MR ALAN JONES
With exams for the year now behind us, we are moving into the most intensive section of our Outdoors Program. The two days of Bivouac this week and Activities Week in week 7, will make up well over half our time in the outdoors this year. It is the culmination of the days preceded in activity days 1, 2 & 3 and a natural progression within all of that skill development.
The Activities Program at TAS has held a coveted place within our curriculum for many years and the fact that we devote days to it, is evidence of our deep belief of its importance. It is the centrepiece of our program for character development and we know from the comments of generations of senior students leaving the school, that it creates many of the most memorable and most significant events of school life. The philosophy behind our activities is relatively simple; if we aspire to create character traits such as courage, self-awareness, teamwork, responsibility, resilience and compassion, then we must have a deliberate, comprehensive and scaffolded curriculum to development them.
This is what the coming Bivouac and Activities Week are all about. There will certainly be moments of challenges, sweat and discomfort, but there is purpose in it, and it is most worthwhile.
Our short but solemn and significant Remembrance Service took place around the flag poles today. This was, of course, an important opportunity for our school community to particularly recognise the long history of service and sacrifice from former students and staff members of TAS and the excellent work of the TAS Ceremonial Guard, most ably led by Lily Etheridge leading the catafalque party and did great justice to the event.
Whilst we remember the TAS history of military service that dates back to the Boer war each week in assembly, as another name from the book of memory is read, it is particularly important that these traditional ceremonies remain important features of school life that students will carry with them for many years into the future.
On Tuesday I was able to participate in a zoom meeting with Dr Kerry Chant and other heads of boarding schools for an update on the current COVID circumstances. The AIS has also released, in conjunction with NSW Health, guidelines for the remainder of this term. Whilst there has been a relaxation of some of the restrictions pertaining to particular events that are able to be held at the school, there has been no real change to the rules concerning non-essential adults at Speech Day events to be held on school premises. As a consequence of these guidelines, there will be changes to the Junior School Speech Day, Middle School Final Assembly and the Middle School and Senior School Speech Day. Whilst these events will take place on the set dates, they will of necessity, have to be live-streamed. More information on how this will look will be forthcoming. Obviously, this is most disappointing for all of us but none-the-less it appears to be that these decisions will be very much a part of our reality on an ongoing basis.
Head of School
|Thursday 12 November||Bivouac|
|Friday 13 November||Bivouac|
|Wednesday 18 November||P&F Meeting (7pm) Zoom|
|Friday 20 November||Year 12 Formal|
|Monday 23 November||Activities Week|
|Wednesday 2 December||Junior School Speech Day – Live Stream|
|Thursday 3 December||Speech Day – Live Stream|
MRS RACHAEL NICOLL
We’ve already sold most of our fabulous Christmas Puddings, therefore if you wish to purchase one, please buy one now! They are selling really fast and we’d hate for people to miss out….
The puddings are only being sold online this year. They are still $25 each and can only be ordered and paid for on TryBooking https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=655022&.
Puddings will only be available for collection (after ordering) from Reception between Thursday 26 November and Thursday 3 December. Any puddings ordered but not collected or sold by end of the day on Thursday 3 December, will be donated.
If for some reason you are unable to collect your pudding during the dates provided above (especially parents of Year 12 students) please contact the P&F and I’m sure we can sort out a way to get your pudding to you, so that you can enjoy it during the Christmas season.
Liaison Parents (LP) have a vitally important role in being the ‘first port of call’ for people wanting to know what is going on in their year and at school. The P&F could not operate without them. In order for us to hit the ground running next year and make sure all new families in 2021 feel the love and support right from day one, we would love to have all our Year Group LPs for 2021 sorted before the end of this term.
We are always seeking more Liaison Parents. Even if your Year Group already has amazing LPs there is always room for more. Being an ‘LP’ is not an arduous job –primarily it is to be a conduit for P&F matters to parents, a great way to make new friends and a wonderful way to foster a sense of community within your year, particularly when new families start at TAS. Arranging the odd Year Group get together in a COVID-19 world, possibly managing your Year Group FaceBook page, organising year group helpers for sports day cake stalls and finding someone (not necessarily yourself) to potentially organise a year group stall at TAS@Dusk or any other large P&F event, is basically what’s required. Essentially, think of yourself as a year facilitator… you don’t need to be an ‘old hand’ to take it on – you just need to be able to befriend your year group.
If you are interested in becoming a Year Group Liaison Parent for 2021 or would like to know more about the role please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be having our final P&F meeting for the year and Christmas farewell’s on Wednesday 18 November at 7pm and would love for you to come. Hopefully, this meeting will be held in person – watch Facebook and emails over this week for confirmation.
Mrs Rachael Nicoll
MR LUKE POLSON
Additionally, exams for all other year groups have now been completed for the year, however learning in the classroom continues and students will continue to receive homework until the end of the school year. As students begin to receive exams back and comments from their teachers, this is an important time of reflection on what has been done and planning for what is to come. Concerns or questions regarding results and/or progress should be directed to the class teacher, advisor or Homeroom teacher if in Middle School.
MR RICHARD NEWTON
After such a long wait Pfizer and BioTech SE are the first drugmakers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine, demonstrating a 90% success rate. This, of course, comes with some degree of surprise, Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, said the results suggesting 90 per cent effectiveness were “just extraordinary”, adding: “Not very many people expected it would be as high as that.” Hopefully, before long COVID 19 will concede defeat.
So, on one hand, we have surprising vaccine results and on the other hand, we have what should have been a matter of course, a simple standard procedural matter, the US President still refuses to concede defeat in the US election. While Joe Biden creates a COVID advisory board and world leaders congratulate Biden on his victory, Trump refuses to accept the inevitable – he must soon bow to Joe Biden as his new President and Commander and Chief. There will come a time when Trump will have to concede defeat.
The reading we had ended with a majestic view of Jesus as Lord of all, he sits on his heavenly throne. Yet, this was not before his humble service and sacrifice for us, his bloody death and his willing humility was the pathway to his throne. This is the Lord we are called to submit to, this is the Lord we are to relinquish our own prideful self-service too, this is the one – whether we like it or not, that our knees will bow to and our tongues will one day confess, You, Jesus Christ our Lord of All. Better to be bowing and confessing as an ally now, than later as His enemy. There will come a time when we will have to concede defeat.
Mr Richard Newton
MR DAVID DRAIN
It has been a positive first half of term for the TAS boarders with a number of weekend activities and social events keeping the boarders occupied in their spare time. The girls were fortunate to have one of the Armidale’s most experienced Pilates instructors take them through their paces on Sunday mornings during Weeks 1, 2 and 3. These classes were well received by all in attendance and will hopefully be incorporated into our 2021 boarding Activities Program. The Middle School boys enjoyed a visit to the Armidale Skate Park under the watchful eye of Mr Jamie Brauer and the Middle School Social last Friday evening (photos below) was well received by our Middle School Boarders. Special thanks to Mrs Julie Crozier and Ms Catey Curtin and the Dangar House girls for organising the evening and to the Senior Boarding House Leaders for their supervision and DJ skills.
State of Origin is always embraced by the boarding houses and it was great to see this tradition continue last week during an unfamiliar time of the year with the Senior Boarding Houses hosting the Middle School boarders for the game. Special thanks to the Senior Boarding Heads of House for coordinating the pizza and drinks and the Middle School Boarders for their exemplary behaviour. Hopefully, there is a better result this week.
Next Tuesday evening, the four Senior Boarding Houses will host their 2021 Year 9 boarders for dinner which doubles as an opportunity for the 2021 Year 9’s to be paired up with their 2021 Year 11 Buddy. This evening is an important process in the boys’ and girls’ transition into Senior Boarding and crucial in the development of these unique relationships.
Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding
Due to the national nature of Australian Army Cadets (AAC), all AAC activities remain suspended due to COVID-19 situation in Victoria and other parts of Australia. Accordingly, the 2020 TAS Bivouac Activities Day 5 will be conducted as a TAS-sanctioned activity. Bivouac will be conducted on Thursday & Friday 12-13 November, Week 5. All cadets attended an activities briefing on Tuesday 3 November and will have been informed about the required equipment. A more detailed set of instructions will be included in TAS Talks next week with information related to Annual Camp.
Students on TAS Bivouac are required to meet at the front of School at 8.40am for a roll call parade, and will be dismissed the following day by 3.30pm.
A list of the minimum required equipment is below.
*Available for purchase from TAS Clothing Shop
Mr Angus Murray
Year 7 will be heading out to Jeogla Station for their next Activities day (12 and 13 November). We will be meeting at the front of Middle School at 8.45 am on Thursday and will return by 3.30 pm on Friday, in time for normal dismissal.
Students will require 2 x bags:
Students are asked to pack the following:
Students are expected to wear their usual Rangers uniform (jeans, green shirt, green hat, belt and joggers or walking boots) and will travel in them on a Thursday.
All students will get this information in activities briefing.
Mr Stephen Thompson
Depart Thursday 12 November
Return Friday 13 November
Sawtell Surf Lifesaving Club (Boys)
Sawtell Caravan Park (Girls)
Mr J Pennington 0419 250 984
Mrs G Chick
Arrive Sawtell approximately 9:00am.
Mr Jim Pennington
MR WILL CALDWELL
The original outboard motor for our rowing program was an 8 hp Mariner with no reverse gear and no kill switch. Whilst it struggled to keep pace with the crew, its unique qualities manifested themselves in the psyche of the shed; never take a backward step and never say die.
Rowers and supporters gathered at Malpas Dam last Friday evening to launch the tenth season since rowing was resurrected in 2011. We were honoured to have Mr Jones present the rowers with their “baggy yellows” and wish all rowers the best for the season ahead.
It is sudden death for our cricketers next week as both our junior and senior teams compete in the state knock-out tournaments. Our U15 team will play Scone Grammar in the Wiburd Shield on Monday. This game will be played on TAS Oval and all students are encouraged to come and support where possible. Our Opens are playing St Columba in the Douglas Shield on Tuesday in Wauchope. We wish both teams all the best.
An Audience provides both a sense of occasion and the object with whom performers share their talents. It is a symbiotic relationship where the performer is gratified and the audience is fulfilled. In Assembly yesterday it was a pleasure to listen to musical performances from Year 10 students and be reminded of the joy that music brings. We are taking small steps in relaxing the restrictions to allow parents to share the magic.
Next Tuesday 17 November we welcome the return of Twilight Concerts with a small soiree in Memorial Hall. Parents of performers are welcome – social distancing protocols apply – and individuals who are unwell are asked to please stay at home. Details will be communicated to parents later this week.
This is a busy time of year and there will be interruptions to sports training and competition due to Bivouac and Activities Week. It is important that we make the most of the sessions we do have and try to maintain the momentum. Coaches will notify players and parents of any changes to schedules.
Mr Will Caldwell
Director of Co-curricular
It was another big weekend for the TAS mountain biking team with 29 students competing in the Copeton 3 and 6 hour races on Sunday. The track provided a different riding experience from our local trails with an 11.5km circuit winding tightly through cypress pine and granite boulders. It was encouraging to see all our students using their bike handling skills to adapt quickly to the new terrain and record faster times on their second and third laps. Well done to Luca Williams and Archie Pengilley who won the 3 hour pairs 13 – 16 yo category, followed in second place by brothers Lachie and Cooper Sedon, and in third Emily Benham and Nina Taylor. The Year 6 team of Baxter Williams, Andy Hardin and Patrick White took out the team of three category. In the 6 hour event, our Year 8 and senior students made up teams of four and raced in the ‘open age’ category.
The Year 8 team of Abbott White, Thomas Dundon, Jack Lincoln and Will Brett raced hard to finish just ahead of the Year 9 team of Angus Goudge, Charlie McDouall, Will Swain and Charles Hunter. Both these teams rode exceptionally well to complete nine laps each and finish third and fourth respectively in this division. Archi Lawrence led the team of coaches to finish in sixth place, while Bethan Palfreyman, Matilda Cullen, James White and Sam Hynes gave a strong performance to place eighth. Rourke Sharp, Will Ledingham, Angus Ditchfield and Harry Pennington didn’t allow some mechanical issues to stop their race, with Rourke walking (with his bike) the final four kilometres of his lap to finish in 11th place. Congratulations to all riders for their outstanding performances and thank you to the coaches and parents who came along to support the TAS team throughout the day
MR ANDREW O'CONNELL
MR MARK HARRISON
While staff members are working on both looking after your children and their final marks and reports, it’s appropriate that I write something about outcomes as they relate to both. Examinations, assessments and class tests are necessary. Far more than the value of their actual mark at this Middle School stage, they are valuable as tools and benchmarks in the process of your children’s school ‘careers’. Their completion indicates to all the level of effectiveness of revision, ability to perform under time conditions and familiarity with a specific technique. With respectful apology to and reverence for, that very small and select number of students who don’t quite fit the mould, if all students performed brilliantly, then there’d be a good argument for shortening the school year, not to mention the whole, impliedly laborious, academic experience. Accordingly, as I’ve indicated in the past, in Middle School it is the process that we should concentrate on, more so than the product when, as teachers and parents, we discuss outcomes with students.
Good revision techniques depend on the individual who undertakes them. They don’t miraculously appear out of the ether, either. Generally, they develop over a period of trial and error and again, depending on the individual, such development takes time. As adults we need to be aware of this fact and, above all else, be sure to bite our tongues before commencing any vitriolic communication about laziness, ‘wasted school fees’, or ‘selfishness’. Unless we’re absolutely ‘sure of our ground’ we could be doing some damage that could frustrate the process of future success.
Practice makes perfect: it is only through, at times, uncomfortable practice that we learn to drive. Likewise, performance under time conditions takes time to effect good work methods and technique. Rather than vent at the unfinished product, we should reflect first on what’s been recorded and then enquire about what’s absent from an unfinished response to a topic. This is just one of the reasons why post-exam periods at the end of the year are crucial to the overall learning experience – students need this time to reflect on, enquire about and listen to advice about their learning and exam experiences. For example, we need to advise about the wisdom of completing timed practice responses to revision materials so that a better future performance can be the result. Time can be a ‘killer’ and it is only through working to it (and with it) that it can be turned to advantage. Also, remember that we’re working with young people who so often benefit from repetition of advice, especially at that specific time when they reflect on and assess their examination performances.
Characteristically, technique takes time to perfect and as an examination skill this is where ‘trial and error’ comes into play again. There are so many techniques that attach to different types of exams and while there are ‘models’ we follow, it’s not until students develop specifically those that ‘fit’ them, can they then confidently approach exams. Again, we need to remind ourselves that ‘one size fits all’ is not the ideal ‘look’ because we’re all different. It is only through continued practice that young adolescents will arrive at the reassuring conclusion that they’ve modified a model that suits them. However, it is important that there is a base line for students – and ours, especially in the wider Humanities, have been given strong advice on approaches to writing – we must follow this with students till their confidence is such that they can use this method to best advantage.
Okay, as indicated last week, they’re about to do the wider curriculum ‘thing’. Staff will keep an eye on students and will do their best to help them. I advise you to do this as well. Including the whole of this week, there are still quite a few to go and they will be challenging but, at the end of year especially, when are they not challenging? We need to continue to work together. Mrs Frost reminded me to let you know that Middle School students have ‘packing lists’ for their respective bivouacs. Students are aware of requirements, but it would be wise if you asked them how they’re going with the things they need.
Mr Mark Harrison
Head of Middle School
MR IAN LLOYD
We are very fortunate to have Mr Gus Gordon as our 2020 Speech day Guest. Gus grew up on a farm in northern NSW Australia and, having been educated at The Armidale School, worked on cattle stations throughout the country before deciding to pursue a drawing career.
After a brief stint as a cartoonist, Gus was asked to illustrate his first children’s book in 1996. He knew at once that this was where he wanted to be, believing he shared a child’s natural curiosity and love of stories. Gus began his career illustrating books for others before a yearning to tell his own stories compelled him to try his hand at writing. He has since illustrated and/or written nearly 80 books for children.
Gus’ stories are typically very character orientated. He never deliberately sets out to write for a particular age group (he wouldn’t know how to do that anyway!) Rather, he writes for anyone who enjoys books – small and big people. Seeing there are plenty of these sorts of people here, we think he’s going to be a real inspiration and we thank him for giving up some of his valuable time to be with us.
Despite the COVID restrictions that will impact on us until the end of term, the activities for our students continue at a hectic pace. This has been a year with many differences and this continues to be the case with our end of year events unable to host groups of parents on campus. Please read the Junior School Activities Calendar carefully and contact us with any questions you might have. They include a special surprise for our assembly today, with in-class activities for Transition to Year 2 and Aladdin rehearsals and filming for Year 3 to 5 while the remainder of the School is on Bivouac, Orientation Day, Final Junior School Assembly, pool party and Junior School Speech Day. Even without the opportunity for parents to attend en masse, this promises to be a very meaningful and exciting time for all our students. Live streaming will be considered for each event where possible.
Orientation Day held this year on Thursday 19 November, is designed for each of our classes to experience a little bit of life at TAS in 2021. We will be inviting just under 40 new students to be with us on the day, spend the morning with their new teachers getting to know new routines and classroom settings. It is always a very exciting day and one we hope will answer more questions than it raises?!
You may be aware that we recently received the news that Mrs Veronica Waters was announced as the winner of The Australian College of Educators (New England Region) J. A Sutherland Award for Significant Contribution to Education. This is a notable achievement and I know that you would join with me in offering her our wholehearted congratulations. Veronica’s contribution to TAS over many years has been outstanding and this was highlighted again through her leadership during our successful recent PYP Evaluation process. We are very fortunate to have her as a key part of our team here in Junior School.
The Holiday Club (Vacation Care Program) will be operating under the new Regulatory Guidelines, for 4 weeks of each calendar year. This means the 2020 program will operate from 7 – 11 December inclusive. Jacinta and her team will be publishing a program soon and we encourage you to make your bookings early. For 2021, we will be running to program for 4 weeks, however the timing and final details are yet to be confirmed.
Congratulations to the following students for receiving School Spirit Awards last week: Sansa Ranawake, Cade Rogers, Raymond Wang, Duncan Klabe, Eloise Leary, Oliver Maxwell, Ethan Downes, Lucie Stephen, Dominic Leary, Edward Gillman, Jacqui DuBois, Mohammed Alrdadi, Cameron Carruthers, Jack Maitz, Rhidima Das, Joe Fenwicke, Sam Ford and Saleh Alrdadi.
|Wednesday 11 November||Special Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45pm (staff & students only)|
|Wednesday 18 November||Transition Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45pm (staff & students only)|
|Thursday 19 November||Orientation Day|
|Wednesday 25 November||Final Assembly – Hoskins Centre 2.45pm (details TBC)|
|Friday 27 November||Year 5 Dinner|
|Tuesday 1 December||Pool Party – Monckton Aquatic Centre 9.30am – 11.00am|
|Wednesday 2 December||Junior School Speech Day – Special Guest, Mr Gus Gordon|
Happy Birthday to Chloe Dennison for her special day this week.
Mr Ian Lloyd
Head of Junior School
The focus, determination and ability of all Gymnasts was lovely to observe at our coaching session on Monday afternoon. All loved the warmup activity where Mr O was a pirate and the students played a game of ‘Captains and Convicts’.
Gymnasts rotated through four activities:
The cool down activity aimed at developing hand-eye co-ordination. This engaged the students in a range of throwing activities with a partner using bean bags.
It is wonderful to see the growth in confidence of all participants and their willingness to move out of their comfort zones and challenging themselves with the activities on offer.
Mrs Veronica Waters and Mrs Grania Fawcett
Last Friday, TAS played Sandon. It was a very close game throughout the whole match and ended up with neither team scoring a goal. Everyone tried really hard and should be very proud of themselves. Lucie Stephen came close to scoring a goal, but unfortunately it hit the post. We have two new players this year who have never played hockey before – Humjot Sandhu and Cecilia Price and they have both shown great skill and sportsmanship and have really developed their skills.
Lucie Stephen and Lachlan Wood
TAS White had a forfeit game against PLC Puppies because PLC only had 3 players instead of 6. Luckily TAS gave them 2 players at a time, so everyone still got to enjoy a game. Very well done by Harriet Coupland who scored 4 goals and to Mila Wright who scored 2! An impressive effort from Libby Ditchfield who despite being injured, still managed to play extremely well both for TAS and also helping PLC on rotation with other TAS players throughout the game.