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News > General News > NEGS News Term 2, Week 8

NEGS News Term 2, Week 8

25 Jun 2024
Written by Tianna Kelly
General News

As I dive into my 30+ years of working in education, it is a timely reminder to reflect upon and celebrate the young people in front of me. Are the needs of young people much the same as they were when I first started teaching? Yes, I think so. Are the wants of our young people much the same? I am not so sure about this one!

I spend a lot of time reflecting in my role, what works/worked well?  What doesn’t/didn’t work well? There are things I am immensely proud of, and then there are those heat-of-the-moment responses to situations where I question...what happened there?!!

The following abridged article by Ellen Galinsky (author of The Breakthrough Years) really resonated with me. As parents and educators, I encourage you to take the time to read it. 

Five things teens wish you knew about them

Across more than nine years, Galinsky surveyed more than 1,600 tweens and teens between the ages of 9 and 19 and their parents, asking them what they want to tell adults about people their age. 

The first message from young people is ‘Understand our development’. ‘If you had one word or phrase to describe the teen brain, what would that be?’ Only 14 per cent of the parents used positive words about the teen brain. The most frequently used word by 11 percent of the parents was ‘immature’, and another 8 percent used similar words. Far too many of us are seeing adolescents as deficit adults. We wouldn’t say a toddler is a deficit pre-schooler. But we see adolescents as ‘not adults’.

Adolescents need to be explorative and have adventures. You need to be able to react quickly and know if a situation is safe or not. That’s what they need to do to survive. Much of adolescent research has been on negative risks,.. and making what are often called ‘stupid decisions’. People wonder, ‘Do adolescents make these decisions because they feel they’re immune from danger?’ …Research by Ron Dahl from the University of California at Berkeley has found that when young people are doing scary things, they’re more attuned to danger. They’re learning to go out into the world — to move out and be more on their own. He describes it as ‘learning to be brave’, a characteristic admired worldwide.

The second message is ‘Talk with us, not at us’. Adolescents need to have some agency — to learn how to make decisions for themselves. … to find an appropriate level of autonomy. They’re right in saying, ‘Don’t just tell us what to do’. As one young person said, ‘If we’re the problem, then we need to be part of the solution’. The best parenting and teaching involves adolescents learning to solve problems for themselves, not having problems solved for them.

The third message is ‘Don’t stereotype us’. Thirty-eight percent of adolescents wrote sentiments like we’re not dumb, we’re smarter than you think, we’re not all addicted to our phones and social media. Don’t put us all in a big group and say we’re the ‘anxious or depressed generation’ or the ‘entitled generation’, or the ‘COVID generation’. Let us be the individuals that we are. Research shows if we expect the worst, we sometimes get the worst. When parents’ views of the teen years were negative — 59 per cent of parents had negative words to use about teens’ brains — their own children weren’t doing as well. They were likelier to be sad, lonely, angry, or moody.

The fourth message from adolescents is ‘Understand our needs’. There’s a stream of research in psychology called the ‘self-determination theory’. This theory suggests we don’t just have physical needs for food, water, and shelter but also basic psychological needs. These needs include having important relationships or caring connections, feeling supported and respected, having some autonomy, and finding ways to give back. I found the kids who had those basic needs met by the relationships in their lives before the pandemic did well during the pandemic.

The fifth message is, ‘We want to learn stuff that’s useful.’ This speaks to the importance of executive function skills. People with these skills are more likely to do well academically, in terms of health, wealth, and life satisfaction, than those without. These are skills like understanding others’ perspectives, goal-setting, communicating, collaborating, or taking on challenges. They’re skills that build on core brain processes that help us thrive.

What are some things we do that may send unintended messages to adolescents that leave them feeling unseen or unheard? And what can we do instead?

I asked some open-ended questions in my study. One of them was, ‘If you had one wish to improve the lives of people your age, what would it be?’ A number of young people wrote about the things that made them feel unseen, unheard, and not understood — statements like ‘Get over it’, ‘You’ll grow out of it’, ‘Stop being such a teen’, or ‘It’ll get better’. To them, statements like those made them feel that the adults in their lives weren’t understanding and weren’t taking their problems seriously. We’re better off trying to understand what our kids are trying to achieve with communication before we respond to it.

What can parents do to ensure their child knows they are supported and a priority?

My daughter was upset at my grandson for loving technology as much as he does, and she told him so in no uncertain terms. He said, quietly under his breath, ‘But you’re on it all the time, too.’ And he was absolutely right.

We had a family meeting where he told his mum how he felt, with her acting one way to him and living another way. And she listened to him and was more mindful of how she used technology. That made a big difference in their relationship. So many young people wrote in, ‘We see you’, or ‘You think we don’t understand, but we’re watching you’, or ‘We’re learning from what you’re doing, not just what you’re saying’. At our best, we must live how we want them to.

 Five things teens wish you knew about them (

With the holidays coming up, it’s time to press pause on school life. Be sure to spend time with your young person, actively listen and don’t be too quick to judge!

Annual giving

I thank those who have made a Gift to our 2024 Annual Appeal and ask again for your consideration. We do not ask lightly, we appreciate the demands on families, however with the generosity of our community we can continue to grow and enhance the boarding and learning environments here at NEGS. This is important, and your child will benefit. Please join with me in making a gift, large or small it will have an impact.

Thank you for your continued support of NEGS and importantly our students.

To make a gift

Ms Liz van Genderen


This week I would like to reflect on the invaluable role that participation in school activities plays in shaping our students' holistic development.

At NEGS, we believe that involvement in extracurricular and co-curricular activities is not just about filling time, but about fostering essential life skills and nurturing well-rounded individuals. Research consistently shows that students who engage actively in these activities tend to perform better academically, develop stronger social skills, and exhibit greater resilience in facing challenges, both inside and outside the classroom. Our school strives to provide meaningful and enjoyable experiences for our students. These experiences help them to shape their view of the world and to gain not only an understanding of who they are, but an understanding of others and the different levels in which we exist in our own and wider communities.

I encourage every student to explore and participate in the diverse range of activities we offer. Whether it's academics, sports, arts, clubs, or service initiatives, each opportunity provides a unique avenue for growth and discovery. By participating, students build confidence, learn teamwork, hone leadership abilities, and cultivate a sense of belonging within our supportive community. In my experience, we are seeing an increasing number of students across all education systems, “opting out” of activities that seem challenging or confronting. This reluctance to engage in the uncomfortable can lead to an erosion of resilience and a disconnection to community.                           

Furthermore, these experiences contribute significantly to building capacity to embrace future academic and career endeavours. They showcase initiative, passion, and a willingness to go beyond the expected qualities highly valued by universities and employers alike.

We urge parents to support and encourage their sons and daughters to take advantage of these opportunities, as they are integral to their overall development and success. Together, let's ensure that every student at NEGS thrives and reaches their full potential.

Now, a couple of operational “need to’s” coming into the end of term. All lockers will need to be cleaned out prior to departure. Any equipment or books etc that have been borrowed must be returned unless by prior arrangement. Double check the name on all your uniforms, especially blazers and hats, to be sure you have not accidently acquired another student’s uniform.

Year 10 and Years 3-6, keep an eye out over the break for any additional information that may come out regarding our Sydney excursion, leaving the first day back, Tuesday 23rd July. Year 10 especially, be sure that you have all permissions signed and returned asap.

Enjoy the break

Mr Jamie Moore

Deputy Principal/PDHPE and CAFS Teacher

As we approach our first reporting cycle for this year, I want to share with you what you can expect from your child’s upcoming reports. We believe that open communication between home and school is essential for your child’s success. Our dedicated teachers have been working diligently to assess student progress and provide meaningful feedback.

With the ongoing changes to the syllabus, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to outline the key components of your child’s report, further explain the grade scale used, and emphasise the importance of ongoing dialogue. I encourage you to reach out if you have any questions or need further clarification. Student Semester 1 reports will be made available on the Engage platform at the conclusion of the term. Thank you for your continued partnership in your child’s education journey. 

Understanding Your Child’s School Report

As a parent, receiving your child’s school report can bring about mixed emotions. You eagerly open the report, hoping for positive feedback and insights into your child’s progress. But what do all those grades, comments, and subject-specific details really mean? 


Years 1 to 6: Your child’s report will include a single grade for each subject aligned to syllabus outcomes. These grades range from A (Outstanding) to E (Limited). Don’t worry if you see a mix of grades; every child has strengths and areas for growth.

Kindergarten: Kindergarten reporting focuses on descriptive feedback using the terms Below Expected Level, At Expected Level and Above Expected Level.

A-E Grade Scale

Represents an Outstanding achievement.

Indicates that your child has exceeded expectations and demonstrates a deep understanding of the content and applies their learning to new and challenging situations.

Reflects a Highly Proficient performance.

Your child has a thorough knowledge in the subject matter and consistently meets these expectations, applying their learning to new situations.

Reflects a Proficient grade.

Your child is meeting the syllabus expectations. They display the appropriate level of competency in the processes and skills of content explored.

Reflects a Basic understanding and suggests some areas for improvement.

Your child’s skills are developing and may require additional support. This is an opportunity for growth.

Reflects Limited Achievement Indicating subject challenges.

Your child is not yet meeting the syllabus expectations. Reach out to teachers to discuss strategies for improvement.

Teacher Comments

Look for the personalised comments from your child’s teacher. These are where teachers highlight your child’s achievements, areas where they excel, and specific skills they’ve developed.

If there are challenges, teachers will address them and provide constructive feedback aimed at helping your child grow and providing direction for their continued learning.

Subject-Specific Insights

Each subject area has its own section. Dive into these! You’ll find details about what your child has learned, their progress, and any future goals.

Remember to celebrate your child’s victories—whether it is mastering a new skill or applying consistent effort to their learning. Talk together to discuss these achievements and set new goals for continued growth. 

Mrs Heidi Dent

Junior School Coordinator/Year 6 Teacher


Stage 2 Deep Learning: Energy Explorers

As “Energy Explorers”, Years 3 and 4 have been looking at how we can use and control energy. This fortnight, they have continued to explore the properties of light, using reflection and refraction to direct the light’s pathway. Students created mazes and selected surfaces to help guide the light beams to the hidden “diamond”. This task provided opportunities for creative and critical thinking, enhanced collaboration and problem solving, all key competencies of the Deep Learning pedagogy. The students' own interest and curiosity lead them to further challenge themselves, posing questions and driving their own learning journey. They extended their ideas and understanding, with some groups getting their light beams to not only go around corners, but also “upstairs” in their models! 


The 15th of June was Global Wind Day, providing Stage 2 an ideal opportunity to explore wind energy. Students adopted their roles as the local area Environmental Officer. Their research and investigations allowed them to make recommendations on whether or not their hypothetical village should install wind turbines. We all agree that renewable energy is a more sustainable and “green” option for powering our schools and homes. However, we also acknowledge that there are challenges with establishing wind farms. Year 3/4 began to consider how these challenges impact our recommendations and develop ideas and solutions to counteract these. Through testing a range of models, students were able to reduce the costs of their wind farms simply by using fewer blades on their turbines! 

By adopting a community role such as Environmental Officer, Stage 2 began to think like global citizens, considering issues with an understanding of diverse values and beginning to collaboratively find solutions for complex problems that impact human and environmental sustainability. They considered varying perspectives and recognised that a solution is not always obvious. Having our Years 3 and 4 students think about their role as global citizens sets them on the path to being active participants in future decisions, developing genuine interest and engagement in their world.


Mrs Deanna Ford

Years 3/4 Teacher

Dear Families,

What a term we have had. With so much activity, it has passed in a blur. National Boarding Week, which the girls celebrated with such commitment and kindness; Coona Expo, which proved to be an exceptional showcase for our talented students; and so much co-curricular and sporting activity, it was difficult at times to keep up with them. A true flourishing of the NEGS spirit. 

The term has also seen the emergence of winter coughs and colds, and as we end the term, it will be beneficial for everyone to have a break. It is not always practical, and we are all conscious of our daughters maintaining their school attendance, but when possible, if they are sick, it is best to take them home. Rest and comfort accelerate the healing process, hopefully returning them to school faster and truly well. If you have concerns about school work, please contact either their year advisor or Mr Caldwell, Director of Teaching and Learning, as I am sure adjustments can be made.

It has been a very busy first half of the year, and your daughters are all looking forward to a well-deserved break. Please enjoy the time you have with them over the coming weeks, and I look forward to welcoming you all back on 22nd July for the start of Semester Two.

Mrs Kassy Cassidy

Head of Boarding


Saturday Hockey 

We have had a very successful hockey term so far, with many students improving immensely in the first few months. A special shout out to the U12 hockey team, who have continued improving against tough opposition. They walk off the field with a big smile each week and show great sportsmanship. 

The U14 team is sitting at the competition table, playing some great hockey. 

IGSA Hockey

The IGSA Hockey teams have been announced. The training will start next week, and the girls are preparing well for the weekend trips. The dates we will head to Sydney are:

  • 3 - 4 August; and
  • 30 - 31 August. 

If we are to make finals, these dates are 20 and 21 September.

Representative Hockey 

Congratulations to Molly Collett and Alyvia Wilson, who were selected for the IGSA Hockey Team. This is an outstanding achievement considering the huge number of students trialling for this team from every IGSA School. 

Alyvia Wilson went on to be selected into the CIS Hockey Team who will play in the All Schools Carnival in Term 3. Alyvia has also been selected into the U18 NSW Blues Hockey Team and will attend Nationals on the Gold Coast in July. Good luck to Alyvia, such a great achievement, we are very proud. 


Saturday Netball 

We have had a wet and cold start to Saturday netball this year. All girls are to be commended for continuing to attend games despite the weather. Teams are bonding well and there have been a number of close games and pleasing wins. A huge shout out to the Red team, most of whom are new to netball. They have had some tough games so far, but they finish each game with a smile and enjoy their time together on the court learning the rules of netball.  

IGSA Netball

The IGSA Netball teams have been announced. The training will start next week, and the girls are preparing well. The dates we will head to Sydney are: 

  • 3 - 4 August; and 
  • 30 - 31 August. 

If we were to make finals, these dates are 20 and 21 September.

Representative Netball 

Over the long weekend, we had a number of students represent Armidale District Netball Association at the Senior State Titles. Chelsea Kentwell, Amanda Knight, Amelia Fiechtner, and Sophie Schweitzer were all key players in the U15s team, which had many close games over the three days. 

Chelsea Curry and Isabel Schweitzer were both members of the U17s team who sat at the top of the table for 2 days, before finishing off in 4th place. Jorja Curry attended as an umpire, having many games of high quality matches, further improving her skills. All girls should be congratulated on the commitment they have shown across the year and we look forward to their skills continuing to shine on their Saturday and IGSA teams. 


Athletics Carnival 

Congratulations to all involved in this year’s Athletics Carnival. It was a very successful day with a huge amount of participation, which is a testament to all involved. I was very impressed with the level of enthusiasm and athleticism from our students here at NEGS. 

I would like to thank all the Year 12s who have shown great leadership in this area. This is a great achievement, and you have set the tone for future years. 

Congratulations to the following award winners:

Junior School Awards 

  • Junior Boys Runner-Up - Rakan Al Zubaidi
  • Junior Girls Runner-Up - Ava Sutherland
  • Senior Boys Runner-Up - Austin Kelly
  • Senior Girls Runner Up - Emmie Saxby
  • Junior Boys Champion -  Hendrix Dent
  • Junior Girls Champion - Charlie Beuming
  • Senior Boys Champion - Logan Hassett and Flynn Guyett
  • Senior Girls Champion - Kenzie Watson

Senior School 

12 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Ashlyn Jackson
  • Runner-Up - Xanthia Watson

13 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Maya Cooper
  • Runner-Up - Caitlin Emerton

14 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Emily Simpson
  • Runner-Up - Lucy Baker

15 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Halina Saunders
  • Runner-Up - Amelia Fiechtner

16 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Matilda Geue
  • Runner-Up - Rain Pritchard

17 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Alyvia Wilson
  • Runner-Up - Regan Simpson

18 Yrs

  • Age Champion - Emily Wamsley
  • Runner-Up - Charlotte Overton

The Thompson Trophy is awarded to the person who gets the highest number of points across both field and track events. This year, it was awarded to Maya Cooper. Congratulations, Maya.

The Barwick Trophy is awarded to the person who gains the highest field points. This year, it was awarded to Halina Saunders. Congratulations, Halina. 

IGSA Athletics 

We have started the training cycle for IGSA and IPSHA Athletics. These training sessions help prepare the students for performing at the next level. The Squads will train throughout Terms 2 and 3. A team will be announced for IPSHA and IGSA next term. There is a selection criteria, and students will need to gain qualifying times and distances. These can be from the carnival or training. 

Trainings are invite only and are as follows:

  • Tuesdays - Senior School long and middle distance training 3.45pm-4.45pm 
  • Thursday - Senior and Junior School - all events. 3.45pm-4.45pm

IGSA Athletics Carnival Dates - 22 and 23 August

IPSHA Athletics Carnival Date -  28 August 

Term 3 Sport 

Term 3 sport selections are currently the same as Term 2. Those horse riders whose commitments have died down are welcome to join a team sport for the remainder of Term 2 and Term 3. Please see Ms Kenny if you would like to explore that option. 

Supervised gym sessions are available on Thursday afternoons from 3.30pm to 4.30pm. They are open to all students in year groups 7-12. 

Ms Ella Kenny

Director of Sport and CoCurricular

Surveying Unleashed – Year 10 13 June 2024

On Thursday, 13 June, some Year 10 students attended 'Surveying Unleashed' in Tamworth. This was an opportunity for them to find out about the surveying industry and experience first-hand what this occupation entails. Our students enthusiastically participated in a range of activities led by surveyors using their state-of-the-art equipment. An enjoyable day was had by all, taking advantage of this unique and valuable opportunity.




Mr Tony Jones

Maths Teacher

I can't believe we have nearly made it to half way through the year. I don't know about you, but it has gone super fast for me! But let's not stop there. Might as well keep the ball rolling :)

We have lots of exciting things planned for the next few months.

We would like to share some exciting news, in that we have a new dressage coach starting at the end of June. Laura Crocker is an Australian who has spent many years abroad in England working, riding and studying. She comes to us with a wealth of experience, having managed her own boarding and agistment facility in England. Laura has ridden Advanced dressage and has her Bachelor of Science - Equestrian Sports Coaching, as well as Level 3 BHS riding and Advanced Level 3 Horse Care and Management. Recently, she has been working as a rider and groom at Mulawa Sport Horses in Sydney. We look forward to having Laura start with us. On top of reinvigorating and coaching our dressage squad, Laura will also take on the role of Stable Manager as Lara will sadly be leaving us at the end of this term due to her work visa running out. Laura will manage all the agistment, horse care plans, stable cleanliness and maintenance and alongside the coaches, support students regarding horse health and nutrition.

We also have Abby and Tim Finlayson joining us as polocrosse coaches. They will work together and alternate when each of them is available to coach the team during the week. To enable this, it is looking like we may need to change px squad days to Thursdays to suit Abby and Tim's work schedules. I will be contacting the px team in the coming days to make sure this suits our px students and families.

Miriam, Justine, Maree and myself will continue as per normal with Show Jumping, Show Riding and Campdraft Squads.

We are also very excited to announce that we will be hosting riders from China Pony Club for a week long camp running from the 3rd to the 9th of August, ending with a Show Jumping competition that will be open for all interschool riders on the 10th of August. Riders from China Pony Club (CPC) will be looking for some loan horses to use over the camp period that are quiet, simple and happy to pop around 80cm's. I will be calling for anyone who has a horse that may suit in the next few weeks. In return, we are planning on an excursion in conjunction with CPC, to China late in November for a limited number of NEGS students. Students who participate in and share their horse for the camp will have first priority in the China trip. More details to come regarding the CPC trip when we finalise them. It is also looking like two schools in NZ may also participate with a trip planned to NZ next year.

Sam Lyle will be coming for an eventing clinic on 17/18 August. Contact me if you would like to participate and I will put you in touch with Susie Hynes who is coordinating the clinic.

Neil Faint is looking to come to NEGS for a young rider camp with two groups. Under 8 and 8 to 17. We are looking at the weekends of 3/4 August and 28/29 September at the moment. At this point we are calling for expressions of interest only to decide if it gets the numbers to go ahead. To express your interest, you will need to contact Texas Star Performance Horses directly. Their information is on the flier below. 

I am also looking into doing a couple of working equitation clinics next term. I will let you know when we finalise dates.

Annyka Overton

Equestrian Centre CoOrdinator


It has been a busy term in the Music Department. At the end of Week 2, we farewelled Mrs Sarah Sadgrove, our Junior School music teacher, as she began her maternity leave. Stepping into her shoes and straight into Eisteddfod mode, we were fortunate to welcome the exceptionally talented Ms Hester Wright (also an NEGS alumni).

May in Armidale is Eisteddfod season, and this year, NEGS participated in a wide range of events. Ruby Holgate was awarded 3rd prize for her film music composition in the Year 11 Music 1 Composition category. Our Year 7 Choir sang the energetic number Seize the Day from the musical Newsies and were commended for their bravery in the higher sections. Our 3-6 Choir sang in two events, coming away with two 3rd prizes for their performances of Snowgums, Everything is Awesome and Double Trouble. Our K-2 Choir sang their two songs, Doggie Doggie and A Farmer Went Trotting, with excellent diction and fantastic memorisation. The Junior School Songbirds performed Catch a Falling Star and the jazz classic It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing. They received praise for their musicality and won 3rd prize in a tight section. Year 3/4 Strings gave a focused and very musical performance of Spanish Boats, coming away with 3rd place in the Stage 2 music class event, while Saumarez Strings gave a polished performance of Teddy Bears Picnic and Forbidden Friendship in the Primary Strings category. To borrow a sporting term, every group gave a PB performance! 

We also had a number of instrumental and vocal students participate in individual performances across the vocal, strings, keyboard and woodwind sections. Special mention to flute student Katherine Edwards who achieved a 1st place in her solo event. Kenzie Watson and Odette Adeney also received highly commended for their solo vocal and string performances. All performers rose to the occasion and showed great focus in their moment in the spotlight.



Ms Laura Curotta

Music Teacher

Thank you to the parents who attended our last P and F Meeting. 

This term has been a busy one for the P and F with the events we have supported, the Father Daughter/Son Dinner and the Athletics Carnival. Thank you to all the parents who sent in baked goods, your generosity is greatly appreciated. We also appreciate your support on the day and yet again sold out of our famous 'pulled pork and slaw' rolls.

Please note the NEGS Community Trivia night has changed, due to a clash with IGSA sports. It will now be held on Saturday 7 September and we are hoping that it will be a great success. Planning is underway, but please ensure you have SAVED THE DATE in your diary. 

I wish all our NEGS families a good mid-year break, enjoy some down time and a break from school routines.

Fiona Macarthur

P and F President


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