Published On: Mon, Feb 25th, 2019

“No Girls!”: Students Of Trinity College Protest School Management’s Decision To Allow Girls In London A/Level Classes

A group of students at Trinity College, Kandy, had staged a protest against the school management’s decision to allow a small number of girls to study in London A/Level classes. 

Issuing a statement, Andrew Fowler-Watt, Principal of the school, said the conduct of the students actually did far greater damage to the respected brand of the School and to themselves.

He also added, “This behaviour by Local A Level students was a serious act of ill-discipline which brought shame and embarrassment to the school. Whether or not one agrees with a decision, this is not the way to express it. We are doing our best to identify and deal with the ringleaders.

The boys’ actions were totally unacceptable and completely contrary to the core values of Trinity. Many parents, Old Boys and staff have rightly expressed dismay and embarrassment that senior Trinity boys behaved like thugs. Yet sadly, that is what happened.

Furthermore, by protesting about girls being allowed at Trinity, the boys also showed a total lack of awareness of the history of Trinity. Let me explain why. I actually did so yesterday (once the protest had been stopped) to various small groups of boys who came to talk with me as well as when I addressed the whole of Grade 14 in the Main Hall later in the morning.

As the vast majority of Old Boys know very well, there have been many girls at Trinity over the years, both in the Junior School and doing their A Levels. Yet nobody ever accused Principals like Cedric Oorloff or Lionel Fernando of destroying Trinity by allowing a few girls to study at the school. Nor did anyone suggest then that Trinity was becoming a mixed school because there were a handful of girls.

Nothing has changed now. There are currently just 5 girls who have been admitted to the school. One (a teacher’s daughter) into the Junior School, and four into the London A Level Section, two of whom are daughters of Old Boys by the way. That amounts to just 0.1% of the total number of students. In other words, literally 99.9% of Trinitians are still boys. Surely, nobody in their right mind could possibly say that this makes Trinity a coeducational school. And I can assure you that there are NO plans to change that and there never have been.

There were a few specific misconceptions expressed by boys yesterday regarding girls at Trinity. Let me address these here as well:

1. “The only girls at Trinity were children of staff”. This is not true – as already explained. Girls in AL classes at TCK first started in the early 1950s.

2. “Girls at Trinity did not wear uniforms”. Again this is untrue. Whilst those in the Junior School did not do so, those in Upper School apparently always did. Many of them also wore the crest (it was then a metal crest: there were no fabric crests then). It was not compulsory even for boys to wear the crest at that time

3. “Starting London AL is a concept of the current Board and Principal”. Once again, this is inaccurate. The initial decision to start a London AL Stream at Trinity was taken around 10 years ago (Edexcel status was granted), but it was not implemented for various reasons.

4. “Old Boys’ children are being left out whilst girls are being taken”. Girls are certainly not being given places at the expense of Old Boys’ sons. There are at least 5 times the number of applications as there are vacancies in Grades 1, 4 and 6. Incidentally, all sons of Old Boys who applied for Grades other than G1 were accepted this year. In higher classes, students are taken when vacancies occur. At present, to make the London AL viable, there are some vacancies that need to be filled. And as I said earlier, 2 of the 4 girls are daughters of Old Boys.

Finally, I urge the whole Trinity community to move on from this very sad situation as soon as possible. All of us must do our utmost to restore the battered reputation of this once great Institution.”