DR RACHEL HORTON
The start of the school year is always an exciting one as the campus comes alive again with returning and new students and this week has been no different at TAS. While goals can be set at any time, the beginning of a new school year is an opportunity to start afresh and I hope all of our students take the opportunity to challenge themselves, to set some worthwhile goals and to start as they mean to go on.
With 125 new students across the School, we welcome them and our new families to the TAS community. It was wonderful to see Memorial Hall so full at the start of term assembly yesterday morning with both returning and new faces. There is much to look forward to this year at TAS, and the energy around campus, despite the damp conditions, was palpable.
Thank you to all those parents who were able to take the time to attend one of the presentations on Monday. While many of the topics and items spoken about will be communicated through TAS Talks over the coming weeks, these represent a great opportunity for key staff to speak to parents about the year ahead and also an opportunity for conversation. We will certainly look to continue them in future years and would welcome any feedback.
I look forward to catching up with you all throughout the term and wish you and your families a successful, happy and healthy year.
Dr Rachel Horton
MR RAY PEARSON
Welcome back! There has been a wonderful sense of excitement and anticipation for what 2023 will bring and the student enthusiasm and positivity is certainly infectious.
While I am keen to be looking ahead for the year, in setting my own goals for 2023 I was drawn back to our 2022 Senior School Speech Day Ceremony. We were very lucky to have Old Armidalian, Mr Jonathan Peatfield (OA’02) as our guest speaker. An accomplished speaker, Jonathan had the full attention of the audience and his messages resonated equally with students, staff, and parents. I particularly liked the focus he placed on the fact that attitude is something we choose. The three ‘takeaways’ from his speech were eloquently summarised and I highlighted these to our students at yesterday’s assembly:
I hope all of our students apply these guiding principles to the year ahead and have a fulfilling year full of challenge and achievement.
Mr Ray Pearson
|Friday 3 February||House Coast weekend|
|Monday 6 February||Photo (Catch up day)|
|Wednesday 8 February||Year 12 Drama excursion|
|P&F Meeting ( 7pm)|
|Thursday 9 February||NCIS Tennis (Grafton)|
|ADFAS Lecture (Hoskins Centre) 6pm|
MR PAUL GADDES
Welcome to the 2023 school year from the Parents & Friends Association. A particular warm welcome to new families that are starting at TAS this year – we were pleased to meet many of you at the P&F Parent Welcome function on Monday night.
The P&F are looking forward to an active year as we continue to participate in life at TAS. Keep an eye on the TAS Calendar as events begin to lock in.
The first P&F meeting of the year is on next Wednesday 8 February from 7pm. We will meet face to face in Upper Maxwell as well as have a Zoom session running for those wishing to attend remotely. For those new to the school, the Maxwell rooms can be found from the main front doors of Big School, inside and to the left.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 215 517 2798
For those who like to get a jumpstart on their calendar, P&F meetings will be held on the following dates throughout 2023;
We have several Facebook pages providing useful information about upcoming activities as well as a place to stay in touch – we strongly recommend you join the main P&F page as well as your Year Group pages;
The current P&F Exec team are the following;
If you have anything you would like to raise with the P&F Executive, please send us an email at email@example.com
Mr Paul Gaddes
MRS JOANNE BENHAM
I hope you had an enjoyable and refreshing break and that your children have had a smooth start to week one! For those of you who are new to TAS, I have been the Assistant Chaplain for the past 10 years. Prior to completing my training in theology and working in chaplaincy, I worked in the agricultural industry and am a qualified Ag teacher. I am married to Matthew and we have three children, Emily, Angus and Edward. With the help of Mr Ben Cook teaching Christian Development classes, I will be taking on more of the Chaplain’s role while we continue to search for a new Chaplain. While Mr Cook and I will be leading Boarders’ Chapel each week, we will be welcoming Bishop Chiswell and his team of local clergy who will be supporting us through regular preaching at these services. I think our boarding students will appreciate hearing from our guest speakers this term.
If any students are interested in attending lunchtime Bible study groups, the details of these will be advertised during their year group chapels in the coming weeks. There are also local youth groups across town that will be starting up again for the year very soon. If any students are interested in checking them out, here are some details:
Any boarding students interested in attending these youth groups, please let me know. I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org Likewise, if I can be of assistance regarding anything Chaplaincy related, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yesterday in assembly we read the School Lesson (1 Corinthians 13) and I gave a brief talk on this well known, significant passage. I Corinthians 13 can be found here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=NIV and this is a snippet from today’s assembly talk:
If you are new to TAS, the school lesson is a passage from the Bible, taken from Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. He is writing to a group of Christians who were struggling with divisions amongst them, and not living in a way that was God honouring or loving towards each other. And so, he writes this letter to correct, remind and encourage them to continue in love for God and love for each other, in light of what Jesus has done for them. And within the letter is this famous passage on love, which is just as relevant for us today. Therefore, we read it in assembly at the beginning and end of each term. I can’t think of a better lesson to live by! Life is about relationships and 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us how to do them well. It gives us a robust definition of love, the kind of love that is not so much a feeling, but an action. It tells us what love is and what it isn’t. It is unselfish, kind, patient, unconditional. It is the kind of love that overlooks faults, responds with gentleness, and rejoices with our peers when they get the leadership position or mark in an exam or achievement in sport that we had hoped to get. This kind of love put into action benefits our friendships, our families, our school, and our community. 1 Corinthians 13 is an excellent lesson, and we find the perfect example of it demonstrated to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
May you have a joy-filled year ahead,
Mrs Jo Benham
MRS GILL DOWNES
Welcome back to TAS for the 2023 academic year. In the spirit of new year resolutions, it would be wonderful to begin the new school year by incorporating regular reading more consistently into our weekly routines. The benefits of reading are research-backed and undeniable. Studies show that students who read self-selected material as a hobby, demonstrate more successful learning in English, mathematics, science, and history than their non-reading peers. Additionally, it has been found that people who read for leisure have an increased ability to understand that other people have differing perspectives and beliefs about the world; the suggestion is that reading fiction supports our empathy and socio-emotional agility. In short, reading is good for us and we should make time to do it more often.
Of course, one of the most common (and legitimate) reasons people have for not reading is being time-poor. This is undoubtedly a genuine and concerning reality for many of us in our busy lives. However, it is the very act of reading which can help us in so many ways navigate some of the trickier parts of our lives. So this is where the short story comes in!
As British writer, Neil Gaiman so beautifully states:
Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.
Short stories are the perfect solution to re-entering the world of reading: they are short, quick to read and often really thought-provoking. In addition to being time-poor, people often tell me that they don’t know what to read, and so, I introduce to you… Short Story February.
To get involved, any member of the TAS community (students, staff and parents) simply needs to collect a TAS Reading Card from either the Hub or Reception – I can post them out to you as well – and start reading.
What to read?
Mr Arndt in the Hub will be generously curating a collection of short stories for students and staff to borrow this month. As well as this, lists of short stories have been posted in classrooms around the school and Advisors and JS Teachers will be helping students along the way with discussions about reading and sharing story titles amongst their group of students.
To get our older readers started immediately, Huffington Post have pulled together a short list (plus convenient links to digital copies) of some of the best classic short stories. From Chekhov’s 5-minute short story, ‘The Looking Glass’ through to Atwood’s ironically named ‘Happy Endings’, there is something here for all older readers. Find the list here.
For our younger bookworms, what about Margery Williams’ ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ or one of Paul Jenning’s short stories? A quick online search will lead to PDF versions of so many great short stories so you can get started tonight with your first one.
I look forward to hearing about your top picks, as well as providing you with more ideas about what to read. I will update students via email, through Daily Notices and with posted lists around the school. If you have any suggested short stories, please feel free to reach out to me via email – email@example.com with your ideas. I would love to hear from you.
Here are a couple more links if you need help to get started:
Lastly, details about the Extended Day Program in the Hub can be found in this previous TAS Talks article. Our Hub is a wonderful space and we invite and encourage our students to use this before, during and after the school day.
Mrs Gill Downes
Director of Teaching and Learning
MR HUON BARRETT
It’s great to be back! The 2023 school year is underway and there is much to look forward to. This week in Assembly I spoke to the students about opportunity and expectations.
TAS has a plethora of opportunities, you only have to look at our amazing creative arts department, summer sports program, activities program, the challenge of the Triple Crown, debating, and the chance to serve others through a range of activities. I challenged the students to set some goals and get involved. It doesn’t matter if you are starting your TAS journey or embarking on your final year at TAS, there are almost endless opportunities to engage in activities outside of the classroom.
I also encourage students to have high expectations of themselves. The importance of wearing their uniform well, being punctual, and notifying staff if they are unable to attend an activity or training session are all important aspects of TAS life. Self-regulation and individual responsibility are skills that require continual attention, but they also set us up for life beyond TAS.
I look forward to the year ahead and preparation is underway for the up-and-coming Swimming Championship in Week 3, more information to follow in next week’s TAS Talks.
Mr Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular
MR ANDREW O'CONNELL
With some excellent HSC results and a glowing endorsement in the MMG survey, the Creative Arts has started the year with a pep in its step. It is wonderful to see our students achieving at the top of the state, and so rewarding to hear that we have the support of the community behind us. 2023 promises to be as big a year as any other, with spectacular productions, amazing concerts, striking exhibitions, and opportunities galore for students in Pre-K to Year 12.
The Legally Blonde cast and crew met yesterday to kick off rehearsals. With performances at the start of May there is a lot to be done, but with weekly and weekend rehearsals and a holiday camp it is sure to take shape soon. There will be a Working Bee in Week 6 for the community to lend a hand. And tickets will go on sale later in the term.
Our Music ensembles and bands all start up again in Week 2. We are always looking for new faces to sing or pick up an instrument, and interested students should have a chat with Ms Roobol or Mr Collett to find out more. The Technical Production Team is also back at it in Week 2 with Mr Polson and Hugo Catterall, with all Middle and Senior students encouraged to come to Hoskins at 1:30pm on Wednesday to learn about sound, lighting, vision, and stage crewing. Finally, Theatresports with Mr Wheatley is back each Tuesday and Thursday lunch in the Hoskins Drama classroom so have a chat with him to get in on the wacky fun.
This year we hope to share more of the incredible student work with you, and we’ll be making the most of TAS Talks, the school socials, and any other platforms that will work for us – along with plenty of live performances and events. If you know of a student who is doing amazing things in the Creative Arts we’d love to hear about it!
Mr Andrew O’Connell
Head of Creative Arts
MR LUKE POLSON
Welcome to all new and returning families in the TAS Middle School for 2023. I trust that your holiday break was a refreshing and enjoyable one. I hope that everyone managed some time with family and friends and are ready and recharged for the year ahead. The year has certainly hit the ground running and if the first day is anything to go by, it is set to be a positive and productive year in Middle School. We have begun the year with a number of sessions intended to soften the landing for all students. These sessions have included year group meetings, sports briefings and sessions for understanding the routines of Middle School and survival strategies for the first few weeks of term. I hope that all students have found these sessions informative and useful as they settle into the first few weeks of term.
Please see below a list of advisors and Year Coordinators for 2023. Your child’s advisor remains the central point of contact for you at the school and they will be reaching out to you through the week to introduce themselves.
Year Coordinator: Mr Luke Polson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Advisors: Miss Amelia Bowman, Mr Jamie Brauer and Mrs Kirsty Brunsdon.
Year Coordinator: Ms Fiona Taber (email@example.com)
Advisors: Mrs Raija Chapman, Mr Tom Collett, Dr Charlotte Mack, Mr Christian Nexo, Ms Fiona Taber and Mr Jonathon Woodbridge.
Year Coordinator: Ms Ingrid Steddy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Advisors: Mr Harry Dobson, Mrs Rachel Piddington, Mrs Regina Pollard, Mr Luke Polson, Mr Adam Preocanin and Ms Ingrid Steddy.
Please ensure that your child brings both a hat and a drink bottle to school. To avoid disruption to classes, we are discouraging students from leaving the classroom midway through a lesson to get a drink. Rather, we would prefer to see all students bring a water bottle to school that they can refill during their break times. Additionally, Middle School staff will be enforcing the wearing of hats during break times outside. Your support with this is greatly appreciated.
We look forward to welcoming all Middle School parents to an Information Evening and the opportunity to meet your child’s advisor on Thursday 16th February (prior to the War Cry evening). Further details and specific times will be sent to you shortly.
Mr Luke Polson
Head of Middle School
As an International Baccalaureate school, our Middle School students are emerged into the Middle Years Programme. This is an academic framework that aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, confident, and caring young people. As a school we want to empower our students to take ownership in their own learning and help them develop future-ready skills to make a difference and thrive in a world that changes fast.
At the heart of the MYP is the IB Learner Profile. This profile is made up of 10 attributes and dispositions that we want our learners to have. TAS Middle School runs an award system based upon this Learner Profile. Published weekly in TAS Talks you will get the opportunity to see if your child/ren has won an award. These awards accumulate over the year and 10 students are selected for these special awards in the Middle School end of year assembly.
For those who may be unaware of the IB Learner Profile and the 10 categories for our awards system, then please spend a few minutes familiarising yourself with it:
|Inquirers||We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.|
|Knowledgeable||We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.|
|Thinkers||We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.|
|Communicators||We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.|
|Principled||We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.|
|Open-minded||We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.|
|Caring||We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.|
|Risk-takers||We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.|
|Balanced||We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives intellectual, physical, and emotional to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognise our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.|
|Reflective||We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.|
Mrs Rachel Piddington
MR SCOTT CHITTENDEN
It was wonderful to welcome our staff back to school last week, and most importantly our students yesterday. While the grounds and facilities are wonderful, the school is an empty vessel without the people who make it so special. It was evident in speaking yesterday to our returning students just how enjoyable their break was, regardless of the activities in which they participated. Our newest students, similarly, appear refreshed and eager to embrace all that TAS has to offer. We welcome these families, and welcome back those returning, and trust that the summer holiday break provided excellent time together as a family, in all of their various forms.
When I spoke with students upon the commencement of the term, I asked three things of them. These three things apply as much to staff and parents as students, and provide an age-appropriate structure to convey the importance that all students remain Thoughtful, Accountable and Safe at TAS. In no particular order we ask our members of the community to:
Although simple, if we can consistently adhere to these expectations we will make the most of the many and varied opportunities presented to us as members of the TAS community. These were unpacked in the Junior School assembly this week and will no doubt the discussed frequently over the course of this year. We would be grateful for any support that you can provide at home in discussing these elements with your child(ren) and how they may best be demonstrated.
Students of all ages have already begun learning how to remain safe online and the importance of doing so. We urge you to view the excellent information collated available online at https://www.esafety.gov.au/ should you have any questions or concerns about this, or simply wish to learn more about these important issues.
The coming weeks promise to be busy for all members of the Junior School community. Our Learn to Swim program for students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 2 commences next week with the Junior School swimming carnival scheduled for the week after, on Thursday 16 February. Selected students will then have the opportunity to represent the School in swimming on Thursday 23 February before our older students attend their Outdoor Education program at Lake Keepit in the week beginning Monday 27 February. Further information about each of these notable upcoming events will be disseminated closer to the time.
We urge you to contact our dedicated staff should you have any concerns throughout the year. Communication by email is often the most effective means of communication, but we ask for your understanding in that teachers are not able to respond to emails when they have a class with them. Their focus is on teaching and learning at these times, and we encourage you to pass on urgent messages through the Junior School reception at email@example.com. Please note that all who work within the Junior School have been asked to email parents only during reasonable work hours to ensure you (and they) have the opportunity for uninterrupted family time each day.
Happy birthday to Ruby Archer, Florence Reynell, Umaira Tasnim and Walter Webb who all have birthdays this week.
Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School
|Wednesday 1 February||School ID Photos|
Assembly – Hoskins Centre (2.45pm – 3.30pm)
|Monday 6 February||Junior School Sport commences|
Year 3 Excursion to Thalgarrah
TS Trebles begins – Music Building from 8.00am for Year 3,4 and 5
|Wednesday 7 February||Year 4 Assembly – Hoskins Centre (2.45pm – 3.30pm)|
|Monday 13 February||Lunch time clubs begin – The Hub|
|Wednesday 15 February||Year 5 Assembly – Hoskins Centre (2.45pm – 3.30pm)|
|Thursday 16 February||Junior School Swimming Carnival|
As many of our families are aware, TAS Junior School offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years’ Programme (PYP).
The PYP provides our school with a curriculum framework which consists of the following essential elements: knowledge, concepts, approaches to learning and dispositions/attributes of the learner profile. Our teachers work with the four elements to develop a rigorous and challenging curriculum, which is accessible to all students.
The PYP aims to create a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant for all learners. It is transdisciplinary in nature and each unit taught covers a range of subject areas.
The themes are:
These themes are selected for their relevance to the real world.
All classes will commence a Unit of Inquiry this term, which is focused around a central idea, which students will inquire into. These Units of Inquiry (UOI) involve students asking questions and delving further into local, national and international issues.
Next week I will focus on the attributes of the learner profile.
Read about the PYP curriculum framework.
Mrs Veronica Waters
Our Summer sports program will continue from last year, commencing next week with training and games. Please keep an eye out for emails from your child’s coach in relation to any games commencing next week.
If you are new to TAS and would like to join a TAS sport for Term 1 please email the JS Sports Coordinator, Mrs Christine Wright firstname.lastname@example.org
For all returning students, you will be expected to continue in the team you were in during Term 4 last year.
There have been some minor changes to coaches this year so please note the following.
Sports Options for new students K-5
Please note costs are for the full season which will be reduced for only Term 1.
Basketball: Years 2- 4
Children learn basketball in a structured, inclusive, and fun environment, developing fitness, skills and an understanding of the sport.
A TAS minibus will transport players to the games each Monday. Parents must collect their children from the Den at 4:45pm. There will be NO return bus.
Indoor Hockey: Years 2-4
This is a mixed comp with games occurring on Friday afternoons at TAS gym between the hours of 4-6pm. Indoor hockey is available to anyone wishing to participate. It is not necessary to have played outdoor hockey to play the indoor game. The pace of the game makes it very attractive and keeps the participants focused the whole game.
Held at the Armidale Gymnasium. Sessions are on Mondays from 3:50 – 4:50pm run by qualified Level 1 coaches provided by Armidale Gymnastics Club.
Children will travel by Bus to and from the gym with staff members supervising all sessions and travel. Children may also be collected at 4:45pm from the gym. However, if not collected by this time, they will be taken back to TAS.
Ball Skills: Kindergarten – Year 1
This training session is for K-1 only and will be based around the ball skills required for games such as tennis, cricket, basketball, and netball. Children will participate in the Monday afternoon training session at TAS.
Tennis: Years K- 4
Students will participate in tennis coaching by Brandon Burey. Brandon ensures students have an enjoyable experience by offering small group sessions in a positive and fun based environment.
Please keep this date in your diary. More information will be in next week’s TAS talks.