2020 Term 1 Week 9   |   25.03.2020

TAS Talks Term 1 Week 9

01. From the Head of School


As you would be very well aware the last few weeks have meant that The Armidale School is dealing with circumstances that none of us, no matter how long we have been in education, have confronted.  I continue to be impressed by the morale of our students and staff as we break new ground each day.

Thank you very much for all of your comments and feedback regarding the letters that have been sent out to our community to inform you all of what our plans are for the remaining weeks of the term. All of our planning revolves around providing the highest level of instruction for our students in the face of disappointment for the many events and sporting fixtures that have been cancelled.

At the same time, I am cognisant of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the wider community, businesses and life in general in the New England and the North West. I can only hope that we can continue to support each other in the same manner that we have demonstrated in the most recent of trying times.

Please be aware, that from next week, the School will move to online learning. As per Government advice regarding students attending school, parents may choose to keep their children home during this period to complete their learning remotely.

Term 1 will conclude on Friday 3 April for all students. Week 11 will be used by staff for further professional development and preparations for remote learning.

I wish you all the very best and we will continue to keep you as up to date and as informed as we can as both the State and Federal governments offer new directive.


Alan Jones


Notice Board

Coronavirus Update

The school is taking precautionary steps to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you will find a link to a dedicated page that will be kept up to date with the latest information from the school.

School Photographs

Individual Photos Orders are ready for collection from:
Junior School - Ms Sandra Lasker
Middle School - Mrs Robyn Frost
Senior School - Mrs Veronica Lucas

02. Calendar of Events

Please refer to the 'Coronavirus Updates' page for clarification of cancelled events.

Coronavirus Updates

03. From the P&F



As I sat down to write TAS Talks this week, I pondered what to say…  I didn’t think I had anything – given that all P&F activities are on hold indefinitely!  However then I remembered that the P&F is primarily a central point for the wider TAS community to get together socially, even if it is only digitally rather than face to face.

So, I’m asking people to keep in contact however long it is before ‘normal’ school resumes.  Our Facebook pages are discussed below, and this is a key method. Also remember to reach out to others by phone, email or even snail mail.  Students need to keep in contact with other students, parents with other parents, staff with staff and friends with friends.  Don’t be a digital stranger!!

My thoughts go out to all the families who are dealing with job losses, business shutdowns, health concerns and other COVID-19 catastrophes.  If you need to chat to people please, please reach out.

I also want to thank all TAS staff for working so hard to keep school going and on an even keel.  It will be interesting to see how we, as parents and carers, cope with having our kids learning at home – I’m not sure how I will go, teachers are amazing, and I have always said I could never do it!! But, knowing we have support from TAS and also that perhaps I can ask questions of other parents, or vent on Facebook, is making it slightly less scary.

It’s been a very rapidly changing time for us all and while 2019 was a challenging year for our communities, 2020 is not shaping up any better!  Hopefully the resilience that we all showed in 2019 will hold us in good stead for the long haul ahead of us as we all deal with the many curve balls that the coronavirus has, and will continue to throw at us.

I hope everyone stays safe during this time and wish everyone the best of fortune in the days ahead.

These are challenging times.

Stay in touch!



The closed P&F Facebook pages that each Year Group have are available to parents to keep in contact with each other during this time and we recommend joining these pages so that people can continue to ‘socially distance’ and ‘self-isolate’ while not being socially isolated from the broader TAS Community.

If you have a query about something, or would like to offer spare fruit and veges to people, or support to families who are having difficulties coping during this pandemic, please feel free to use the Facebook pages.  A friendly Facebook post, saying ‘we care’, can help.

The Facebook groups have been named according to the year that the group will be in Year 12. ie. TAS Year 12 2020, is the current Year 12, right down to TAS Year 12 2033, which is the current Transition class. So search for these in Facebook and join.

Please use these groups wisely. Comments should be polite, inclusive and relevant, or they may be deleted.


Mrs Rachael Nicoll
P&F President

04. From the Director of Studies


Important Reminders for Parents

  1. As at 25 March, TAS remains open for day students and boarders. Many families have opted to take their children home to access classes online until the end of this term.
  2. It is also important to note that due to their own personal circumstances, a number of TAS academic staff will also be working remotely and delivering their academic content to their classes away from TAS.
  3. Any TAS student who will be at school until the end of term, will be supervised in classrooms around the school observing social distancing practices.
  4. Term 1 concludes on Friday 3 April.
  5. There will be no classes conducted online during Week 11 for any year group.
  6. TAS assessments for students in Years 11 and 12 that were planned to go ahead in Weeks 10 and 11 may be modified. Updated information will be sent directly to students from their teachers.
  7. All TAS Academic staff will use Week 11 as professional development and preparation.

Update on Academic Approach

Students in Years 6 – 12 – until 27 March (Week 9)

For the remainder of this week classes will continue to be taught predominately face to face, whilst supporting our students remotely by CANVAS and other means. Teachers continue to work with videoconferencing and preparing and uploading these resources to CANVAS and many students have been included in classrooms this week remotely via Zoom.

Students in Years 6-11 – from 30 March until  3 April (Week 10)

All classes will be taught online, regardless of whether the student is at TAS on campus or at home.

Supervision for students who remain on campus will be provided while they are completing their lessons online. All supervised classes will maintain appropriate social distancing.

Students in Year 12 – from 30 March (Week 10)

Given the disruption COVID-19 is causing everyone, it is particularly distressing to our Year 12 students and we want to provide them with the best possible solution given the gravity of the circumstances. Therefore, in this last week of term (Week 10), Year 12 classes will be taught live and delivered online as per their timetable where the teacher is on-site. Where possible, teachers of Year 12 will be in their classrooms delivering the online content to both students in the classroom and at home.


NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) has made the decision to cancel all NAPLAN exams for all year groups ( Years 3, 5, 7 and 9) in 2020. As a result, these exams will not take place this year and will not be postponed.

Advice from NESA concerning HSC 2020

The NESA Board, who determine the framework and examinations of the HSC, met yesterday 24 March and confirmed that students will still be able to get an HSC in 2020. More information about what this looks like in a practical sense will be provided in due course.

Year 12 students are strongly encouraged to maintain their coursework, make progress on major projects and complete all assessments, whether at School or remotely, to the best of their ability.

At this stage, we are waiting on advice for NESA for:

  • Drama/Music group performances
  • VET Placements
  • Major projects and works

We will provide information to parents and students on these matters as soon as we have the advice from NESA.

The full text of NESA’s Media Release can be found at: https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/about/news/media-releases/media-release-detail/2020-HSC-is-going-ahead

Year 12 Parent Teacher Interviews

Due to the current circumstances, we will be modifying the arrangements for Year 12 Parent Teacher interviews. Between now and the end of term, teachers of students in Year 12 will make contact with parents to discuss student progress to date. You can expect to hear from these teachers over the coming fortnight.

Additional Parent Resources

Please find below a number of links and ‘how to’ guides that provide more detail on our approach at TAS.

20200325 Remote Learning Guide

IT Support for Students and Parents

The following website is the NSW Education Department’s guidelines on how to best set up your home and establish structure and routine for your children during this period of absence from school.



Mr Luke Polson
Director of Studies

05. From the Director of Co-curricular


Stay Active

Unfortunately, we need to postpone our Athletics Championships until later in the year and all formal competitions are on hold until further notice. However, we know that exercise supports our immune system and is vital for our wellbeing and mental health. So now, more than ever, we need to stay active.

Staff are meeting over the coming days to develop a Co-curricular program that can be delivered online in preparation for a period of time when we may all be forced to stay within our home boundaries. Regardless of what the future holds, we are committed to delivering the best possible opportunities for our students and maintaining the strong relationships between students and teachers that are cultivated through co-curricular activity.

In the meantime, keep your body and mind healthy by going for a ride, a run or enjoying a body circuit, play a musical instrument, dance, sing or create a work of art. Many of these activities stimulate the production of endorphins that make us feel more positive – certainly something we all need.


Cloisters Run

Thank you to all competitors in Monday’s Cloisters Run. It was wonderful to maintain this tradition and to have something to cheer about. Congratulations to Broughton House Girls who lead the entire race and Green House Boys who tussled with the other Houses over the six legs to claim a comfortable victory in the end. Our Term 2 Inter-House competitions are Debating and Futsal. It is likely that debating will be conducted in a virtual setting and I am sure we will come up with a creative solution for Futsal – maybe inter-house FIFA20??


Mr Will Caldwell
Director of Co-curricular


06. From the Creative Arts Coordinator


Creative Arts

On Friday the cast, crew and band of The Wizard of Oz did an amazing job bringing that performance to life for one show to an audience of adoring family members and friends. The students were truly fortunate to be able to perform it once and get to experience the challenge and joy of live performance after months of hard work and preparation. I again acknowledge their incredible spirit, bearing up this adversity with courage and positivity and never complaining about the situation. I also extend my congratulations to the production team of Mrs Leasa Cleaver, Ms Alex Cook, Mr Michael Cornford, Mr Warwick Dunham and Ms Leanne Roobol for their tireless efforts to bring the show to life.


With The Wizard of Oz now wrapped we are going to immediately commence our work on Jane and the Giant Peach. This show will go ahead, you have my promise on that, though the exact format of the show could be something new or different – it is highly unlikely we’ll stage it for an audience, but it could become a film, animated work or radio play. The cast meet for the first time on Wednesday and we will be fully embracing the world of Zoom and ensuring that all members of the production are able to join in for the rehearsal no matter where they are.


They say that adversity breeds ingenuity, and I am determined that such a statement can be a fact for the TAS Creative Arts Department. The Arts will survive and we will apply our great creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to ensure that our program remains dynamic, rich and unlike anything else out there. I invite you to check out the TAS Facebook page this week and see our test of Siloed Shakespeare (*working title*), which could be an exciting way of staging a play like that, while obeying safe social distancing. I’d also like students to email me if they have an interest in the following opportunities:
  1. Stop-motion Filmmaking – one of the best filmmaking forms to do by yourself. There are some amazing resources out there, some brilliant amateur filmmakers sharing their work and processes on Instagram, and some easy steps to set yourself up at home and we’d love to share that with you.
  2. Animation – your laptops have some amazing programs as part of the Adobe suite and animation is another great area for you to explore at this time. Create animations and get your friends assisting you as voice actors. Like stop-motion, we have a lot of handy links and would love to help you get started. We may very well need your help for Jane and the Giant Peach so please let us know if you are interested.
Expect to see plenty more emails from the Creative Arts as we think of ingenious, fun and creative ways to make the best of these dark days. And do you have any fabulous and creative ideas? PLEASE LET US KNOW! We’d love to hear your suggestions or ideas for keeping our program running.


Mr Andrew O’Connell
Creative Arts Coordinator

07. From the Head of Middle School


Rules of engagement

Well, this one’s nearly ‘done’. For various reasons, I’m pleased that the longest term of the year is the first. Definitely, the Christmas break has been long enough to sustain us all. To be honest, students are tired, but they have, as indicated, acquitted themselves well, having achieved much that is good both individually and collectively. Because of our social distancing requirements, a good number has missed our wonderful dramatic productions. Please take my word for it – they were wonderful, and we look forward to the time when everyone can sit together and take in the many qualities, thespian and other, of Middle School people. The term has been very ‘full’ in almost every way – we are so lucky that we’re unscathed.



However, we have an increasing number of students at home now and, as you know, we’re managing well, I believe, our delivery of content both here and electronically. Teachers are working really hard and I want to laud their efforts – they deserve this level of recognition. In relation to keeping children at home, I respect decisions taken in the best interests of ‘family’. In fact, set against the backdrop of unchartered territory in terms of health and general well-being considerations, this level of respect for families is unqualified. Still, as some teachers have already indicated, we need now to be ensuring, as far as is practicable, that students who are accessing lessons electronically need to do so responsibly. During the school day, at least, their communication is primarily to be with teachers, unless invited to do otherwise. In short, we must ensure that there’s no unnecessary ‘chat’ between students about matters that are not directly related to the lesson. This expectation is no different from that on a normal school day when everyone is together. The focus is and should be, lesson content.


Mr Mark Harrison
Head of Middle School

IB Middle Years Programme (MYP)

Goal Setting

Goals help to provide students to set priorities and stay motivated – this in turn gives a sense of ownership and pride and helps to identify the areas needing further development. Students who have goals, are more likely to achieve than those who don’t.

Over the next week, all Middle School students will be setting themselves a SMART academic goal for the year. I encourage parents to talk to their children about their goal, and encourage them to put this at the forefront of everything that they do.

Catching up on work

A gentle reminder that CANVAS is the main port of call for work for students who have been away, or are still away, sick. Teachers will upload work regularly to CANVAS, for all students to access. If a student misses a lesson, or more, I also strongly encourage them to catch up on the notes from other students in the class.


Mrs Rachel Piddington
MYP Coordinator


08. From the Head of Junior School



Yesterday, you will have received a letter from me outlining a number of details that are specific to Junior School’s response to the COVID-19. While the Head of School has outlined the general position of the Middle and Senior School, I feel it is very important that there is a clear understanding of our developing approach in Junior School.

At the time of writing on Tuesday 24 March, our position is that Junior School will remain open until Friday 3 April. We will have face to face classes while progressing towards online teaching and learning. A number of families have chosen to keep their children at home, and they have already been in close contact with their teachers.

I would also like to reinforce that we should not underestimate the need for our kids to see us working together to reduce their anxieties and achieve some really great outcomes by taking up this challenge. Being proactive and remaining positive is becoming an increasingly important part of the role we must all play.

Please note the additional cancellations that have now been announced for Junior School:

  • Junior School Athletics Carnival on Wednesday 25 March
  • All clubs, both before and after school
  • All sport
  • All choirs and ensembles arranged by TAS

It will be important for each family to develop their own approach to remote schooling, and I strongly recommend the following information to you from the Department of Education, which can be found at:


Key considerations for parents for home and remote learning are to provide support for your children by:

  • establishing routines and expectations
  • defining a space for your child to work in
  • monitoring communications from teachers
  • beginning and ending each day with a check-in
  • taking an active role in helping your children process their learning
  • encouraging physical activity and/or exercise
  • checking in with your child regularly to help them manage stress
  • monitoring how much time your child is spending online
  • keeping your children social but set rules around their social media interactions.

Determined by their age, student responsibilities during remote learning include:

  • establishing and/or following a daily routine for learning
  • identifying a safe, comfortable, quiet space in their home where they can work effectively and successfully
  • regularly monitoring digital platforms and communication (Google Classrooms, Seesaw, email, etc.) to check for announcements and feedback from teachers
  • completing tasks with integrity and academic honesty, doing their best work
  • doing their best to meet timelines, commitments, and due dates
  • communicating proactively with their teachers if they cannot meet deadlines or require additional support
  • collaborating and supporting their classmates in their learning
  • understanding and applying the principles of digital citizenship –  https://www.digitalcitizenship.nsw.edu.au/
  • seeking out and communicating with school staff as different needs arise.

These are very challenging times, and early and clear communication is essential so we can provide the most appropriate support for each family. We ask all students and parents to stay in close contact with their classroom teacher via email and with Junior School Reception through junior@as.edu.au or by phoning 6776 5817 as usual.  Any inquiries or questions that relate to other COVID-19 matters, please continue to email coronavirus@as.edu.au



School Spirit

Congratulations to the following students for receiving School Spirit Awards last week:

Mishkah Alrdadi, Artie Rylands, Eva Cook, Freddie Post, Rory Secker, Dominic Leary, Maya Slade, Nancy Ma, Aamer Alazizi, Mohammed Alrdadi, Kaitlyn Baker, Sophie Brett, Libby Ditchfield, Sam Ford and Hugo Broun.


Mr Ian Lloyd
Head of Junior School

Happy Birthday

Many happy returns to William Cooper-Filios and Arthur White for your birthdays this week.


Junior School Upcoming Events

Week 9
Wednesday 25 MarchJS Athletics Carnival – Cancelled
No Assembly
Week 10
Wednesday 1 AprilYear 1 Assembly – Cancelled
Week 11
Wednesday 8 AprilTransition Assembly – Cancelled
Classes Conclude
Thursday 9 AprilStaff Day
Term 2
Week 1
Monday 27 AprilStaff Day
Tuesday 28 AprilSchool Resumes

Community Notices