Quality Education For Kindergarten to Year Twelve

Years 8 – 12

Years 8 – 12

Years 8 – 12

The Year Eight to Year Twelve program builds on the knowledge students bring from earlier years providing support for their new and emerging talents. From 2017 the program will be underpinned by a new framework for learning based on research undertaken by Harvard University. This framework will build our own ‘Culture of Thinking’ in which every student will be encouraged to become an inquisitive (creative, collaborative, passionate); self-directed (independent, responsible, resilient); and reflective (engaged, ethical, critical) learner. To support this exciting educational development, the School Council is investing significantly in both the professional development and resources necessary to support the successful implementation of this new learning journey.

Learning Environment

The Senior School provides a supportive learning environment in which passionate teachers provide teaching and learning programs that respond to the different needs of individual learners. We expect every student to challenge themselves by setting achievable goals that reflect their aspirations beyond school. By identifying what they want to achieve and understanding themselves as learners, students are more motivated to imagine, create and achieve their potential.

To support the rigour demanded by our teaching and learning programs we provide a range of opportunities that ensure students experience a balanced and well-rounded educational experience. When students experience success both in and beyond the classroom they are more likely to reach beyond themselves and seek new challenges to maintain their interest and enthusiasm for life and learning.

The School also places a strong emphasis on the development of the general capabilities that young people need to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

General capabilities are:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding.

Subject Selection

One of the defining features of our academic program at Northholm is the diverse range of subjects we are able to offer within the requirements of the NSW Board of Studies. This broad choice allows students to tailor their study to their own needs and encourages them to engage more effectively in the learning process.


Year Eight students study with specialist teachers in English, Mathematics, Science, Geography and History in purpose designed rooms, rather than their homeroom. This helps them prepare for their final years of education. Students continue with the same academic program studied in Year Seven with the addition of French.


Students in Years Nine and Ten complete all mandatory requirements of the NSW Board of Studies. This includes core studies in English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and Personal Development and Physical Education (PDHPE). In addition to these core subjects they are able to select subjects from a broad range of electives:

  • Agricultural Technology
  • Commerce
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • French
  • Information Systems and Technology (IST)
  • Literature Studies
  • Music
  • Physical Activity and Sports Studies (PASS)
  • Visual Arts

All Year Ten students participate in a mandatory Work Experience program in an area of their choice.


In Years Eleven and Twelve students prepare for the NSW Higher School Certificate. To be awarded this certificate, students must complete 12 units of study for the Preliminary Higher School Certificate in Year Eleven and a minimum of 10 units of study for the Higher School Certificate in Year Twelve.

While all students are required to study 2 units of English in both programs they are able to select subjects which relate to their interests and abilities for all additional units. This includes the opportunity to study a vocational course within the Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE or Primary Industries at School.

At Northholm Grammar, the following courses will be offered for study in Years 11 and 12, dependent on sufficient number of students electing the courses in the subject selection process.

  • Agriculture
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Engineering Studies
  • English (Standard, Advanced, Extension 1, Extension 2*)
  • French (Beginners, Continuers)
  • Geography
  • Ancient History
  • Modern History
  • History Extension*
  • Information Processes and Technology
  • Investigating Science
  • Legal Studies
  • Mathematics (Standard, Advanced, Extension 1, Extension 2*)
  • Music (Music 1, Music 2, Extension*)
  • Personal Development/Health/Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Science Extension*^
  • Society and Culture
  • Software Design and Development
  • Visual Arts
  • VET Primary Industries

*1 Unit subjects studied in Y12 only.

^ Science Extension is a new NESA course being introduced for HSC 2019. Students will be able to take the course in Year 12 concurrently with at least 2 units of Science (Biology, Chemistry or Physics).

As an alternative to full-time studies, students with special needs may elect to complete their HSC over a number of years using the Pathways option.


Students in Years Ten or Eleven who leave school before receiving their Higher School Certificate (HSC) are eligible for the NSW Record of School Achievement (ROSA).


Further to the broad selection of school based courses, students from Years Nine to Twelve can also select from a range of online School Certificate and Higher School Certificate courses provided through the Sydney Distance Education.

At the end of Year 12

Our students are encouraged to strive for excellence in all that they undertake both within and outside the classroom. As a result of this support our students leave school with the wisdom to make considered decisions, the courage to stand firm on matters of importance, the compassion to serve others graciously and the academic achievement that comes from disciplined study in a supportive environment. They become young people who ‘Learn with Purpose and Live with Passion’.