Curriculum at Swan Hill College

Curriculum Handbook

It is our shared goal that students leave the College as capable young adults ready for the challenges and the possibilities ahead of them. As students move through the year levels they gain social and academic skills, and take the responsibility to choose more of their subjects and ultimately their career options.

In Years 7 and 8 students undertake study across all of the learning areas in order to build a solid skill base with a particular focus on Literacy and Numeracy. In these early years of secondary school students take part in a range of programs such as the Reading program and Sunshine Maths program where students are explicitly taught skills at their point of need. These programs include additional staff in each of the classrooms in order to give our students the best possible start to their secondary schooling.

Year 9 students continue their core studies in English, Mathematics and Science but get to select from a wide range of specialised electives, from various learning areas, designed to foster and cater for their special interests. Year 9 is designed to allow students to explore a range of different subject areas allowing them to get a “taste” of various areas in preparation for their journey into the senior levels of the school.

Students moving into Year 10 choose from a variety of programs designed to establish their future pathways into their chosen career options or areas of expertise. Many are accepted for acceleration into a Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or Vocational Education and Training (VET) program.

In Years 11 and 12 students have the option of completing their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). There are many ways students can mix and match courses that suit their needs and interests. They can prepare for university, further training or work.

As part of the student program from Years 7-12 support is offered through our Careers Centre. This support includes subject selection, counselling, pathway plan development, careers coaching programs, camps, open day trips to universities or TAFEs and work experience opportunities. All of these provide students with the knowledge and support required to develop a pathway relevant to their individual needs.

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.


Year 7

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.


Year 8

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.


Year 9

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.


Year 10

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.


Years 11 and 12

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.


Who can assist?

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.