Curriculum Overview


Below is a summary of the courses offered for each year level at Swan Hill College.  More detailed information is available in the relevant sections of this Handbook.

Students study a set curriculum, comprising a broad range of subjects where classes remain together for each one. Subjects studied are; General Studies (English and Humanities), Mathematics, Science, Arts, Health and PE, Integrated Technology, Food, LOTE (Indonesian) STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) and Performing Arts.

Students remain in the same class for each subject and study the Year 8 core subjects.  Subjects studied are; General Studies (English and Humanities), Mathematics, Science, Arts, Health and PE, Integrated Technology, Food, LOTE (Indonesian) STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) and Performing Arts.

English, Mathematics and Science are year long, compulsory subjects at this year level. Students study the Mathematics subject best suited to their needs, based on testing and teacher recommendation. English offers electives which provide an opportunity for additional support to build skills or provides opportunity for further extension of skills.

All students will also study ’The Making of the Modern World’ (a history subject) and must select one Physical Education subject in either Semester 1 or 2.  A range of semester length electives are offered to cater for both academic learners and those students best suited to applied learning.

English and Mathematics remain year long, compulsory subjects at this year level, with all students also required to select Science A, a Health or Physical Education elective and History for one semester. Students are required to select from a range of electives, designed to prepare them for future VCE, VET and VCAL studies. Student may also elect to accelerate into a VET or VCE subject in Year 10 (as per the acceleration policy). For those anticipating following the VCAL course in Year 11, PreCAL at Year 10 offers a suitable start for students wishing to gain apprenticeships and enter the workforce once they leave secondary school.

VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education)
Students must study an English subject at Years 11 and 12. Students can select from a broad range of VCE subjects, allowing students to enter University, TAFE and other courses upon completion of Year 12. When in Year 11, students may elect to study one Year 12 subject (as per the acceleration policy).

VET (Vocational Education and Training)
Studies in a range of VET subjects are available. Students study a VET subject for two years, starting in either Year 10 or Year 11. Structured, work–based learning and School Based Apprenticeships are also a feature of these studies.

VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning)
Students who undertake VCAL start this course in Year 11 and continue it in Year 12. They may study at a Foundation, Intermediate of Senior level. Literacy, Numeracy, Work Related Skills and Personal Development Skills are compulsory modules taught in an integrated format.

It is very important that students talk to key people at Swan Hill College who can assist with the process before a final decision is made.  Opportunities for discussion include the Information Nights held early in Term 3 where parents and students can hear how the process works. Parents will be notified of these nights.

Before students make their final choice, they are advised to:

  1. Read this guide carefully.
  2. Be well informed. Engage in conversation with parents, older students, careers staff and relevant teachers.
  3. Students who will be in Years 9-12 next year use the Planning Tool (at the start of Years 9 –12 sections).

Students and parents please note that subjects on offer are subject to sufficient numbers.  Therefore, a final decision will be made after numbers are known.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

This is an intensive English program designed to teach newly arrived students to understand and communicate in English. The goal is to improve English skills so the students can understand and participate more in their mainstream classes. The EAL program provides tailored English classes in small groups for students in Years 7-10. An individualised reading program is provided so all students are reading for meaning at an appropriate level.

Students are taught reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, as well as text types, grammar, and sentence structure.

Students are given a variety of experiences through:

  • School experiences, speaking engagements, involvement in community activities.
  • Encouragement to participate in culturally sensitive and appropriate activities outside of school.
  • Working with community organisations such as the Swan Hill Settlement Committee, Mallee Sports Assembly, Health Promotions, The Community Issues Group, and Swan Hill TAFE.
  • Attending health, safety and well-being programs.

Students are supported with any personal or administrative issues through the Junior and Senior Sub Schools, as well as the Wellbeing office.

Instrumental Music

Program Structure

Instrumental Music is available to students at Swan Hill College in any year level on the following instruments:

  • Flute
  • Trumpet
  • Saxophone
  • Clarinet
  • Piano
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Trombone
  • Voice

Tuition is offered in a small group. Tuition groups are organised according to instrument, with students being placed with others of compatible playing experience. Beginners are welcome. A limited number of places for individual tuition may be offered to students at advanced playing levels. Placement of students in a group or individual tuition will be at the discretion of the Instrumental Music Co-ordinator. Lessons of 48 minutes duration are scheduled for 16 weeks per Semester on a rotating timetable. A limited number of lunchtime or before/after school lessons may be available upon request.

The College has a limited number of flutes, clarinets, saxophones and trumpets available for hire. First round applications for the next year are due at the end of November each year. Applications may be submitted after this date for a secondary intake in the following February, subject to places being available.

Payment / Costs

Each term’s tuition must be paid in advance. In the event that no places are available or an application is unsuccessful the tuition fee will be refunded in full. To obtain an application form or further information in relation to fees please contact the General Office.

Study Expectations at Swan Hill College

Students often see homework as an unnecessary evil, but as educators we cannot recommend highly enough the importance of learning solid study skills from the beginning of secondary school. Homework and revision are imperative if a student wants to achieve their academic potential. Establishing good study habits and routines from Year 7 will set a student up for success in VCE.

The following is a guide to the amount of homework and revision a student should be completing at each year level throughout their secondary education:

So what actually constitutes STUDY?

Students actually need to learn what study is and how to study. Study consists of two elements and it is vital that students recognise this.

Study is a combination of homework and revision.

Homework is tasks given by a teacher with a specific due date. The focus of homework is reinforcing key skills and knowledge that the teacher has imparted in the classroom and quite often involves tasks that are graded or shown on reports.
Revision on the other hand is time that students should use to go over what they have learnt in class and make sure that their knowledge is complete. This is particularly important at the senior levels when students have exams at mid-year and the end of each year, where either a semester or an entire year’s knowledge is to be tested. Students should avoid cramming their study into the few weeks before their exam and instead try to revise for short periods each week for each subject in an attempt to consolidate their knowledge.

Revision is an independent learning process that should start at the beginning of secondary school as it will be used throughout all of their years of learning, especially at University for those who choose that path.
Some ideas for revision tasks include:

  • Making flashcards;
  • Developing summary notes of the textbook or class notes;
  • Re-reading unclear sections in the textbook;
  • Creating mind maps;
  • Writing word or vocabulary lists;
  • Creating questions and asking others to test you;
  • Creating a podcast and listen to it.

What is a Learning Pathway

Each “Learning Pathway” is not a prescribed combination of units, but a suggested program. Use the Pathways sections in each Key Learning Area as a guide to help you in constructing your own learning pathway from Year 9 through to the end of Year 12.

You are free to choose any combination of units you like, within the parameters outlined. Discuss with your parents and teachers.

Your learning pathway will be an individual program customised to suit your own learning needs.

You do not have to choose one of the Pathways. You may be better served if you develop your own Learning Pathway.

You can move in or out of a pathway and change your course at the end of each semester, or at the end of each year. You are not locked into any choice, except with VCE Units 3 & 4 which must be completed sequentially over 12 months.

Why Learning Pathways?
  • To assist you and your parents to see the connection between Years 9 and 10 subjects, VCE and VCAL units and VET courses.
  • To provide a framework for you to understand and plan your learning programs.
  • To assist you to develop a purpose and direction with your program of studies.
  • To give a career/vocational focus to your learning programs.
How to Use the Pathways?

The Learning Pathways are meant to be used as a guide only. Very few VCE Units have prerequisites, however many important learning skills can be developed through undertaking a broad learning program which maintains all options for further study.

Choosing Subjects!

When considering subjects and units you should ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do I like the subjects I have chosen? (Experience shows that you do better if you are undertaking subjects or units you enjoy.) Avoid choosing subjects because your friends are doing them.
  • Do I have an idea of the field of work which most interests me?
  • How do these subjects or units relate to my chosen area of interest?
  • Do I have a broad choice next year or have I locked myself into a narrow field of subjects?
Consult, Question and Discuss!
  • Discuss your potential options with your parents/guardians. They will need to sign the Selection Sheet. Any future pathway changes will also need to be signed off by a parent/guardian.
  • Seek out teachers of your subjects or consult current teachers for information. Sometimes the best source of information on a subject are the current students.
  • Acceptance in to most Year 9 courses is also dependent on your previous subject outcomes.