2024 Term 1 Week 7   |   13.03.2024

TAS Talks Term 1 Week 7

01. From the Principal


Last Friday 8 March was International Women’s Day and I was fortunate to attend a number of events including our own TAS assembly, to hear some amazing women speak. While the origins of IWD are straightforward to understand, particularly in terms of women’s suffrage, the ongoing necessity of recognising the day can be a more complex conversation, particularly for our young people. The messages and stories I heard this year, however, are so relevant and important for us all, centring around inclusion and the ability for everyone to have options available to them, and the freedom to make choices.

The importance of a personal support network was something else that came up time and time again. Mentors to assist with personal growth, allies for support and collaboration, and sponsors, or cheerleaders, to champion your cause. This takes time to develop of course, but most people’s networks start with family, friends, and perhaps a school teacher.

One of my cheerleaders when I started teaching, and perhaps one of my earliest influences in terms of my career direction, was my Junior School science teacher, Mrs Tulacz. I still have very clear memories of our class collecting worms to feed to her axolotls (Arthur and Gill) and of the day we caught a field mouse in the grounds and then let it loose to run riot around the lab. It didn’t cross my mind that I would become a scientist or a science teacher at that stage, but when I started teaching, many years later, Mrs Tulacz took me out to lunch in celebration and that was a really special occasion for me.

We are indeed fortunate at TAS to have so many wonderful female and male role models, mentors and champions for our students.

Dr Rachel Horton

02. From the Deputy Principal


Initiated in 2023, ‘Blue Week’ was a student-led program started by the TAS Prefects and Student Representative Council (SRC) designed not to raise money but raise awareness of mental health. This year ‘Blue Week’ will be held at TAS in Week 10 this term. 

The week will officially be launched to the student body today at assembly with our Service and Challenge Coordinator Mr James Pennington speaking to the Senior and Middle School students about speaking up and giving support to each other as needed. Our Senior Prefects will speak at our Junior School Assembly on Friday to ensure this is a whole School event. 

In the lead up to ‘Blue Week’ our SRC and Prefect Group have collaborated to develop an Advisor program for all students. Each day will feature a theme to prompt conversations including Strength, Courage and Hope. We will run a ‘Wear something Blue’ Mufti Day on Friday April 5 to raise awareness for mental health and a group photo of all students at the TAS Blue Tree will be taken during lunch. 

Thank you also to Mr Pennington for linking the Blue Week theme to our first challenge event of the year with the Coffs Ocean Swim taking place on Sunday 7 April; a great way to conclude the week. 

All of the above has been student planned, a special mention to our Senior Prefects Henry Kirton and Bethan Palfreyman for bringing the Prefects and SRC together to plan what is hoped to be another highly successful week.

While the focus is on raising awareness, students will have the opportunity to contribute to a fundraising initiative for some seating around our Blue Tree. They can do this by purchasing a customised cattle ear tag for $10 with the slogan ‘it’s ok to not be ok’. Our SRC will be selling these during breaks from this week.

Some valuable resources:

How to ask ‘are you ok?’- https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask

Blue Tree Project: https://www.bluetreeproject.com.au/

It’s ok to Not be Ok

“We are stronger than we believe,

braver than we think

and loved more than we know”


Mr Ray Pearson

Deputy Principal

03. Calendar of Events

Wednesday 13 MarchP&F Meeting7-9 pm
Thursday 14 MarchNAPLANYears 7 & 9
Friday 15 MarchNAPLANYears 7 & 9
Monday – Friday 18 – 22 MarchNAPLAN
Wednesday 20 March – Sunday 24 MarchAustralian National Rowing Championships
Wednesday 20 MarchTAS Regional TourMoree
Thursday 21 MarchTAS Regional TourNarrabri
Thursday 21 MarchFederation Cup Debating FinalsTamworth
Sunday 24 MarchCricket Dinner6.30 – 9.30 pm



Uniform and Bookshop

The new navy bucket hats are now in!

The next delivery of the girl's straw hats are expected on the 8 March.

Now is the time to start planning the purchase of winter uniforms, please buy online, or if fitting is required please make an appointment on the website.
We are happy to fit Year 6- 12 students without an appointment at lunchtime and after school.

Next school holidays we are only open Wednesday 24 April and by appointment only. Please book online.

On Monday 29 April from 10 am - 4pm we are open exclusively for boarding students. No appointments are necessary, but this time is just for returning boarders and their families.

Mrs Cate Hayton

From the Medical Centre

Please note that this year Dr Markey will be attending the Medical Centre on Tuesdays from 7:30 am to 9 am.

There are also changes to the billing. Students over the age of 16 will be charged the normal consultation fee. Whilst students under the age of 16 years will be bulk billed. If you have any queries, please contact Rusden Street Medical Practice - 6772 2291

A reminder that the Year 10 Immunisation Clinic is being held on Thursday 14 March. If you have not completed the consent form, please go to https://engage.health.nsw.gov.au/engage and follow the prompts.

04. From the P&F


TASRC – Volunteers

TAS Rugby Carnival is the first weekend of the upcoming term break. The P&F will operate venues for barbecues and kiosks, as well as pack player lunches and sell donated home baked goods. We are calling for volunteers to help on Friday 12 April with set up, as well as Saturday 13 – Sunday 14 at the Carnival.

We need over 170 helpers across the weekend!

Please visit the link to confirm your support for the days/times you are available TASRC Volunteer Sign Up

TASRC – Catering Captains

In addition to helpers on TASRC weekend, we also need a few volunteers to pre-make food items. the P&F will purchase the ingredients; you provide the know-how, kitchen and effort to make the items. We need the following made:

  • Corn Fritters (vegetarian) – Approximately 200 mixed and baked
  • Yoghurt & Granola Cups – Approximately 85 portions

If you can make any of the above please contact the P&F Exec team at pandf@as.edu.au.

P&F Meeting

The next P&F meeting is this Wednesday 13 March from 7 pm. We will meet face to-face in Upper Maxwell as well as have a Zoom session running for those wishing to attend remotely. You can bet TASRC will be on the agenda.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 215 517 2798

Password: parents

Connect with P&F

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;

  • TAS P&F FB page – Search “TAS Parents & Friends” on Facebook
  • Year Group FB pages – Search “TAS Year 12 XXXX” on Facebook where XXXX is the graduating year of your child (e.g. “TAS Year 12 2026”). Ask to join.

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 Acting Director of Teaching and Learning



A reminder that NAPLAN is running in Years 3, 5, 7 has commenced today.

Students are reminded that this is a low-stakes test aimed at offering one aspect of insight into our students’ literacy and numeracy progress. Academic staff use the data that comes from these tests to inform our teaching. As such, all students should apply themselves and produce their best work in these tests, so the results are an accurate reflection of their ability in these areas of learning. From Wednesday, 13 March, all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will complete a test in Writing, Reading, Language Conventions and Numeracy.

For Years 7 and 9, we will be following the schedule outlined below. Students must be prepared for these sessions with both a charged laptop and a set of headphones. Any music lessons that occur during these times should be rescheduled. If a student is absent from a test, there will be opportunities for catch-up tests in the days immediately following the start of NAPLAN. Further information about this process can be found here: https://nap.edu.au/naplan

Wednesday 13 MarchThursday 14 MarchFriday 15 MarchMonday 18 March
Writing – Memorial HallReading – Memorial HallConventions of Language – Memorial HallMathematics – Memorial Hall
Year 7 – Periods 1&2Year 7 Periods 1&2Year 7 Periods 3&4Year 7 Periods 4&5
Year 9 – Periods 4&5Year 9 – Periods 3&4Year 9 – Periods 1&2Year 9 – Periods 1&2


Mr Luke Polson
Acting Director of Teaching and Learning


As many of you would be aware, our students in Years 6-10 have begun reading for 15 minutes at the beginning of prep each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Most students are beginning to get into the habit of this and it has been so pleasing to hear from many parents and prep supervisors who have remarked on how lovely it has been to see students reading regularly.

Our hope is that students are choosing something that they enjoy reading. As such it can be from any text type or genre that interests them, as long as it is appropriate for the school setting. Students are then asked to record what they have read in their issued Reading Log and then get a parent/guardian/prep supervisor to sign it off. Thank you so much for your support with this process.

This process has initiated many fantastic conversations in our English classrooms, as English teachers have had the opportunity to discuss text choices with students. My hope is that this has been the case for parents too, whether it be around the dining room table or over the phone. These kinds of conversations are essential for developing a culture of reading and that is certainly what we are striving for. So please share with your children what you love to read, make suggestions and ask them questions about their favourite texts too.

Reading is an integral part of the education of all people and we are thrilled to see it receiving a more significant focus in the new English syllabus that we have begun teaching this year in Years 6-10. I am sure it is obvious to all why we focus on reading in the primary years, but I wanted to elaborate on why it is important for all older students. Regular reading enables:

  • reading speeds to continue to improve and develop

  • the continued development and expansion of a students vocabulary

  • students to be immersed in worlds different to their own, providing them with alternative perspectives, experiences and thoughts

  • students to develop their knowledge on topics that interest them

  • students to have a significant advantage over other students when it comes to the Stage 6 English course, which requires students to allude to texts from their wide reading

  • students creativity to improve

  • Students writing skills to improve, as they see examples of good writing

With the recent release of the ‘Reading Guarantee’ from the Grattan Institute and many other studies on reading that have recently been undertaken, we at TAS are very much committed to making reading a greater part of our culture and we certainly welcome any and all support that parents can provide. The new VATE publication,‘Activating Reading Capabilities in English’ by Amanda McGraw and Mary Mason, argues that “in order to achieve richness in reading response, readers have to make and recognise connections, generate pictures from language, be able to emotionally ‘become’ the texts they read, have active inner and social dialogic interaction with texts and reflect metacognitively on what readers do. This requires agency.” Our Reading for Pleasure Program is certainly one strategy which can help us work towards this aim.


Mrs Alex Murray
Head of English 

06. Leadership, Service and Adventure


Run for Mac

I would like to invite you and your children to join an initiative of Jack McCook (Year 12) in support of Cormac Downes (Year 9) and his family. Cormac is currently undergoing treatment for cancer at the Sydney Children’s Hospital.

On Saturday 6 April, the Campus to City Canter is back (8 am start). It is a 5km run from Sport UNE (Consett Davis Fields), following the cycleway into town and finishing at Curtis Park.

Please consider joining us for a 5km sprint/jog or walk in support of Cormac. Your involvement will support the Downes family financially, easing the stress of the cost of transport, accommodation and medical bills whilst also spurring Mac to keep fighting. The cost of this event is $20.

If you wish to participate, please contact Jim Pennington jpenning@as.edu.au


Mr James Pennington
Adventure, Service and Challenge Coordinator


The first full unit BIVOUAC of the year will be conducted from 0840 Tuesday 26 March to 1530 Wednesday 27 March, 2024. This is a two day, one night exercise.

Cadets are to assemble on Adamsfield by 0840 26 March under ‘Marching Orders’, that is with their pack, webbing and all their gear ready for two days and a night in the field.

The unit will start this BIVOUAC with a Promotions Parade, where those who successfully completed Leaders Course will be promoted to their new rank for the year. The great strength of this program is the fact it is student led. Rank are put in charge of groups of up to 25 students and are responsible for motivating and organising that group to achieve set objectives.

The unit will operate in the following locations for BIVOUAC 1:

  • A Coy – Malpas Dam and surrounds to conduct rotation of Kayak, Trek, Obs Course and MTB.
  • B Coy – Newholme Station (UNE Ag Plot) and surrounds to conduct rotation of Navigation, Kayak, River Crossing and Fieldcraft.
  • C Coy – Newholme Station (UNE Ag Plot) and surrounds to conduct rotation of Navigation, Canoe, Abseil and Fieldcraft.

In depth briefings will occur during Advisor time, Monday and Tuesday Week 8 (18 and 19 March). Students are to be at the following locations by 0830.

  • A Coy – Hoskins Centre
  • B Coy – Memorial Hall
  • C Coy – McConville Centre

Before briefings occur, students are to check their gear extensively. Q-Store will be open Wednesday and Friday during lunchtime Week 8 to swap out any damaged gear. Any gear that is lost will be charged to student accounts. TAS Cadet Gear is loaned to students for their time in cadets. One set of cadet gear costs $2500, and hence should be looked after appropriately.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


CAPT (AAC) J Woodbridge
Officer Commanding, TASACU




07. From the Director of Co-curricular

Mr Huon Barrett


TAS competes in two Equestrian events as a school each year. If your child is interested in competing in either of the events, please contact me as the MIC of Equestrian and then as information comes to hand I shall get in contact. My email address is amurray1@as.edu.au.

Please find below the information that I have thus far on these two events:

North West Equestrian Expo

When: 31 May- 4 June

Where: Coonabarabran

Who: High school students

Website: https://www.nwequestrianexpo.com.au/


Entry Fees = $380 (5 days)

Stables = $310

Yards = $110

Please note that there will be additional costs to this for food, accommodation, uniforms etc


Inter-Schools Horse Extravaganza

When:18-21 October

Where: Tamworth

Who: Primary and High School students

Website: https://www.ishetamworth.com.au/

Cost: TBC


As the MIC of Equestrian, my job is to communicate information regarding these two events and to help organise entries for these events, however, given animals are involved in this sport, it is very different to other sports in terms of parent participation. Parents are required to attend events with their children and to be responsible for them whilst there. If your child is interested in competing, but it will be their first time, there are many parents that I can get you in touch with, who can give you more insight into how both events operate. It is certainly a team atmosphere and many of the TAS families involved, enjoy camping together etc.

In addition, students are required to purchase some items from the TAS Clothing pool that act as their Team uniform. This includes brow-bands and saddle cloths as well as other items.

Entries open for the North West Equestrian Expo next Monday, so please get in contact with me as soon as possible if you are interested in this event, so that we can then commence putting entries in.

Last year was an incredibly successful year for the TAS Equestrian Team and we look forward to another one this coming year.

Mrs Alex Murray
MIC Equestrian

08. From the Director of Boarding


With Mr Jamie Brauer moving into the Acting Head of Middle School role from the commencement of Term 1 and stepping down from the Boarding Recreation Officer role, I have had conversations with a number of academic staff regarding stepping into this important position.  I am confident an appointment will be made over the next two weeks and will communicate this once confirmed. This role involves the coordination and timely communication of regular Weekend Activities, both on and off-site, for the boarders. Communication of these activities, including the Term 2 Weekend Activities Program, will primarily be communicated through TAS Talks.

Please start the conversations with your child/children and their Head/s of House on their departure times and transport arrangements over the Easter Long Weekend. Boarding Houses will be closed from 10.00 am Thursday, 28 March, with all boarders welcome to stay overnight on Wednesday evening, 27 March (at the conclusion of Bivouac). Boarding Houses will be re-opened for the remaining two weeks of Term 1 from 1.30 pm Monday 1 April. I encourage all families collecting their children on Wednesday 27 March to enter the school grounds from 4.00 pm. This will allow a smoother exit for our day students and staff and allow for additional car spaces to be available adjacent to boarding houses.

As was the case last year, all boarding houses will accommodate rugby players attending the TAS Rugby Carnival during the upcoming school holidays. Subsequently, boarders will need to liaise with their Heads of House regarding what can and can’t be left in their respective rooms/dorms over the upcoming holidays. All boarders need to be aware that anything left in boarding houses will need to be adequately secured.


Mr David Drain
Director of Boarding

09. From the Head of Creative Arts


Music Matters

TAS Twilight Concerts Term 1 – 6:00 pm, Monday 18 March (Memorial Hall)
TAS will be hosting our first Twilight Concert for the year next Monday, 18 March, in TAS Memorial Hall. This Twilight Concert will provide the perfect opportunity for students to perform for an appreciative audience. A list of the students performing in the Twilight Concert are listed below:
Twilight Concert, Monday 18 March – Memorial Hall (6:00 pm)
Student’s NameYearTutor’s NameInstrumentTitle of PerformanceComposerAccompanist
Dino RajendraYr 1Li Ling ChenPianoThe Old Clock and Mary had a little lambN. And R Faber and folk songLi Ling Chen
Briyana Yelinsa GalpathageYr 2Euga RuanPianoLittle ThingsWillard A Palmer
Sansa RanawakeYr 4Li Ling ChenOboeMary Had A little LambTraditionalLi Ling Chen
William MinterYr 5Madeline LawrencePianoLa pantomime de MarieJean-Marc Allerme
Raymond WangYr 4Sofia DebusViolinConcerto No. 5 – – 1st movementF. SeitzLi Ling Chen
Elsie TengYr 8Robyn DriscollPianoPassacagliaHandel/Halvorsen
William Cooper FilliosYr 7Joanna Fairs -WuViolinMillionaire’s HoedoenHerman ClebanoffRobert Manley
Raymond WangYr 4Li Ling ChenPianoAllegro and Hungarian Dance No.5Frank Lynes and BrahmsNone
Meg EarleYr 9Robert JacksonCelloRomance from “Gadfly”ShostakovichLi Ling Chen
Harriet CouplandYr 8Li Ling ChenPianoA Rainy Saturday and EtudeDiemer and ConconeNone
SadieYr 10Sharny RussellVoiceHallelujahLeonard CohenWarwick Dunham
Gita RajendraYr 9Li Ling ChenPianoOrientaleChaminadeNone
Peter ThompsonYr 9Robert JacksonCelloPolonaise de ConcertD PopperRobert Manley
Sam Guppy, Andi Li, Peter ThompsonYr 9Joanna Fairs-WuViolin, Violin, CelloRondePaul de WaillyNone
Ryne WilkinsonYr 9Peter SandersPianoHungarian Dance Number 5Johannes BrahmsNone
Edward MinterYr 2Sofia DebusCelloEtudeSuzukiLi Ling Chen
William MinterYr 5Sofia DebusCelloMinuet No. 1 and 2 from Cello Suit No.1J.S. BachLi Ling Chen
TAS Junior Piano TrioYr 5Li Ling ChenViolin, Cello and PianoMinuet No.2J.S.Bach
Short Intermission
Tom LoxleyYr 7Robert JacksonCelloLascia ch’io piangaGeorge Frideric HandelWarwick Dunham
Nithya RajendraYr 10Li Ling ChenPianoSonata quasi una Fantasia, I. Adagio SostenutoBeethovenNone
Katie HynesYr 10Sharny RussellVoiceStayRihannaWarwick Dunham
Tom LoxleyYr 7Robyn DriscolpianoTartanElissa MilneNone
Genevieve MaunderYr 12Sharny RussellVocalsBack to Black (Scary Pockets cover)Amy Winehouse & Mark RonsonWarwick Dunham, Denis Dos Santos Arakaki, Harry Turnbull
Olive LockettYr 12Robert JacksonDouble bassHouses on StiltsRobert DavidsonWarwick Dunham
The Bella’s (Bella Fernance + Bella Lucas)Yr 12N/AVoiceClass from ChicagoFred Ebb and John KanderWarwick Dunham
Holly DauparasYr 12Paul MarshallBassoonShapeshifter (movements II and IV)Holly Harrison
Tommy BurnettYr 12Jessica MillerVocalsBeing Alive (from Company)Stephen SondheimWarwick Dunham
Sam GuppyYr 11Paul MarshallTenor SaxophoneMegalania: The Lizard MonsterNick Russionello
Belle MeyerYr 12Inge SouthcottVocalYou make me wanna dieThe Pretty RecklessDenis Dos Santos Arakaki, Harry Turnbull and Mr Tom Collett
Abigail ThompsonYr 12Robert JacksonCelloWhale PavaneLuke ByrneRobert Manley
Will GloverYr 12Jack CavanaghDrumsTasmanian GlowStrawberry GirlsDenis Dos Santos Arakaki
Olive LockettYr 12Robert JacksonBass GuitarChernobyl HamsterNuclear RabbitHarry Turnbull and Denis Dos Santos Arakaki


Ms Leanne Roobol
Director of Music

10. From the Acting Head of Middle School



The wider TAS community wishes all Year 3, Year 5, Year 7 and Year 9 students all the best over the next few school days during NAPLAN. All Year 7 students must ensure that their laptops are fully charged every day throughout the week. Headphones will be provided.

Please see below the schedule for the Year 7 students.

  • Wednesday 13 March
  • Writing – Period 1 and Period 2.
  • Thursday 14 March
  • Reading – Period 1 and Period 2.
  • Friday 15 March
  • Conventions of Language – Period 3 and Period 4.
  • Monday 18 March
  • Mathematics – Period 4 and Period 5.


Mr Jamie Brauer
Acting Head of Middle School


11. From the Head of Junior School



It was wonderful for our staff to meet with so many members of the Junior School community in the scheduled Parent-Teacher Interviews last week. An effective partnership between home and school is crucial to supporting all children in reaching their potential, and we greatly appreciated the time spent discussing each student’s progress in all respects. We would be grateful for any feedback that you wish to share on this experience—please complete this online form or email junior@as.edu.au.

One of the absolute highlights last week was the thoroughly engaging Junkyard Beats incursion that took place throughout the day last Friday. Organised by our wonderful music department, students from all year levels worked in cross-age groups to make some fabulous music from a wide range of everyday objects, many of which would be thrown away. The playground (and indeed many households based on conversations with families this week!) has been alive with the sound of body percussion and improvised instruments.

The Junior School Clubs program continues to grow. A range of lunchtime activities have run throughout much of lunchtime in the Hub since the start of term. Structured clubs have taken place before school each Thursday morning for the last six weeks with a wide variety of activities already offered this term. This week sees the first meeting of the co-curricular academic enrichment club for the term. Arguably the most fabulous club that has taken place, however, is the entirely student initiated and student-led lunchtime litter club that has organically started following the success of Clean Up Australia Day, the Clean Up Club earlier this term, and most recently the Junkyard Beats incursion that highlighted the importance of the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle. Thank you to the many student volunteers who have been giving up their time to tidy up our play spaces over the last few days – our grounds look even better than ever, and it has been wonderful to see our students “taking action”, one of the essential elements of the Primary Years Programme (PYP).

Students in Years 3 and 5 today joined their counterparts at schools throughout Australia in the completion of the first of four assessment tasks as part of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The assessments commenced today and we were so pleased to see all involved applying themselves fully to the writing task today. The remainder of the NAPLAN tests will be completed throughout the remainder of this week and early next week with regular classes taking place as much as possible. Please contact your child’s class teacher should you require any further information about the scheduling or content of these assessment tasks.


Mr Scott Chittenden
Head of Junior School



Upcoming Events

Wednesday 13 MarchNAPLAN begins
Friday 15 MarchHouse Meetings
Friday 22 MarchYear 3N AssemblyHoskins Centre (2.45 pm)
Tuesday 26 MarchEaster Hat Parade

Primary Years Programme (PYP)

Approaches to Learning

Approaches to learning (ATL)  are one of the key components of an IB education and support the development of attributes of the learner profile. The ATL are a set of skills, which are explicitly taught and aim to support students to become self-regulated learners. The ATL aim to teach students how to:

  • Ask good questions
  • Set effective goals
  • Seek and persue aspirations
  • Develop their sense of agency
  • View learning as a process (IBO2017)

Teachers aim to foster and support these skills through providing learning opportunities with skills that are transferable across a range of learning contexts.

The figure below highlights the five interrelated approaches to learning.









The ATL and sub-skills

Overarching CategorySub-skills
Thinking skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Transfer skills
  • Reflection/metacognitive skills
Research skills
  • Information literacy skills-cycle for research
  • Media literacy
  • Ethical use of media
Communication skills
  • Exchanging information
  • Literacy skills
  • ICT skills
Social skills
  • Developing positive relationships and collaborative skills
  • Developing social and emotional intelligence
Self-management skills
  • Organisation skills
  • States of mind


As is evident from the ATL sub-skills, there are many links between each of the overarching categories and this is vital in ensuring that learning is connected and that the skills are viewed as interrelated. Our teachers embed the ATL in their classroom culture by:

  1. Using the language
  2. Modelling the ATL
  3. Providing feedback on the ATL
  4. Ensuring routines are set around the ATL

Each unit of inquiry has ATL connected to them and this helps to ensure they are developed in a meaningful way.


Mrs Veronica Waters
PYP Coordinator

Junior School Music

NECOM Instrumental Ensembles Available to Junior School Students

The New England Conservatorium of Music has a variety of amazing instrumental ensembles available to our Junior School students. These are a wonderful opportunity to extend the musicianship and performance skills of our students and allow them to build connections with like minded students from schools across Armidale and surrounding areas.

Puddledock Strings

For beginner string players K-2 with a minimum of one term of learning. 

  • Includes fun Kodaly based musical activities 
  • Repertoire using open strings, pizzicato and/or bow – primarily by rote in unison or simple part playing.  
  • When applicable, simple unison and rounds beginning to use major tetra chord pattern.
  • Reinforcement of best posture practices (including bow hold).  
  • Learning to play to the same beat, playing simple rhythmic patterns and beginning to understand basic dynamics by following the conductor.  
  • 2-3 performances a year.

Boorolong Strings

For string players approximately Year 2-6 and equivalent to Preliminary/Grade 1 + AMEB standard.   

  • Repertoire targeted at Beginner – Grade 1 ensemble level. 
  • More complex part playing introduced.
  • Further development of sight reading and reading skills.
  • Further consolidation of ensemble skills to include precise following of the conductor, synchronising bowings as a section, feeling an internal beat, accurate counting of note values and rests, following dynamics, more challenging rhythmic patterns, intonation.  
  • 3- 4 performances a year.

Armidale Youth Strings (AYS)

Recommended for string players of Grade 2-4 + AMEB between the ages of approximately 9 and 14.  This ensemble continues to build on string rehearsal techniques and ensemble playing at a higher degree of difficulty. Admission by audition and teacher recommendation.

  • Emphasis on developing tone quality targeting bow speed, planning, weight and different bowing articulations. 
  • An understanding of ensemble intonation as part of the vertical harmonic structure.  
  • Repertoire targeted at Grade 2-3 ensemble level with a high level of pedagogical material and musical appeal.  
  • Opportunities to share section leader roles. 
  • 3-4 performances a year.

Tilbuster Winds

For wind, brass and percussion players – approximately Yrs 3-7 and equivalent to Preliminary/Grade 1 AMEB standard.  

  • Some repertoire requires different parts from each instrument, some confidence in rhythm and note reading required. 
  • Further consolidation of ensemble skills to include precise following of the conductor, listening to, but not being distracted by other parts, feeling an internal beat, accurate counting of note values and rests, following dynamics, more challenging rhythmic patterns, intonation.
  • 2-3 performances a year.

* Current piano students are encouraged to consider joining as a percussionist – this would involve both tuned and untuned percussion.  An excellent opportunity to experience ensemble playing.

Thunderbolt Percussion

This ensemble for our young pianists is an excellent way to transfer piano skills onto mallet percussion (xylophones & glockenspiels) and provide a stepping stone to playing percussion in an orchestra later on. The piano can be a solitary instrument so this ensemble is a great way to play music with others and make new friends! If you are interested in joining Thunderbolts please speak to your piano teacher to determine if you are ready for this. Places are limited to 16.

Armidale Youth Wind Ensemble (AYWE)

Recommended for wind, brass and percussion players of Grade 2-5 AMEB standard and above, ages range from year 5-12 dependant more on experience.  

  • Seating and sight-reading audition on application.  
  • This ensemble continues to build on rehearsal techniques and ensemble playing at a higher degree of difficulty.  
  • Continued development of an understanding of ensemble playing in a vibrant and exciting ensemble. Repertoire targeted at Grade 2-3+ ensemble level contacting a high level of pedagogical material and musical appeal.  
  • Opportunities to share section leader roles.
  • 3-4 performances a year.

* Current piano students are encouraged to consider joining as a percussionist – this would involve both tuned and untuned percussion.  An excellent opportunity to experience ensemble playing.

New England Wind Ensemble (NEWE)

A community ensemble open to anyone at a level from grade 4 and higher, exposure to a variety of contemporary concert band repertoire in a large ensemble, including original compositions, arrangements of classical works and medleys of well-known music.  

  • A friendly and encouraging environment to develop your technique in a section of similar instruments.  
  • NECOM wind and brass teachers lead sections and are available to help when needed.
  • 5-6 external performances each year.  

* Current intermediate to advanced piano students are encouraged to consider joining as a percussionist – this would involve both tuned and untuned percussion.  An excellent opportunity to experience ensemble playing.


Yours in Music
Miss Jessica Miller

Junior School Sport


It is always exciting to see teams develop their skills over the duration of a term. The drills practised in training start to transfer into the games and students start to work together and really ‘flow’ as a team. Last night’s 5/6 game at the Den was such a joy to watch. This team has continued to give their all despite some pretty big hits on the scoreboard, but last night they banded together as one AND played what can only be described as a nail biting game. The score was neck and neck for the entire game, TAS just managing to keep their head above water with a 1 point lead as the final buzzer sounded. A huge thank you to Year 10 student Tom Rowe who has volunteered his time as part of his to come and coach the team from the sidelines. What a difference he made.


Mrs Tania Hardin

Community Notices