Start of Term Newsletter Term 1 2023

TERM 1, 2023

From the Principal

As the start of term nears, I would like to start by welcoming back all our returning students and staff and extending a very warm welcome to all our new TAS families. Starting at a new school can be a daunting process, but I know that all our new students and indeed staff, will be welcomed with enthusiasm and empathy by our current school community.

While term starts for all students on Tuesday 31 January, new student orientation will take place on Monday 30 January and our boarding students will also return on that date. This year I and some of my senior staff will also present to parents prior to term starting in two sessions on the Monday afternoon. These sessions will take place at 3.45pm (in Hoskins) and 5.30pm (in The Hub) and will include additional information from the MMG surveys last year, and a look forward to the year. All parents who are able to attend are welcome at either session. A P&F Welcome Drinks Function will be held at 6.30pm at the Royal Hotel.

Over the holidays the renovations of our science building were finalised and I am thrilled to let you know that this wonderful facility will be in use from the start of the term. The laboratories have been transformed into light, open and multi-purpose spaces to be enjoyed by all of our students. The building also now houses a lift, making Science and the adjoining Fisher building accessible.

As we begin the new school year, we are delighted to welcome several returning and new staff to TAS:

  • Mr Scott Chittenden commences as Head of Junior School at the start of the year.
  • Mr Josh Moloney will join us as Head of PDHPE.
  • Mr David Moffitt joins us as Head of Science.
  • Mrs Raija Chapman will join our languages department as a teacher of French.
  • Ms Yolanda Kreuzen and Mrs Jess Collett are currently taking parental leave and in their stead, Mr Mark Harrison will return to a role as Teacher of English, joined by Miss Amelia Bowman who is new to TAS.
  • Mrs Sue Abbott will join the School in the middle of term 1 after relocating from South Africa with her family, as a teacher of English.
  • Mr Adam Preocanin who joined TAS last year will teach PDHPE while Mrs Catey Curtin takes parental leave.
  • Mrs Susan Polson will move from her role in the Year 12 Study Centre to join our Junior School team as a part time teacher.
  • Ms Sandika Weerakoon will start as a part-time assistant with our Pre-Kindergarten class.
  • Mr Tim Scott returns to the School for Term 1 as a teacher of Technology and Applied Science.
  • While the search for a new Chaplain for the School continues, Assistant Chaplain Mrs Joanne Benham will lead our Chaplaincy team.
  • We also welcome Mr Christopher Page as IT Manager, Mrs Jo Crowley to our enrolments team and Mrs Jen Elliott to our accounts department.

I very much look forward to welcoming students and staff back onto the TAS campus next week, and to catching up with parents around the grounds throughout the term.


Dr Rachel Horton

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From the Deputy Principal

Dear Families,

It is with great excitement that I welcome you all to the 2023 School year. I warmly welcome our new students and families joining TAS this year and look forward to seeing all students on campus on Tuesday 31 January. For all new and returning students, the start of a school year presents an excellent opportunity to be optimistic, set clear goals and aim to achieve one’s best in all pursuits. 

The Armidale School is a special place, from the many remarkable achievements of alumni, the magnificent grounds and facilities and the unparalleled opportunities; there is a positive expectation on us all to make the most of the time we have here. I also appreciate the important role we all play as stewards of the School in maintaining the high standards and honouring those before us. To this end, please find below a few important reminders to assist with a seamless start to the school year. The following will assist all students in commencing the year with a focus on their passions and engagement in meaningful conversations with staff.




Boys’ hair is to be neat and tidy, of an acceptable length (Number 3 blade +) and there must be no artificial colouring. Extremes in length (i.e. long fringes, mullets, shaved sections above ears etc.) along with facial hair is not permitted.

Girls’ hair is to be a natural colour and be both clean and well-kept. It must be worn off the face and neatly tied back if shoulder length or longer. Ribbons should be navy or white from the Uniform Shop. Extremes in length (i.e. shaved sections) are not permitted.  Make-up is not to be worn at school.


Over the break growth spurts may have occurred! Students, please check that your uniform is an acceptable length, your shoes are polished and your uniform is in a condition that reflects the pride you have in the School. 

Please note that in 2023, the ‘Blue’ TAS Sports shirt is required with the previous white PDHPE top no longer part of the uniform.

Summer uniform

Boys are to wear khaki shorts and shirt (top button done up), school tie, socks (if wearing the long socks, they are to be pulled up to knee), black shoes and, on Tuesdays or special occasions, the navy blazer (years 6-10) or striped senior blazer (years 11 and 12).  A school jumper may be worn with this uniform.    

Girls are to wear a School dress, short white socks, black shoes, and on Tuesdays or special occasions, navy blazer (years 6-10) or striped blazer (years 11 and 12).  The navy girls’ jumper may be worn with this dress depending on the weather.  The dress is to be just above or at knee length when standing.

The Winter Sports Jacket is not part of the TAS Summer Uniform.

For more detailed information on standards and expectations, please refer to the Rules and Regulations Document found on the Parent and Student portal.

Year Level Coordinators

Led by the Head of Middle School Mr Luke Polson and Director of Pastoral Care Mr AJ Whalley in the Senior School, our Year Level Coordinators oversee the journey of our students and are key contacts and source of support for students and parents. 

With Advisors still meeting with students daily, they remain the first contact for parents for general queries and progress information. 

  • Year 12 – Mrs Genevieve Chick
  • Year 11 – Mrs Elaine McKellar
  • Year 10 –  Mr Todd Currell
  • Year 9   – Mr Jordan Lane
  • Year 8   – Ms Ingrid Steddy
  • Year 7   – Mrs Fiona Taber
  • Year 6 – Mr Luke Polson (Head of Middle School)


Senior and Middle School assembly occurs each Tuesday during Period 1. All students are to wear their School blazer for assembly.


Tuesday 31 January

We will commence the 2023 School Year with an Assembly for all Middle and Senior School students. As photos are also being taken during the day we do require all Middle and Senior School students to be in their Formal Uniform.

Please click on the following to access the Back to School Information Guides for Junior School and Middle/Senior School.


Mr Ray Pearson
Deputy Principal

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From the Director of Teaching and Learning

In the words of leadership expert, Simon Sinek, ‘The challenge of the unknown future is so much more exciting than the stories of the accomplished past’, and it is with this in mind that we forge into a new academic year at The Armidale School.

The year ahead is bound to be full of great challenges. From our youngest Pre-Kindergarten students wearing a uniform and following a structured school program for the first time, to our new Year 9s who will head into the Senior School for all their classes including their elective subjects, right through to our Year 12s who have already completed their first HSC tasks and are embarking on the next phase of their final year of school – each of us will face new experiences and challenges. Amidst all of this is a tangible sense of excitement: the excitement of what we know will come, the excitement of the unknown, and most importantly, the excitement of possibility.

When faced with a brand-new year, I like to take the advice given to me many years ago by a wise friend: you should start off as you mean to go on. This is excellent advice and something I encourage our students to take on board when organising their bookwork and notes; contributing to learning discussions; asking questions when they are not sure or want to know more; and in the true spirit of staring well: establishing good habits, early.



Some of these good habits and practices should include:

  • Deciding on your mindset for 2023 – What is your approach going to be to learning? How will you overcome any obstacles that emerge?

My 2023 mindset is all about being curious and probing into new ways of doing things and always being open to learning. When I don’t know how to do something, I am not going to spend time worrying about this. Instead, I am going to use curiosity to discover what it is that eludes me and to probe into spaces of new knowledge.

  • Reading every day – even just for 10 minutes. Reading is a research-proven method of improving well-being, vocabulary, critical thinking, and expanding general knowledge. It is a wonderful form of stress relief and literally makes you smarter!
  • Setting up for effective study routines – ensure you have all your equipment (books, pens, calculator, texts) as well as ensuring you know ahead of time what you need to be working on during your homework/prep time. Where will you work? What needs to be done? (For our younger students, reading is the perfect ‘study’ as it allows you to develop so many different skills, including the art of imaginative escapism.)
  • Using Google Calendar or another online organisation tool – use this to keep track of deadlines, training sessions, homework/prep, class tasks, exercise, social activities etc. For younger students, families could do this together on a wall calendar or online, if suitable.

I look forward to seeing you soon and working with your wonderful children.


Mrs Gill Downes
Director of Teaching and Learning


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From the Director of Boarding

Dear Parents and Carers of TAS Boarders,

I hope this finds you all well and that you enjoyed a festive Christmas and New Year period with family and friends. As the holiday period draws to a close, I write with some pertinent boarding information regarding the start of Term 1, 2023.

For those of you new to TAS, I have been the Director of Boarding for the past four years. Prior to this, I was the Head of Croft House, one of the three senior boys boarding houses, for six years. I live on-site adjacent to White House with my wife Alexandra and four children George, Neave, Wilbur and Joseph who all attend TAS.

Monday 30 January 2023

All boarding Staff are attending the Boarding Staff Induction from 8.00am – 11.00am on Monday 30 January and are unavailable during this time.

New Boarders

Lunch will be available for new boarders and their parents from 12.00pm -12.40pm on the Junior School/Abbott House Lawn area. Following lunch, new boarders have sessions from 12.45pm – 3.00pm which include meeting their Advisors, an Information Session with Q&A’s and a Laptop Distribution and Technology Information Session. New Boarders can check into their respective boarding houses and meet their Heads of House and Housemothers from 3.00pm.

Returning Boarders

Boarding Houses will be open from 1.00pm with all Heads of House present from this time. Should you wish your son or daughter to return earlier than 1.00pm, please contact your respective Head of House directly to make the appropriate arrangements.

Boarders Returning by Private Vehicle

Those Year 12 boarders who have approved driving permission forms may return in their private vehicle and park in either the Abbott or Croft Carparks or adjacent to the Tennis Courts. Car keys must be handed to their respective Head of House upon entering their boarding house.

Boarding Staff Announcements

I am excited to announce that Ms Kate Stewart has been appointed the Girls Boarding House Housemother and Ms Monique Dowling the Dangar and Moyes Houses Housemother. Both will commence their roles from the commencement of Term 1 2023.

Dangar/Moyes Precinct

As communicated to the parents and carers of the Year 8 Girl Boarders in August last year, from the commencement of Term 1 2023 all Year 9 Girl Boarders will reside in Moyes House which is part of the Dangar/Moyes Boarding Precinct. Only girls in Years 10 – 12 will occupy the Girls Boarding House during 2023 due to the size and demand for boarding places. The Dangar/Moyes Boarding Precinct will include girl boarders in years 7 and 8 in Dangar House and Year 9 boarders in Moyes. Ms Julie Crozier will be overseeing the Dangar/Moyes Boarding Precinct in 2023 and is excited to continue her relationship with the Year 9 boarders.


Please ensure your son/daughter returns to TAS with their summer school uniform in appropriate condition. Appointments at the Uniform Shop can be made on-line for any last-minute purchases. Please also ensure school shoes are polished and haircuts are respectable.

All girls should be aware of the school’s jewellery policy, particularly the wearing of earrings and necklaces. Should there be any confusion regarding jewellery suitability, please refer to the Boarding Handbook which can be found on the school website, or discuss it with your Head of House.


We are working hard as a school body to ensure all students abide by the school’s technology policy. It came to our attention, on several occasions last year, that some boarders had brought with them additional mobile phones and other technological devices making this policing extremely difficult to enforce. Please have conversations with your child/children prior to returning to school regarding the appropriate use of technology while at school. Heads of House should be made aware of all technological devices boarders bring with them at the start of the school year, including Apple Phones, Androids, I-Pads etc, or any additional devices they acquire during the term. All devices must be handed in at set times in the evening. The only exception to this rule is for Years 12’s and those granted explicit permission from their Head of House or myself.

Coast Weekend

The 2023 Coast Weekend will be held the first weekend of Term 1 from the afternoon of Friday 03 February through to the afternoon of Sunday 05 February. The Coast Weekend continues to be a great opportunity for the boarders, especially those new to TAS, and staff to spend time together in a relaxed and fun setting. Additional information regarding the Coast Weekend will be communicated by respective Heads of House, however, please ensure your son or daughter returns to TAS with sufficient beach and casual clothing for this weekend.

All boarding parents are invited to attend the ‘Boarder Parents Welcome Drinks’ on Monday 30 January from 4.45pm – 5.30pm in the Hoskins Centre Foyer. I am looking forward to seeing a number of you there.

Should you wish to discuss any boarding matter further, please contact your Head of House in the first instance or otherwise contact me on 0418 961 325.


Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding

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From the Director of Pastoral Care

Following the successful implementation of Year Coordinator positions in 2022, I am pleased to provide some updates on these positions. Congratulations to Elaine McKellar and Ingrid Steddy who have been recently appointed as Year Coordinators. Elaine will be working with Year 11 and Ingrid will be looking after Year 8, whist Yolanda Kreuzen is on leave. Year Coordinators are another layer of wellbeing support for students and will be responsible for the day-to-day running of their respective cohort, liaising closely with Advisors, Heads of Departments and the Wellbeing Team (a team of staff who engage weekly from their respective areas of school life, regarding individual and whole school strategic wellbeing).

Can I please remind parents that your first point of contact for any school-related matters should be your child’s Advisor. The primary role of an Advisor is to get to know each student in their group, a task that is made easier and more accurate when there is two-way communication with parents and carers.

We have a number of external presenters who will be visiting the school throughout the year to speak with students and parents about a variety of wellbeing matters. Further details on wellbeing presentations will be communicated in due course.


Mr Adam (AJ) Whalley
Director of Pastoral Care

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From the Director of Co-Curricular

As we prepare for a return to School we look forward to an action-packed 2023 calendar of events including sport, creative arts, music, the Triple Crown and the activities program. Full details of co-curricular activities will be published in the weeks ahead. In relation to the recommencement of sport, training will commence in week one and there will be a student briefing on Tuesday 31st January where MIC’s of each sport will clarify details to students including expectations, competition format, and training details.

Students are reminded that sport is compulsory and students are expected to continue the sport they commenced in Term 4, 2022 with the exception of new students who will be allocated to their chosen sport. Sports uniform should be worn to each training session and games. Students are reminded that it is their responsibility to communicate any intended absence from sport. This should be done either in person or via e-mail prior to the training session or game, with a valid reason.

Parents and students are reminded that it is expected that students wear the correct uniform. Blue Polo shirts were introduced 12 months ago and as of the beginning of 2023 the white polo is no longer to be worn. All shorts must have the TAS logo or they are not to be worn. Students who do not have the correct uniform will be required to purchase the correct uniform from the uniform shop.


The Triple Crown provides students with an opportunity to challenge their ability in addition to raising awareness and funds for a variety of causes. In 2022 following an extended period of limitations through Covid-19, the focus of the Triple Crown was on our local community. In 2023 the focus of the Triple Crown will continue to support causes close to TAS and the wider community. There will be four events in 2023 and it is particularly pleasing to see the reintroduction of some activities that were previously put on hold. The Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim continues our association with Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club which extends beyond 30 years. The Tour de Rocks has an affinity with TAS and provides a real challenge for all riders – it must be noted that the Tour de Rocks falls in the April holidays and will require parent involvement should students wish to participate in this activity. Anya’s Wish – 19 for 19, where students, parents and the broader Armidale Community converge on Kenwood Park to undertake the gruelling 19km event. The final event will see the continuation of the 2022 initiative ‘Walk a mile in another man’s wheels’, this event creates awareness and support for spinal injuries and research.

Some of these events may change in future years as we reassess our objectives, available resources, and ability to safely and cost effectively manage a program that is sustainable, challenging and rewarding. These factors have also been carefully considered as we discontinue our association with the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. Over the years TAS has proudly sought to extend students beyond what they thought they were capable of doing and I encourage students as they leave the school gate to continue to challenge themselves and pursue those events or activities that appeal to their interests.

Term 1 Scheduled Events

Holiday Period

  • Tuesday 10/1- Sunday 15/1 Taree Rowing Camp (Senior Crews)

Week 1

  • Friday 27/1 – Sunday 29/1 Malpas Dam Rowing Camp (Junior Crews)
  • Saturday 28/1 – Monday 30/1 Cadet Leaders

Week 2

  • Saturday 11/2 – NSW Rowing Championships

Week 3

  • Thursday 16/2 JS Swimming Championships
  • Thursday 16/2 Evening Swimming Events & War Cry’s (MS/SS)
  • Friday 17/2 MS/SS Swimming Championships
  • Friday 17/2 (after the Swimming Championships) – Sunday 19/2 Cadet Leadership Training

Week 4

  • Thursday 23/2 NCIS Swimming (Primary – Alstonville)
  • Thursday 23/2 – Friday 24/2 NSW All Schools Triathlon
  • Saturday 25/2 King’s/PLC Rowing Regatta

Week 7

  • Monday 13/3 NCIS Hockey (Secondary – Grafton)

Week 8

  • Monday 20/3 NCIS Swimming (Secondary – Alstonville)
  • Monday 20/3 Music Twilight Concert
  • Sunday 26/3 Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim

Week 9

  • Tuesday 28/3 NCIS Football (Secondary – Coffs Harbour)
  • Wednesday 29/3 Federation Cup Debating Final
  • Thursday 30/3 – Friday 31/3 Cadet Bivouac

Week 10

  • Tuesday 4/4 Cash Cup Lip Sync Performances
  • Wednesday 5/4 Cross Country Championships
  • Saturday 8/4 – Tuesday 18/4 NZ Rugby Tour
  • Thursday 20/4 – Saturday 22/4 Tour de Rocks
  • Friday 21/4 – Sunday 23/4 TAS Rugby Carnival


Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular


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From the Head of Middle School

I extend a warm welcome back to all Middle School families, both new and returning for the 2023 school year. I trust that the holiday break continues to be a time of relaxation and connection and we look forward to seeing all of our students back when term begins. We begin the year with a number of new students into Middle School and we look forward to welcoming these students and their families into the TAS community. Please see below some important information relevant to Middle School families as we commence the year.

Middle School Staffing for 2023

The following staff will be supporting your children this year:

Head of Middle SchoolMr Luke Polson (
IB Middle Years Programme CoordinatorMrs Rachel Piddington (
Middle School Academic SupportMrs Regina Pollard (
Middle School AdministrationMrs Robyn Frost (


Year 6

Advisors: Miss Amelia Bowman, Mr Jamie Brauer & Mrs Kirsty Brunsdon.

Year 7

Year Coordinator: Ms Fiona Taber (

Advisors: Mrs Raija Chapman, Mr Tom Collett, Dr Charlotte Mack, Mr Christian Nexo, Ms Fiona Taber & Mr Jonathon Woodbridge.

Year 8

Year Coordinator: Ms Ingrid Steddy (

Advisors: Mr Harry Dobson, Mrs Rachel Piddington, Mrs Regina Pollard, Mr Luke Polson, Mr Adam Preocanin & Ms Ingrid Steddy.

Your child’s advisor will make contact with all parents during the first week of Term 1.

Middle School Classes for 2023

Students will be advised of their homeroom classes in due course, through the School’s timetabling system, Edval. Students will be able to view this information from Monday 30th January, and new students will have this system demonstrated to them as part of the new student orientation. In Years 7 and 8, Middle School classes consist of an extension class and two unstreamed classes. Mathematics classes are determined separately to homeroom classes. Typically, the streaming process for homeroom classes is guided by a student’s English progress. From year to year, there may be some movement in the placement of a student. Please be assured that teachers continue to monitor student progress and will differentiate the curriculum according to the needs of the students in their classes.

The First Week of Term

The start of a new school year can be a busy time, particularly for our new students as they settle in and learn the structures and routines at TAS. To assist with a smooth start of the year for all, all Middle School students will be participating in a number of orientation and administration activities over the first few days of term. This will include Year Group Meetings, school photos, sports briefings, wellbeing and IT sessions.

Upcoming Dates this Term

The beginning of the term will see a number of key events for Middle School students. To assist with planning, a summary of these is included below.

  • Monday January 30: New Student Orientation (this does not include 2022 Junior School students who are commencing in Year 6)
  • Tuesday January 31: Students return. Formal school uniform required.
  • Friday February 3 – Sunday February 5: Coast Weekend. See Back to School Guide for further details.
  • Thursday February 16: Middle School Parent Information Evening and welcome BBQ, followed by War Cry Night.
  • Friday February 17: Middle & Senior School Swimming Carnival

We look forward to welcoming students back to the School soon and also to the year ahead. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at


Mr Luke Polson
Head of Middle School

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From the Head of Junior School

As we approach the commencement of Term 1 I trust that you and your family have enjoyed a restful and rejuvenating break.

Enrolments in the Junior School are stronger than ever, and we are pleased to this year have two classes at Year 1 and Year 4, with one class for each other year level. The teachers of each class are outlined below. Parents of Year 1 and/or 4 students will be advised of their child’s class teacher prior to the commencement of the academic year.

Year 5Mrs Veronica Waters
Year 4HMrs Tania Hardin
Year 4NMr Craig Norrie
Year 3Mrs Grania Fawcett
Year 2Mrs Lana Hawksford
Year 1NMs Lara Nicholls
Year 1WMrs Christine Wright
KindergartenMr Toby Armstrong
Pre-KindergartenMrs Tania Ball


We are pleased to welcome Susan Polson to the Junior School in 2023 in a part-time capacity. Mrs Polson will teach some Year 4 classes to allow Tania Hardin the necessary time to effectively support all Junior School students who have diverse learning needs. We also welcome Sandika Weerakoon who will be working in the Pre-Kindergarten program each Thursday and Friday. Jacinta Major continues in this program on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The safety and wellbeing of all students is our fundamental concern. As such, it is appropriate to outline the School’s expectations in relation to student arrival at, and departure from, school.

Active supervision by School staff commences at 8.15am each school day. We ask that your child not arrive at school before this time on any day. Students in Pre-Kindergarten should be escorted to the classroom or garden area by parents or guardians upon arrival at school. All Junior School classes commence at 8.40am and we ask that your child(ren) be at school by this time to allow them the most settled start to their day.

Pre-Kindergarten classes conclude at 3.20pm each day. Students in this class should be collected by their parent or guardian from their classroom at this time.

All other Junior School classes will conclude at 3.30pm.  All students who are not travelling by bus or involved in after school programs are escorted to the area adjacent to the turning circle that is accessible via Gate 7 on Chapel Street. Parents and guardians are welcome to park their vehicle and collect their Junior School child(ren) from this assembly area. Those who prefer to remain in their vehicle are asked to place a printout of their family name in large text, together with the year level(s) of their child or children, on their dashboard or passenger sun visor to enable easier recognition by staff and students.

Should you wish for your child to travel home by bus on a regular basis please complete this online form to provide further details. These students, together with those enrolled in School-based programs after hours (including the Out of School Hours Care), will be escorted to the relevant area after school. If alternative collection arrangements are required please email to provide details of your request.

We look forward to welcoming those families new to TAS this year, and welcoming back those returning, on Tuesday 31 January. I am eager to meet all within the Junior School  community on this day. I encourage all Junior School families to read through the Back to School Information Guide distributed by email last week as this contains a wealth of information relevant to the start of the year.

Students from Kindergarten to Year 5 will assemble in the covered area immediately outside the Junior School at 8.40am on their first day back for a short welcome, which parents are most welcome to attend. Pre-Kindergarten begins at 9.00am on this day only. Pre-K students and their families are asked to make their way directly to the classroom or garden area at this time.


Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School

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