- Philosophy and values
- Academic performance and opportunities
- Extra curricular activities
Knowing where to begin in the search for a school can be daunting. Following the process below can help you to narrow your focus and come up with a short-list.
Conducting thorough research online about the schools in your area will give you some basic information about which schools might align with your own vision and values for the education of your child. Look for:
- Educational philosophy
- Mission statement
- Transport options
- School Tours
It’s difficult to get a real feel for a school until you’ve been able to experience it for yourself. Many schools offer school tours and open days at various times throughout the year.
- Stay in touch
It is possible that a school will go through many changes during its lifetime. It’s therefore important to stay up-to-date with what is happening at the school so that you can continue to monitor whether or not a school remains the right fit for your family. One of the best ways to stay in touch is by subscribing to school newsletters or following their social media profiles.
QUESTIONS FOR FAMILIES TO CONSIDER
Our Enrolments team have helped hundreds of families make this vital and difficult decision. Read here to discover the most frequently asked questions answered by our Enrolments team.
BENEFITS OF AN ALL-BOYS EDUCATION
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture every student to help them realise their potential, passions and purpose in life.
We understand boys and believe in the many benefits of an all-boys education. Boys’ schools are inclined to implement teaching strategies and learning programmes that appeal to boys. Here are five benefits to an all-boys education:
- Recognising the needs of boys
- Allowing boys to flourish
- Tailored academic programme
- Wide range of co-curricular activities
- Bonds and friendship
However, it is important to consider that a boy’s education must be about the individual boy … choosing the school that suits a boy’s learning style, personality and needs.
A Trinity education is child-centred. Every boy is known, cared for and guided to grow in mind, body and spirit. Here are 10 ways a Trinity education can benefit students:
- Enriched academic opportunities – through extracurricular activities, vocational courses, a choice of academic pathways.
- Pastoral care – support students’ individual learning needs with specialist staff.
- A safe environment – strong sense of community found in independent schools also discourages dangerous behaviour.
- Shared philosophy and values – clear philosophy on education, discipline, social justice.
- Extracurricular activities – sports, music, arts, cadets, oratory or other clubs.
- Outstanding resources – resources to support student learning in the classroom, on the sports field, in the art studio.
- Future readiness – range of specialisations.
- Class sizes – more direct knowledge that teachers have of the students, enabling them to provide support.
- Parental involvement – we make it a priority to involve parents in the community.
- Alumni community – there is a strong sense of pride in the school alumni.
On one level it is hard to gauge the full impact of a Trinity education; after all, our goals as educators are not just focused on the 18-year old graduate but also on the man of 30, 50 and 70 years. We aim to enable every boy to discover his unique God-given talents so that he can grow into the best man he can be.
The jury is still out on whether boys learn differently to girls. We continue to learn more and more about the ways that boys’ and girls’ brains function. However, we do know that boys and girls have equal opportunities to succeed at school and Trinity has the experience and expertise to teach boys.
Trinity fully understands what is needed to enable boys to flourish, encouraging each to achieve his true potential, and inspiring a generation of future leaders. This ensures that every Trinity boy is challenged, inspired and guided to become a successful, compassionate, internationally-minded man.
The topic of masculinity and the behaviour of boys has come under fire recently. It’s not a new topic but it has gained momentum following the MeToo movement and multiple reports of schoolyard bullying and violence. Author Tim Winton recently weighed in on the subject of toxic masculinity in Australia with the release of his new book The Shepherd’s Hut, saying that boys were “learning how to be bad men” because they didn’t have good male role models in their lives.
Renowned author and psychologist, Steve Biddulph supports the need for positive mentors. Biddulph gained notoriety in 1997, with his book Raising Boys which explores the development of boys from birth to manhood and discusses the role of schools in raising boys. A follow-up edition has now been released, looking at the challenges of the 21st century. We uncover the key themes here.
To educate boys to grow into good men, it is important that we understand boys. While we are still learning about the differences in brain function among male and females, MRI research shows some key aspects of brain development that are unique to boys:
- The prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognitive processes. It is the last area of the brain to fully mature, with this process occurring later in boys.
- The neurological architecture of areas associated with language and communication (Corpus Callosum, Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area) are significantly different in boys.
- The hippocampus plays a key role in the formation and retrieval of long-term memory. The hippocampus is significantly smaller in males, as well as having a slower speed of neuron transmission.
- Boys, above all of their other senses, tend to rely more on their visual cortex for gathering information.
- Serotonin facilitates the neural pathways between the limbic system (emotion) with the frontal lobes (thinking centre). Boys' levels of serotonin are substantially lower and decline temporarily during adolescence.
- Movement can act as a neuro-stimulator and calming mechanism for boys.
UNDERSTANDING TEENAGE BOYS
According to author, Steve Biddulph, boys experience three developmental phases of boyhood that are key to understanding boys:
- 0-6 years: boys will bond with their mothers first and learn to grow in emotional stability
- 6-14: boys will bond with their fathers as they navigate masculinity and how to be male
- 14+: boys look beyond their parents as they experience a huge testosterone surge.
Being a teenage boy can be challenging. As educators, we play a pivotal role in nurturing boys to become good men as we guide and support them through their adolescence. Understanding how teenage boys make decisions can help parents to navigate their way through this sometimes testing time and help you to remain connected to your teenage son while giving him space.
Through the teenage years sleep and wellbeing are vital for mental health. It is a time when your son will test boundaries and exert his independence. It is also a time when saying ‘no’ to your teen is important to keep him safe and teach him about relationships and respect for others.
We know that adolescence is a time of experimentation, pushing boundaries and risk taking. Teenagers will choose to spend more time with their peer groups as they move into their adolescence, and while it won’t always seem like it, the opinions of parents still matter. The key for parents is to stay connected with your son, to help guide and influence him in his decisions around the use of drugs and alcohol.
It is likely that your teenager will spend a lot of his time engaged with technology. It is important that responsible use of technology is encouraged and supported as a learning tool.
Increasingly, adolescence is a time when body image issues will arise. For secondary school-aged boys, concern over body image is reported to rise quickly from the age of 14, with boys aged 16 and 17 as likely to worry about this as girls of the same age.
Adolescence is a period of significant change, regardless of gender. At Trinity, your son will experience a wealth of opportunities, allowing him to discover and develop his innate talents, skills and aspirations. Our experienced staff can help guide boys to grow into self-confident, trustworthy and resilient young men.
Teaching boys is second nature at Trinity. While researchers are still debating whether boys learn differently to girls, at Trinity we have over a century of experience teaching boys and we’re constantly evolving our teaching methods to ensure our boys receive the best education possible.
New research suggests that the environment we create for our children has the greatest impact on the way they learn and what they learn. It has also been said that learning environments can improve academic performance.
Trinity has arguably one of the best learning environments possible. Trinity sets students up for success by providing:
- Ample opportunities to explore talents
- A growth mindset to build confidence
- Opportunities to experience social responsibility
- Physical activity
- Outdoor learning experiences
We know that boys benefit from movement, they don’t like to sit still for long periods of time. With this in mind, physical activity plays a fundamental role in the School, producing balanced and well-rounded young men. Sport is actively encouraged and apart from daily sporting activities, our students play compulsory weekend sport.
Agile learning spaces can also be particularly beneficial for boys as they are designed to be fluid, adjustable and flexible - promoting movement and collaboration and also improving student engagement. Trinity’s Arthur Holt Library is a great example of an agile learning space and has gained national and international accolades for its’ innovative design.
Meeting the social and emotional needs of boys is a critical component of their education. We regard teacher-student relationships as being a key factor in ensuring your son has every opportunity to succeed and find meaning and purpose in his schooling. This is very significant for boys as they like to have a sense of belonging and attachment to their school environment. This connection can enhance their academic achievement.
According to author, Steve Biddulph, boys experience three developmental phases of boyhood that are key to understanding and raising boys:
- 0-6 years: boys will bond with their mothers first and learn to grow in emotional stability
- 6-14: boys will bond with their fathers as they navigate masculinity and how to be male
- 14+: boys look beyond their parents for mentorship as they experience a huge testosterone surge.
Biddulph gained notoriety in 1997, with his book Raising Boys which explores the development of boys from birth to manhood and discusses the role of schools in raising boys. A follow-up edition has now been released, looking at the challenges of the 21st century. We uncover the key themes here.
The social and emotional needs of boys will differ as they navigate their way through the various stages of boyhood. However, there are some fundamental life skills that will benefit boys throughout every phase of his development:
- Encourage positive friendships and offer support when friendships turn toxic
- Teach your son to practise good manners
- Nurture empathy and teach your son to say sorry
- Actively promote respect, particularly for women
Risk taking is natural for boys and forms a normal part of growing up. Without challenge, your son cannot grow and develop his God-given talents. It is important that boys develop resilience and independence so that they can cope in times of adversity. Learning to embrace challenge is also key. There will be times, however, when your son needs support to build confidence and develop resilience.
At Trinity, we encourage a growth mindset. How a child reacts to different situations can have an impact on decision-making, behaviour, happiness and wellbeing. Fostering a healthy mind is vital for emotional learning. Emotional skills can be taught and there are many ways to encourage mindfulness.
There is a school of thought that boys lack motivation. At Trinity, we challenge this notion and seek out ways to respond to how boys learn to bring out the best in every boy. Participation in sport can help boys to stay motivated at school as it encourages them to give their best and gain a sense of camaraderie and teamwork.
Raising boys to be smart and safe online is another challenge that many parents will encounter. Today’s children are exposed to a vast array of content and images as well as being able to communicate and share with people across the globe. The content they are exposed to, information they share, and people they connect with, may not always be appropriate.
To learn more about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s leading schools for boys, download our prospectus.
TIPS FOR EDUCATING BOYS
In Trinity Grammar School’s blog Education Matters, you’ll find plenty of tips for educating boys. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:
WHAT OUR TEACHERS SAY
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward.
Teacher-student relationships are a key factor in ensuring your son has every opportunity to succeed. Our teachers have a strong understanding of boys and have a reputation for their dedication and excellence in education. We have profiled some of our teachers to showcase their great work:
Chris Wyatt – Master of the Preparatory School
Mark Dunn – Master of the Junior School
On the topic of understanding boys, Deputy Head Master, Bradley Barr, writes, “After 30 years teaching boys, and as the father of daughters, the thing that is clear in a single-sex setting is the absence of stereotypical gender expectations.”
“A boys’ school also provides the opportunity to push back against the urban myths about education without external cultural and social pressures.”
“At Trinity, we know that the simplicity and clarity of our boys’ school philosophy allows us to nurture and encourage our boys to grow into good, loving, articulate and empathetic men, sons, brothers, husbands and fathers. Read more, in his blog: An enlightened view of being male.
THE RESULTS: OUR GRADUATES
Trinity Grammar School students consistently achieve outstanding academic results in both the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and Higher School Certificate (HSC). Here are just a few highlights from the overall combined IB and HSC results in 2017:
- A median ATAR of 89.70 (the NSW state median for boys is 67.65)
- 34 HSC All Round Achievers or IB Distinctions
- 12 percent of students received an ATAR equivalent to 99 or more, equal to approximately the top one percent of the state
- 49 percent of students achieved an ATAR equivalent to or above 90
- 60 percent achieved an ATAR equivalent to or above 85
Trinity delivers the widest range of IB and HSC subject choices in New South Wales. The School expects academic success and has consistently maintained its high standard. To have a true understanding of the standard of academic excellence at Trinity, it is imperative to have a clear picture of how league tables of school results are formulated. The School’s high performance may not always be reflected accurately in the league tables.
Our graduates have a reputation for success on a global scale, with students being awarded scholarships to attend universities throughout the world. Discover how the International Baccalaureate can put your son on the world stage.
Here’s where some of our graduates are today:
Alexander Palmer (’09)
“Every Trinity boy should know that it is always worth choosing subjects and following paths which extend them and help them diversify their talents and knowledge.”
University of Cambridge, UK
Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
Berklee College of Music, Spain
Masters in Music
Dominic Gilbert (’13)
“The strong sense of community the School has and the excellent academic standards can be seen through its exceptional IB programme.”
University of British Columbia, Canada
Academic and Athletic scholarship recipient
Currently studying Bachelor of Arts (Economics)
Cameron Griffith (’14)
“The School has given me the opportunity to explore all of my interests varying from a number of sports, to playing a musical instrument. However, it was the support and encouragement that was given to me by my teachers, coaches and peers that allowed me to excel.”
University of Arkansas, USA
Scholarship recipient for Track and Field
Currently studying Environmental Science
Michael Amin (’16)
“Strive for greatness in every aspect of your life, with actions not words. Be humble, knowing how lucky you are to have the opportunities you have, and be thankful to all the people who help you along the way, as well as God, because I know that as a Christian, with Him everything is possible.
University of Sydney
Bachelor of Advanced Science
Doctor of Medicine
Will Todd (’17)
Will says he owes his success to Trinity Grammar School for “its extremely strong academic environment, support from outstanding teachers and the football program that I was fortunate enough to be part of.”
Columbia University, USA
Football scholarship recipient
Will commence study in August 2018