All schools including Sydney Catholic Schools follow the same Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum, with our Catholic values underpinning everything that we do.

With a focus on the development of the whole person, courses offered at the school cover the NESA syllabus requirements – developing the core skills of literacy and numeracy – and our Archdiocesan Religious Education curriculum.

Our teachers extend and challenge students to be the best they can be, while recognising that every student is unique and learns differently.

St Mary’s Cathedral College offers a comprehensive range of courses for students of all academic abilities. In their first years at the College, students are required to follow a pattern of study as determined by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). As students move into Stages Five and Six they are given more choice in the subjects they study.

We conduct an exhaustive subject selection process where we endeavour to match each student with an individual pattern of study, which best suits his needs. As a systemic Catholic school, all students are required to complete the board endorsed Religious Education program from Years 5 to 10 and to complete one of the Religious Education Courses in Stage 6.

Primary: Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4) and Stage 3 (Years 5 & 6)

St Mary’s Cathedral College’s Primary School Sydney provides a quality Catholic and music/choral education for boys from Years 3-6. There are two classes, one Stage 2 class (Years 3 & 4) and one Stage 3 class (Years 5 & 6).

The Primary classes follow the NESA syllabus in their learning in the seven Key Learning Areas (KLAs): English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, History, Geography, Creative Arts and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE). Religious Education is the Sydney Catholic Schools Syllabus.

Boys may apply for enrolment as choir scholars – Year 3 only, or as a music scholar for Years 3-5. Prospective choir scholars need to contact the St Mary’s Cathedral Song School for an audition prior to applying to the college. Enrolment is conditional upon continuing their instrumental and choral education.

Students follow a pattern of study in both Year 7 and Year 8, which covers all the mandatory hours as prescribed by NESA.

In Year 7 students study Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, History (HSIE), Technology, Music and PDHPE. In Year 8 the students complete their required hours in Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Geography (HSIE), Technology, PDHPE, Languages other than English (Italian), and Visual Arts.

As well as completing Religious Education and their mandatory NESA hours of study in English, Mathematics, Science, HSIE and PDHPE, students in Year 9 are given the opportunity to select two (2) electives courses that they study for two years. Students may choose from the following electives:

  • CAPA: Drama, Music, and Visual Arts
  • HSIE: Commerce, Elective Geography, and Elective History
  • Languages: Italian
  • PDHPE: Sports Studies
  • Technology: Industrial Technology, Information Software Technology, and Graphics Technology.

Subject Selection Handbook Year 9-10

Students accepted into St Mary’s Cathedral College for their Preliminary and HSC years are required to complete at least one Religious Education course (Studies of Religion 1, Studies of Religion 2, or Studies in Catholic Thought). They are also required to complete a pattern of study that fulfils the NESA requirements. This includes a compulsory English Course (English Studies, English Standard, or English Advanced). Students are then required to choose at least 10 more units of study from the following courses:

  • CAPA: Drama, Music 1, Music 2, Visual Arts, Visual Design
  • English: Extension 1, Extension 2
  • HSIE: Ancient History, Business Studies, Economics, Geography, History Extension, Legal Studies, Modern History, Society and Culture
  • Languages: Italian Beginners, Italian Continuers
  • Mathematics: Mathematics Standard, Mathematics Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2
  • PDHPE: PHDPE, SLR/Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation (Board Endorsed Course)
  • Science: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics, Investigating Science
  • Technology: Construction (VET), Engineering Studies, Graphics Technology, Industrial Technology, Information Processes and Technology, Software
  • Design and Development.

Subject Selection Handbook Senior Studies

Curriculum Subjects:

Religious Education is at the heart of Catholic education. It informs all aspects of school life and supports the evangelising and catechising mission of the Catholic Church. Through Religious Education, young people come to know and love the person of Jesus Christ.

All students are expected to participate in the religious life of the school. This includes their participation in Religious Education classes, their study of the Archdiocesan curriculum and their use of the To Know, Worship and Love textbooks and resources.

While recognising that parents are the first educators of their children in faith, the secondary Religious Education curriculum enables our students to see and respond to God in their lives.

Through a variety of experiences the Religious Education curriculum nurtures the natural capacity that young students have for curiosity, imagination and wonder. The students are invited to reflect on sacred Scripture, talk with God through prayer, discover the beauty of God’s creation and explore the meaning of symbols and rituals.

Years 7–10

Religious Education is at the heart of Catholic education. It informs all aspects of school life and contributes to the mission of the Catholic Church in announcing the good news of Jesus Christ.

All students are expected to participate in the religious life of the school. This includes their participation in Religious Education classes, their study of the Archdiocesan curriculum and their use of the To Know, Worship and Love textbooks and resources.

Our Religious Education department ensures that religious pedagogy within the school remains of the utmost importance. Our staff are constantly modifying and writing programs, staff implement the revised Stage 4 and 5 curricula and Year 12 curriculum, which will be seen in the implementation of the new Stage 6 Syllabus “Studies in Catholic Thought” at the college.

Our dedicated Religious Education staff, who lead the Religious Education curriculum within the classroom, provide space within the curriculum to learn about the Christian faith and to have the opportunity to “Seek Wisdom in Christ”.

Years 11–12

The college offers three Religious Education courses for the HSC:

  • Studies of Religion 1
  • Studies of Religion 11
  • Studies in Catholic Thought

Through the study of English students learn about the power, value and art of the English language for communication, learning and enjoyment. Developing proficiency in English enables students to become confident communicators, critical and imaginative thinkers and lifelong learners. Students develop their language skills through activities involving speaking and listening, reading and writing, and viewing and representing. They learn about language and literature through working with a wide range of print, spoken, visual, media, multimedia and digital texts.

The Sydney Catholic Schools Statement on Literacy provides further elaboration on the principles of literacy and various roles within and across our schools.

NSW Education Standards Authority

The Board Developed syllabus to be studied substantially throughout Years 7–10. Four hundred (400) hours to be completed by the end of Year 10.

Years 710

The study of English in Years 7–10 aims to develop students’ knowledge, understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the English language and to develop their skills as effective communicators, critical and imaginative thinkers.

Students develop their control of language by reading and viewing a range of texts and by writing imaginative, interpretive and critical texts with clarity and accuracy for a range of purposes and audiences. Students engage with and explore the literature of past and contemporary societies, as well as a range of spoken, visual, media and multimedia texts.

Years 1112

The college offers three 2 Unit English courses for the HSC:

  • English Advanced
  • English Standard
  • English Studies

The college also offers two Extension English courses for the HSC:

  • English Extension 1
  • English Extension 2

The Mathematics syllabus provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in mathematics and working mathematically. Students have the opportunity to develop increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, communication, reasoning, analytical thought and problem-solving skills. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing strategies to make informed decisions and solve problems relevant to their present and future needs.

The Sydney Catholic Schools Statement on Numeracy provides further elaboration on the principles of numeracy and various roles within and across our schools.

NSW Education Standards Authority

The Board Developed syllabus to be studied substantially throughout Years 7–10. Four hundred (400) hours to be completed by the end of Year 10.

Years 710 

The Mathematics K-10 Syllabus provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in mathematics and working mathematically. Students have the opportunity to develop increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, communication, reasoning, analytical thought and problem-solving skills. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing strategies to make informed decisions and solve problems relevant to their present and future needs.

The college offers three pathways in Mathematics in Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10):

  • 5.3
  • 5.2
  • 5.1

Years 1112

The college offers two 2 Unit courses for the HSC:

  • Mathematics Standard
  • Mathematics Advanced

The college also offers two Extension courses for the HSC:

  • Mathematics Extension 1
  • Mathematics Extension 2

Through the study of Science students learn about our biological, chemical, geological, physical and technological world. They actively develop skills in planning and conducting investigations, recording and analysing data, and problem solving. Students explore real world phenomena and develop solutions to authentic problems.

Students develop knowledge of scientific concepts and ideas about the living and non-living world. They gain increased understanding about the unique nature and development of scientific knowledge, the use of science and its influence on society, and the relationship between science and technology.

Students actively engage individually and in teams in scientific inquiry. They use the processes of Working Scientifically to plan and conduct investigations. By identifying questions and making predictions based on scientific knowledge and drawing evidence-based conclusions from their investigations, students develop their understanding of scientific ideas and concepts, and their skills in critical thinking and problem-solving. They gain experience in making evidence-based decisions and in communicating their understanding and viewpoints.

NSW Education Standards Authority

The Board Developed syllabus to be studied substantially throughout Years 7–10. Four hundred (400) hours to be completed by the end of Year 10.

Years 7–10

Through the study of Science students learn about our biological, chemical, geological, physical and technological world. They actively develop skills in planning and conducting investigations, recording and analysing data and problem solving. Students explore real world phenomena and develop solutions to authentic problems.

Years 11–12

The college offers four Science courses for the HSC:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Investigating Science

The Board Developed Technology Mandatory syllabus to be studied for 200 hours in Years 7–8.

Through the study of technology courses, students engage in a diverse range of practical experiences and develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary and advancing technologies. They develop solutions to problems and situations, and explore the impact of technologies on the individual, society and the environment.

Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) is the study of how humans interact with the world, how society operates and how it is changing. Through the study of HSIE, students develop the skills to prepare them to actively and responsibly participate as informed citizens in the contemporary world.

NSW Education Standards Authority

The Board Developed syllabuses are to be studied substantially throughout each of Years 7–10. Four hundred hours to be completed by the end of Year 10, including 100 hours each of History and Geography in each Stage.

Years 710 

Human Society and its Environment is the study of how humans interact with the world, how society operates and how it is changing. Through the study of HSIE, students develop the skills to prepare them to actively and responsibly participate as informed citizens in the contemporary world.

Students study mandatory History and Geography from Years 710.

The College also offers two elective HSIE courses in Years 910:

  • Commerce
  • History Elective

Years 1112

The College offers eight HSIE courses for the HSC:

  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History

Study in the Creative Arts provides students with strong discipline based knowledge and the fundamental skills, creative expertise, learning mindset and critical capabilities for the future world of work. Creative Arts students experience and develop the complex skills required to create and test ideas, generate creative works with confidence, shape inquiry and critically evaluate and reflect on what they do. Study in the Creative Arts prepares students to be significant producers and informed consumers of culture.

NSW Education Standards Authority

Two hundred hours to be completed consisting of the Board Developed 100-hour mandatory courses in each of Visual Arts and Music. It is an expectation that the 100-hour mandatory courses in these subjects will be taught as coherent units of study and not split over a number of years.

Years 710

Study in the Creative Arts provides students with strong discipline based knowledge and the fundamental skills, creative expertise, learning mindset and critical capabilities for the future world of work. Creative Arts students experience and develop the complex skills required to create and test ideas, generate creative works with confidence, shape inquiry and critically evaluate and reflect on what they do. Study in the Creative Arts prepares students to be significant producers and informed consumers of culture.

Students in Years 7 and 8 study Music and Visual Arts.

The College offers three Creative and Performing Arts elective courses in Years 9-10:

  • Drama
  • Music
  • Visual Arts

Years 1112

The College offers three 2-Unit Creative Arts courses for the HSC:

  • Drama
  • Music 1
  • Visual Arts
Through the study of Personal Development, Health and Physical Education courses, students develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes needed to take action to protect and enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing in varied and changing contexts. Physical education is fundamental to the acquisition of movement skills and concepts to enable students to participate in a range of physical activities – confidently, competently and creatively.

NSW Education Standards Authority

The Board Developed mandatory 300-hour integrated syllabus in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education to be studied in each of Years 7–10.

Years 710

Students study mandatory PDHPE from Years 7–10.

The college offers Physical Activity and Sports Studies as an Elective in Years 9–10.

Years 1112

The college offers two PDHPE courses for the HSC:

  • PDHPE
  • Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation Studies

One hundred (100) hours to be completed in one Board Developed syllabus or Board Endorsed language course over one continuous 12-month period between Years 7–10 but preferably in Years 7–8.

Learning languages opens minds to difference where diversity is seen as a regular part of society. Proficiency in languages provides a resource that encourages more effective engagement with the global community. The study of languages strengthens essential foundational skills for literacy. It also fosters intellectual and emotional development, and cultural understanding.

Students in Year 8 study Italian and the college offers Italian as an elective course in Years 9–10.

Students have an opportunity to study a language externally through Sydney Catholic Schools Japanese Centre of Excellence or through the NSW School of Languages for the HSC.

The role Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses play in helping students prepare for further education, training, employment and lifelong learning is widely recognised by key stakeholders in education.

Students in NSW have the option of studying VET courses at school, through TAFE NSW or other training providers including Sydney Catholic Schools. VET courses provide students with practical learning that gives them a head start with their career, and many may be counted towards the ATAR and are suitable for students on both academic and vocational pathways. All courses have dual accreditation with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

St Mary’s Cathedral College offers Construction as a VET course.

For students who are committed to a vocational pathway, they can also access other VET Frameworks through Saint Yon Trade Training Centre, Bankstown and Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College, Burwood and other Catholic Schools’ industry-standard trade training/skills centres where they have the opportunity to gain their HSC with a focus on vocational programs and School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs).

Where circumstances necessitate, students can complete their HSC over several years. Students and parents should contact the Leader of Learning, Curriculum to discuss their individual situation.