By Tim Bowden, Head Master, Trinity Grammar School
We recently announced a significant change to the Cadet Unit at Trinity; that is, from the start of 2019 Meriden students will join the Trinity Cadet Unit.
The formal structure will entail Meriden School forming a sub-unit of the Australian Army Cadets, which will join the Trinity Grammar School Cadet Unit. The Cadet Unit will continue to be run by Trinity; Meriden will provide an appropriate number of additional staff to support their students in the programme. Students in Years 8 and 9 in 2019 at Meriden have been invited to participate, although there may be some additional students from the older years.
The goal is that the Meriden cadets will have the same experiences, challenges and opportunities that the Trinity cadets encounter, including participation in Promotions courses and progression through the ranks.
The Trinity Grammar School Australian Army Cadet Unit provides compulsory co-curricular Army Cadet training for all students in Year 8, continuing into higher year grades for those students wishing to continue. This year marks the 81st year of the programme at the School.
Cadets equips students with life skills related to leadership, discipline, autonomy and dealing with challenges and pressure – skills that are highly valued in the workplace and in society in general. Trinity has found that those students who continue beyond the compulsory two-year cadet window are amongst the best leaders that the School produces.
The life skills gained through Army Cadets are transferable and can be applied immediately in school and later in adult life. Amongst the training that Cadets receive are lessons in first aid, living in the field, navigation and field craft, drill and leadership.
Once an avenue of formal military training, the Australian Army Cadets is now a youth development organisation, which has transformed to reflect changing times and attitudes.
The decision to extend this invitation to Meriden arose from a review of the Cadet Unit that was carried out by staff of the School and officers from the Australian Army Cadets earlier this year. That review strongly affirmed the place of the Cadet Unit in the life of the School, and it made a number of recommendations as to ways that the programme can move forward.
There are good reasons why the School has taken this initiative. The first is that the Australian Army Cadets (AAC) have strongly encouraged school-based Cadet units to consider partnerships of this sort. Wenona has joined the Shore Cadet Unit on a similar basis, and the Senior Under Officer for the Shore unit this year is a Wenona student. Knox and Ravenswood have had a combined Cadet Unit for a number of years now. These initiatives take place against the backdrop of a wider push for diversity in the Australian Defence Force, which is a recognition that in a global context, diversity is a strength.
A second reason is that it is in the interests of our boys to have regular structured engagement with female peers. This will help them to normalise the experience of working alongside girls, cooperating and collaborating towards shared goals. They will learn to lead and take responsibility for girls, and they will learn to follow and respond to the leadership of girls. While most of our boys have opportunities to interact with female peers in many ways, including extended families, social contexts and youth groups, the regular and structured experience of working together can only be of benefit. If nothing else, I think that interacting as peers in the context of cadets will be very helpful in challenging gendered stereotypes.
Obviously, in moving into this new chapter in the life of the Trinity Cadet Unit, there will be challenges to face and problems to solve. However, I am hopeful that our experience in the years ahead will prove this initiative to have been worthwhile.
Detur Gloria Soli Deo
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
At Trinity, we believe that co-curricular activities are vital in supporting your son’s academic education and allowing him to pursue his passions, realise his potential and discover his life’s purpose. If you would like to learn more about the Trinity difference and our full range of co-curricular activities, download our Co-Curricular ebook.