Our curriculum and domains give students the opportunity to explore passions, research topics, and work collectively with others. Find out more below:
English at Catherine McAuley College is an essential part of every student pathway. Our program is text rich, and there is a strong focus on the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening.
At Year 7 – 9 we offer a text based curriculum where students are taught these critical skills as outlined in the Victorian Curriculum. Each unit focuses on a text, and students explore character, themes, narrative structure and author purpose. Assessment is differentiated to meet the needs of all students as we aim for at least a year of growth in the academic year.
In the senior years, students can choose a variety of different English subjects. During Semester 1 of Year 10 we offer an elective program, where students can do their own inquiry into an author, genre or text, or explore linguistic and literature. During the second semester we offer a more traditional program focusing on creative, comparative and analytical writing, as well analysis of arguments. Our VCE English programs are:
Explores linguistics as well as how language shapes identity
Studies the form and transformation of text, and the connections between text, reader and contexts
Focuses on reading and creating, reading and comparing, and argument analysis
EAL English and Bridging English
Focuses on developing and consolidating literacy skills in speaking and listening, and writing and viewing, in recognition of students where English is an additional language
Literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading, writing, listening and speaking, viewing and representing. For our students to experience success, literacy is firmly embedded in all domain areas.
At Catherine McAuley College we believe that our school-wide literacy action plan is an essential blueprint for improving student achievement. The plan utilises data on student performance, literacy needs and expectations in the school and community, school capacity to support literacy development and current teaching practices to maintain the effectiveness of the literacy program.
The literacy program supports us in our aim to create curriculum that strengthens literacy development and provides strategic interventions for struggling readers and writers. It underpins development of school policies, structure and a culture of whole-school literacy. We believe that motivating and engaging students and developing their literacy skills is essential for literacy improvement across all year levels, in all learning areas. Our students participate in the Renaissance Reading Program where reading and comprehension levels are measured. This allows teachers, students and families to identify the needs of individual students, enabling the development of specific learning tasks to meet these needs while inspiring individual growth and a culture of reading across our College.
One of our key academic objectives for the development of students at Catherine McAuley College is for all students to achieve at least a year of growth in any academic year. This is a welcome challenge for students in Mathematics, as in any year level there is a broad range of abilities and prior understanding. To cater for individual needs, students in Years 7 and 8 work through the Maths Pathway Program that targets work for each student, in areas where they are ready to learn. Fortnightly reports on student growth motivate them to develop their maths skills and maintain steady progress.
In the future of work, our graduates will need to be able to apply their core skills and adapt them to a broad range of scenarios. In Mathematics we focus on giving students opportunities to problem solve, and apply skills from their ‘toolbox’ in non-routine group activities.
From Year 10 onwards, the curriculum is targeted towards the demands of the VCE Mathematics programs. Students work regularly, with and without technology, to improve their skills in the rigour of the financial and statistical mathematics studied in Further Mathematics, and the algebraic skills of Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics.
At Catherine McAuley College, we strive to develop numerate graduates by creating a school community (students, teachers and parents/carers) that is committed to numeracy.
Numeracy is the ability to use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life. Whether this be at home, in paid work or for participation in community and civic life. (Numeracy, a Priority for All, DETYA 2000)
Through our college-wide Numeracy Plan, we acknowledge that the skills that underpin numeracy are explicitly taught in Mathematics. In order to develop their numeracy, students are given opportunity and experience in using their mathematical knowledge in all areas of study, across all domains.
To achieve this, we have identified and documented the key numeracy demands within each domain and we are working to build the capacity of all staff to teach the mathematics required by specific contexts across the curriculum. In addition, to further support our goal for numerate graduates, we actively use a range of data to clearly identify the numeracy needs of our student body.
Catherine McAuley College also seeks to engage our broader College community, including parents/carers, in the development of students’ numeracy skills outside the College.
Science at Catherine McAuley College engages students through discussion, practical investigations, research and inquiry tasks. Students at junior levels are introduced to a broad range of scientific fields as outlined in the Victorian Curriculum. At senior level, students may specialise in one or more of the core science disciplines (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics and Psychology) as part of their VCE program.
Elements of the emerging ‘STEM’ movement (Science Technology Engineering Maths) are incorporated into learning programs, raising awareness of the connections between these areas and how they complement one another. The ongoing and significant role of science in our rapidly-changing world is explored, allowing students to develop an awareness of what scientists do to enhance our world. Science is emerging as an in-demand subject, with a growing number of industries and occupations becoming reliant on employees with STEM skills.
Students’ learning tasks emphasise the development of skills and knowledge and the ability of students to critically analyse, evaluate, question and contribute to scientific discussion. Skills and content are progressively scaffolded and built upon to reflect individual learning needs. Emphasis is placed on the development of fundamental scientific literacy and numeracy skills throughout all topics across all year levels.
Religious Education is a lifelong process. At Catherine McAuley College we contribute to the development of our young people through our faith mission of ‘Living Mercy’ and our commitment to the Mercy Values of Compassion, Courage, Hospitality, Justice, Respect and Service.
Students participate in Religious Education classes from Years 7 – 12, experiencing diverse opportunities to enter into a Christ-centred ethos and world view that permeates all aspects of school life, including relationships, liturgies, celebrations and routines.
Led by ‘Source of Life’, the Religious Education Curriculum of the Diocese of Sandhurst, we seek to:
- Develop an appreciation of Jesus Christ, God’s creation and the dignity of the human person in everyday life
- Promote knowledge of the life, faith tradition and mission of the Catholic Church
- Increase understanding of religions generally and of different religious ways of seeing life
- Foster skills of reflecting, discerning, thinking critically, judging and deciding how to act in accordance with formed conscience
- Develop the capacity to critique the surrounding culture in the light of the Catholic Faith and Tradition
“Our hearts can always be in the same place, centred in God, for whom alone we go forward or stay back”. – Catherine McAuley
Health and Physical Education
Catherine McAuley College acknowledges the importance of Health and Physical Education and its contribution to good health and overall wellbeing. We believe, through the development of strong physical literacy skills and the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices at a physical, emotional, social and spiritual level, our students are well positioned to enjoy good health, both as students within our College and into the future as lifelong learners.
Our Health and Physical Education curriculum is delivered from Year 7 through to Year 12 and aligns with the Victorian Curriculum Foundation-10 and Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). Students in Years 7 to 9 participate in core Health and PE programs that encompass both practical and theory opportunities. Students in Year 9 are provided further opportunities via a semester-long Outdoor Education elective focusing on experiential learning and responsible interactions with the natural environment.
Students studying Health and Physical Education at Year 10 are presented with increased opportunities to individualise their learning program and undertake specialist electives. These electives, focusing on Physical Education, Adolescent Health and Sport Science, are designed to provide students with a structured pathway into their VCE studies. Year 10 students may also elect to accelerate into any of our VCE offerings, including VCE Health and Human Development, VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies and VCE Physical Education.
Catherine McAuley College offers students access to many Health and Physical Education spaces, both within the grounds of each campus and throughout the Greater Bendigo region. Dedicated Health and PE facilities at our school include ovals, soccer fields, gymnasiums, a fully equipped weights room, undercover courts and specialist classrooms.
The Humanities at Catherine McAuley College are centered around four key pillars:
- Civics & Citizenship
Together, these pillars create a learning environment where our students are encouraged to garner the wisdom from yesterday’s lessons, grapple with today’s realities and imagine tomorrow’s possibilities.
At the heart of all our Humanities courses is the mission to help foster young men and women of Mercy with the ability to think conceptually, discern multiple perspectives, weigh-up evidence, embrace complexity, and reason logical conclusions. Put another way, the very foundations upon which the ‘knowledge economy’ jobs of the future (and indeed the present) rest upon.
Guiding this mission are the inspirational words of former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and the Director at the Centre for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Sara Guyer:
The Humanities define who we are as a people. That is its power – to remind us of what we each have in common. To understand our past, grapple with the present and imagine our future. To give us hope in the moments of struggle and to bring us together when nothing else will!
The Humanities allow us to linger with that which is most difficult, leading us to value complexity, and develop creative, critical responses to the worlds we know, as well as those we can only imagine.
In Years 7-9 students undertake Humanities as a compulsory subject, whilst in Years 10-12 students are invited to continue their Humanities learning journey through a wide variety of elective offerings, including:
- The Year 10 ‘Humanities VCE Taster’ Series:
- Victorian Curriculum History
- History Investigation Project
- Victorian Curriculum Geography
- Law & Order
- Money, Wealth & Markets
- VCE Courses – Units 1-4
- Business Management
- 20th Century History & History (Revolutions)
- Legal Studies
- Australian & Global Politics
Learning a language extends student’s literacy repertoires and their capacity to communicate. They develop understanding about the role of language and culture in communication, an awareness, understanding and respect for diversity and difference, and an openness to different experiences and perspectives.
At Catherine McAuley College the languages offered are:
Students are given the opportunity to experience both languages at Year 7 and participate in a range of listening, reading, writing and speaking activities, in which they are able to express themselves creatively. As students’ progress through year levels, their analytical and reflective capabilities are strengthened through more in-depth study of a variety of topics. At a senior level students’ build on their prior knowledge and explore and apply their chosen language.
Where possible, students will be offered the opportunity to travel abroad to further enhance their language and experience a different culture.
“Learning languages broadens students’ horizons about the personal, social, cultural and employment opportunities that are available in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world”. - VCAA Languages
The Arts program at Catherine McAuley College includes visual and performance arts, providing students with the opportunity to explore and express their talents across a broad range of creative fields.
In the visual arts subjects, students are introduced to two and three-dimensional arts in practical and theory-based Art classes. They also complete a Visual Communication unit, where they explore manual and ICT skills (Information & Communication Technology). As students progress through year levels the subject choices expand to include Media, Photography, Art General and Studio Arts studies.
Performance arts subjects develop skills in the fields of Drama and Music Performance. Through dedicated practice they build confidence in performing to an audience. Drama allows students to develop skills in team-building, creative thinking and public-speaking as they pursue their interests in performance, acting, creative writing and devising theatre. Music Performance provides students with the opportunity to study instrumental music performance, music theory, aural perception and analysis.
All of our Year 7 students receive free instrumental music tuition. The VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority) advises that students should have instrumental tuition on their chosen instrument for at least five years prior to undertaking a VCE Music subject.
As technology is an integral part of everyday learning in an ever-changing world, it is important for students to learn how to critically analyse and respond to problems using a practical application. At Catherine McAuley College, in alignment with the Victorian Curriculum and Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), Technology subjects from Years 7 – 12 focus on the Design Process. This consists of five stages: investigation, generate, production, plan and manage, and evaluation. These form a foundation for innovation, critical thinking skills, as well as independent and collaborative learning.
At Years 7 and 8, students are exposed to four main technology subjects: Food Technology, Product Design & Technology – Wood, Product Design & Technology – Textiles, and Digital Technology. In Years 9 and 10 students begin to branch out into specialist areas (as listed above), and/or Systems, Electronics, Paddock to Plate, Gaming/Web Design and Computer Aided Drawing.
Student’s can then transition into VCE with a strong skills set, enabling them to move confidently into a broader array of subjects: Product Design & Technology – Wood/Textiles, Systems Engineering, Software Development, Computer, and Food Studies. The technology curriculum enriches and challenges students thinking from an economic, environmental, aesthetic, functional and sustainable perspective.
In the previous two consecutive years Catherine McAuley College has had two students’ work exhibited in the VCE Season of Excellence – Top Design at Melbourne Museum.
The libraries are an integral part of the learning and teaching community at Catherine McAuley College. They provide a wide range of resources to support the curriculum. Teacher-Librarians, as information specialists, offer a variety of services to assist students with their learning. The catalogue is available 24/7 via Access-it Library. This enables students and staff to locate print and electronic resources such as e-books and digital files.
Teacher-Librarians collaborate with subject teachers to develop LibGuides (information pages online) which support the curriculum in developing information and research skills. Students are shown how to improve their research and critical-thinking skills through strategies, web-searching hints, bibliographies and referencing procedures for their assignments and projects. One-on-one study skills sessions are also available to students.
The library promotes a reading culture, which supports and enriches reading for pleasure and develops an appreciation of literature. We support the whole-college reading programme through selection and promotion of materials to enhance reading and comprehension skills. Emphasis is placed on providing up-to-date, relevant young adult fiction in print and e-book formats.
The libraries are available to all in our community and many students access them daily – before and after school and in the holidays.