Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities important for all Australian students. The Australian Curriculum describes the learning entitlement of students as a foundation for their future learning, growth and active participation in the Australian community. It makes clear what all young Australians should learn as they progress through schooling. It is the foundation for high-quality teaching to meet the needs of all Australian students.

The development of the Australian Curriculum is guided by the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, adopted by the council of state and territory education ministers in December 2008. The Melbourne Declaration emphasises the importance of knowledge, understanding and skills of learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities as the basis for a curriculum designed to support contemporary learning.

The Australian Curriculum describes a learning entitlement for each Australian student that provides a foundation for successful, lifelong learning and participation in the Australian community. It acknowledges that the needs and interests of students will vary and that schools and teachers will plan from the curriculum in ways that respond to those needs and interests. The Australian Curriculum acknowledges the changing ways in which young people will learn and the challenges that will continue to shape their learning in the future.

The Australian Curriculum will eventually be developed for all learning areas and subjects set out in the Melbourne Declaration: initially for English, mathematics, science and history; followed by geography, languages, the arts, economics, business, civics and citizenship, health and physical education, and information and communication technology and design and technology.

NSW Curriculum

Schooling in NSW is based on the mandatory NSW syllabuses for students from Kindergarten to Year 12. The syllabuses are developed and endorsed by NESA. 

St. James Primary follows the approved syllabuses with the exception of Religious Education, which is approved by the Bishop.

Please visit the New South Wales Education for more information on the NSW syllabuses: Standards Authority (NESA) website

Subjects are called Key Learning Areas (KLAs).

They are:

  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • English
  • HSIE
  • Personal Development Health and Physical Education
  • Creative Arts
  • Religious Education

As a Catholic school, Religious Education is both a Key Learning Area and integral to our way of life.  

As a school of the 21st century, St James Primary provides students with learning environments that encourage investigation, exploration, and creativity. Students are provided with opportunities to develop technological information and higher-order thinking skills as they develop an understanding of how they learn. Through reflection and evaluation, the children are empowered to independently extend their learning.

Contemporary Learning

A contemporary learning approach is personalised, responding to the learning needs, interests and experiences of each student. Contemporary learning is different from the way many parents of today’s students were taught. It offers teachers and students much more options than the old textbook driven approach to teaching. Contemporary learning aims to empower students with the knowledge, skills and capacities to respond creatively to the challenges of their world.

Learners thrive in environments that are safe, supportive and secure. Flexible and intentionally developed learning environments encourage innovation and inquiry and help create a sense of belonging and purpose that strengthens the learning culture. These environments are stimulating and appropriately resourced. They promote high expectations and respect diversity and difference, facilitating learning for all students. Adaptive learning environments have no conventional boundaries because, being ICT rich, they are connected to the world beyond the classroom.

The Catholic Schools Office Lismore has a Contemporary Learning Framework (CLF) that clearly articulate what we value as our educative purpose, our agreed pedagogy. The statement guides challenges and supports the notion of powerful learning and it helps shape the appropriate curriculum to serve our educative purpose for the current and future contexts.


St James Teaching & Learning

The relationship between curriculum and pedagogy is fundamental. The curriculum is essentially a design, or roadmap for learning, and as such focuses on the knowledge and skills that are judged important to learn. Pedagogy is the means by which learning will be achieved.

As educators in Catholic schools, the person of Jesus Christ should be at the heart of what we teach and how we teach it. Good teaching helps students to better understand themselves and what is important to them. Good teaching inspires and engages students.

At St James Primary, we apply the principles of Visible learning to all educative practice; visible learning, “Involves impacting on the love of learning, inviting students to stay in learning, and seeing the ways students can improve their healthy sense of being, respect for self, and respect for others, as well as enhancing achievement.” (John Hattie, Visible Learning for Teachers, 2012). As learning progresses it becomes more complex. At James Primary the SOLO Taxonomy is applied to create the visible learning environment. SOLO, stands for the Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome, is a means of classifying learning outcomes in terms of their complexity, enabling teachers to assess students’ work and provide clear directions for students.  At first we pick up only one or few aspects of the task (unistructural), then several aspects but they are unrelated (multistructural), then we learn how to integrate them into a whole (relational), and finally, we are able to generalise that whole to untaught applications (extended abstract)