What will my child learn?
Our curriculum has been designed to meet the needs of students in Western Australia. In Western Australia, there is one curriculum for Pre-primary to Year 10 and another for Years 11 and 12. Both curriculums have been adopted and adapted from the Australian curriculum.
You will find the Pre-primary to Year 10 curriculum in the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline (the Outline). The Outline also contains information about assessing student progress and reporting student achievement. The Outline is in the Kindergarten to Year 10 section of the website.
The Years 11 and 12 curriculum is in the Years 11 and 12 section of the website where you will find information about courses and programs for senior secondary students. This section of the website is also where you can see what students need to do to achieve a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE).
Schools and teachers are responsible for organising student learning. To effectively deliver the curriculum, teachers respond to their students’ needs and interests, which inform their approach to teaching, learning and assessment.
What about the Kindergarten curriculum?
Kindergarten is not a compulsory year of schooling in Western Australia.
Planning for children in the Kindergarten year is supported by the Kindergarten Curriculum Guidelines (the Guidelines).
The Guidelines are part of the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline and draw on the Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework (the Framework). They build on the following five learning development areas from the Framework.
How does the Pre-primary to Year 10 curriculum work?
Schools use the Western Australian curriculum for Pre-primary to Year 10 to:
- plan student learning programs
- assess student progress
- report student achievement to parents.
The Western Australian curriculum outlines the content for students to be taught each year. It is designed to be coherent and comprehensive. Achievement standards describe expected student performance in relation to the curriculum content for each year level.
The curriculum is organised into eight learning areas. Each learning area contains a year-level syllabus. This syllabus includes a year-level description, specific curriculum content and the Achievement Standard for each year of schooling, from Pre-primary to Year 10.
The eight learning areas.
In the English learning area, students develop their Standard Australian English skills. There are three parts or strands in the English learning area. These are Language, Literacy and Literature.
+Health and Physical Education
In the Health and Physical Education (HPE) learning area, students learn about being healthy, safe, and active. They develop skills to live a healthy life. The HPE learning area is in two parts:
- Personal, social and community health
- Movement and physical activity.
+Humanities and Social Sciences
In the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) learning area students learn about the world they live in. They study people and places and learn about the past and the present. HASS includes:
- Civics and Citizenship – introduced in Year 3 and carries through to Year 10
- Economics and Business– introduced in Year 5 and carries through to Year 10
- Geography – introduced in Pre-primary and carries through to Year 10
- History – introduced in Pre-primary and carries through to Year 10.
In the Languages learning area, students learn languages other than English. While learning a new language, students build communication skills and learn about other cultures. *Languages has been mandated for Year 3 in 2018, with other years following consecutively until 2023 when implemented for Year 8.
In the Mathematics learning area, students build numeracy skills and their understandings of mathematical ideas and processes. Numeracy helps students with their daily lives.
In the Science learning area, students develop a scientific view of the world and develop their understanding of science ideas and uses. They use this view to explore the world around them.
There are two subjects in the Technologies learning area. The first is Design and Technologies. The second is Digital Technologies. Students develop skills in creating solutions for now and the future in both subjects.
The Arts learning area consists of Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music, and Visual Arts. Subjects from The Arts build students’ creativity and communication skills. Students learn how to express their ideas and solve problems.
There are syllabuses for each year from Pre-primary to Year 10.
The Pre-primary to Year 10 syllabuses for each learning area can be downloaded by clicking on the year-level icons below:
How does the Year 11 and 12 curriculum work?
The Year 11 and 12 curriculum is taught as courses. These courses are completed as semester units. The courses have different levels of difficulty.
Students choose a range of courses to meet the requirements for a WACE.
The courses are divided into List A and List B. List A includes courses from The Arts, Languages and Humanities and Social Sciences. List B includes courses from Mathematics, Science and Technology. English courses are found in List A.
Choosing courses from both List A and List B ensures breadth in the WACE. This means students are exposed to a range of learning areas in Years 11 and 12. Breadth is a requirement for achieving the WACE.
The Year 11 and 12 courses build on the Pre-primary to Year 10 curriculum and align with the same eight learning areas.
Students entering Year 11 in 2020 now have three options for the completion requirement to achieve the WACE through their course combinations in Year 12.
Along with the other requirements that need to be met, students are able to complete:
- at least four Year 12 ATAR courses, OR
- five Year 12 General courses and/or ATAR courses, or equivalent, OR
- a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification in combination with ATAR, General or Foundation courses.
Courses and programs
Students come from diverse backgrounds and have varying needs. They may be interested in university study, have a specific vocation in mind that will involve further education and training, or intend to enter the workforce after leaving school. For this reason, Western Australia offers a wide range of options for students in Years 11 and 12 with courses that provide multiple pathways to university, training and employment.
Students can choose their courses from a range of course and program types.
There are five course types. ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank), General, VET (Vocational Education and Training) industry specific and Foundation courses contribute to the WACE. There are also Preliminary courses. Preliminary courses do not contribute to the WACE.
Endorsed programs and VET programs, including VET qualifications, can also be studied in Year 11 and Year 12 and may contribute to a WACE. VET industry specific courses all include a VET qualification but students may complete VET programs outside of the Authority’s courses. More information is available in the VET section of the Authority website.
ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) courses are offered at Year 11 and Year 12. There is a syllabus for each year. The Year 11 syllabus covers Units 1 and 2, and the Year 12 syllabus covers Units 3 and 4. Students complete Units 3 and 4 as a pair of units.
Year 12 ATAR courses are examined by the Authority. Students sit ATAR course examinations at the end of Year 12.
ATAR courses are designed for students who are aiming to go to university.
General courses are offered at Year 11 and Year 12. There is a syllabus for each year. The Year 11 syllabus covers Units 1 and 2 while the Year 12 syllabus covers Units 3 and 4. Students complete Units 3 and 4 as a pair of units.
The Authority does not examine General courses. However, the Authority uses externally set tasks (ESTs) in Year 12 to ensure marking by teachers is fair across the state. The ESTs are set by the Authority and are compulsory. Each EST is worth 15 per cent of a student’s school-based assessment for a General course.
General courses are designed for students who are typically aiming to enter further vocational training or to enter the workforce after they leave school. Students may be able to use some General courses as part of an alternative pathway entry to some university courses.
VET industry specific courses enable students to count their VET achievement as a WACE course. Units 1 and 2 are paired to make the Year 11 course. Units 3 and 4 are paired to make the Year 12 course. The units cannot be split. A student who completes only one semester of a VET industry specific course will not be able to use the course towards their completed unit count.
Foundation courses are offered at Year 11 and Year 12. There is a syllabus for each year. The Year 11 syllabus covers Units 1 and 2, and the Year 12 syllabus covers Units 3 and 4. Students complete Units 3 and 4 as a pair of units.
The Authority does not examine Foundation courses. However, the Authority uses externally set tasks (ESTs) in Year 12 to ensure marking is fair across the state. The ESTs are set by the Authority and are compulsory. Each EST is worth 15 per cent of a student’s school-based assessment for a Foundation course.
Foundation courses are designed for students who have not demonstrated the minimum standard for literacy and/or numeracy before Year 11 and are likely to need significant support to do so before the end of Year 12.
Preliminary courses are offered at Year 11 and Year 12. There is one syllabus for both years that contains four units. A unit may be completed in a semester or over a year.
Preliminary courses are designed for students who have been identified as having a learning difficulty and/or an intellectual disability. These courses provide relevant options for students who:
- cannot access the ATAR, General or Foundation course content with adjustment and/or disability provisions
- are unable to progress directly to training from school
- require modified and/or independent education plans
- have been identified as having a recognised disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and meet the above criteria.
Note: Preliminary courses do not count toward to the WACE.
An endorsed program offers learning through activities not covered by WACE courses. Each endorsed program consists of a series of lessons, classes and/or activities designed to lead to the achievement of a common goal or set of learning outcomes. Endorsed programs can be delivered as part of the school curriculum or as extra-curricular activities.
Endorsed programs can be offered by a school, community organisation or private provider. All endorsed programs must be endorsed by the Authority. Examples of endorsed programs include extra-curricular learning, such as cadets, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and off-campus enrichment programs, and workplace learning.
VET qualifications allow students to access nationally recognised vocational education and training (VET). VET builds skills and knowledge in and for the workplace. Students may use VET qualifications to count towards the WACE as unit equivalents.
Is there a curriculum for students with disability and additional learning needs in K–10?
Many students with disability and additional learning needs will be able to access the Western Australian curriculum for Pre-primary to Year 10 without modification of the curriculum and assessment.
In creating an individual education plan for a student with a disability or additional needs, teachers utilise the Western Australian curriculum for Kindergarten to Year 10. Schools negotiate any variation to the Western Australian curriculum with the student and her/his parents/carers, and document the decisions made.
Teachers may also draw on Abilities Based Learning Education, Western Australia (ABLEWA) Stages A to D in designing teaching and learning programs for students with disability and additional needs. ABLEWA is a program that uses curriculum materials and an assessment tool (ABLES) that enhances the resources available to teachers to support the teaching and learning of students with disability and additional learning needs.
The ABLEWA curriculum maps to the Western Australian curriculum for Pre-primary to Year 10 and provides specific content across four stages of difficulty prior to the Pre-primary curriculum content.
Is there a curriculum for students with disability in Years 11 and 12?
Some students with special educational needs may require modifications or adjustments to their learning programs and assessments to access the curriculum equitably. If enrolled in ATAR, General or Foundation courses, the achievement of these students should be reported against the achievement standard of the course.
The Authority provides a range of support for students with special educational needs. These are students who have been identified as having a disability recognised under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and who, as a consequence of their disability:
- cannot access the ATAR, General or Foundation course content with adjustment and/or disability provisions, or
- require modified and/or independent education plans.
Only students who have been identified as having a learning difficulty and/or an intellectual disability can enrol in Preliminary courses. These courses are designed to accommodate the broad range of abilities of students with special educational needs. They allow for adapted approaches to teaching and learning. This supports students to access learning they need to develop essential skills.
Each Preliminary course has units described in a syllabus. Students are not required to attempt all four units. Teachers are best placed to decide how many and which units to include within the individual learning plan for each student enrolled in a Preliminary course.
Preliminary units in themselves do not contribute to the requirements for the WACE. However, students undertaking Preliminary units may also undertake workplace learning, VET and endorsed programs such as ASDAN modules, which do contribute to the WACE.
There are provisions for adjustments to be made for students whose access to timed assessments could be significantly affected due to a diagnosed disability, impairment or medical condition. These are detailed in Guidelines for disability adjustment for timed assessments. The Guidelines are available on our website.
Is there support (a curriculum?) for students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect in K–10?
The Western Australian curriculum uses Standard Australian English (SAE) which is the variety of spoken and written English used formally in Australian schools. Students whose first language is a language or dialect other than SAE may require additional support to assist them to develop proficiency in SAE.
EAL/D students are generally placed in Western Australian schools at the year level appropriate for their age. The cognitive development and life experiences of EAL/D students may not match their English language proficiency. In such cases, EAL/D students may require additional support to access the Western Australian curriculum.
Part of the process to personalise learning for EAL/D students involves consultation with the student and parent/caregiver. Teachers and schools may need to enlist the support of Teacher’s Assistants, Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers (AIEOs) or interpreters to support communication with EAL/D families, caregivers and communities.
Is there support (a curriculum?) for students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect in Years 11 and 12?
There are ATAR, General and Foundation English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD) courses for students in Years 11 and 12. Students need to apply to enrol in these courses. A student’s eligibility for the EALD courses is assessed by the Authority before they can enrol.
A student may be eligible for EALD courses if
- English is not their first language and they meet specific residency and schooling conditions they are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or from Cocos Island or Christmas Island, and have been exposed to Standard Australian English primarily within the school context
- they are deaf or hard-of-hearing and communicates using signing such as Auslan as their first language.
Information about eligibility and the application process for EALD courses is available on the Years 11 and 12 section of the Authority website at https://senior-secondary.scsa.wa.edu.au/syllabus-and-support-materials/english
I’m home schooling my child. What do I need to know about the curriculum?
Home educators are required by the School Education Act 1999 to be registered with the Department of Education. The programs home educators deliver and the progress children make is monitored by the Department of Education.
The Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline which sets out the mandated curriculum and support resources, is accessible to home educators.