2022 Term 4 Week 4   |   02.11.2022

TAS Talks Term 4 Week 4

01. From the Principal


This week I am incredibly pleased to announce the outcomes of two significant recruitment processes, both of which attracted a large number of high-quality applicants from across Australia and beyond.

Firstly, after several years as Assistant Director of Studies, and most recently as Acting Director of Studies, I am thrilled to announce that Mrs Gill Downes has accepted the re-titled position as Director of Teaching and Learning at TAS, effective immediately. Gill has done an exceptional job in the interim role and was the clear standout given her experience and skills and her exciting vision for Teaching and Learning at TAS.




I am also very pleased to introduce Mr Scott Chittenden who will be joining TAS next year as the new Head of Junior School. Born in Zimbabwe, Scott attended state primary and independent secondary schools. He grew up on farms throughout much of his childhood and has a passion for the outdoors. Scott obtained a teaching bursary to attend University in South Africa where he studied a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology, Geography and Fresh Water Ecology. He met his wife, Megan (also from farming stock), while studying in South Africa. Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, Scott returned to Zimbabwe where he taught in two independent primary schools and completed both a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Diploma in Sports Management. Scott played representative badminton and state level rugby union and volleyball while at school and university.


Scott migrated to Australia in 2006 and has worked in both state and independent schools in Victoria and the Northern Territory. He has held many positions of responsibility, including Year Level Coordinator, Head of Sport, Coordinator of Administration, ICT Coordinator, and Director of Experiential Learning. Scott is currently the Head of Junior School at Haileybury Rendall School, a high performing academic school in Darwin.

Scott is excited to join the team at TAS. He, his wife Megan, and their three daughters Amy (11, joining us in Year 6 next year), Sarah (9, joining us next year in Year 5) and Lara (2) will move to Armidale early in the new year. They are looking forward to embracing everything that our wonderful community has to offer and we look forward to welcoming them.

As is often the case towards the end of the year, a number of staff move on to new opportunities and adventures. At this time it is also my sad duty to let you know that Mrs Anne Trenerry will be retiring at the end of the year after 17 years at TAS. Most recently she has been a wonderful and inspiring educator assisting with our Pre-Kindergarten class. Anne is passionate about young learners and she has invested a great deal of love, energy and expertise into every role she has undertaken as an integral part of the Junior School for so long. We will be very sad to see her go, but she is looking forward to spending more time with her family and may return on a casual basis in the future.

Mr Ken Secker will also be leaving TAS at the end of the year after six years at the School. Ken has been instrumental in making technology at TAS the powerhouse it is today. He is an expert in his field and we have so benefitted from his contributions to TAS. His efficiency, knowledge and wonderful sense of humour will be greatly missed and we wish him and his wife Lynn and children, Rory (Year 3) and Heidi (Year 1) the very best as they leave Armidale to embark on an adventure around Australia together.


Dr Rachel Horton

02. From the Deputy Principal


We have certainly reached the business end of the term with our Middle School and Stage 5 exams taking place this week. Excitingly, the final Year 12 HSC exams will take place on Friday. It has been bittersweet to see our Year 12s depart for the final time as they complete the last of their exams, we will miss them dearly but also know the best is still ahead of them. 

Next Friday the School will observe Remembrance Day with a special service held to reflect on the proud history TAS has with service to the country via the armed forces. Specifically, we will pause to remember the 103 students and staff who made the ultimate sacrifice during the conflict. Our Prefects and SRC Members will be selling poppies in the lead-up to Remembrance Day for $2 with proceeds going to Soldier On. Soldier On was co-founded by John Bale (OA ‘01) in 2012 to help support ex-military and national security personnel transition to civilian life. It now supports over 5000 veterans and their families across Australia. 

In Week 7 (17-18 November) Students in Middle and Senior School will have their Bivouac for Term 4. This is a compulsory event for students and an integral part to the comprehensive education offered at TAS. Information on Bivouac and Activities Week has been communicated to students and can be found in TAS Talks. 

Next week, students in the Middle and Senior School will resume getting changed for their PDHPE lessons rather than wearing their sports clothes to school for the day. With the HSC exams completed students will have normal access to the changerooms and can wear their summer uniform at all other times. 


Mr Ray Pearson
Deputy Principal


03. Calendar of Events


Week 4
Wednesday 2 NovemberMiddle School Exams

Lions Youth of the Year – Public Speaking

Friday 4 NovemberNorthern NSW Clay Target Carnival – Tamworth
P&F Golf Day
Saturday 5 NovemberMountain Biking 6 Hour Event – Taree
Week 5
Thursday 10 NovemberFarewell Celebration for Mr Richard Newton
Friday 11 NovemberTriple Crown – Walk a Mile in another Man’s Wheels
Remembrance Day



04. From the P&F


Golf Day





The P&F TAS Golf Day is this Friday 4 November. Book your tickets online at the link below. Player and lunch-only tickets are available.

This is a social outing for players of all skill levels at the Armidale Golf Club. Come join us for 9 holes of team play (Ambrose format) followed by lunch. Clubs and Carts can be hired on the day. There will be prizes!

In case of wet weather, we will still go ahead with the event and move indoors to use the Armidale Golf Club’s virtual golf room.

Tickets can be booked HERE

Christmas Puddings

The TAS Christmas Puddings have been cooked. Place orders and pay for your pudding purchase through this link TAS P&F Christmas Pudding

A huge thank you to the volunteers and TAS staff who helped bring TAS Christmas Pudding season to life this year – we are well under control with our Pudding Captain Michelle Guppy starting the organisation months in advance.

Over the weekend the following volunteers mixed, baked, and wrapped the puddings ready for your eating delight: Michelle Guppy, Edwina Douglas-Menzies, Fi Nash, Ingrid Steddy, Jen Kealey, Kim Carruthers, Lexie Caulfield, Michie Okamoto, Nichole Gaddes, Paul Gaddes, Tara Schalk, Todd Redwood, Ty Schalk-O’Brien.

Contact the P&F Executive

If you have anything you would like to raise with the P&F Executive, please send us an email at pandf@as.edu.au


Mr Paul Gaddes
P&F President




05. From the Director of Teaching and Learning


It is amazing to think we are heading into the final straight of the academic year but with the last few HSC exams coming up this week, Year 6, 7 and 8 sitting their End of Course Examinations, and Year 9 and 10 having completed their core examinations earlier this week, that is exactly what is occurring. The staff have been most impressed with the effort and maturity our students have shown over the last few weeks to apply themselves to this assessment period, and I congratulate the students for their work.

This time of year also heralds the beginning of a new academic phase for our Year 11 students as they begin work on their relevant HSC courses. This is an exciting time as Year 11 gain insight into the content and rigour of their academic year ahead. Now is the time for families to take a close look at the 2023 Year 12 Assessment Schedules so they can plan their year ahead knowing when these assessments will fall for our oldest students. I encourage both Year 11 students and their families to download the 2023 Year 12 Assessment Schedule from the Parent Portal (also on the Student Portal). Families can then plan in advance for these important assessment events. I have also attached the 2023 Term Dates to assist in this process.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful teaching staff who are working incredibly hard in this busy academic period with revision, consolidation of content, the writing and marking of assessments, report writing and editing, as well as planning for the weeks ahead as our final term comes together. Additionally, the administrative staff are such a strong foundation for our teachers; they support the academic team in endless ways to facilitate the rich and varied education program that we offer. Thank you to all for their commitment and professionality; what a wonderful community we have here at The Armidale School.


Mrs Gill Downes
Director of Teaching and Learning

06. From the Director of Boarding


All boarders are to be commended on their start to Term 4 with overwhelming positive feedback received from all Heads of House and significant effort observed across evening prep, co-curricular activities and in houses over the first three weeks of term. With the Years 9 & 10 and Middle School Yearly Exams this week, the 9 & 10’s and Middle School boarders deserve special mention for the way they have applied themselves during evening prep. The recent move from the classrooms to boarding houses for evening prep across all year levels in the four senior houses has been well received by the boarders and staff. This arrangement, while temporary, will be reviewed by the senior boarding staff later this term.

A big thanks to Miss Emma Channon, Ms Julie Crozier, the Girls Boarding House and Dangar House Staff, Gappies and Year 12 boarders who assisted with the coordination and supervision of the Girls Boarding Pyjama Themed Disco on Friday evening 21 October. All those in attendance enjoyed the night. Plans are in place for the Middle School boys to spend an evening in their respective senior houses later this term to ensure this crucial relationship between the senior and middle school boy boarders also remains strong.

With the HSC Exams concluding on Friday, conversations with the Senior Heads of House are ongoing regarding the commencement date of the class of 2023 Year 12 boarding privileges. The uniform commencement date, across all four senior houses, for these privileges including the move into the Year 12 rooms will be finalised and communicated shortly.


Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding

07. From the Counsellor


Spotlight Series

For the remainder of this term, I am putting a spotlight on some of the issues that I come across regularly. Early identification, assessment and support are crucial to a young person’s developing sense of self and confidence as a learner.

This week I am putting a spotlight on ADHD.

ADHD is real. It is a neurobiological difference that is seen in people world-wide. In Australia we have a diagnosis rate of roughly 1 in 20, but across the Western World, it is closer to 1 in 10. ADHD wiring is for the brains of the adventurous and curious.

ADHD is poorly named. Currently known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, this definition doesn’t reflect the reality. ADHD is not a ‘deficit’ (lack of) it’s dysregulation (poor control of) attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, emotion regulation. It is really an issue of performance. By this I am referring broadly to the brain being (my apologies to any doctors and medical professionals reading this very crude explanation) split in half and the two halves of the brain not communicating efficiently. You know stuff, but you can’t do stuff – you know the ‘why and how’, it’s figuring out the ‘when and where’.

ADHD impacts on the six areas of Executive Function. As humans, we all have Executive Function, these are the self-management functions that support attention in multiple tasks of daily life. People with executive function challenges often find it difficult with analysing, planning, organising, scheduling, and completing tasks to a deadline, or at all. They may misplace things, prioritise the wrong things and get overwhelmed by big projects. It’s also worth noting here that no two days are the same for someone with ADHD. Some days things run as expected and other days things are more difficult – for any number of reasons! It is often quite contradictory in nature and very frustrating for the person, and at times, for those around them.

Why and how does this happen? ADHD is an issue of dopamine in the brain. Much like a diabetic must manage insulin, someone with ADHD must manage dopamine. We don’t get annoyed with diabetics for not being able to produce enough insulin in their pancreas, nor should we be annoyed by someone with ADHD trying to manage the levels of dopamine in their brain. People with ADHD shouldn’t be expected to just “try harder” to regulate their dopamine levels. They should be given education, medication and coaching to support lifestyle changes.

ADHD is on a spectrum and shows up differently in everyone. If you know a person who has ADHD, you know ONE person with ADHD. Whilst there are a set of common symptoms, it really is an individual experience, and this depends on many variables which I don’t have the space to go into here. Another thing to note is that ADHD presents differently during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This is because the brain is constantly growing, developing and learning to be adaptive.

It is also worthwhile to note that ADHD is the name to capture three different presentations:

  • Inattentive
  • Hyperactive
  • Combined type (both inattentive and hyperactive features)

It’s not all bad! There are also many strengths that come ADHD.



Perhaps ADHD should be rebranded as ‘animosa’ meaning ‘spirited’.

To find out more contact Alix Goudge at TAS on 0417 292 304 or counsellor@as.edu.au

https://reflecthealth.com.au/ look for ADHD under services

https://www.additudemag.com/ Additude Magazine – some wonderful resources and webinars


Ms Alix Goudge
TAS Counsellor



08. From the Director of Co-curricular


In the last seven days we have had a number students compete for TAS at NCIS team tournaments. Our First Volleyball team, First Basketball team and our top Tennis players have all travelled to compete in the NCIS Sports Days. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to compete in a schools-based competition. On each occasion our students have been excellent ambassadors for TAS and have earnt the praise of other staff and students for their sportsmanship, manners, and appearance.

I have had the pleasure of accompanying the First Volleyball team who won the Open Boys Division last week, an excellent achievement to say the least and the First Basketball team whose growth and development during the tournament was exceptional, and will no doubt hold them in good stead in the local Armidale competition.

A special thank you to Mr Nexo who took eight Tennis players to Grafton for their NCIS Tennis Tournament. A particularly high standard of Tennis was on display during the day and Archie McMaster finished third in the Junior Boy division.

A reminder (from TAS Talks last week) to start planning for Bivouac and Activities Week, in Week 6 and 8 respectively. The Activities Program is a significant part of the TAS Calendar. It is an opportunity for students to engage in the great outdoors, with their peers, in a range of challenging yet incredibly satisfying activities. It is expected that all students attend Bivouac and the Activities Week. The overwhelming feedback from the recent Year 12 survey, was the positive experiences and opportunity for growth that the TAS Activities Program provided during their time at TAS.


Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular


NCIS Tennis

On 27 October TAS took eight students from years 7 – 11 Grafton to compete in NCIS tennis. Joshua Casey, Isla Green, Archie McMaster, Dominic Nguyen, Tyler Nguyen, Isobel Pengilley, Sophie Rogers, and Martin Shankland. Players competed in a round-robin event split into pools with the top two players from each pool competing in the final. Our team played some outstanding tennis throughout the day with special mention to Martin Shankland who finished third in the open boy’s division, and both Archie McMaster and Josh Casey who finished second in their pools for the under 15s. Isla Green played extremely well to finish in second place in the finals in a tightly-fought match for the under-15 girls.
Mr Christian Nexo
MIC Tennis

09. From the Head of Creative Arts


Last Friday we had the incredible percussion performance The Box Show tour to Hoskins and deliver a high-energy, laugh-filled spectacle for both Junior School and Middle School students. Created by the Sydney-based ensemble Junkyard Beats, it was a brilliant piece of music and performance with four actors using found objects, bins, buckets, and (of course) boxes to create entertaining scenes and produce wonderful music. The set was huge, the lights dazzling, and the music they created was exciting. They had the audience out of their seats clapping their hands and stamping their feet and cheering with delight (with a couple of TAS staff also called onstage to lend a hand to the performers).

Each year we try to bring a number of professional touring productions to town to provide the students of Armidale with amazing Arts experience that they would otherwise miss out on. This allows us to ensure that every TAS student can experience live performance and have a rich exposure to the Arts. We are working on our plan for 2023 and hope to again bring the students of TAS and the broader community professional shows that travel all around Australia and the rest of the world.


Mr Andrew O’Connell
Head of Creative Arts

10. From the Head of Middle School


Upcoming Activities

All of Middle School will be completing an overnight Bivouac on Thursday 17 and 18 November. Year 6 and 7 will be heading out to Dumaresq Dam and surrounds to complete a number of activities including canoeing, trekking, cooking, orienteering and bush skills activities. We will be speaking to students in the coming week in greater detail about this. For parents and carers of students in Year 6 and 7, a consent form will need to be completed for this activity and this can be done online through: https://forms.gle/oSG8yJb7haHEiPDP6 A detailed packing list and overview of the intended activities can also be found through that link.

Our Year 8 students will be completing their Bivouac as part of the Cadet Program and further information will be coming to parents and carers shortly. We have been running sessions at school already for any students who have concerns about Activities Week and providing them the opportunity to ask questions and speak with staff and students who have experience in the program. We encourage any students or parents who have questions to contact us and we will be happy to answer them.

Year 6 Poetry

This term in English, our Year 6 students have embarked on A Poetic Journey with their teacher Dr Stone. They have been exploring how poetry gives voice to the expression of ideas and feelings. A variety of poetic styles and devices have been analysed and they have written their own poetry. In our Middle School assembly yesterday, a number of these poems were shared by the students.  Our Year 6s would like to share with you a sample of our free verse poems about some different items of our school uniform.

My School Shoes
By Luella Caulfield

These are my school shoes
they go everywhere I do
always an afterthought
strewn onto the floor without a second glance

These are my school shoes
scuffed and mucked
duffed and roughed
Will they ever recover?

These are my school shoes
they’ve been polished
then demolished
everyone’s been astonished at how much they shine
and it makes me realise these shoes are mine

These are my school shoes
Lost then found then tossed around
they always find their way back onto my feet
they’re comfy not lumpy

These are my school shoes
Whether there’s bright sunlight or dreary rain
I always have them with me
not always seen as a necessity but to me they’re like a recipe

These are my school shoes
Black bright bumpy and bulky
these colours may seem bland
but they are black sapphires
cloudy gems


My School Blazer
By Elsie Teng

This is my school blazer
It hangs on its hook waiting for Tuesday
It stays there alone

This is my school blazer
It looks as new as a polished shoe but its short in the sleeves
Putting on my blazer is a once a week occurrence
My blazer is a statue only for display

This is my school blazer
It feels lonely and unloved
It lurks in my wardrobe
Counting the days

This is my school blazer
Uh oh, where’s it gone?
Looking around. It’s nowhere to be found
There it is! Waving at me from the washing line


My School Hat
By Hamish Leahy

This is my school hat
It holds my head
It warms my brain.

This is my school hat
A deflector of wind
And a protector from rain.

This is my school hat
There’s me below
It holds my thoughts
And the things I read
It is a filing system
On my head. 

This is my school hat
As happy as a kid
On Christmas day.

This is my school hat
It bounds from head to head
Clacking all around
It hears all the stories
And whispers them to me.

This is my school hat
It is a lid on my head
it protects me from the world
It is my companion for life!

A Square Cardboard Box
By Fred Street

These are my school shoes
A square cardboard box
New as an apple freshly
Picked from a tree

These are my school shoes
A shiny block of leather
With a strong whiff
Of newness

These are my school shoes
Taking their first steps of life
Giving me a warm welcome into their soles

These are my school shoes
As stiff as an old man taking slow steps into
The school gates the stiff leather being uncomfortable

These are my school shoes
Soft and warming to my feet the laces are loose
Fraying and fragile

These are my school shoes
They’ve been with me every day
They’re an old friend to me now

These are my school shoes
Dying slowly saying their last
Words withering like a leaf

These are my school shoes sitting
There silently


Buckets of Problems
By Megan Varvari

This is my school hat.
In all its glory.
It is slightly creased,
It smells like unwashed sheets,
And it doesn’t fit me well when
I wear a hair clip.

This is my school hat
Often lost or left in random places.
I hear it laugh when I look for it,
And I hear it groan when I find it.

This is my school hat.
Pesky and Loose.
It doesn’t fit my head properly.
It feels like I am wearing a pillowcase over my head.
Though large, also largely ironic because it
Was the smallest size.

This is my school hat.
In all its glory.
Darker than denim.
Lighter than an exercise book.
This is my school hat.


Mr Luke Polson
Head of Middle School


11. From the Head of Junior School


Walk a Mile in Another Man’s Wheels – Friday 11 November

All Junior School families should have received a letter outlining the latest fundraising initiative by the school that focuses on those who have suffered spinal cord injury. Richard Tombs (OA 1985) is one such person and we are uniting to support the Foundation that now supports him and others towards recovery. Please join us if you can. 

Shrek Jnr Working Bee – Saturday 12 November

Our second working bee for the Shrek Jnr will be held on Saturday 12 November from 9.30am – 12.30pm. This working bee will focus on the set construction and painting. Please ensure you complete the google forms shared with you so we are well prepared and time is spent productively. If you have not received this information or have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to us at school.

And lastly…

I would like to thank the teaching staff who have rallied so enthusiastically with the support of and leadership from Mrs Veronica Waters and Christine Wright while I have been on leave. As you know, they are a great team and it is so reassuring for us all to know that the school is on such a steady course under their guidance. I would also like to thank everyone for their thoughts, well wishes and support after my recent leave and announcement of my retirement at the end of the school. I know the remainder of this term will go very quickly and I look forward to catching up with you all before the end of the year.

School Spirits

Congratulations to the following students that received School Spirit Awards last week:
Sam Trevaskis, Sonny Salvador, Briyana Galpathage, Hunter Grace-Booth, Wilbur Drain, Uday Grewal, Fatimah Alkadi, Anna Trevaskis, Alexa Wood, Ivy Rice, Year 3, Darcy Jackson, Roman Sue, Paddy Bourke, Xander DuBois, Josie Buntine, Violet Caulfield, Luke Varvari, Kaitlyn Baker, Katie Flynn, Lachlan Mills and Pippi Goudge.


Mr Ian Lloyd
Head of Junior School

Upcoming Events

Term 3
Wednesday 2 NovemberYear 3 and Year 4 Assembly (Hoskins Centre 2.45pm)
Saturday 12 NovemberShrek Working Bee – 9.30am – 12.30pm
Monday 21 NovemberOrientation Morning
Friday 25 NovemberJunior School Triathlon and Bike Day
Monday 28 NovemberActivities Week begins
Wednesday 30 NovemberFinal Assembly
Thursday 1 DecemberShrek Matinee Performance – 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Friday 2 DecemberShrek Matinee Performance – 1.30 – 3.00pm
Shrek Evening Performance – 6 – 7.30pm
Saturday 3 DecemberShrek Evening Performance – 6 – 7.30pm
Tuesday 6 DecemberPool Party
Thursday 8 DecemberJunior School Speech Day – 9am – 10.30am
School Concludes (3.30pm)

IB Primary Years Programme (PYP)

Junior School Leaders Take Action

This term the Year 5 leaders have decided to take action by supporting the Salvation Army’s ‘Wishing Tree Station’ based at all Kmart stores. When you bring your Christmas gift to school, please deliver it to the Year 5 classroom so we can place the stickers on each gift.



Things to note:

  1. All gifts must be new
  2. Please do not wrap your gifts
  3. Gifts do not need to be purchased at Kmart
  4. Some gift ideas: books, sporting equipment, back to school supplies, arts & crafts, headphones, educational toys, toiletries, and musical instruments.

We would like to thank you in advance for supporting our leadership initiative to help the homeless and those in need in our community.

Year 5 Leaders




Community Notices