Victorian curriculum in Years 7 to 12

The Victorian Curriculum

At Foundation (Prep) to Year 10, schools follow the Victorian Curriculum. The Victorian Curriculum replaced AusVELS in 2016, incorporating the Australian Curriculum and Victorian learning standards. Schools can continue to use AusVELS until the Victorian Curriculum is fully implemented in 2017. AusVELS combines the Australian Curriculum areas of English, Mathematics, Science and History with the Victorian Essential Learning Standards.

The Victorian Curriculum sets out a single framework for students’ learning from Foundation (Prep) to Year 10. It describes the knowledge and skills required by students for lifelong learning, social development, and active and informed citizenship. All government and Catholic schools in Victoria are required to use the Victorian Curriculum. Independent schools may use the Victorian Curriculum as a model and resource for implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

The curriculum at Foundation to Year 10 gives students a solid grounding in the most important learning areas before they choose specialist studies at senior level. In Year 10, although core studies are still a significant part of the curriculum, students explore electives such as languages, music and the visual arts. Schools often advise students to keep their options open, even as they begin to specialise, combining a range of studies across humanities, maths and science. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector provides additional opportunities through VET in Schools programs. 

At Year 11 and 12, students complete the Victorian Certificate of Education, Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning or International Baccalaureate. Although almost all schools offer VCE, VCAL and IB are more limited.

Before specialising in the senior years, students should have a fairly clear idea of their future — one to which they, not just their parents, are committed. With this said, there’s no compelling reason why students should have their path set in stone just yet. It has become increasingly common for young people to swap between study and work as their ideas and interests evolve. For many students, this makes covering a broad curriculum a good option.

Core learning areas

The Victorian Curriculum is broken into eight key learning areas and covers four capabilities.

  • The Arts
    • Dance
    • Drama
    • Media Arts
    • Music
    • Visual Arts
    • Visual Communication Design
  • English
  • Health and Physical Education
  • The Humanities
    • Civics and Citizenship
    • Economics and Business
    • Geography
    • History
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technologies
    • Design and Technologies
    • Digital Technologies

Achievement levels

The Victorian Curriculum is structured into achievement standards, rather than year levels. There are 11 levels for English and Mathematics, and five or six bands for all other learning areas and capabilities. The achievement standards allow for the development of targeted learning programs for all students, based on the actual learning level of each student rather than their age.

The levels cover the three broad stages of schooling:

  • Foundation Stage (Foundation to Year 2), where students focus on English, Mathematics, the Arts, Health and Physical Education, and Personal and Social Capability
  • Breadth Stage (Years 3 to 8), where students focus on English, Mathematics and Science, while fully engaging with all learning areas and capabilities
  • Pathways Stage (Years 9 to 10), which provides a broad education, with students beginning to plan their senior secondary studies.

Schools vary in their teaching approaches, as well as individual subjects they offer. Ultimately, each school has control over its own learning program — the subject range, course outlines, co-curricular opportunities and teaching methods are all variable.

See the VCAA website for more information.

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