Your Child's Learning

Our Catholic schools provide a foundation of faith based on Catholic tradition and teachings. They also assist your child to develop knowledge and understanding, skills, capabilities and dispositions necessary for lifelong learning.

At secondary level, your child’s learning focuses on the development of more complex and sophisticated thinking in areas of logical reasoning, critical analysis and reflection, creative thinking and problem-solving.

The emphasis is on fostering your child’s independence as a learner and further developing his/her ability to organise ideas and information and apply practical skills as appropriate. S/he will be encouraged to participate in situations and problems that relate to real life, and to work with the local community and other useful resources outside the school. In addition, s/he will explore and identify possible pathways for future learning.

The student is at the centre of all learning arrangements in Catholic schools. Catholic schools recognise that students are individuals, each with diverse learning needs.

Teachers design learning experiences that are responsive to the different ways which students achieve their best.

Contemporary learning

In their approach to contemporary learning, teachers in Catholic schools:

aim to ensure all students will make progress and succeed
enable students to develop deep understandings about the world and how to operate effectively in that world
build capacity for lifelong learning
use questions and issues as drivers for learning
create flexible learning opportunities in response to the different ways in which students learn and achieve their best
encourage effective use of contemporary technologies to deepen and accelerate student learning, both inside and outside of school
encourage learners to think and work creatively, explore and experiment, plan and reflect, communicate and collaborate
create learning opportunities in different environments within and beyond the classroom.

Our schools provide facilities that enable your child to use and develop skills in various technologies, as well as to learn in engaging and effective ways.

Our secondary school curriculum 

The curriculum is planned carefully to ensure the development of the whole child, including intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and social dimensions.

The curriculum is based on the dignity of the human person, a culture of community and a commitment to social justice and service for the common good. It is designed to prepare students to be lifelong learners who can respond creatively to the challenges of the future, including rapid developments in science and technology, the environment, global activity and social change.

All our schools meet the curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements set by the Victorian and Australian governments. Like most Victorian schools, Catholic schools base their curriculum on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and selected subjects of the Australian Curriculum. This is now known as AusVELS, a single framework that identifies what is essential for all students to learn during the compulsory years of schooling (Preparatory to Year 10).

For more information on AusVELS, see http://ausvels.vcaa.vic.edu.au.

Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum is still in development. The Australian Government, in collaboration with the state and territory governments, is committed to developing an Australian Curriculum from Foundation (the first level of the curriculum, taught in Prep) to Year 12.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has responsibility for developing the curriculum in several phases. Mathematics, science and history have been the first curriculum areas to be implemented in Victorian schools in 2013 and 2014. All other remaining areas of the Australian Curriculum will be implemented from 2015.

International Baccalaurate

Some Catholic secondary schools offer the International Baccalaurate, which includes its Middle Years Program (students aged 11 to 16) and its Diploma Program (students aged 16 to 19).

Religious education

Our schools invite and support students to discover God’s presence in their daily lives. Within a Gospel-centred environment, students are challenged and supported to understand themselves and the world in which they live through a world view founded in Scripture and in the traditions of the Catholic community − its stories, its worship, its experiences and its teachings.

Religious education is at the centre of the Catholic school curriculum and is reflected in a visible Catholic symbolic culture and active sacramental and liturgical practice. Religious education explores students’ life experiences in the context of Church teachings and tradition. Participation in religious education is compulsory for all students in all of our schools.

Christian education in sexuality 

Our schools are encouraged to design their own program in positive human relationships and human sexuality in line with the universal teaching of the Church, based on the particular character of the local community and in partnership with parents.

English

The study of English helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate with and build relationships with others and with the world around them. English helps students become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society. It also helps students to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience.

English teaching promotes continuity of literacy learning from primary to secondary schooling and supports literacy into the post-compulsory years. Our schools monitor student literacy achievement and use results to plan for students’ distinct learning needs. Where necessary, teachers use specially designed intervention programs to consolidate basic understanding in English.

Mathematics

Mathematics provides students with essential mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. It develops the numeracy capabilities that all students need in their personal, work and civic life, and provides the fundamentals on which mathematical specialties and professional applications of mathematics are built.

Our schools monitor student mathematical achievement and use results to plan for students’ distinct learning needs. Where necessary, teachers use specially designed intervention programs to consolidate basic understanding in mathematics.

Science

Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our desire to make sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.

All students need to appreciate the significance of science for the long-term future of our society.

Languages

Languages study enables all students to engage in learning a language in addition to English. Languages aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure students communicate in the target language, and understand language, culture, and learning and their relationship.

Languages study also helps students to understand themselves as communicators and to develop intercultural capability in communication.

Many of our schools offer students a range of languages, including Italian, Japanese, Indonesian and French, as well as Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Korean and Vietnamese. If your preferred language is not offered by your child’s school, you may be able to access the services of the Victorian School of Languages (VSL), which offers after-school and Saturday classes and distance education. The school may require that this study is in addition to the normal learning program.

For details of VSL programs, see www.vsl.vic.edu.au.

Health and Physical Education

Health and Physical Education teaches students how to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, wellbeing and physical activity in varied and changing contexts. The Health and Physical Education learning area has strong foundations in scientific fields such as physiology, nutrition, biomechanics and psychology, which inform what we understand about healthy, safe and active choices. The Health and Physical Education learning area is informed by these sciences and offers students an experiential curriculum that is contemporary, relevant, challenging, enjoyable and physically active.

Our schools promote the development of a healthy lifestyle by providing a well-organised and active environment in which students can participate in a wide range of sports and physical activities. As well as improving fitness, participation in sport and physical education at all levels develops a sense of fair play, self-confidence and an ability to work with others as part of a team.

Humanities

The Humanities learning area comprises History, Geography, Economics and Business and Civics and Citizenship.

History aims to ensure that students develop knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society.

Geography focuses on characteristics of places that make up our world, using the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change.

Studies in Economics and Business enable students to understand the process of economic and business decision-making and its effects on themselves and others, now and in the future.

Through the study of Civics and Citizenship, students investigate political and legal systems, and explore the nature of citizenship, diversity and identity in contemporary society.

The Arts

The Arts are a vital part of secondary school experiences. The Arts enables exploration of the dynamic relationships between the five Arts subjects: Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts. This can involve students making and responding to artworks in traditional, contemporary and emerging forms, using materials, techniques and technologies from one Arts subject to support learning in another. Within all Arts subjects, design facilitates the creative and practical realisation of ideas.

Technologies

This learning area encourages students to apply their knowledge and practical skills and processes when using technologies and other resources to create innovative solutions, independently and collaboratively, that meet current and future needs. The Technologies learning area includes Design and Technology and Digital Technologies.

General capabilities and values

General capabilities and values are explicitly taught and developed in Catholic schools, supporting students to manage their own wellbeing, relate well to others and make informed decisions about their lives. Students develop into citizens who behave with ethical integrity, relate to and communicate across cultures, work for the common good and act with responsibility at local, regional and global levels.

These general capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century.

Work experience

As part of the curriculum, your child may complete one or two weeks of work experience. This is usually offered in Year 10 but is not restricted to this year level.

While on work experience, students are able to observe different aspects of work and assist with tasks allocated by their supervisor. This opportunity provides students with a greater understanding of the world of work, as well as helping to improve their communication and organisational skills.

Employers also benefit from work experience because they are able to build closer relationships with Catholic schools and the local community.

Leadership and peer support programs

Where opportunities are available, students are encouraged to be involved in student representative councils (SRCs) and in programs within their local community.

There are several leadership and peer support programs in schools to encourage self-awareness and personal development. The ‘buddy’ system, where an older student is assigned to support a younger student, is now common in schools and has two main benefits – the older student learns to take on leadership and responsibility, while the younger student knows s/he has another student at school to whom s/he can turn for assistance.

Student study tours and exchanges

Exposure to international cultures and experiences has a positive effect on students and teachers in today’s global society. Many of our schools offer students the opportunity to participate in short-term international study tours. This is often linked to the study of a language or to an experience which will enhance social awareness and a deeper understanding of social justice. These tours are undertaken by individual schools. For more information you may contact your child’s school.

Every year around 1000 Victorian students enjoy the benefits of exchange programs.