As the start of the school year nears, I would like to welcome back all our returning students and staff and extend 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 the term starts for all students on Tuesday 30 January, a new student orientation will take place on Monday 29 January and our boarding students will also return on this date. As we did last year, I and some of my senior staff will present to parents, covering some important updates and sharing a look forward to the year at TAS. This session will take place in Hoskins at 4pm with a welcome drink followed by a P&F Welcome Drinks Function at 5.30pm at the Old Welders Dog.
Over the holidays the renovations of the ‘Sergeant’s Cottage’ to become our new P&F Uniform Shop have been completed. It is a fabulous space, next door to the Medical Centre, and has already seen plenty of customers as new students come in for their uniforms. (It’s open this week by appointment – book online via the Parent Portal – and on Monday from 9-4.) The previous Uniform Shop has been converted back into classrooms that will be used this year for Junior School classes. Construction of the new boarding house has also continued at a pace, with work on track to be completed on target at the end of Term 3.
As we begin the new school year, I would like to update you on a couple of key staffing changes. Director of Teaching and Learning, Mrs Gill Downes will be taking leave for Semester 1. In her absence, Mr Luke Polson will step into the role in an acting capacity. I have every confidence that the arrangements we have made will ensure both continuity and progress in this important area. Mr Polson has held the role previously at TAS and is well positioned to ensure a seamless transition.
Mr Jamie Brauer has accepted the position of Acting Head of Middle School for Semester 1. Mr Brauer has considerable experience in this space, being an integral member of Middle School teaching staff. Mr Brauer has strong relationships with students, staff and families across these year levels and having recently stepped down as Head of White House he is ideally placed to take this role on.
I am also incredibly pleased to inform you that Mrs Jo Benham will be continuing as TAS Chaplain. This year she will be joined by Mr Ben Cook who will also continue in his role as Head of Abbott House. Mrs Benham and Mr Cook make an outstanding team and they will both hold the title of Chaplain for the foreseeable future.
Mr Ben MacDougall and Mr Jordan Lane join the Heads of House team as Heads of Croft House and White House respectively.
We are also delighted to welcome several returning and new staff to TAS:
This year we have some small changes to our timetable, further outlined later in this newsletter, but I would like to draw your attention to one in particular.
This year we will be trialling professional development mornings for academic staff every Thursday morning. These will finish in time for period 1 which starts at 08.55 am. This means that students are able to arrive at school 15 minutes later than usual on Thursdays if they or their families choose. However, the School will be supervised for those students who arrive at their usual time and Junior School students will have activities organised which are also outlined later in this newsletter. Professional development is incredibly important for the ongoing growth of our staff. This approach will help mitigate the challenges of finding a regular time for staff meetings and professional development in a school with such a wide variety of curricular and co-curricular offerings.
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
I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone for the commencement of the 2024 school year. A special greeting to our new students and families who are joining TAS this year. I eagerly anticipate the return of all students to campus on Tuesday, 30 January. Whether you’re a new addition or returning to TAS, the beginning of the school year marks a wonderful chance to embrace optimism, define clear objectives, and strive for excellence in all endeavours.
The Armidale School holds a unique significance, boasting exceptional alumni achievements, breathtaking grounds, top-notch facilities, and unparalleled opportunities. There’s an inherent anticipation for each of us to maximise our time here. Acknowledging the crucial role we all play as custodians of the School, preserving its esteemed standards and honouring its legacy, I’d like to offer some key reminders for a smooth start to the school year. These guidelines aim to support students in channelling their passions and fostering meaningful dialogues with staff, ensuring a positive beginning to the academic year.
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 to school.
Over the break growth spurts may have occurred! Students, please check that your uniform is acceptable length, shoes are polished and uniform is in a condition that reflects the pride you have in the School.
Boys are to wear khaki shorts and shirt (top button done up), school tie, socks (long socks to be pulled up to knee), black shoes and, on Wednesday (for Assembly) 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 School dress or blouse with navy shorts, short white socks, black shoes and on Wednesdays (for Assembly) 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 Portal on the School website.
Year Level Coordinators
Led by the Acting Head of Middle School Mr Jamie Brauer and Director of Pastoral Care Mr AJ Whalley in the Senior School, our Year Level Coordinators oversee the journey of our students and are a key contact and source of support for students and parents.
With Advisors still meeting with students regularly, they remain the first contact for parents for general queries and progress information.
Year 12 – Mrs Elaine McKellar
Year 11 – Ms Genevieve Chick
Year 10 – Mr Todd Currell
Year 9 – Mrs Sue Abbott
Year 8 – Ms Fiona Taber
Year 7 – Mr James Brauer (Acting Head of Middle School)
Year 6 – Mr Luke Polson
In 2024, Senior and Middle School assembly will occur each Wednesday during Period 7. All students are to wear their School blazer for assembly.
It is important to note that the Activities Program at TAS is compulsory and it is expected that all students will be engaged fully with this area of School life. Unapproved absences from activities and key school events do form consideration for student leadership, tours/exchanges and other extension opportunities. If the leave is granted, an appropriate Certificate confirming permission will be issued.
Please see below the compulsory Middle and Senior School Attendance Dates:
NB: Dates are in addition to assessment dates.
With Easter falling mid-Term 1, the School will close from Friday 29 March until Monday 2 April.
Boarder’s Travel Days will be Thursday 28 March (depart) and Monday 2 April (return). Classes will resume on Tuesday 3 April.
Tuesday 30 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.
Mr Ray Pearson
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Welcome to a new school year! 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. As we begin a new year, I encourage all of our students to establish routines and habits early on in the year.
Some of these good habits and practices should include:
As we begin the year, I draw your attention to some key pieces of information for 2024.
Following a review in 2023, this year we begin with a slightly modified timetable. Whilst the 7 x 45 minute period structure remains the same, the times have been changed to allow for more efficient movement between periods, without compromising the teaching and learning time allocated to each class. At the end of period 1, 3, 4 and 6 a bell will ring after 45 minutes, to allow students and teachers time to move to the next class. Please see below the outline for the school day. Additionally, Advisor Period has moved to the beginning of the day. This allows advisors and their groups of students to use some of this time to ensure students are organised and prepared for the day ahead.
The timetable will be accessible for all students to view online through Edval from Thursday 25 January.
For information related to stationary and other requirements, please refer to the relevant Back to School Information Guides.
I look forward to working with you and your children this semester.
Mr Luke Polson
Director of Teaching and Learning
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, 2024.
For those of you new to TAS, I have been the Director of Boarding since 2019. Before 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 29 January 2024 – Boarders Return
All boarding Staff are attending the Boarding Staff Induction and staff photos from 8.00 am – 11.00 am and are unavailable during this time.
All new boarders and their families may drop their belongings at their respective boarding houses from 11.00 am – 12.00 pm and meet their Head of House. Lunch is available for new boarders and their families from 12.00 pm – 12.45 pm on the Abbott House Lawn. Following lunch, new boarders have sessions from 12.45 pm – 3.00 pm which include meeting their Advisors, an Information Session with Q&A’s and a Laptop Distribution and Technology Information Session. The Principal’s Presentation to Parents is in the Hoskins Centre from 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm and the P&F Welcome Drinks for parents is at the Welders Dog from 5.30 pm.
Boarding Houses will be open from 1.00 pm with all Heads of House present from this time. Should you wish your son or daughter to return earlier than 1.00 pm, 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 House 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
As communicated during 2023, Mr Jamie Brauer stood down as the Head of White House after six years of service and Mr Doug Fawcett, as the Head of Croft House after four years’ service at the end of the 2023 academic year. Current TAS staff members, Mr Jordan Lane and Mr Ben MacDougall moved seamlessly into the Head of White House and Head of Croft House roles respectively from 1 January 2024. As current staff members, both Jordan and Ben will be familiar to many of you and I am looking forward to working with them both this year. We wish Jamie the best of luck as the Acting Head of Middle School and Year 7 Coordinator and Doug as the Head of Boarding at the Pembroke School in Adelaide from Term 1 2024.
Please ensure your child/children return to TAS with their summer school uniform in appropriate condition. Appointments at the Uniform Shop can be made online 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 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 boarders had additional mobile phones and other technological devices making this policing extremely difficult to enforce. Please have family conversations before the commencement of Term 1 regarding the appropriate use of technology while at school. Heads of House should be made aware of all technological devices boarders return with, including Apple Phones, iPads and Apple Watches, or have in their possession during the term. All technological devices are handed in an evening with the only exception being Years 12’s and those boarders with explicit permission from their Head of House or myself.
The 2024 Coast Weekend will be held the first weekend of Term 1 from the afternoon of Friday 2 February through to the afternoon of Sunday 4 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.
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
Greetings as we commence a new school year! I extend a warm welcome to everyone and am delighted to introduce two new additions to our Pastoral Care Team at TAS. We are fortunate to have Mr Jamie Brauer and Mrs Sue Abbott joining us as Year Level Coordinators for Years 7 and 9, respectively. Both Jamie and Sue bring with them extensive experience in the pastoral care space, enhancing our team alongside our existing Year Level Coordinators: Mr Luke Polson for Year 6, Ms Fiona Taber for Year 8, Mr Todd Currell for Year 10, Mrs Gen Chick for Year 11, and Ms Elaine McKellar for Year 12.
A friendly reminder to parents that, for any school-related matters, your initial point of contact should be your child’s Advisor. In matters pertaining to boarding, please reach out to the Head of House. Advisors play a crucial role in understanding each student in their group, and effective two-way communication with parents and carers greatly facilitates this task.
I am looking forward to our annual Coast Weekend trip, departing on Friday afternoon, 2 February, and concluding on Sunday, 4th. This excursion serves as a wonderful opportunity for students to re-establish connections after an extended break and extend a warm welcome to new members joining the TAS community.
Mr Adam (AJ) Whalley
Director of Pastoral Care
As we gear up for the upcoming school year, we anticipate an exciting 2024 filled with a dynamic calendar of events encompassing sports, creative arts, music, the activities program, Triple Crown events, and various activities. A comprehensive list of co-curricular activities will be released in the coming weeks. Regarding the resumption of sports, training is scheduled to begin in the first week, and on Tuesday 30 January, there will be a student briefing. During this session, the respective MICs (Manager in Charge) for each sport will provide students with essential information, including expectations, competition formats, and training details.
Students should be aware that participation in the co-curricular program is mandatory, and it is expected that all students continue with the activity/sport they began in Term 4, 2023. New students will be assigned to their chosen activity and/or sport. It is essential to wear the sports uniform for both training sessions and games. Students are reminded that they are accountable for notifying any planned absence from co-curricular activities. This communication should occur in person or through email before the scheduled training session or game, providing a valid reason.
Parents and students are reminded that it is expected that students wear the correct uniform. TAS Blue Polo shirt, Blue shorts with TAS logo and white socks. Students who do not have the correct uniform will be required to purchase the correct uniform from the Uniform Shop.
The Triple Crown offers students a chance to test their abilities while also raising awareness and funds for various causes. In 2024, the Triple Crown will maintain its commitment to supporting causes that are significant to TAS and the broader community. The calendar for 2024 will feature four events, and it is especially gratifying to witness the ongoing support for the events held in 2023. The Coffs Harbour Ocean Swim on 7 April 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 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.
The TAS Rugby Carnival is another integral part of the school, and it plays a significant role in the wider New England community, as over 1000 players converge on TAS for two days of rugby. This event not only highlights the wonderful school we experience but is an important event for many local businesses. In 2024, TAS will host over 60 teams in three divisions (Under 12s, 14s Girls Sevens and 16s Girls Sevens). The carnival will take place on the first weekend of the April holidays (Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 April) and your support through aiding the Parents and Friends Association, during the weekend, would be greatly appreciated and a lot of fun.
Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular
Welcome back to all Middle School families, both new and returning for the 2024 school year. As most current families will be aware, I will be Acting Head of Middle School for Term 1 and Term 2 as well as the Year Coordinator for Year 7. For parents who are new to TAS, my name is Jamie Brauer and I have been working as Head of White House for the past six years. This will be my first year not working in a boarding house since 2018; however, I’m very much looking forward to this opportunity to work with all Middle School students and families as Acting Head of Middle School. Please see below some important information relevant to the wider Middle School community as we commence the year.
Middle School Staffing for 2024
The following staff will be supporting your children this year:
Acting Head of Middle School: Mr Jamie Brauer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Middle School Academic Support: Mrs Regina Pollard (email@example.com)
Middle School Administration: Mrs Robyn Frost (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Year Coordinator: Mr Luke Polson (email@example.com)
Advisors: Mrs Kirsty Brunsdon and Mr Luke Polson
Year Coordinator: Mr Jamie Brauer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Advisors: Ms Yolanda Kreuzen, Mr Johnathon Woodbridge, Dr Charlotte Mack, Mr Jamie Brauer, Mrs Shane Moffitt and Mr Adam Preocanin
Year Coordinator: Ms Fiona Taber (email@example.com)
Advisors: Ms Amelia Bowman, Mrs Regina Pollard, Mrs Jess Collett, Mr Christian Nexo (Ms Emily Dobson Term 1), Mrs Fiona Taber and Ms Ingrid Steddy.
Your child’s advisor will make contact with all parents during the first week of Term 1.
Middle School Classes for 2024
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 Thursday 25th January and new students will have this system demonstrated to them as part of the new student orientation. In Years 7 and Year 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.
We look forward to welcoming students back to TAS soon and also to the year ahead. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Jamie Brauer
Acting Head of Middle School
We trust all members of the Junior School community have enjoyed the opportunity to rest and recharge for what will no doubt be another wonderful year at TAS.
To assist with a smooth start to the 2024 academic year, two parent information sessions have been scheduled over the coming weeks. Families of Pre-Kindergarten students are invited to attend the Pre-K information session in the Pre-K classroom between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm on Monday 29 January. One information session will take place for all students from Kindergarten to Year 5 on Thursday 1 February, also between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm. This session will commence in the Hoskins Centre where information relevant to all year levels will be shared before Year-level specific information is shared by class teachers within the classroom spaces. All sessions on this day will be live-streamed and recordings made available afterwards. Links to these will be distributed in the coming days.
School recommences for Junior School students on Tuesday 30 January. All students in Kindergarten to Year 5 should assemble in the undercover area at 8.45 am for a brief welcome before making their way to their classrooms. Families of Pre-Kindergarten students are asked to escort their child directly to the classroom at 9.00 am. Please note that Pre-Kindergarten students are to be signed in and out of the Pre-Kindergarten program. All K-5 students are to wear summer uniforms on this day.
School photographs for all Junior School students will be taken on the morning of Wednesday 31 January. Students are again required to attend school in their summer uniform on this day. Year 5 students will require their blazer for their photograph. All students will have both individual and class photographs completed. Families who wish to have a sibling photograph taken should communicate this with email@example.com. All families should already have received the “shoot key” required to order their photographs online directly through MSP, the external organisation taking the photographs this year. Please contact MSP directly on 6772 3519 or firstname.lastname@example.org should you wish to place an order.
Our most fundamental concern at TAS is the safety and wellbeing of all students. Many students have diagnosed medical conditions, such as asthma or anaphylaxis, that may necessitate the administration of medication. If this applies to one or more of your children, please ensure the School is provided with up-to-date medical action plans and medication that has not passed its expiration. Medication should be in original packaging. Both action plans and medication are stored securely by the class teacher and accompany the class group to all lessons and on excursions.
Many TAS students travel either to or from school by bus. Junior School students who travel home from school on the bus are escorted to the bus shelter at the end of the day and supported to board the correct bus. Should you wish for your child to catch a bus home on a regular basis please complete this regular bus travel form. Any incidental or irregular travel should be communicated in writing to both your child’s class teacher and Junior School administration by 2.00pm on the day of travel.
The co-curricular program at TAS is both extensive and unique. All students are encouraged to participate in one of the co-curricular opportunities presented each term. Participation in this program is compulsory from Year 3. Students who were at TAS in 2023 will continue in the same sport from Term 4 last year. Students new to TAS are encouraged to select a sport from those listed online.
One of the highlights of the year is the annual Outdoor Education program that runs at Lake Keepit each year for students in Years 2 to 5 inclusive. Students participate in a wide range of activities such as sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, orienteering and archery to name just a few. These activities not only satisfy many of the NESA outcomes for Personal Growth and Development, but also address many of the principles of the International Baccalaureate and Round Square Ideals that are reinforced at TAS. The program has been shown to provide students with an excellent chance to embrace challenge and adventure, while exploring their own capacities in many areas. Programs of this nature also provide an ideal opportunity for students to form new and strengthen existing friendships. Families with children in these year levels are asked to complete two separate consent forms – one for the NSW Office of Sport (who oversee the program on our behalf) and the other for TAS:
Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School
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At the heart of the philanthropic centre of the School, since it was established in 1983, is the TAS Foundation. Its purpose is to generate funds to enable the School to give financial assistance and to continually develop the campus through new and improved facilities.
This year the projects we are looking for financial assistance are: