National curriculum update

Implementation of the Australian Curriculum has continued in 2015, with all states and territories now teaching the national syllabus for English, Mathematics and Science from Foundation to Year 10. The curriculum will eventually be adopted nationally across all subject areas and year levels. We take a look at the latest updates to the curriculum and how each state and territory is progressing as the school year draws to a close.

Foundation to Year 10

In September 2015, the Australian Education Council endorsed eight learning areas of the Australian Curriculum, including:

  • the revised curriculum for English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, and Health and Physical Education
  • the Language curriculum for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese
  • the Work Studies curriculum for Years 9 and 10.

Senior secondary

Fifteen senior secondary subjects have been endorsed by state and territory education ministers, including English, Mathematics, Science, History and Geography courses.

What's happening in your state?

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT has implemented the national curriculum for the following subjects over the past four years:

  • 2012: English (K “10), Science (K “10), Mathematics (7 “10) and History (7 “9)
  • 2013: Mathematics (K “6) and History (K “6, 10)
  • 2015: Geography (K “10) and The Arts (K “10).

In 2016, new curricula will be rolled out for Languages (K “10), Civics and Citizenship (3 “10), Economics and Business (5 “10), Technologies (K “10) and Work Studies (9 “10).

The ACT will also start implementing the national senior secondary curriculum, starting with English, Mathematics, Science and History for Years 11 and 12. Geography will follow in 2017.

New South Wales

New South Wales began implementing the Australian curriculum in 2014, starting with English, Mathematics, Science and History. The latest implementation timeline is as follows:

  • 2015: Mathematics (K “6, 8, 10), Science and Technology (K “6), English (8, 10), Science (8, 10) and History (8, 10)
  • 2016: History (K “6)
  • 2017: Geography (K “6, 7, 9)
  • 2018: Geography (8, 10).

New South Wales is still in the process of reviewing the syllabus for senior secondary English, Mathematics, Science and History courses. The new curricula will continue to be developed over 2015 and 2016, with implementation dates yet to be advised.

Northern Territory

Stage one of the Australian Curriculum for Foundation to Year 10 was implemented in the Northern Territory over the following timeline:

  • 2012: English and Mathematics
  • 2013: Science and History
  • 2015: Geography.

From 2016, NT schools will teach the complete suite of Australian Curriculum learning areas, encompassing the above as well as Economics and Business (5 “10), Civics and Citizenship (3 “10), The Arts, Health and Physical Education, Languages, Technologies and Work Studies (9 “10). The new curriculum replaces the former Northern Territory Curriculum Framework (NTCF).


The F “10 national curriculum for English, Mathematics and Science was implemented in 2012, with History and Geography following in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Queensland's senior secondary system is set for an overhaul, with the government introducing a new model that features both internal and external assessment. External exams will be trialled in selected Year 11 subjects from 2016. The changes will also impact the state's tertiary entrance system, with the Overall Position (OP) to be replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATAR) and the Queensland Core Skills (QCS) test to be phased out. Students in Year 8 in 2015 will be the first year level to participate in the new system, which will be introduced in 2018 when they enter Year 11.

South Australia

In South Australia, the Australian Curriculum is taught in government schools from Reception to Year 10. The learning areas are English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies, Health and Physical Education, Languages and Work Studies (9 “10). Phase 1 learning areas (English, Mathematics, Science and History) were introduced up to Year 9 level in non-government schools in 2014.

South Australia will begin integrating the Australian Curriculum into SACE from 2016. Four English and four Mathematics subjects have been redeveloped for teaching at Stage 1 in 2016 and Stage 2 in 2017. The second phase of the integration will see redeveloped Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth and Environmental Science, Ancient History, Modern History and Geography courses taught from 2017 at Stage 1 and 2018 at Stage 2.


English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, and Health and Physical Education have already been implemented in Tasmania from P “10. The next stage of the implementation is as follows:

  • Prep to Year 6: Humanities and Social Sciences will be implemented in 2017, with The Arts and Technology following in 2018
  • Years 7 and 8: Civics and Citizenship, and Economics and Business are to be implemented in 2017, and The Arts and Technologies in 2018
  • Years 9 and 10: Work Studies curriculum to be implemented in 2016.


Victoria will follow the Victorian Curriculum in Foundation to Year 10 from 2016. The Victorian Curriculum incorporates the Australian Curriculum and replaces the AusVELS Curriculum (which incorporated the Australian Curriculum for English, Mathematics, Science and History). Unlike the Australian Curriculum, the Victorian Curriculum is based upon standards of learning achievement, not set year levels. The curriculum outlines what is to be taught at each level of achievement, not at each age or year level.

Western Australia

The Western Australian Curriculum for Pre-primary to Year 10 currently includes the Australian Curriculum for English, Mathematics, Science and History. The Australian Curriculum for Humanities and Social Sciences and Health and Physical Education will be implemented in 2017, with The Arts, Technologies and Languages following in 2018.

The final stage of Western Australia's senior secondary reforms will be implemented in 2016. Announced in 2013, the reforms were designed to raise the literacy and numeracy standards of senior secondary students, while simplifying Year 11 and 12 course options. Under the new system, Stage 1, 2 and 3 courses will be removed and replaced with General and ATAR courses, which were introduced for Year 11 students in 2015, with the final stage of the rollout to include Year 12 students in 2016. The changes have also seen the introduction of a minimum literacy and numeracy assessment for Year 10 students.

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