Enrichment Program

Northern NSW Da Vinci Decathlon

The Da Vinci “decathlon with a difference” is an academic interschool gala day run in the spirit of an Olympic Decathlon, with events of an academic nature.  Schools from Armidale and surrounding regions are invited to enter a team of eight students who will participate in activities in the following disciplines:

  • Mathematics with an emphasis on problem solving, number patterns and logic puzzles.
  • English including spelling, word origins, definitions, scrabble, and writing.
  • Science whereby students will be provided with higher level scientific concepts and be challenged to apply them.
  • Code Breaking which is conducted in the spirit of World War II, students will aim to decipher several codes.
  • Engineering Challenge which involves students completing a building task designed to test creativity and ingenuity.
  • Cartology dealing with maps, photographs and other evidence.
  • Creative Producers in which a sub-group from the team will have ten minutes to develop and present a 30-second commercial to promote a particular product.
  • Art and Poetry whereby the team will be required to develop a poem plus a complementary work of art on a given theme.
  • Games of Strategy focusing upon the game of Chess.
  • General Knowledge dealing with current affairs, issues, history, science, entertainment, sport and world facts.

The tasks are exciting and challenging with a particular emphasis placed on higher order thinking skills.  Students who are able to complement each other in the various disciplines are selected to form our school team.

Chess Club

Students are invited to join St John’s Chess Club. The group meets on Tuesday afternoons in the Senior School Library.  Beginners  are welcome.

St John’s students compete in the Primary Schools One-Day Tournament – New England District and hope to connect with local school competitions throughout the year.


In Term One, Year 5 and 6 will engage in friendly debating which will focus upon building the skills necessary for all students to be confident, active participants in both formal and informal debates.

Term Two will see this move towards an introduction of competitive debating, with our students participating prepared debates against other local schools.

Further to this, NEGS engages in an interschools debating competition with PLC and TAS. A debating team is invited to represent St John’s in the Year 6 section of the competition.

The introduction of a more formalised approach towards debating comes from evidence produced in a wide range of research projects which have proven that the benefits that accrue as a result of engaging in debate are numerous. Debate provides experiences that are conducive to life-changing, cognitive, and presentational skills. In addition, through debate debaters acquire unique educational benefits as they learn and polish skills far beyond what can be learnt in any other setting.

At the very least, debate helps learners to see the power of deploying rational, reasoned arguments and compelling evidence in action. It enables them to make clear their standpoint through utilising spoken language. It instills in debaters a great sense of poise and confidence. It teaches them the skills of researching, organising, and presenting information in a compelling and interesting fashion.
In general, the benefits of debate include:

  •  Gaining broad, multi-faceted knowledge cutting across several disciplines outside the learner’s normal academic subjects.
  • Increasing learners’ confidence, poise, and self-esteem.
  • Providing an engaging, active, learner-centered activity.
  • Improving rigorous higher order and critical thinking skills.
  • Enhancing the ability to structure and organise thoughts.
  • Enhancing learners’ analytical, research and note-taking skills
  • Improving learners’ ability to form balanced, informed arguments and to use reasoning and evidence.
  • Developing effective speech composition and delivery.
  • Encouraging teamwork.

Public Speaking

St John’s students will participate in the St John’s Public Speaking Competition in Term 2.

Science Club

Science Club is run once a fortnight in the high school laboratories for select students from Years 6-8 who demonstrate an aptitude for Science. This provides the Stage 3 students with the opportunity to experience a laboratory environment and engage with older like-minded students. Activities include preparing entries for various Science competitions, participating in practical investigations, collaborations with UNE scientists and computer programming.

SPROUTS is a one day program run for students in Years 4-6 in one of the school holiday periods at a small cost. Students have the opportunity to experience Science in a ‘real-life’ context, participating in hands-on activities which cover multiple facets of Science, including Physics, Chemistry and Biology.


Opportunities will also exist for participation in The Nerdsville Introduction to Coding program which teaches the basic principles of computer programming (coding). Five modules introduce students to the educational programming languages Logo and Scratch. These programs can be used online free of charge. This will be run as an extension and enrichment program.

Scholars program

This is an academic enrichment program designed to support high achieving Year 5 and Year 6 students. The program involves students attending a fortnightly session, with Mrs Donella Tutt, who provides nominated students with an opportunity to discover, learn and engage with like minded students. Designed to nurture and develop these students within a different environment, the program presents students with a unique opportunity for academic extension and enrichment. Scholars participants are challenged to think critically about content and throughout their participation are exposed to a wide range of challenging tasks.

The Giant Classroom

In Year 5 and Year 6 students will participate in a range of programs through The Giant Classroom.
The Giant Classroom connects teachers and students with a variety of tools and resources to inspire discovery, thought and creation across all activities. It helps us to be part of a global community, and engage our classrooms with smart programs, resources & interesting activities in General Knowledge, History, Geography, Science and Literacy.

Over the course of this year students will participate in the primary research program.The Primary Research Project is a stimulating investigative program that is strongly linked to the National Curriculum. The wide range of topics develops the general capabilities across the whole curriculum including english, maths, history and geography, specifically it develops:

  • literacy skills
  • numeracy skills
  • critical and creative thinking
  • investigative skills
  • competence in ICT

St John’s bike track

All students are invited to bring a bike to school for the duration of term time. Bikes must be in good working order and an Australian Standards helmet worn when riding. Bikes are stored in the buildings over the weekend to ensure their security.  All students are required to ride in a safe and considerate manner.


The NEGS Equestrian Centre (EC) offers a range of equestrian activities and lessons for St John’s students in a safe and supported environment with professional instructors. Students may bring their own pony or use one of the NEGS ponies.

Private, semi-private and group lessons are available before, during and after school or you may prefer to join our Junior Riding Club on Saturdays.

Lessons will commence from Week 5 of Term 1 due to NEGS ODE and Interschools events between February 14 and 18. If you would like some assistance with your booking please contact the EC on 6774 8717 or 0417 806 395 or email

The uniform and safety requirements for riders are;

  • A suitable pony and safe tack (students who do not have their own pony will be assigned compatible school ponies and tack)
  • ASNZ3838 approved helmet (helmets are provided for those who do not have one however we encourage students to consider purchasing their own)
  • All riders must wear smooth sole elastic sided riding boots (no Cuban heals or heavy grip soles such as those found on work boots). Please ask your instructor if you are unsure
  • Riding jodhpurs or jeans may be worn with the St John’s sports polo or jumper
  • Riding crop/short whip and riding gloves (optional)

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