2023 Term 4 Week 2   |   18.10.2023

TAS Talks Term 4 Week 2

01. From the Principal


From time to time I get asked by prospective parents what makes a successful TAS student. There are many parts to that answer, but for me the key is in their attitude, a student who is keen to get involved with whatever is going on, to be an engaged and thoughtful member of the community. This attitude is demonstrated by our students weekly. Last weekend it was wonderful to, again, see so many TAS students and their families from across the whole school taking part in the third year of 19 for Nineteen, in memory of Anya Zuber, raising funds for Anya’s Wish, research to improve treatments and outcomes for those suffering from osteosarcoma.

At the end of year we customarily farewell a number of staff as they leave TAS for different reasons. I will write with a complete list at the end of term, but at this time I would like to let you know of two particularly significant staff farewells.

Mr Andrew O’Connell, Head of Creative Arts, has accepted a position as Head of Creative and Performing Arts at Newcastle Grammar in 2024. At TAS Andrew has had a significant and positive impact on this area of the School both in terms of curriculum and co-curricular activities since he started nearly 13 years ago. During his time at TAS Andrew has also worked in boarding, coached football, been an integral member of the ropes team on cadet programs and he was also the school Round Square representative for some time. In his role as Hoskins Manager Andrew has had significant involvement with the broader community. His passion, ability to entertain, enthuse and inspire and the positive energy he brings to everything will be greatly missed by students, staff and parents alike. We wish him well for this fantastic opportunity to make his mark on another school.

We will also farewell School Counsellor, Mrs Alix Goudge who has been at TAS just over five years. Alix has been key in supporting our students and their families and indeed staff through the difficult times and the everyday struggles some young people face. She has also been a stellar Girls Rugby Manager and in all aspects will be a tough act to follow. Alix will return to Orange with her children to be closer to family and we wish them all the very best for their next chapter.


Dr Rachel Horton

02. From the Deputy Principal


Following Dr Horton’s article last week on the future of technology and the excellent resources available on the eSafety website, I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the measures we as a School put in place to protect our students online.

One of the best safeguards we provide as a School is through our network. We have the capacity to block inappropriate access to sites which can otherwise be intentionally or inadvertently accessed. We do this both live with an automatic notification system to pastoral leaders and retrospectively as new trends of concern are identified. We also have the capacity to block social media or streaming sites during school and study time to assist in removing distractions at the right time.

This is highly relevant with recent reports distressing videos have been shared on social media sites. Doing what we can to protect our students from being exposed to media they cannot ‘unsee’ is important. For those interested, the eSafety Commission has recently developed the following information to assist in dealing with seeing distressing content online.

One of the limitations we do have is the inability to monitor cellular data. This is why we discourage large data plans for students and ensure connection to our network is a primary safeguard. 

As a boarding school we work in partnership with parents to help navigate some of the challenges associated with mobile phones and social media. Developing the capacity to achieve a healthy balance with online and offline activities is important and achieved through tech-free periods and an encouragement of ‘traditional’ social interactions. Valuing face to face communication and promoting positive digital citizenship are modern challenges that do need to be practiced and reinforced.  


Mr Ray Pearson
Deputy Principal



03. Calendar of Events

Wednesday 18 OctoberDrama Excursion
Thursday 19 OctoberNCIS TennisGrafton
Sunday 22 OctoberTAS Cricket – Wiburd ShieldTweed Heads
Monday 23 OctoberHSC Exams continue
Wednesday 25 OctoberQ Fever Vaccination Clinic
Thursday 26 OctoberOAU Committee MeetingMaxwell Room (5.30)
Friday 27 OctoberBivouac
Monday 30 OctoberHSC Exams continue
‘Far Out Science’ ExcursionUNE



RSA Course

TAS will be running a Responsible Service of Alcohol course on Sunday 19 November from 8:45am - 4pm.
The course will run on site for any student interested in obtaining this certificate. Cost for the course will be between $200 and $250 per person depending on the numbers in attendance. The certificate lasts for five years. Students do not need to be 18 to undertake the course, however they will need to be 18 years of age before it can be used to serve alcohol in an establishment.
Please complete the enrolment form using the link provided below and email to echannon@as.edu.au or hand in a hard copy of the completed paperwork by Friday 3 November.
If you require any further information please get in touch with Miss Emma Channon on (02) 6776 5800.


The Armidale School Uniform Shop now has an online store, for your convenience. The store can be found in Parents Portal or in the quicklinks at the base of the TAS website or by using the link provided below.

The store will enable parents to order uniforms for postage or collection.

Collected by:
Middle and Senior students in term
Sent home with Junior School students
Picked up at the store in opening hours including school holidays by parents.

Mrs Cate Hayton


04. From the P&F


Christmas Puddings – Brandy Donations Wanted

If you can donate a bottle of brandy, please contact the P&F Executive to make arrangements or leave your bottle at the School Reception. We so far have one bottle donated, out of the 12 required.


Christmas Puddings – Order Now

Famous TAS P&F Christmas Puddings can be ordered online here Order Puddings Now

For those already on the pudding waitlist, you can now use the above link to confirm and pay for your puddings.

We will communicate the process for collecting puddings over the coming weeks.


Christmas Puddings – Volunteers Wanted

The TAS P&F Christmas Pudding production weekend is set for Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November. Please get in touch with the P&F Exec if you can volunteer for a couple of hours on either of these days.


Term 4 P&F Meetings

Save the dates for this term’s P&F meetings:

  • Wednesday 1 November (Week 4) at 7.00pm
  • Wednesday 29 November (Week 8) at 7.00pm


Contact 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


Year 11 – ‘Welcome to the HSC Year’ Information Day

Last Thursday, Year 11 students attended an incursion focused on an introduction to the academic year ahead. Part of the day included external presenters from Elevate Education and Atomi addressing some approaches to study and revision. Mr Taylor met with the group to discuss post-school options and processes of application for early entry schemes and GAP years. Additionally, the Year 11s received the 2024 Assessment Schedule and had time to record term dates, and plot when their various assessments will be due this term and next year. Thank you to Mr Moffitt who ran a session with Year 11 on the key features of Band 6 responses; students compared work samples to determine strengths and weaknesses in the writing. There were also sessions on HSC moderation and the assessable components of this process. The feedback from Year 11 students was overwhelmingly positive and the day marked an important and beneficial start to the HSC Year.


2024 Year 11 Subject Selection (current Year 10)

Thank you to our current Year 10 students, and our new families joining us next year, for the submission of Year 11 subject choices last week. The 2024 Year 11 classes will be finalised over the coming few weeks and I will be in contact once student patterns of study are confirmed.


Stage 5 Electives – 2024 Subject Selection (current Year 8 and 9)

Next week, the 2024 Stage 5 Academic Handbook will be published online and distributed to families of our current Year 8 and 9 students. The first phase of academic planning for these students involves them determining the elective subjects that will be offered in 2024 to Stage 5. We begin with a list of over 100 possible electives and the Year 8 and 9 students will ‘short-list’ this to a selection of approximately 30 subjects for Semester 1 and 30 for Semester 2. Students are reminded to consider a range of subjects, from those that will challenge their critical thinking through to those that will allow them to demonstrate creative planning and skills. The purpose of the Stage 5 Elective Program is for students to experience variety and challenge. I look forward to working with our Year 8s and 9s on this process.


Mrs Gill Downes
Director of Teaching and Learning



TAS Creative Writing Competition Results

I hope that all members of our community, around the time of International Literacy Day last month, were able to reflect on the impact that literacy has on our lives and on how lucky we are to be able to read and write compared to the many people across the world who are not able to access this vital education.

As you may recall, in celebration of International Literacy Day, this year we ran the Inaugural TAS Creative Writing Competition. Thank you to all those who submitted entries. It was truly inspiring to read through them all. Please see below for the results for each stage.

  • Stage 1 Winner: Sam Trevaskis
  • Stage 2 Winner: Elliott Schaeffer
  • Stage 3 Winner: Evelyn Brownlie
  • Stage 4 Winner: Megan Varvari
  • Stage 5 Winner: Sadie Abbott
  • Stage 6 Winner: Archie Little
  • Community/Staff/Parents Winner: Tara Schalk

I must say, I found it very hard to judge the winners of each stage, as all entries were unique and impressive, so please do not be disheartened if you were not the winner of your stage. Congratulations to our winners and to all those who entered. Each winner will receive a $50 gift voucher to Reader’s Companion. Well done!

I would also like to make special mention of the considerable number of entries I received from our Junior School students. It is very clear to me that there are many up-and-coming creative writers among you. In particular, I was very impressed by the entries from Year 3. I believe that every student in Year 3 submitted an entry, and they were all perfectly formatted and edited. It was also clear to me that they had definitely been using the skills that they had learnt from the Writer’s Toolbox program. Well done to Year 3, and thank you to Mrs Fawcett for your guidance of this group.

Lastly, a huge congratulations to Sadie Abbott from Year 9, who is our overall winner. Sadie wins an additional $150 gift voucher for Reader’s Companion. I choose Sadie’s as the overall winner because of the impact that I believe it can have on all of our student body, as it encourages you to compare your daily lives with those of a soldier’s. Well done Sadie!!! Please see Sadie’s poem below.


At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?
Lest you forget.

As you follow one another
through the narrow corridors,
we march in unison towards the battlefield,
where we will face our greatest fear.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you stand in a line
waiting to enter the classroom,
we stand in straight formation,
waiting for our precise and firm instructions.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you slump down in your chairs,
paying no attention,
we crouch down in the trenches,
our hearts filled with alarm.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you lug around your book-laden school bag,
we bear our heavy packs
that are filled with our current, broken lives.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you sit with your friends at recess,
we say our final goodbyes to some of our closest companions
knowing that they will most likely never return.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?


As you sit in your lesson
wondering how long it is until you can pack up and leave,
we sit anxiously in the tanks,
wondering if we will ever make it back home.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you sneakily message someone during lunch,
We hand-write letters to our loved ones,
hoping that they will eventually be received.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you complain about running a few laps in P.E
We trudge for hours on end
trying to find a secure spot to rest.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you play rugby
on the perfectly painted field,
we stiffly stand on the battlefield
watching lives being taken before us.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

As you leave the gates
ready to return the next day,
we say goodbye to the life we had
and everything that makes us who we are.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
Will you remember us?

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lest we forget

Thank you again to all those who submitted entries and I look forward to next year, when I will again have the chance to read some of the wonderful work from our community. Please enjoy reading the entries of the stage winners, FOUND HERE.


Alexandra Murray
Head of English

06. From the Director of Co-curricular


Summer co-curricular activities commenced this week and it has been pleasing to see students engage in local competitions, ensembles, and the creative arts. More than 250 students participated in the 19 for Nineteen ‘Anya’s Wish’ at Kenwood Park on the weekend. I commend Mr Pennington for another well-run community event that saw TAS students, parents and the wider Armidale community actively engage in such a worthwhile cause. I also want to congratulate our First XI, led by Andrew Brennan and coached by Mr Dobson. They enjoyed a well-earned win against Hillgrove when set a run chase of 198.

In the first week of training and competition, I have noticed a marked improvement in sports uniform. There have been many studies and running commentaries on the importance of uniforms but for TAS, wearing our uniform well helps to create a sense of belonging, displays pride in our school and we look the part when performing or competing in our various activities and competitions. The uniform shop is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for any student who needs additional or new items of clothing.


Mrs Huon Barrett
Director of Co-curricular

19 for Nineteen

An incredible turnout for a wonderful cause! That’s the best way to describe this amazing TAS community and its support for Anya’s Wish. This was so much more than the Triple Crown; it was about helping, giving a hand, empathy, compassion, and kindness. Students, parents, and staff all glided across the 7 or 19km courses, walking (and some super keen running), knowing that their efforts would directly go towards furthering the research into childhood osteosarcoma. Now in its third year, Anya’s Wish is developing new treatments for cancer patients, and we continue to believe that this research will herald breakthroughs resulting in positive outcomes in the near future.

Sunday had to be one of the few occasions whereby we had students from Pre-K through to Year 12, all participating together, representing their school. Add to this the 60 sensational parents who intrinsically know the value of such an event; well, it became the real dream team! I am so grateful to everyone who walked, ran, donated and supported this most special day; you are all majestic!

Mr James Pennington
Director of Challenge and Adventure

07. From the Head of Middle School


Last weekend was certainly a busy first weekend back of term. For a number of teams, the summer sports season commenced. On Saturday, Middle School and the wider TAS campus was filled with a large number of prospective and current families who came along to see what a TAS Middle School education is all about. The School looked an absolute picture and our visitors were able to participate in activities that covered all areas of school life. I’d like to offer my thanks to the large number of students and staff who assisted in ensuring that this year’s Open Day was a huge success.

A large number of TAS students, staff and parents participated in the 19 for Nineteen Challenge on Sunday morning, at Kenwood Park. By all reports, the atmosphere at this event was incredible. It is wonderful to see our students continue to step up and challenge themselves out of their comfort zones and contribute to such a worthy cause. Again, my thanks to all who took part in this challenge event. We have now had two of the three Triple Crown events for 2023 and the final event of the year is scheduled for 10 November and further details will be communicated in due course.

A number of families have been discussing exemptions from school for various events and activities. Can I please ask that when planning family events or travel that consideration is given to school time and in particular, some key dates within our calendar. For your information, I have included some key dates below.

  • Bivouac – Thursday 26 and Friday 27 October
  • Activities Week – Monday 27 November to Friday 1 December
  • Year 8 into 9 Activities (Students only) – Wednesday 4 December
  • Middle School Final Assembly – Thursday 7 December
  • Middle & Senior School Speech Day  – Friday 8 December

Upcoming Activities & Consent Forms 

All of Middle School will be completing an overnight bivouac on Thursday 26 and 27 October 2022. Year 6 and 7 will be completing some activities at TAS and  heading out to a property near Dumaresq Dam to complete a number of activities including canoeing, trekking, cooking, orienteering, bush skills activities and camping. 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/zaw3TrNLBb9f3wqT6  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 is included in TAS Talks. Students have been briefed on the activities, packing list at school yesterday. Any questions regarding Year 8 Cadets can be directed to Mr Woodbridge – jwoodbri@as.edu.au

Stand Tall Event – Tamworth – Friday 17 November 2023

Year 7 and 8 have been invited to take part in this year’s Stand Tall Event, held in Tamworth on Friday November 17. This event provides our students with the opportunity to be alongside some 4000 secondary students from across our region to hear from a range of keynote speakers. This inspirational event aims to equip students with the skills of resilience, the strength to stand up to bullying, the keys to motivation, the power of perspective and the benefits of making good and wise decisions. These skills come together to build hope for the future in teenagers, a vital component of their mental wellbeing. More information can be found on the Stand Tall Website:https://www.standtallevent.com/ and  https://www.standtallevent.com/tamworth2023

Please complete the consent form online: https://forms.gle/ijue5r9egkadmLfj7


Mr Luke Polson
Head of Middle School

08. From the Head of Junior School



TAS is certainly a busy place, and there is no busier time in any school than Term 4, particularly a comparatively short one as we have this term.

A number of Junior School sportspeople played their first fixtures of the summer sport season on Friday last week with all programs and teams having at least one training session already. It has been fabulous to visit some of these training sessions already and we wish all involved in a sport this term the very best. We are confident that you will enjoy the opportunity to participate with your school friends, for many in a completely new discipline, and that you will grow and develop as a person through this. Harry Sheeny, basketball coach and sports administrator for many years, suggests “It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or loser.” We encourage all who are playing a competitive sport this term to remember this advice and to prioritise good sportsmanship above all else.

Rehearsals are well underway once again for the Junior School production of Finding Nemo. As we approach the performance dates we appeal to our community for support in preparing the stage and a variety of props in the second component of the Finding Nemo working bee program. There are two dates within the next week on which any assistance would be gratefully received – Sunday 22 October between 9.00am and 1.00pm, and Wednesday 25 October from 3.30pm to 5.00pm. Having much of the stage completed on these days will allow for more authentic rehearsals to be conducted over the next four weeks. The final working bee, involving the removal of the stage and larger props will take place on the morning of Sunday 3 December. Should you have any questions in relation to the working bees please contact your child’s teacher,  Mr Craig Norrie or Ms Leasa Cleaver.

Tickets are now on sale for all four performances of Finding Nemo Jnr. Please purchase your preferred tickets online at https://events.humanitix.com/tjsfnj, taking note of the following information in relation to the performances in which your child(ren) will be involved. Please note that tickets are limited. We consequently advise you book yours as soon as practical.

Students from Year 2 and above will be involved in all shows with many of the lead roles ‘double cast’. This means that two students will be filling some roles, each performing one matinee and one evening performance. Doing so allows us to maximise the performance opportunities afforded by this musical. Parents and carers of Year 4 and 5 students are advised to check their emails for further information as to which cast(s) their child is in. Students who have been cast as a lead in one cast will be involved in the other two performances but to a lesser extent.  Students in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Year 1 will all perform in two of the four shows, as outlined below:

  • Kindergarten and Year 1N (Ms Nicholl’s class) perform in the matinee on Thursday 30 November and the evening performance on Friday 1 December.
  • Pre-Kindergarten and Year 1W (Mrs Wright’s class) perform in the matinee on Friday 1 December and the evening performance on Saturday 2 December

Students met with their buddy class last week and spent some wonderful time in the company of other Junior School students. Some completed community service activities, others worked together to set goals for themselves this term, while still others focussed more on character development through small games. Regardless of the intended outcome for the individual activity, the purpose of the program as a whole is to strengthen the vertical connections within the Junior School and increase the sense of belonging that students feel. Research indicates that a student’s sense of belonging is directly related to both their wellbeing and academic outcomes. All are already looking forward to the next Buddies session later in the year.

Many students experienced little time to rest over the weekend. It was tremendous to see many Year 4 and 5 students in attendance at the Middle School Open Day on Saturday. We trust that they enjoyed the experience and learned a little more about what lies ahead for them as they progress through the school. The Junior School was very well represented on Sunday in the 19 for Nineteen challenge. With current and prospective students as young as 4 years age participating it really was a wonderful community event, as you will read elsewhere in this edition of TAS Talks. Congratulations to all who participated, for both completing either the 7km and the 19km walk but also for the mature manner with which you approached this event and your introspection throughout.


Happy Birthday

Many happy returns to Max Maria, Harper Moran, Elija Ng, Laleh Samadi and Walee Umer for your special days this week.


Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School



Upcoming Events

Friday 20 OctoberYear 2 AssemblyHoskins Centre (2.45 pm)
Sunday 22 OctoberNemo Working Bee9.00 -1.00 pm
Friday 27 OctoberYear 2 Excursion to Thalgarrah
Year 4 AssemblyHoskins Centre (2.45 pm)
Monday 30 OctoberYear 5 Far Out Science DayUNE
Friday 3 NovemberYear 5 AssemblyHoskins Centre (2.45 pm)
Friday 10 NovemberYear 3 AssemblyHoskins Centre (2.45 pm)


IB Primary Years Programme (PYP)

PYP-Creating Positive School Culture

From an IB perspective, “School culture refers to the written and unwritten rules that define how a school functions. It also encompasses personal and collective well-being, the effective utilisation of physical and human resources, and the extent to which a school acknowledges and celebrates diversity.”

Every third Friday afternoon our classes are ‘buddied up’ with another class to spend some collaborative time together. We believe that this buddy time adds enormous value to the programme we offer and helps to build our Junior School Culture. It develops students’ well-being as they engage in conversations and share openly and honestly with each other. It enables regular opportunities to build relationships across grades, which in turn makes for a happier and more cohesive playground.

Spending time with a buddy class has many benefits for both younger and older students.

The buddy system assists our older students to understand that they are held in high regard by the younger members of our Junior School and that the way that they think, act and behave contributes to the overall school culture.  They learn to be a positive role model and to build self-confidence in their abilities. For our younger students, they have someone to look up to and someone to come to if they support. 

I would like to share some research that has been conducted by The Alannah and Madeline Foundation and their findings on buddy systems in schools:

We increasingly understand social and emotional learning to be equally important as academic learning for the success and wellbeing of students. Schools are beginning to develop programs that assist in building respect, care and support, and in doing so, reduce bullying behaviours, and assist students to become responsible and socially skilled.”

(To find out more about this foundation: https://www.alannahandmadeline.org.au/)

Please take the time to ask your child/ren about what they have been doing with their buddy class!

Mrs Veronica Waters
PYP Coordinator


Junior School Sport

Summer Sport

All summer sports are now underway. We look forward to a wonderful summer season. If you have any questions please direct them to your child’s coach, alternatively to Mrs Christine Wright. cwright@as.edu.au

Indoor Hockey

Our Indoor players had their first games last Friday at the TAS Gym. It was great to see so many enthusiastic young players, ready to start the season. Please ensure your child’s hockey stick is taped appropriately and they have everything they need for the game each week.




We are looking for an enthusiastic parent or two who would be willing to coach and assist our second cricket team on Saturday mornings. Both teams will continue to train together with the guidance of Mr and Mrs Mayne. If you are interested, please contact Mrs Wright.






What a wonderful time was had by all 41 students at tennis on Monday afternoon. Despite the strong wind presenting a few challenges all students appeared to have a wonderful time.

The students were divided into smaller groups and were coached through some tennis skills.

Our younger students learnt to hold their racquet correctly and enjoyed some games to develop their skills. The older groups worked on hitting the ball over the net using forearm and also focussed on the correct stance when waiting to receive the ball.

A few reminders:

  • Please supply a small snack for afternoon tea prior to tennis
  • All participants need a water bottle and their school hat
  • Students are to be collected at 4:45pm


Mrs Veronica Waters



Community Notices