Senior School Curriculum

Senior School Academic Curriculum

In Years 7 – 12 the academic program offers a combination of compulsory studies and elective subjects. The opportunity for choice grows as students progress towards their senior years.

The structure of our academic programme reflects the three stages of the secondary curriculum.

Stage Four (Years 7 and 8) 

Students in Year 7 and 8 are given the opportunity to explore a broad range of subjects. Some of these continue on from Stage 3 (Years 5 and 6) while others are completely new.

All students take the following subjects:

English Cornerstone
Science Mathematics
Geography History
Visual Arts Technology (Mandatory)
Personal Development, Health & Physical Education
Language Music

Stage Five (Years 9 and 10)

At this point, students begin to refine their learning programme, choosing subjects that reflect their particular interests and aptitude. A substantial, but smaller programme of compulsory studies maintains the breadth and balance.

Students undertake core subjects that are compulsory for all students:

English Mathematics
Science History
Geography Cornerstone
Personal Development, Health &  Physical Education
Personal Interest Project (Year 10)

Students choose two elective subjects from the following:

Music Visual Arts
Food Technology IST
PASS Drama
Design & Technology Commerce
Languages – French
– Japanese


A student who has a particular interest or background in other areas of study may apply to take a subject by distance learning. Approval for this will consider the individual’s capacity for independent study as a major factor.

Stage Six (Years 11 and 12)

Year 11 (Preliminary HSC Course)

Students in Year 11 undertake the Board of Studies Preliminary Course. This three-term course qualifies students to proceed to the Higher School Certificate. Students must study a minimum of twelve units, usually six subjects.

All students undertake the mandatory study of

English Advanced or Standard

Other subjects offered are:

English Extension 1 Mathematics Standard
Mathematics Advanced Mathematics Extension 1
Biology Chemistry
Earth and Environmental Science Physics
Design and Technology Engineering Studies
Visual Arts Studies of Religion 1
Modern History Ancient History
Economics Business Studies
Legal Studies Drama
Music 1 Music 2
Personal Development, Health & Physical Education

These subjects are eligible for inclusion in the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank).

Students may seek approval for study by distance learning and each case will be considered on its merits. Individual students may benefit, too, from the study of a vocational (VET) subject, but these may not be included in the ATAR. 

Year 12 (HSC Course)

The HSC program of Study commences during Term 4. Students have the opportunity to amend their program with the addition of various extension courses in:

English Extension 2 Mathematics Extension 2
History Extension Music Extension

At all points where decisions must be made, the College offers comprehensive advice, both personal and general.

Transition Programs

In order to assist students in their preparation and transition into Stage 6 and HSC programs, various events are in place to support students. These include workshops, ELEVATE study sessions, consultations, Wellbeing and Careers sessions as well as Pastoral reflections and Mindfulness sessions.

Year 12 Study Centre

Year 12 students use a study centre located in Elvo.  It is a place ideally suited to the serious academic business of preparing for the HSC.

The Year 12 Academic Master, Mrs Molly Simpson is available in study periods, before and after school to mentor, monitor and inspire Year 12s as they aim high.  The Year 12 Study Centre is not a Year 12 common room or a social space. It will be a place for students to work independently or in groups on their HSC – a library dedicated to them.

Academic Tours

From time to time, Oxley students have the opportunity to travel in order to extend their academic experience.

From 2016, Year 9 students can travel to Nepal as part of their studies in Global Perspectives. Each year there is a Drama Tour to Melbourne for senior Drama students, prior to commencing their Individual and Group projects. Previously Year 11 and 12 Ancient History students toured Italy while Year 9 and Year 10 students had the opportunity in 2014 to visit Belgium, France and Turkey as they surveyed the European Battlefields.  In the past, students have travelled to Borneo (Geography), China (Music) and Noumea (French).

Class Groupings

At Oxley we believe in supporting our students to achieve success in their learning. For that reason Year 7 – 10 students are placed in groupings within classes according to their achievement data, their individual student profiles and a combination of other indicators that may impact on learning. The College has a formal policy of streaming from Year 8 onwards in English, Maths and Science. Other subjects, according to the learning needs of the cohort may also be streamed. The usual pattern is a top stream with a combination of either two parallel or two other streams. Within each class, differentiation will occur to provide each student with the appropriate amount of challenge. Depending on the learning needs of the cohort, the number of students or gender in each class may not always be equal.

The learning profiles of Year 7 students are considered by Curriculum Team Leaders and Heads of House in order to determine initial groupings. According to the cohort, some classes may be streamed from the start of the academic year. The data used will include NAPLAN and previous school reports. Students entering other years are placed after personal discussion and a review of their academic record. Class groupings will be regularly reviewed by year group teachers, Curriculum Leaders and Deputy Head, Learning. A review may be initiated as a result of new data, a change of circumstance or a number of other factors.  A formal review of class groupings will usually occur at the end of a semester, however changes may be made at the end of a topic, a term or when there are other circumstances affecting the learning of a student.


At Oxley we believe that a partnership between home and school is vital for a student’s success. Therefore we value the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with students, parents, and teachers at pertinent times throughout the year.

We commence each academic year with an information session where students and parents receive an overview of that particular year’s focus and outline. This is also an excellent opportunity to meet with other parents and ask questions. Formal reporting occurs twice a year for all year groups.