Education 2020/2021: The Big Picture
Education regularly undergoes changes, so it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the current educational curriculum, policy and teaching methods when choosing a school for your child. Here’s an overview of what to expect from your child’s years of schooling.
The national curriculum is produced by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) in consultation with educators. The Australian curriculum sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities important for all Australian students. It describes the learning entitlement of students as a foundation for their future growth and makes clear what young Australians should learn as they progress through their school years. It is also the foundation for the high-quality teaching required to meet the needs of Australian students.
ACARA developed the Australian curriculum in consultation with states and territories. Education authorities in each state and territory have responsibility for implementation of the Australian curriculum and for supporting schools and teachers.
Changes in 2014 ensure that new Kindergarten to Year 10 syllabuses for English, Mathematics, Science and History are taught in NSW schools. These syllabuses incorporate Australian curriculum content.
In May 2009, a law was passed that increased the school-leaving age from 15 to 17. This law became effective on January 1, 2010, and applies to government, independent and private schooling as well as home schooling. The change was made in response to research that shows children who leave school later are more likely to become employed, earn higher wages and enjoy a better quality of life. The new law applies to children who are younger than 15 on January 1, 2010, and also to students aged between 15 and 17 who completed Year 10 in 2009 or who were registered for home schooling in 2009.
Now that participation is compulsory up to age 17, students must continue to stay at school beyond their Year 10 studies and participate in further education pathways that are approved by the NSW Department of Education or be registered for home schooling. Approved pathways include the Higher School Certificate, TAFE vocational training courses, full-time paid employment or a combination of further education and paid employment.
From Kindergarten to Year 12
A student who has completed Kindergarten to Year 12 will have spent close to 15,000 hours in the education system. Their journey begins in Kindergarten before they are placed in primary school, where children complete seven years of primary education. Students leave primary school when they have completed Year 6 and move on to high school to begin Year 7.
Virtually all students continue their education up to the point when they are first eligible for a Record of School Achievement (normally at around 16 years of age). Most students then go on to complete the Higher School Certificate.
Many HSC graduates further their studies at a tertiary institution, such as a TAFE or university. NSW schools provide a variety of education pathways for students between the time they first become eligible for a Record of School Achievement (RoSA) and when they leave school.
After primary school, there’s a wide selection of secondary schools to which you can apply. The choices include both government and non-government schools or registered home schooling. All children are guaranteed a place in their local government primary and/or high school, but within the government sector you may also choose to apply to a non-local primary or high school, a selective school or a specialised school. This means parents have the opportunity to send their child to a school that best fits their child’s individual needs and abilities.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005, students with disabilities can participate in education on the same basis as other students.
The aim of educational authorities in NSW is to ensure that no student misses out. Hospital schools, community care schools, schools for a specific purpose and schools for deaf and blind children ensure education is available to all students regardless of their educational and physical needs.
Students can access the curriculum in a variety of ways, which may include adjustments to teaching, learning and/or assessment activities. For a small percentage of students with special education needs, particularly those with an intellectual disability, a decision may be made to access Life Skills outcomes and content in one or more subjects. Life Skills courses contribute to a student’s pattern of study for the HSC but do not contribute towards an ATAR.
All decisions regarding curriculum options for students with special education needs should be made in the context of collaborative curriculum planning and include the student and parent/carer.
Students Learning an Additional Language or Dialect (ELA/D)
Many students in Australian schools are learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D). EAL/D learners are students whose first language is a language other than Standard Australian English and who require additional support to help them develop English-language proficiency.
EAL/D students come from diverse backgrounds and may include:
- Overseas- and Australian-born children whose first language is a language
- other than English
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is an Indigenous language, including traditional languages
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students whose first language is Aboriginal English, including creoles and related varieties.
EAL/D learners enter Australian schools at different ages and stages of schooling and at different stages of English-language learning. They have diverse talents and capabilities and a range of prior learning experiences and levels of literacy in their first language and in English. EAL/D students represent a significant and growing percentage of learners in NSW schools.
If you live in a remote part of the state, government education is available through resources such as Distance Education Centres. These are located throughout NSW and provide isolated students with a teaching and learning program supplemented with experiences such as satellite lessons and field visits. For those primary and secondary schools in geographically isolated areas that are educationally disadvantaged by their location, Commonwealth funding is provided by the NSW Country Areas Program (CAP). CAP is designed to assist schools and their communities to enhance the learning outcomes and educational opportunities for students in geographically isolated areas.
The early years of schooling
The NSW government operates 100 pre-schools across NSW and many private pre-schools operate across communities. Pre-schools provide educational programs for your child prior to enrolment in Kindergarten.
Kindergarten is the initial year of schooling in NSW. Children who enter Kindergarten in NSW must turn five by 31 July in the year in which they are enrolled. When starting Kindergarten, students in government schools undertake a Best Start Assessment that helps teachers identify the literacy and numeracy skills of the student and enables the teacher to develop learning programs accordingly.
The purpose of the seven years spent in primary school is to promote the development of individual students as well as to lay the basic educational foundations for their effective participation in society. With this objective, primary school teachers provide learning experiences that engage students in a wide variety of interesting and meaningful activities. These enhance the quality of school life and prepare students to respond creatively and effectively to the challenges of our rapidly changing society.
All NSW government primary schools are co-educational. Gifted and talented children may also be eligible for early entry to Kindergarten. If considering this as an option, organise an appointment with your chosen school where your child will be reviewed by the school in consultation with yourself.
The seven years of primary schooling are divided into Stages of Learning. Early Stage 1 is Kindergarten, Stage 1 — Years 1 and 2, Stage 2 — Years 3 and 4, and Stage 3 — Years 5 and 6. Reflected in the curriculum is an awareness of the central importance of basic skills for all children, including literacy and numeracy, reasoning and information processing, communicating and creative and imaginative thinking.
The Key Learning Areas (KLAs) in the primary years of schooling are: English; Mathematics; Science and Technology; Human Society and its Environment (HSIE); Creative Arts; and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE). Each of the KLAs has learning outcomes for students that are used by teachers to develop their teaching and learning programs.
National Assessment Program
In 2008, the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) was introduced for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The purpose of the program is to assess the literacy and numeracy learning of students in all Australian schools.
The results of these tests will provide information for teachers and parents and help inform teachers in their ongoing efforts to address the literacy and numeracy needs of their students. It is designed to provide information on student performance across a number of achievement levels.
Secondary schooling commences at Year 7 level and is compulsory for all NSW students aged younger than 17, unless students are registered for home schooling. In Years 7 and 9, students sit the NAPLAN test, which is designed to assess students’ literacy and numeracy skills.
In Year 8, all students in NSW government schools sit for the Essential Secondary Science Assessment (ESSA), which is designed to test students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes towards science. It is optional but not compulsory for non-government schools to register for the ESSA test.
From the end of Year 10, students who have fulfilled their course requirements are eligible for the NSW RoSA. The RoSA is cumulative, meaning it records achievements and participation in senior secondary study up to the point that a student leaves school, and records A to E grades based on school-based assessment. Students leaving school also have the option of taking online literacy and numeracy tests.
Higher School Certificate
Most students choose to continue their studies to attain the Higher School Certificate (HSC). On successful completion of all course requirements, including assessments and exams, students participating in the HSC will receive a result for each HSC course. This information is used by the Universities Admissions Centre to derive the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), which is used to determine entry into university courses. This is the common name given to all existing selection indices in Australian states and territories (excluding Queensland).
The highest ATAR attainable is 99.95. This score would indicate the student is in the top 0.05 percentile of students in Australia. As well as the ATAR, students who participate in the HSC receive an HSC Course Report for each general education course they complete. This report describes their level of achievement as well as the standards reached by other students in the course. A “minimum standard expected” has been set for each course, which corresponds to a mark of 50 out of 100. Students who reach or exceed the minimum standard for each course will score between 50 and 100.
Each HSC Course Report for a general education course shows a student’s mark in relation to six performance bands, the highest of which is band 6 (between 90 and 100). These bands clearly describe what students know and can do at each level of achievement.
Student results in the HSC are based equally on both statewide examinations and school-based assessment. School assessments are adjusted to ensure results from all schools across the state can be fairly compared. Schools are not allowed to reveal to students the final school assessment submitted to the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW because of this adjustment process, but they do inform students of their ranking within each course after the examinations have finished.
In addition to a wide range of general education courses, HSC students are also able to select from vocational education and training (VET) courses. These can be part of the students’ HSC curriculum and enable students to gain both HSC qualifications and Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) accreditation.
Diversity and choice
Students have greater options in their choice of high school than ever before. There is a wide diversity of high schools within NSW: technology high schools; selective high schools and comprehensive high schools with selective streams; language high schools; single-gender high schools; agricultural high schools; sports high schools; performing arts high schools; creative arts high schools; multi-campus colleges; and senior high schools. These are all in addition to comprehensive high schools, which remain the backbone of the secondary schooling system.
All students are guaranteed a place in their local government high school. However, entry into non-local schools is subject to available accommodation. This should be kept in mind if you want to apply to a school outside your designated local area.
There are more than 2200 government schools in NSW, which employ more than 80,000 teachers, all of whom are highly trained and skilled. Most teachers in government and non-government schools have completed three or more years of training at a higher-education institution. Many teachers have also completed further studies and hold post-graduate qualifications. Additionally, teachers regularly attend professional learning programs developed by the Department of Education and Communities and other organisations.
The implementation of the Teacher Accreditation Act (2004) ensures that all teachers who commenced teaching after October 1, 2004, must achieve accreditation with the NSW Education Standards Authority. This requires them to demonstrate effective practice as described in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. These standards are also applied to mandatory participation by teachers in continuing professional development.
The Education Act 1990
The Education Act of 1990 established the framework for school education in NSW. Under the act, students from Kindergarten to Year 10 are required to study a range of subjects organised in what are termed “Key Learning Areas” (KLAs).
There are six Key Learning Areas for Kindergarten to Year 6:
- Science and Technology
- Human Society and Its Environment
- Creative Arts
- Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
There are eight Key Learning Areas for Years 7 to 10:
- Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)
- Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
- Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)
- Technology and Applied Studies (TAS)
Each subject has a detailed syllabus document developed that outlines the course of study and the learning outcomes to be achieved
Eligibility for awards
Students will need to have completed the mandatory requirements for Stage 5 (Year 10) to be eligible for a RoSA. Those eligible students who choose to leave school prior to receiving their HSC may receive a RoSA.
Students will be required to submit assessment tasks as delivered by their schools, which will then use marks from those assessments to allocate a grade for each student. Teachers will submit those grades for inclusion on the RoSA if required. Students may also undertake optional numeracy and literacy exams online.
There are two stages of the Higher School Certificate that candidates must complete, referred to as “patterns of study”. The Preliminary pattern of study comprises a minimum of 12 units (each subject is worth a certain number of units) and the HSC pattern of study comprises at least 10 units. Both patterns must include a minimum of six units of Board-developed courses and at least two units of a Board-developed course in English. At least three courses must be of two-unit value or greater (either Board-developed or Board-endorsed). Both patterns of study must include at least four subjects. To satisfy pattern of study requirements for the HSC, a student may count a maximum of six Preliminary units and six HSC units from courses in science.
Apart from Board-developed courses, students can also study courses developed by their school. These school-developed courses are known as Board-endorsed courses and can be included among the courses that count towards the HSC. Additionally, the Board has made some exemplary Board-endorsed courses available to all schools. These are known as content-endorsed courses.
HSC students can also combine study of traditional academic subjects with courses that provide vocational training. A number of TAFE courses are recognised for the HSC and students who successfully complete these courses will receive credentials from TAFE as well as a listing of the courses on their Higher School Certificate Record of Achievement. There are also eight dual-accredited vocational courses that are recognised by industry and also count towards the award of the HSC.
Courses for the HSC can be accumulated over up to five calendar years from the year in which a course examination is first attempted. Students who wish to balance study with work, family commitments or other interests can use this option to design a study program and complete the HSC in a way that suits their needs.
Under the 1990 Education Act legislation, school councils were developed as an option for school communities seeking to increase relevant community participation in the policy making of local schools.
School councils provide a focus for school community activity. They comprise parents, staff and community members. Where established, these councils set policies and goals for their schools including directions for the future based on the needs of the local community. The councils combine the efforts of parents, staff and the community in a genuine partnership to promote quality school-based decisions.
Schools are interested in more than academic instruction; there’s also concern for the welfare of their students and their overall development.
Student discipline in government schools is one section of the Department of Education and Communities’ student welfare policy. The emphasis of this policy is on good discipline — the development and care of the whole student as opposed to modifying behaviour under the threat of punishment. Such positive school programs do not replace or undermine firm discipline policies but aim to deal with the causes of any problems.
The Student Discipline in Government Schools policy states that all government schools must have an individual school discipline policy. This policy is to be developed in consultation with school community members.
It has four areas of focus:
- School rules or discipline code
- Strategies to promote positive student behaviour
- Ways to recognise and reward student achievement
- Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour
All parents and students have access to a copy of the school’s discipline policy, including the school’s homework policy and dress code, if desired. This is regularly updated by the school.
Every student who is enrolled at a school, regardless of their age, is required to attend on every school day. It is the parents’ legal responsibility to ensure regular attendance. Rolls are marked every day. Students who have been sick or absent need to provide a note from their parents within seven days. Schools will inform parents of any cases of truancy or unexplained absences.
In l986, the government initiated the Home School Liaison Program (HSLP) to consult with teachers and principals at schools and provide support to parents. The program’s officers form an essential link between the home and the school as they are specifically trained to work with families, staff and students to improve student attendance. Home School Liaison officers can be contacted through the school principal or your closest regional office.
Student leadership and student representative councils
The school community is an excellent training ground for the development of student leadership skills. Student leadership programs assist in developing skills in young people, with one of the best-known initiatives being the Student Representative Council (SRC). All secondary schools have an SRC and primary schools are also beginning to establish them. It consists of student leaders from each year who have been elected by their fellow students. They have the task of representing the interests of their peers to the school, staff and parent and community groups. SRC members participate in school planning and decision-making and initiate projects within the school as well as organise ways for other students to participate in school life. Some high schools have a prefect body as well as an SRC. In most cases, these high-profile student leaders within a school have come through the ranks of the school’s SRC structure.
The secondary school student leadership network extends to inter-school and regional SRCs and a state body known as the New South Wales Student Representative Council (NSW SRC). This forum of 22 student leaders, including two Aboriginal students, is also peer-elected. It is consulted by senior officers in the Department of Education and Communities, other government departments and business and community groups.
The other state body of peer-elected student leaders is the State SRC Conference Working Party. This group plans and conducts an annual State SRC Conference with regional SRC participants from across NSW. The annual conference deals with student welfare themes of interest to young people. As a result of the conference, information and action-planning flow to
the NSW SRC, regional, inter-school and school SRC forums.
Such conferences reflect the fact that SRCs are increasingly involved in student welfare programs such as peer mediation and conflict resolution, drug education, health and safety, student leaders on teacher committees, Aboriginal student leadership, anti-discrimination and anti-racism.
These activities provide opportunities for the development of student leadership skills that will not only assist school organisation and planning, but will also be beneficial for the students in many areas of their life in the future.
News & Advice
Understanding the RoSA, HSC and IB: A Concise Guide
Today’s Higher School Certificate (HSC) offers more than 110 courses, including a range of nationally accredited Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses.
Depending on subject choice, NSW students can graduate with a Higher School Certificate, a nationally recognised VET qualification, credit transfer into TAFE NSW courses and/or an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).
The Higher School Certificate (HSC)
The HSC is an internationally recognised qualification for students who have successfully completed secondary education in NSW. The HSC is flexible and accessible to all students. There’s a wide variety of subjects to choose from for the HSC.
The syllabuses make it clear to everyone what students are expected to learn and be able to do in each course by the end of Year 12. Sample examination questions and marking guidelines help students set goals and understand the level of achievement expected.
Students will receive a Record of Achievement, which lists their HSC results and their Preliminary (Year 11) and Stage 5 (Year 10) grades.
To be eligible for the HSC, students must:
- Have gained qualifications that the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) considers satisfactory
- Attend a government school, an accredited non-government school or a school outside of NSW recognised by the NESA
- Satisfactorily complete a pattern of study required by the NESA for the HSC (this may include examinations, coursework and attendance)
NESA-developed courses are the courses for which the NESA develops a syllabus, setting out the objectives, outcomes, structure and content. These are the courses for which the NESA also develops HSC examinations, with the exception of Life Skills courses.
In addition, the NESA develops support materials such as course and assessment requirements, sample examination papers and/or sample questions, marking criteria and performance scales for courses for distribution to all schools. Most board-developed courses contribute to the calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
Life Skills courses have board-developed status and have been designed for the small percentage of students, particularly those with an intellectual disability, who cannot access regular course outcomes and content. Life Skills courses contribute to a student’s pattern of study for the HSC but do not contribute towards an ATAR.
There are three categories of NESA-endorsed courses. School-developed courses are devised by individual schools in response to local interest or need and are endorsed by the NESA. University-developed courses are devised by universities in conjunction with schools to suit the particular needs of high-ability students. Content-endorsed courses (CECs) are developed by the NESA to cater for a wide range of students in areas that are not served by NESA-developed courses.
All NESA-endorsed courses count towards the HSC and are listed on the student’s record of achievement. However, NESA-endorsed courses do not count towards calculation of the ATAR.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses
VET courses teach skills relevant to future study and employment. These courses allow students to gain both the HSC qualification and an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) VET qualification.
The AQF VET qualifications are recognised by industry and employers throughout Australia. These courses may require that the student spends a minimum number of hours in the workplace. Students receive documentation that report the competencies that they have achieved and an AQF VET Certificate or Statement of Attainment.
NESA-developed VET courses are available in 13 industry frameworks:
- Business Services
- Entertainment Industry
- Financial Services
- Human Services
- Information and Digital Technology
- Metal and Engineering
- Primary Industries
- Retail Services
- Tourism, Travel and Events
Each framework is made up of combinations of units of competency from National Training Packages. Each framework identifies the units of competency that make up the 120- and 240-hour courses for the HSC in that industry, as well as any specialisation study courses that are available. Students may choose to sit a written examination for the 240-hour VET Framework course. Those who do so may have the course results calculated in their ATAR. You can also study other VET courses in industries where there is no framework. Some of the courses can be studied at school, while others can be studied at TAFE institutes or with other training providers.
VET board-endorsed courses exist in a wide range of industry areas for VET qualifications not included in the board’s suite of Industry Curriculum Frameworks.
If a student wishes to study a language other than English that is not offered by their school, they may choose to attend the Saturday School of Community Languages and other institutions. These are public secondary schools for students in Years 7–12 who are enrolled in any school system. The school follows the NESA syllabuses in languages that are assessable for both the RoSA and HSC. Other institutions, such as The Open High School, also offer the study of languages outside of a student’s home school.
Most courses offered for the HSC have a value of two units in the Preliminary study pattern and two units in the HSC study pattern.
Some one-unit courses are also offered. Extension study is available in English, Mathematics, History, Music and some languages. Extension courses build on the content of the two-unit course and require students to study beyond the two-unit course. A one-unit course is also available in Studies of Religion.
Content-endorsed courses have the flexibility to be delivered as either one-
or two-unit courses.
Pattern of study requirements
English is the only compulsory HSC subject. To be eligible for the award of the HSC, a student must satisfactorily complete at least 12 units in the Preliminary course and at least 10 units in the HSC. Both study patterns must include:
- At least six units of board-developed courses
- At least two units of a board-developed course in English
- At least three courses of two-unit value or greater
- At least four subjects. No more than six Preliminary units and six HSC units from courses in Science can contribute to the award of the HSC
During Year 12, students are assessed using formal written and practical examinations (where appropriate) and school assessments. Students sit external examinations at the end of Year 12. For courses other than VET, a student’s result is a 50/50 combination of their HSC examinations and school assessments.
Students who satisfy the requirements of the HSC will receive a HSC testamur, or award certificate, with the student’s name and school. They also receive a Record of Achievement, which shows each completed HSC course and the result. For courses other than VET, it also includes the mark awarded for school-based assessment, an examination mark, a HSC mark (the average of the assessment and examination mark) and the performance band showing the level of achievement in each course. An AQF VET attainment is provided to students who achieve one or more units of competency in a HSC VET course. They may also receive an AQF VET certificate if they have completed the required units of competency. The grades a student received in Years 10 and 11 are listed on a separate page of the Record of Achievement.
Students undertaking one or more Life Skills courses receive a Profile of Student Achievement with their HSC credentials, outlining the outcomes achieved in each course.
Once the school assessment has been completed, the school provides an assessment mark, calculated on the student’s performance for each course other than VET courses in set assessment tasks, to the NESA. The purpose of this mark is to measure performance over a wider scope than can be measured in a single external exam. In the case of board-endorsed courses, the mark reported is unmoderated.
Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR)
The most common method of gaining entry for university courses in NSW is based on an applicant’s performance in their HSC. Applicants are ranked according to their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR). ATAR is the common name given to admissions indices across all Australian states and territories (except Queensland). The highest rank a student can achieve is now 99.95. An ATAR of 99.95 means they are in the top 0.05 percentile of students.
The ATAR is based on a scaled aggregate, calculated by the universities using a student’s best 10 eligible units in NESA-developed HSC courses. It is a number reported on a scale of 0–99.95 with intervals of 0.05. It shows where a student stands in relation to all other HSC students for whom an ATAR was also calculated.
Students can include units accumulated over a total period of five years. If a candidate repeats a course, only the mark from the last attempt is taken into account. Students receive an ATAR from the Universities Admissions Centre only if it is requested on their HSC entry.
Students can access important information relating to syllabuses, the RoSA and the HSC.
- NSW Students Online: studentsonline.nesa.nsw.edu.au
This site provides HSC students with access to a wealth of HSC resources and support. The materials have been developed by highly experienced HSC teachers and examiners, and many of the site’s resources have been drawn from the best available resources around the world. There is advice on study techniques and exams, and information for parents and students on subjects, career and further study options.
This website is the place for students to log into their personal page, consult their very own HSC calendar and brush up on their exam skills. It includes past papers, practice tests, study tips and all the latest news and information relating to the RoSA and HSC.
Students can access their HSC results via the internet or by SMS in mid-December. All students who satisfactorily complete at least one HSC course receive a Record of Achievement listing the courses they completed and their results.
Life after the HSC
One important thing to remember is the HSC is not the be all and end all. Just because your child didn’t receive the mark they had hoped for doesn’t mean they are doomed. While gaining a desirable ATAR rank is one way for your child to obtain his or her entry into a university course, there are other avenues that can be explored should your child not gain placement in their course of choice.
For students who are awarded VET certificates or statements of attainment, they will have advanced standing in other VET courses. School leavers can consider university-bridging courses, summer schools or enrolling at the same institution with a view to internally transferring into a course through academic merit at a later date. Keep an open mind and speak to a school or university careers adviser about your options.
NSW Record of School Achievement (RoSA)
The Record of School Achievement (RoSA) was introduced in 2012 to record a student’s academic achievements throughout the course of the student’s senior studies. A formal RoSA credential is available to those students who wish and are eligible to leave school prior to receiving their HSC. All students are able to access their RoSA information online from the end of Year 10 onwards.
To be eligible for the RoSA, a student must:
- Attend a government school, an accredited non-government school or
- a recognised school outside NSW
- Undertake and complete courses of study that satisfy the NESA curriculum and assessment requirements for the Record of School Achievement
- Comply with any other regulations or requirements (such as attendance) imposed by the minister or the NESA
- Complete Year 10
Along with the RoSA credential, the NESA has developed an optional electronic portfolio called Up2Now, in which students may record their extra-curricular activities.
Tests and awards
In all subjects, with the exception of Life Skills and VET courses, studied in Years 10 and 11, a grade is awarded based on a set of course performance descriptors developed by the NESA, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW. These grades are then placed on each student’s Record of School Achievement. The NESA offers voluntary literacy/numeracy tests to students who are planning to leave school. The tests are delivered online.
The International Baccalaureate (IB)
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an alternative education pathway and is standardised across the globe. The IB is currently available in more than 4000 schools in 146 countries around the world. It offers four high-quality programs for students in their primary and middle years, and career-related certificate and diploma programs for senior students at the equivalent stage of those doing the HSC.
The IB Diploma Program is a rigorous pre-university course of studies, leading to examinations, which meets the needs of secondary school students in Years 11 and 12. Designed as a comprehensive two-year curriculum that allows its graduates to fulfil requirements of various national education systems, the diploma model aims to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of students.
IB Diploma Program students must choose one subject from each of five groups (one to five), ensuring breadth of knowledge and understanding in their best language, additional language(s), the social sciences, the experimental sciences and mathematics. Students may choose either an arts subject from group six, or a second subject from groups one to five. In addition to disciplinary and interdisciplinary study, the Diploma Program features core elements that broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills. These include a Theory of Knowledge course on critical thinking, an extended independent research-based essay, participation in a range of community service activities, engagement in the arts and development of a healthy lifestyle through physical activity.
The results scale for the IB diploma is different from the HSC, with the top mark being a total of 45. From each student’s IB diploma results, the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) calculates a UAC rank, which is comparable to the ATAR. In Australia, a result of 45 calculates to a UAC rank of 99.95. For a number of students, the IB Diploma Program is an excellent alternative to the HSC, offering a clearly globally transferable index of achievement for students looking to continue further studies both in Australia and overseas.
For more information on the International Baccalaureate, visit ibo.org
News & Advice
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a School for your Child
For many parents, choosing the right school for their child is a daunting and difficult task. Here, we show you how and where to start.
Schools vary greatly in their emphasis, philosophy, activities, staffing and costs. It’s more than just a choice between private and public schooling as there are many factors to consider. We are fortunate in Australia that our education offerings are of a very high standard and we have a large range of options from which to choose.
Because you want to match the best school with the interests and abilities of your children, this often requires a considerable amount of footwork to visit schools to see the facilities on offer and to speak with staff and principals.
When judging schools, you should be persistent, well researched and have a clear understanding of the New South Wales education system — as well as the choices available — before making your final decision.
ASK YOUR CHILD
Your child will have opinions about what school he or she wants to attend and that may depend on particular areas of interest, subjects offered, perhaps a language and, more often than not, where their friends are going.
Sending a child with little interest in academic studies to a school that prides itself on a high tertiary entrance rate could create problems. Talk to your child’s teachers and find out what they recommend. Most importantly, discuss the decision with your child and work with them — it is their future education.
THE SCHOOL’S VALUES
The school environment will have a considerable influence on your child so you’ll want the values it promotes to be close to your own. You need to work out what you want from a school before asking what it has to offer.
Values don’t just mean moral and religious values. They also refer to a range of social issues, such as the school’s attitude to affirmative action for girls, bullying and discipline policies, right through to the nutritional value of foods available at the school canteen.
There are also practical points to consider such as your willingness to be involved in school-related activities. You need to decide if you have the time to be part of your child’s travel arrangements or if there are public transport options available. How much time and energy are you prepared to give to the school? Some schools expect a high level of parental involvement, others less.
If you have more than one child at secondary level, are their needs quite similar or are they likely to attend different schools? If going to different schools, demands on your time will be multiplied.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Choosing A School For Your Child is a great starting point for deciding on a secondary school. But there will be other sources of information for finding out what schools offer, including the internet, school visits, open days and discussions with teachers, principals or other appropriate staff. Even the community feeling about a particular school could be part of your research.
Make a shortlist of schools you consider suitable and then organise appointments to speak with the most appropriate person at the school. This might be the registrar, the principal or the year-level coordinator.
Compile a checklist of features that are important to you and your child. This will help you gain the information you want from each school. You may want to include:
The school’s aims and philosophies: A school needs to have a clear sense of purpose and should have its aims documented. Ask for a copy of the School Charter. How does it match your expectations? What values are implied? Is it based on any particular religious beliefs? Ask about how the school works to achieve its aims. Is there a commitment to educate each student completely?
Individual care: Is there a commitment to assess and cater for the needs of each student? How is this achieved? How does the school cater for students needing remedial assistance? How does it satisfy the needs of talented children?
Curriculum: The trend in government schools is towards a broad curriculum that doesn’t limit students’ choices or interests, but schools still vary in how well they achieve this. Ask what electives are available and find out which subjects are compulsory in Years 7–10, and what is offered at HSC level. Are boys and girls treated differently in some parts of the curriculum or do they have equal access to all subjects?
Student services and care: Does the school have programs for student welfare, personal development, Years 6–7 transition, school-to-work transition, work experience and careers guidance? Are there specialist staff members in these areas? What pastoral-care facilities and programs are there? In what ways are students encouraged to mix across year levels?
Discipline and behaviour: Are school rules clearly specified and communicated to students and parents alike? Ask for a copy of the school’s discipline policy. How does it discourage inappropriate behaviour and reinforce good behaviour?
Academic performance: Some schools are justifiably proud of their high success rate in qualifying students to enter tertiary studies. But make sure you have the whole story. Are they referring to the percentage of Year 12 students who qualify or the percentage of Year 7 intake? Do they discourage students who are unlikely to be successful from finishing the HSC? Ask about the school’s promotions policy. On what basis are students promoted from one year level to the next? How many students in the past have left school after Years 10 or 11? What percentage stays on to complete Year 12?
Student assessment: How often are reports on student progress issued? Are they verbal, written or available online? On what basis are students assessed? How often are parent-teacher sessions held? What exams are undertaken and when
are they held? Are they oral or written?
Class sizes and structure: What are the maximum class sizes? Does this vary with the subject? On what basis are the students grouped within classes?
The other students: These make up the community your child will become part of. Do they come from a narrow or broad range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds? Is the school single-sex or co-educational? What is the relative proportion of boys and girls?
Physical facilities: What facilities are available for specialised subjects such as music, computing, art, science and technology studies? What musical instruments are available to students and are there extra charges involved? How up to date are the materials in the library and what are the library access policies? How much playground space is there and how is it used? What sporting facilities are available?
Teachers: Are the teachers the type of role models you want for your child? What sort of teacher-student relationship is encouraged? What is the staff turnover rate? Do teachers spend extra time with students in activities such as sports coaching?
Extra-curricular activities: What activities are available to students outside the normal curriculum? What clubs are there? Is there a program of camps and school trips? Are they compulsory and what costs are involved?
Homework: How much homework is given and what is expected at the various year levels?
Parent participation: In what ways are parents involved in making decisions about school policies? Is there a parent association? What does it do? What type of parental involvement does the school expect? Are parents invited to participate in classroom activities?
Student participation in decision-making: Is there a student representative council (SRC) or similar body? Are the students elected to decision-making bodies such as the school council and similar committees?
Sport: What sports are available? What are the school’s aims and philosophies regarding sport? Does the school encourage competitiveness or participation? Do boys and girls have equal access to all sports? Are teams single-sex or mixed?
Technology: What technologies are used in the school and in classes, and how are they being used to increase student engagement and learning? Is the approach to technology integrated and rigorous, or does use of technology in class depend on the initiative of individual teachers?
Costs: While Catholic schools generally charge modest fees, some other private schools have fees that amount to thousands of dollars annually. Government schools do not charge fees as such, but most do request school council levies or subject levies. In both private and government schools, ask about extra charges such as those for musical instrument instruction and hire, camps and excursions, textbooks, uniforms and sports uniforms, sporting equipment and costs related to subject materials.
Admissions policy: On what basis are students selected? Is there a waiting list?
Uniforms: What is the uniform? Is it compulsory? Is there a sports uniform? Is there a uniform recycling system or second-hand uniform shop?
Access to transport: How far from home is the school? What public transport is available? How long will the journey take?
Documentation: Are all policies in writing and available to parents? Are there course outlines, a school prospectus, annual reports and regular newsletters? How does the school communicate with parents?
THE GUT FEELING
While checklists are useful, it’s often a “gut feeling” that can let you know which school is the best for your child. If you can, visit the school at lunchtime, watch the children at play and observe interactions between staff and students. Note how the school is set up for classroom work. Are there rows of desks (suggesting a more traditional methodological approach) or clusters of tables to allow co-operative group work? Listen to the subtle messages your tour guide (registrar, assistant principal, principal) will give you, such as the history of the school, communication with parents, school priorities and future plans.
News & Advice
Character and Leadership Model
The following report was the basis for a Teacher Magazine Podcast that interviewed Ben Righetti and Allan Shaw.
The report was written to share their knowledge developed in building personalised, co-designed, experiential, community-based projects that included explicit teaching and mentoring. The projects focused on the growth of character and leadership skills among students at The Knox School.
Click on the links below to view the document.
|Religion||Non - denominational|
|Day/boarding||Day and Boarding|
|Years||Year 1 - Year 12|
12k - 16k Over 16k |
$12,172 to $23,452 p.a. (including compulsory levies, camps and excursions)
03 8805******* 03 8805 3800
03 9887******* 03 9887 1850
|Address||220 Burwood Highway, Wantirna South 3152|
News & Advice
ELTHAM College’s Elite and Emerging Athlete Program
For budding elite athletes, having an extra form of support beyond extracurricular and school sports and training can be a springboard into further sporting success.
The Elite and Emerging Athlete Program (EEAP) at ELTHAM College aims to develop greater awareness of elite pathways, assist in developing and achieving performance goals, nurture future career aspiration, and foster general health and wellbeing benefits.
The EEAP was initiated by two ELTHAM staff members, Lesley Moulin and Nicole Howard, who both have backgrounds in playing and coaching sport at a high level. The program is strongly complemented by Core Advantage, a high performance company who works with elite youth and professional athletes throughout Melbourne.
In 2019, 18 successful applicants from Years 6–8 became the initial participants of the EEAP, with representatives in a wide range of sports including basketball, swimming, cycling, AFL, kayaking, tennis and soccer. This year, the program expanded to 24 students, with students involved in sports as diverse as hockey, volleyball, triathlon, calisthenics, running and tumbling, in addition to those from the initial intake.
Students undertake training sessions twice a week, with additional coaching sessions in selected sports offered at various times of the year. Even with the challenges of 2020, the program has continued to run, with at-home training and online consultations made available to participants.
Initial fitness testing and a screening of the current athletic profile of all participants helps support their development and the implementation of individual programs. This one-on-one approach and detailed analysis of each athlete enables the detection of muscle and biomechanical deficiencies, correction of poor technique, and lays the groundwork for improved strength and power outcomes. Injury prevention is also focused on, so that the athletes can continue to perform safely.
ELTHAM’s Director of Sport, Craig Seckold, says that the program has been incredibly valuable to the students involved, with the emerging athletes noting an improvement to their skills and strength. One of the students said he enjoyed meeting other like-minded students across both the Junior and Senior School, as they all worked to similar goals and helped motivate each other.
|Religion||Non - denominational|
|Years||Kindergarten - Year 12|
8k - 12k 12k - 16k Over 16k |
Fees range from $12,180 in ELC (50% child care rebate can be applied to ELC programs) through to $26,772 for Years 10 to 12; Year 9 fees are $28,208
03 9437******* 03 9437 1421
03 9437******* 03 9437 1003
|Address||1160 Main Road, Research 3095|
News & Advice
Six Vital Skills for School Readiness
Starting school is a big event in your child’s life as well as your own. When it’s time for your son or daughter to start school, it can be an unnerving experience. The King’s School has been educating boys and is here to share some great advice.
‘School readiness’ is a measure of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enable children to participate and flourish at school. ‘School readiness’ is the development of the whole child including social and emotional skills, communication skills, physical skills and cognitive skills. Children who are developmentally ready to learn tend to do better in school.
Below are a number of check lists to guide your decision on whether your child is to ready for school.
Before starting school, your child should be able to get along with other children, demonstrate basic manners, assert themselves, and play independently as well as with other children to prepare them for what occurs on a daily basis at school.
When a child is able to manage their emotions, focus on tasks and follow direction and instructions as well as cope with an unfamiliar setting, they are emotionally ready for school.
Having the basic skills to manage their own needs without adult supervision, such as going to the toilet, dressing themselves, and managing their belongings is important for a child’s independence and preparing them for school.
Communicating clearly with teachers and other students is imperative for children, but also to be able to listen to others. While at home, children should be taught how to begin and understand some letters and sounds to make connections between spoken sounds and written sounds. While it is not expected they know all the ABCs and 123s, it is a good time to start practising.
Physical Health and Coordination
Children should have basic fine motor skills such as being able to grip a pencil and turn pages in a book. Teaching your child how to complete these basic skills will assist them in the classroom. Children engage in physical activity on school grounds so having the coordination to run, jump, climb and play with a ball are beneficial skills to have at an early age.
During the early years of a child’s life this is a time of rapid growth for development measures and having the ability of understanding numbers, asking questions and the importance of waiting and taking turns will guide a child through their new experiences at school.
For parents wondering what they can do to help prepare their little one for school, here are some easy tips and tricks.
Social Skills, Emotional Maturity and Independence
Try to arrange play dates with other children starting at the same school. This will allow your child to build their social skills and confidence. They may even have a friend before starting school.
Toilet learning is an important milestone for your children and teaching independent toilet training to minimise accidents at school will make your child’s schooling experience less traumatic.
Assigning jobs around the house helps kids feel capable and part of the team. Learning these lessons at home can help kids develop strong skills to use at school.
Children learn and imitate behaviours by watching and listening to others, so it’s important to model the behaviour you want your child to exhibit.
During your child’s early years, encourage conversation by asking questions to help your child learn more words and start to understand how sounds and language work. This will allow them to communicate with their peers.
Screen time can be a part of a healthy lifestyle for children. Developing routines is a great way to limit screen time and encourage more physical activities and family time.
Singing songs, making music and learning nursery rhymes are a fun way to encourage learning in your children. Music give kids the chance to develop the language and learning foundations needed for school.
Reading stories stimulates your child’s imagination and helps them learn and understand words. They not only hear the words but see them through pictures which can help guide their learning.
Physical Health and Coordination
Starting school is a big step for little kids and being able to participate in school activities including sports and games, children should have basic physical coordination skills developed from riding a bike, climbing, skipping and swimming.
Learning how to draw, paint and cut while at home is not only a fun task to develop your child’s creativity, it also prepares them for similar activities available in the school’s curriculum.
Getting dressed is an important skill for children to learn but it can be hard. Children need to be confident in being able to dress themselves. This includes putting on their own socks and shoes, as well as looking after their belongings.
Simply teaching children to tell time doesn’t give them understanding of the value of time. Start introducing time at a young age by showing them how time works using o’clock times on an analogue clock and calendars.
Going for walks in your local area, looking at signs and shapes, counting and noticing numbers in the environment is a great form of exercise and improves concentration. Walking can encourage road sense and is a creative approach to learning.
To find out more about The King’s School, Preparatory School request the Preparatory School Prospectus here or take a virtual tour here.
To commence your child’s King’s journey, contact the Registrar’s office by email email@example.com or phone 02 9683 8555.
This article initially appeared on The King’s School Website. Original Article
|Day/boarding||Day and Boarding|
|Years||Kindergarten - Year 12|
|Enrolment||1160 students in the Senior School, 365 students in the Preparatory School.|
02 9683******* 02 9683 8405
02 9683******* 02 9683 8415
|Address||Pennant Hills Road, North Parramatta 2151|
News & Advice
WHAT’S THE DRILL?
What started as a small trial for a handful of MLC School girls, quickly took on much greater proportions when more than 80 Year 9, Year 10 and Year 11 girls signed up to join with Newington College in an inaugural combined Cadets program. This is the first time in MLC School history that Cadets has been available to girls from Year 9 onwards.
Head of Senior School, Mr Neil Scotney, says, ‘As a school, MLC School has a strong history in empowering young women and being one of the first schools in Australia to offer girls the same level of education as boys, it was a natural progression that we allow girls the opportunity to take part in the Schools Cadets Program. We are always proud of the way an MLC School girl embraces new challenges and Cadets provides the perfect platform for them to push the limits and further unpack our school values of courage, compassion, respect and growth.’
The program provides girls with exciting and challenging opportunities to move
outside of their comfort zone, work effectively in teams and develop individual character and leadership skills.
The cadet training program works within the structures and values of the Australian Defence Force. It is exciting and varied, and encompasses a range of activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing, abseiling, archery, bush navigation and camp craft. There are also leadership courses offered which are progressive in nature and teach the girls valuable life skills. The successful completion of these courses results in promotion to a higher rank. There is also an annual camp and a promotions camp.
Esther Maling, an MLC School Old Girl and the MLC School Senior Sports Coordinator, is the Cadets Coordinator. Esther says, “It is an amazing opportunity and demonstrates that MLC School provides every chance for our girls to challenge and grow within any area of interest.
“I believe it is important that a female leads the unit as a role model and familiar face, as there will be times that the girls are really challenged as females in a male-dominated field.
“I finished school in 2010 and would definitely have been a cadet if it had been available. My sister, who finished in 2012, is now a Logistics Officer in the Royal Australian
Air Force, and she would have jumped at the chance to have an insight into cadet life
during high school.”
Friday 14 February 2020 was the first official MLC School Cadet Unit training at Newington College. The girls met their Sergeants and Cadet Under Officers (CUOs) and the rest of the cadets in platoons for the first time. They spent time doing drill, learnt basic marching, and lined up for uniform checks. Cadet drills continued under flexible learning as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Years||Kindergarten - Year 12|
Over 16k |
Approx. $18,052 (Kindergarten) to $31,584 (Year 12)
9747 12******* 9747 1266
|Address||Rowley Street, Burwood NSW 2134|
News & Advice
Inaburra Pivoting to Online
Since Inaburra’s inception, the study of media has continued to be one of the key pillars of the school. A fully equipped and operational Media Centre located in the Performing Arts Centre, including a live television and recording studio, enables students to acquire skills in sound recording, video production and camera work using high-quality industry-standard equipment. Many students who have completed the IT Multimedia Technologies course for their HSC have gone on to pursue successful careers in the media industry.
Meet the Media Makers
Current students are given first-hand insight by visiting professionals at the ‘Meet the Media Makers’ event. This year (pre-COVID) it included a visit from Jamie Cohen, founder and anaging director of Clockwork Films, Sam Beckman, who has his own YouTube channel, and Will Liston, senior editor for Neil Crompton Motorsports. All these professionals are Inaburra alumni and each spoke of their journey into the industry, rapidly changing technology, and advice for students on how to find their niche in this highly competitive market.
Pivoting school events to online platforms
Inaburra’s Media Centre has also come into its own with the restrictions brought about by coronavirus, with nearly all the School’s onsite public events either cancelled or limited in numbers. Over the past few months, thanks to the ingenuity of the Stage and Screen Faculty and the benefit of wonderful facilities, we have seen many its school activities ‘pivot’ to online. Media staff, technical support staff and students have all risen to the challenge of creating events across a range of digital platforms.
From websites to Livestreams to videos
Instead of attending a subject selection information night in person, Senior students and their parents have been able to watch subject video outlines through a custom-built mini website. The TV Studio has been fully booked as teachers from all faculties record video overviews of their specialist areas.
Inaburra is now hosting its ‘Meet the Principal’ events through the Livestream platform, with registered participants able to ask questions of key staff in real time. Inaburra has also implemented the Livestream platform for online school assemblies that are projected into every classroom for students to watch in their Homegroups. There has also been the opportunity to record promotional video campaigns for charity fundraisers such as the recent Red Shield Appeal for the Salvation Army. Inaburra is currently in the process of recording a multimedia music performance in lieu of a live concert for its music ensembles from K-12.
Inaburra certainly looks forward to the time when it can welcome visitors back to the school in person. In the meantime, the school is blessed to have provision for providing alternate means of communicating with its community and student cohort through the digital space, and thinks that, post Coronavirus, there are some events that will remain on this platform rather than reverting to their previous ‘live’ format.
|Years||Kindergarten - Year 12|
8k - 12k 12k - 16k |
Annual tuition fees range from $10,970 (Kindergarten) up to $18,474 (Year 12)
(02) 95******* (02) 9543 2533
|Address||75 Billa Road Bangor NSW 2234|
News & Advice
Working with Parents to Understand Academic Worry
Since the start of 2018 the Ruyton School community has been on a journey to understand its students’ experience of academic worry through its research study, ‘From Anxiety to Empowerment’. At the end of 2019, parents joined the school to collaborate on this project. We reflected on our journey thus far, explored and provided the opportunity for discussion with parents to further contribute to our research project.
Why study academic worry?
Stressful events are very common in educational settings, both for students and for teachers. A multitude of exams, evaluations and deadlines creates an enormous pressure to perform. This stress, however, can have a critical impact on learning and memory processes. In this study, we have intentionally used the language of ‘academic worry’ rather than stress or anxiety. This ensured that students from Years 5 to 9 could relate to the questions posed in the surveys used to collect the data.
Using student voice for meaningful data
Over the course of this study, we have been asking students to reflect on their experience of academic worry at school. This qualitative approach has helped us understand academic worry through the eyes of our students. It has been their voice and the consistent use of a Data Driven Dialogue protocol with students, staff and parents that has helped us make sense of and determine strategies and structure learning to effectively minimise academic worry for our girls.
Collaborating with parents
Workshops provided the opportunity to engage with our parents to gain insights and parent perspectives on the topic of addressing academic worry. At a workshop late in 2019, we read ‘Little Miss Anxiety’, a chapter from Madonna King’s book, Being 14, and then used a protocol that helped us discuss the issue of anxiety from an Australian girls’ perspective. We gathered parent input that will assist our researchers to determine potential ways forward to tackle the epidemic of anxiety. Collaborating with parents is one method of data collection in this proactive study, Ruyton is leading the way in combating the effects of anxiety or academic worry in girls.
Below is a sample of some the practical classroom strategies our parents discussed:
“Celebrate growth rather than the percentage on the test.”
“Reflect on failure.”
“Meditation moments in school.”
“Plan/organise students’ time management to prioritise relaxation.”
Dr Bern Nicholls
student leadership coordinator
Ruyton Girls’ School
|Religion||Non - denominational|
|Years||Kindergarten - Year 12|
|Enrolment||Approximately 900 students|
12k - 16k Over 16k |
From $13,262 (Early Learning Centre) to $33,246 per annum (Year 12)
03 9819******* 03 9819 2422
03 9818******* 03 9818 4790
|Address||12 Selbourne Road, Kew 3101|
News & Advice
Advice to Parents and Carers
If schools are closed for an extended period of time, the school will continue to provide learning activities for your child to do at home and will communicate with you about their learning.
If your child’s school needs to close, the school will communicate with families through its usual channels (this might be through email, SMS or websites).
In many schools across the state teachers already deliver and manage learning activities using online tools. Some schools may move more or all of your child’s learning activities online. This might include some live lessons. If you or your school does not have digital or online options they will use non-digital strategies. This could include sending worksheets, textbooks or USB drives containing digital worksheets (where available) and videos to your home with your child or via mail.
Teachers may also contact students in groups or through one-on-one phone calls.
This information sheet (English PDF 116KB)External link will help you understand how to help your child learn at home including:
- Your responsibilities – there are things you will need to do to help your child learn from home such as setting routines, finding a quiet space and asking how their learning is progressing.
- Your child’s responsibilities – your child will also need to follow the routines set for them and complete the tasks the teacher assigns doing their best work
- How to plan their day – your school should give you some advice and a guide for what your child should be doing during a day
- Looking after their wellbeing – you will need to make sure they have breaks, drink water and are not getting stressed or anxious
- Communication – it will be important that you talk to your child regularly about their learning. Your child’s teacher and/or the school will communicate with you and tell you how to get in touch with them.
- Using technology and screen time – it will be important that you supervise your child to use technology safely and put limits on the time they spend online.
Advice and resources for teachers, parents and carers to support student wellbeing when learning remotely
Information for parents and carers on talking about COVID-19, supporting their child’s wellbeing and where to access support.
Helpful phone contacts, agencies, websites and apps that support mental health and wellbeing in these changing times
Telephone Interpreter Service
If you need further information please call your school principal. If you need an interpreter to assist you with your enquiry please call the Telephone Interpreter Service on 131 450 and ask for an interpreter in your language. This service will be free of charge to you.
Last updated: 02-Apr-2020