Issue 2 - 15 Jun 2017

Arden invests in exciting new educational facility

Arden is planning an exciting redevelopment of its Epping campus, that will provide exceptional facilities and expanded learning opportunities for its students. Principal, Mr Graham Anderson shared, “As part of Arden’s 2020 Vision, the School is investing in the best facilities possible for current and future generations of Arden learners.”

Arden has submitted a Development Application for the new Epping Campus building to Parramatta Council and will make further details available when it reaches consultation stage. The development is due for completion in 2020. The construction stages will involve reworking the existing Oxford Street building, constructing the new Essex Street building and reworking the existing Essex Street building. During construction, Arden has secured additional overflow space at Cambridge Business Park to minimise the effects on students. Arden has appointed one of Sydney’s top school architects, Stanton Dahl Architects, to partner with the School in realising its vision.

Educational outcomes the new build will achieve:

  • To create learning spaces to promote 21st Century learning, including collaboration and creativity so that students are prepared in the best possible way for their futures beyond Arden
  • To deliver completely redesigned Science and TAS areas, to facilitate cross-curricular opportunities such as STEM
  • To offer smaller class sizes in core subjects
  • To deliver further improvement in subject selection for students when they reach Stages 5 and 6
  • Increased diversity in year groups will allow for more friendship group options through the introduction of the fourth stream in 2017 (Arden has increased its Year 7 intake to a 4th stream, resulting in a Year 7 grade size of approximately 96 students from 2017 onwards)
  • Adding greater depth to year groups without going over size will improve co-curricular, sport and music participation
  • More specialised areas for departments with classrooms that can facilitate enhanced learning within individual disciplines
  • Numerous benefits to Middle and Senior School students from a combined campus.

Key features of the redevelopment include:

  • Reworking the two existing buildings – Oxford Street and Essex Street – and the addition of a new building in Essex Street
  • Specialised learning facilities will include: PDHPE, flexible performance space and learning spaces, Library, Music, Science Rooftop. Additionally, the student services, executive, computers, Technological and Applied Studies (TAS) space will all be housed on one level
  • A whole of school community space which is deliberately multi-use and able to be used as a flexible performance space
  • Additional recreation spaces – especially important at this time of great development in our area. Spaces will include tennis courts, grassy areas, atrium area and a rooftop garden where students can relax or study
  • Design of project will strive to open up access and light to all the buildings, creating a pleasant and more natural learning environment
  • New basement carpark underneath the current tennis courts will provide 30 car parking spaces
  • New frontage on Essex Street.

Guiding students in their future directions

Year 12 students and their parents gained valuable advice at Arden’s annual Year 12 Future Directions Evening on 22nd February, 2017.  According to Mrs Beverley Paskin, Arden’s Careers Adviser, the evening aims to “familiarise students and parents with the possibilities of transitioning beyond school and outline ways that they can work together to plan and navigate these opportunities.”

Mrs Paskin started the evening by sharing the profile of Alumnus Andrew Hammond who studied Ancient History at Macquarie University and is now a technology recruiter for Atlassian.  She explained key events in the HSC year and referred to Arden careers resources including the “Job Jump” web based careers information service.  Nationally recognised training and recognition within the Australian Qualifications Framework with credentials ranging from Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees was discussed, together with current issues in the news.  For example, how to manage the rapidly changing world that young people find themselves working within.

This was followed by a ‘Careers Hypothetical’ where families had the opportunity to learn from a diverse panel of experts as they discussed hypothetical scenarios and a range of careers pathways.  Topics included how to negotiate key milestones when transitioning from school to further study, such as applying for work or gap programs, scholarships, cadetships, early entry and alternative access schemes.  Guests heard how universities are moving away from the ATAR alone to admit students and obtained an informative update on the tertiary admissions landscape of 2017 which has undergone significant change recently.

This year’s panel included 2016 Arden alumni Angela Zhang who provided valuable tips on how to thrive and succeed in the HSC and Robyn Pascoe (2016 Year 12 Arden parent) who shared practical suggestions on how to manage the HSC from a parental perspective.  External guests included Tristan Tulloch (Macquarie University’s Future Students Co-ordinator), Karen Laws (a TAFE Hospitality Management Lecturer), Lucy Tighe (representing St. Patricks Institute of Education) and Kim Mahoney (a guest careers adviser from another school).

Families left feeling better equipped to embrace their children’s future directions post-school.

Year 4 Camp great fun

The Year 4 Camp proved popular with students, with Emily Latham commenting:  “Camp was an amazing experience even though we didn’t have much sleep.

We were split into three groups and did six awesome activities – pool games, archery, BMX riding, low ropes, challenge course and team problem solving.  The food was delicious – they provided lots of choices.  Camp was so much fun.”

Year 6 Camp popular with students


Students always look forward to school camps and the resultant new experiences, deepening of friendships and fun while away.  Reflecting upon their recent camp, Year 6 students; Charlotte Durham and Olivia Maxwell; shared: “On 22nd March, Year 6 went on camp to Lake Macquarie.  We enjoyed abseiling, canoeing, sailing, log roll, rock climbing, raft building and indoor activities.  During camp, we learnt how God wants us to love everyone, no matter how they look or behave.  Year 6 had a blast on camp.”

Boys bond at Boys’ Bash

Each year Arden boys gather together to experience the Boys’ Bash in March.  According to School Captain Charles Barnett:  “177 Arden boys spent an afternoon at Boys’ Bash.  Boys’ Bash is an initiative designed to support men’s mental health issues via beyondblue, and to bond as a group.  This year, we raised $4,440 for beyondblue.  We enjoyed a number of activities, including Bubble Soccer, Nerf Gun wars, a barbeque, electronic games room and more.  We also had Sean Towner as a guest speaker with beyondblue.”  He summed up:  “All in all, we had a great afternoon and bonded as a group of Arden boys.  We raised awareness for men’s mental health and it is a really worthy, annual initiative.”

Students continue to excel in the HSC

We are very proud of our 2016 HSC results, with 26% of our students achieving ATARs over 90 and Arden ranked 15th school in NSW out of the Independent Co-educational Schools. The top ATAR was 99.3, with many students achieving personal best results.

Mr Graham Anderson, Principal, commented:  “Our HSC students enjoyed some impressive results, but they are well-rounded individuals who are ready to engage with the world.  The ATARs our students achieved were most conducive for tertiary entrance.  Indeed, 94% of Arden students received offers of places in degree programs through the Universities Admission Centre, overseas or private providers.  There continues to be an emphasis on early entry offer equivalents and our well-rounded students enjoy a real advantage in this area.”

Phoebe Goto, 2016 Year 12 student, shared:  “My teachers have demonstrated how to apply your passions and interests to your career and celebrate the individuality of each person. They have also shown the value of lifelong learning.”

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Tech savvy students STEAM ahead

Every week keen Year 3 – Year 6 Tech Club students meet to share their passion for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).  “The STEAM educational approach guides students to develop inquiry and critical thinking skills,” explained Arden’s Tech Club Coordinator and ICT Integration Teacher, Mrs Karen Hopkins.  “Tech Club provides a safe space for students to take risks, work as a team, solve problems and be creative.  Tech Club aims to introduce students to different programming languages and have some fun learning code together, while also focusing on Science, Engineering and Technology tasks such as 3D design and printing,” she said.  The club encourages team work in mixed age groupings and also provides leadership opportunities, with Year 6 students helping run the sessions.

Hayley Goodlace (Year 6) reflected, “I like Tech Club because you are learning and having fun at the same time.  It is not ‘Schoolwork’; it is experimenting, inventing and having fun.”

Exchange experience to Denmark

Elise Williams (Year 11) returned from Denmark in January, 2017 after an exciting five month student exchange experience.   Elise was the fortunate recipient of a Southern Cross Cultural Exchange (SCCE) Scholarship.  She stayed with a host family and attended school in Tørring.  “I learned that I can be independent from my family and rely on myself to make decisions,” summarised Elise.

Elise applied for the Creative Arts Scholarship as “I thought it would help me to understand the world around me better by living in a different country.”

Highlights of the exchange included going on a three day school camp to Belgium, enjoying a four day holiday to Edinburgh, Scotland with her host family and discovering the old buildings and history in Europe.  However, “the best part was making really good friends with other exchange students and local Danish people, I’m looking forward to going back in the future and travelling,” said Elise.


Showcasing Arden’s values

Eighteen Arden school values portraits were presented at school assemblies in Term 1 as the gift from Year 12, 2016.  Principal, Mr Graham Anderson, shared:  “While our values are embedded in our mission and vision and articulated in chapels, assemblies and within classrooms, they have now been ‘published’ by students.”

Mr Simon Przydacz, Head of Senior School, added:  “The focus of our Year 12, 2016 present is around the school’s values and community spirit, involving both the Primary and Secondary School. The gift is designed to serve as an inspiring visual reminder of the growth and development possible through Arden’s holistic education, when centred on love, courage, respect, compassion, service and hope.”

The portraits were designed and made by the students and staff.  Their works were selected as part of an in-school competition, with the top entries for each category chosen, enabling six value portraits each to be placed in the Senior School, Middle School and Junior School.

Primary Sports Highlights

Term 1 has been an action packed term with many different sport opportunities available to students.  The Year 3 – Year 6 Swimming Carnival was held on 24th February, while the Saturday morning IPSHA sport program began on 11th February for Basketball, Girls’ Football and Softball.  Together with weekly PE lessons and Stage Sport students have participated in a range of physical activities.  According to Mr Ian Cornick, Arden’s PE Teacher/Sport Coordinator:  “At Arden we encourage students to develop a love for sport and physical activity for enjoyment and to be involved in teams and carnivals to develop friendships, learn sportsmanship and to use their God given talents.”

The Primary Swimming Carnival was a wonderful event with a very high level of participation across all age groups, close competition with many exciting finishes and passionate and enthusiastic House spirit.

Students from Year 3 – Year 6 then competed at the IPHSA swimming carnival against swimmers from 50 schools.  Everyone competed well and did their best, with many achieving personal best times.  Regan Garufi was subsequently selected into the IPSHA team to compete at the NSWCIS Primary Swimming Championships and has now been selected into the CIS team to compete at the NSWPSSA Championships in the 200m Individual Medley following her recent performance in this event at the IPSHA carnival.  This is an outstanding achievement.

Secondary Sports Highlights

Arden recently achieved a long held goal of becoming Champion HZSA School for Secondary for the Summer Sports season. A thrilled Mrs Jenny Lee, Head of Sport, shared: “We reached our goal! I am proud of our students as they have learnt the importance of participation, perseverance and commitment.” Highlights included the Junior Girls Hockey team winning their competition and the Senior Girls Touch Football and Junior Boys Indoor Cricket teams were runners-up. Other teams placed 3rd which was an outstanding achievement.

Sport at Arden is well supported by staff, students and parents.  Staff encourage student’s involvement as they understand the benefits of co- curricular activities as well as academic pursuits as part of a well-rounded education. The beginning of the year is always a busy time for Sport, with Swimming Carnivals, Cross Country Carnivals and also the Summer HZSA Sport.

The Swimming Carnival was a great event with a very high level of participation and enthusiastic House spirit, Birnam was the winning House on the day. A large Swimming Squad represented Arden at the HZSA Swimming Carnival.  Arden finished 3rd overall.

AICES Colours

A number of our students received their AICES colours in assembly for their elite sporting achievements in 2016.  These students were part of an Open AICES (Association of Co-Independent Schools) teams:

  • Ella Cliff – Colours and Honours (Cross Country) Honours – as she represented NSWCIS
  • Zachary Samuels – Colours (Athletics)
  • Brooke Matheson – Colours (Athletics)
  • Justin McLean – Colours (Swimming)

Individual Sporting Achievements

This term we have had three students represent Arden in individual sports.

Mountain Bike Riding: Will Richards (Year 10) was successful at the All Schools Mountain Bike Championship in Thredbo.
Fencing: Sebastian Wiltshire (Year 11) competed in the NSW Fencing Association Season Opener competitor in the Open category and came 12th.
Rowing:Rachael Egan (Year 12) competed in the exciting NSW School Girls Head of the River at Penrith.  Rachael placed 7th in her heat in the Senior Single 2000m scull event, an excellent result in this gruelling event.

Environment Group meets with John Alexander

Environment Group (EG) members enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with Mr John Alexander OAM MP on Wednesday 5th April, 2017 to discuss climate change.  Environment Group Coordinator, Mrs Karen Moss, explained:  “The purpose of the meeting was for the students to have an opportunity to hear John’s views and offer their views/concerns as future voters, so that they can feel empowered to be knowledgeable and to use their knowledge to enact change.”

The students were very encouraged by their meeting with John Alexander and appreciated his time, wisdom, openness and willingness to meet with them again in the future.  Cordealia Evans (Year 11) shared: “I believe that John Alexander was open and willing to talk about climate change action.  Mr Alexander had some great ideas and the meeting really inspired me to go out and do more research and to build solutions around this problem.  Like Mrs Moss has always said, we must be solution based.  Overall it was a great opportunity for me to meet with our local member and express our thoughts.”

Following the meeting, Mr Alexander shared:  “It was a real pleasure to meet such engaged and interested students.  The issues they are addressing will affect us all, but future generations most of all.  It is really encouraging to see them all taking an interest now, and being proactive in looking at solutions to these global problems.  I look forward to continuing on our conversation well into the future.”

Arden’s EG formed in 2017 and currently has approximately 50 members from Years 7 – 12.  Oliver Moss, Prefect, said “The mission is to elevate the importance of the environment to the Arden community, and raise our conscientiousness of pressing environmental issues, such as palm oil destruction, plastic bottle accumulation in the ocean, animal exploitation and the extinction of species.  We aim to look at this on a global scale, but also how some of these issues impact the school.”

Students visit The Poplars aged care residents

A lovely community partnership has developed between Arden and Estia Aged Care, with students enjoying fortnightly visits to residents at The Poplars where they talk to them and participate in the morning activitiesMrs Karen Hopkins, Arden’s Community Service Co-ordinator, explained:  “I was looking for an opportunity for our students to provide a service in their community, when one of our school parents who was working as a volunteer at The Poplars, suggested it would be beneficial for the children to visit the residents.”

Tanya Chi (Year 4) summarised the partnership well when she commented:  “Year 4 is visiting Estia because we are learning about one of our school values; service.”

The rewards of the partnership have been great.  “The children have benefited immensely from their visits.  The residents and students learn from each other about aging, experiences, values and aspirations as they talk and interact.  The residents and the children enjoy their time together.  It is an enriching experience for our students as it helps them reflect on how they can contribute to the wellbeing of others,” Mrs Hopkins summarised.

The students are embracing this opportunity to serve.  When asked why he visits The Poplars, Benjamin Cohilj said:  “To give joy and happiness to the people who live there.”   While Estia’s Ann Salter, reflected:  “The residents of The Poplars look forward to the visits from the Arden students.  They enjoy their company and love interacting.  It really brightens up their day.”

Musicians performed on the Great Wall of China

Arden Secondary students enjoyed the experience of a lifetime when they embarked on their China Music Tour in the April holidays.  The students were involved in exchange concerts with similar aged students as well as having amazing opportunities such as performing on the Great Wall of China!  They were very busy as they performed in five concerts in 11 days.  Additionally, they enjoyed seeing the many wonders, scenery and cultural experiences of China.

According to Mrs Philippa Wood, Coordinator of Co-Curricular Music and China Tour Coordinator, the benefits are numerous both before and after the tour.  These include “Students who have honed their skills to a high level as a result of having a significant goal to strive for, parents and school community who are united, having been on the Shadow Tour themselves or just witnessing the experience supporting their touring student.  The overall standard of the ensemble is significantly better; the students have made many more friends across the different years and really feel part of something special as a result of a shared life changing experience.”


Teacher Professional Appreciation Award

Congratulations to Dr Gabrielle Oslington, Arden’s Junior School Gifted and Talented Teacher, for receiving a 2017 NSW Professional Appreciation Award from Gifted Families Support Group (GFSG Inc.) for making a difference in the life of a gifted child on 16th March, 2017.  GFSG Inc. stated, “It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and say thank you to the numerous individuals who go above and beyond to support gifted children”.

Dr Oslington was nominated by Arden parents in appreciation of her work with high ability students. “I have always loved the challenges and excitement of working with this group of students. One of my goals is to move them outside their comfort zone, and experience the frustrations and successes of grappling with difficult problems. It is a surprise and an honour to receive the award,” she said.

A note from the Registrar

It has been a very busy first half of the year in our Enrolments Department, with blessedly clear skies greeting the many families interested in attending the School.

An update on various year groups is provided below. For the most up to date information on enrolments, please refer to the Current Waitlist page of our web site which is updated regularly or contact our Enrolments team on 9484 1146 or

2018 Pre-School – The enrolment process began in April and we have paused on interviews as we await acceptances from families who have been offered places for 2018. As places are accepted or declined we will continue to interview families who have submitted an Application Form and are currently on our waiting list.

2018 Kindergarten – The enrolment process began early this year and has now paused, as we await acceptances from families who have been offered places for 2018. As places are accepted or declined we will continue to interview families who have submitted an Application and are currently on our waiting list.

Primary School entry in 2018 – Our Head of Junior School is currently interviewing for available places in Years 2, 3 and 6. Families are encouraged to submit an Application Form to be considered for an interview.

2018 Year 7 – The majority of places in Year 7, 2018 have been offered and confirmed. We anticipate some further places will become available later in 2017. Please continue to check the Current Waitlist section of our website for updates.

2019 Year 7 – The enrolment process began in Term 4, 2016 and has now paused, as we await acceptances from families who have been offered places for 2019. As places are accepted or declined we will continue to interview families who have submitted an Application Form and are currently on our waiting list. Families are strongly encouraged to submit an Application Form for their child, as soon as possible to gain a place on the waiting list.

2020 Year 7 and beyond – There are healthy waiting lists for entry to Year 7 in 2020 – 2025. Attending an Open Morning is a great way to find out more about the educational offering at Arden, see the School in action and learn more about the exciting development plans for our Epping Campus.

Community Seminar – Michael Carr-Gregg

Arden recently held a primary school parenting seminar with leading adolescent and child psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg to assist families in their parenting journey.   Arden runs annual parenting seminars, welcoming members of the local community into the school community.  The school sees the journey of bringing up children as a partnership between families and teachers and values the opportunity to connect and build relationships.

Michael Carr-Gregg proved to be a popular and engaging speaker, with around 300 Arden parents, staff and local community members attending on the 22nd May.  The atmosphere was both entertaining and enlightening, with Dr Carr-Gregg discussing ‘The ten most important things you should tell your children to build resilience and happiness’.  Parents came away armed with not only a better understanding of the issues and challenges students face today, but many practical strategies they could use to help build resilience in their children.

Discussing the reason for hosting the seminar, Ms Tiali Fraser, Arden’s Director of Teaching and Learning shared:  “The session aimed to examine ways that we can develop our children’s resilience and therefore their capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by adversity.  Research shows that this is key to enhancing wellbeing and hence an important issue to address as a School community.”


Alumna Kate Darmody pursues her passion for art

Kate Darmody (2010 Leaver) undertook a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Fine Arts, graduating from the University of New South Wales in 2014.  According to Kate: “Art is still a very integral part of my life. Kate went to Japan in 2015 and China in 2014 on scholarship programs. Kate explained: “In 2015 I was given a scholarship to complete a postgraduate diploma in Allied Health.

I worked in a rehabilitation centre in Recreational Therapy for three years and found it to be a very inspiring, gratifying experience. Whilst working there I also exhibited quite a lot.

In October, 2015, Kate was sponsored by ClubsNSW to complete the Kokoda as a representative for New South Wales in a Youth Leadership Program. At the end of 2015, she left Royal Rehab to move to the United States.

She travelled and then found herself living and working in Chicago as a UX Designer, still pursuing her art on the side.

I think one of the most valuable things I learnt during my time at Arden, and being in a very close year group, was my sense of purpose. My friends taught me how to look at things in a positive light and this has helped me to be a very grounded person with a strong sense of drive and determination,” shared Kate.



Family fun day out at the Spring Fair

Arden’s Spring Fair will be held on Saturday 2nd September from 8:00am – 3:00pm in the grounds of our Beecroft Campus.  The School looks forward to welcoming members of our Alumni and community to participate in this fun family day, especially for this, Arden’s 95th Anniversary year.

Ms Katie Devine, Fair Coordinator, shared:  “This will be a great family day out – all the fun and adventure of our bi-annual Spring Fair.  Where you can enjoy morning tea in our Year 6 Café, purchase quality items within our second hand Toys, Books, Children’s Clothes, Vintage Wares, Craft and Grower Market stalls.  Sit back and enjoy the entertainment on stage from Arden and our community with Ewan Campbell as MC.   Slot Cars, Rides and more.  This is a day not to be missed.”

For more information contact or visit in the coming weeks.

Alumna Kate Semken follows her dream of caring for animals

Kate Semken attended Arden from Year 5 – Year 12 (2012).  She then studied Certificate III Captive Animals at Taronga Training Institute, Taronga Zoo while working as Guest Experience Officer at Taronga Zoo.  She subsequently gained keeper positions at Sydney Sea Life Aquarium (for the Dugongs) and Wild Life Sydney Zoo in Darling Harbour.  In May 2016 Kate started as a Casual Keeper at Taronga Zoo in the Bird Department, a long held goal.  Kate said “It really shows how after much hard work and determination, things really do happen.”

The background to Kate’s animal career is doing Year 10 work experience at Featherdale Wild Life Park, volunteering at Taronga Zoo for eight years and studying Certificate II Animal Studies at Ultimo TAFE while in Year 11 – Year 12 as one of her subjects.

When asked what she learned at Arden, Kate reflected:  “I learnt how to follow my passion, through the help of teachers encouraging me and doing my best in class.  I learnt that the HSC wasn’t the be all and end all and that the important thing was to try your best.  I had my dream and post-school options awaiting.”

Favourite memories included “I loved going on camps, multi-cultural day, being a godparent to my Kindergarten child, competing at athletics carnivals, and performing at theatresports. I also enjoyed attending Girls’ Night In, mufti days, and making friends with the exchange students.

Involvement in P&F builds friendships

Being a member of the Arden community is valued by our families.  A great way to connect with the community is through Arden’s active P&F.  Involvement helps builds parental friendships and provides a wonderful example to children of the benefits of being involved and volunteering.

Throughout the year the P&F group organises various events for families to enjoy while financially supporting school projects which directly benefit the children.

One way in which the P&F has sought to connect Junior School parents this year is through Café Arden.  Twice a term a coffee cart will be present at the Junior School where parents are encouraged to stay after drop off to sit, chat and enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate on school grounds before beginning their day.  It’s a great way to say ‘hi ’to old friends and meet new ones.

Other exciting whole school events for this year include the Trivia Night in June and the much loved bi-annual Arden Fair in September.

Arden’s P&F looks forward to welcoming you into our school community in the future.