Curriculum

The Academic Landscape at St Kevin's College

Education – from Prep through to Year 12 – seeks to inspire students, to create a sense of wonder about the world in which they live, and to empower them to participate in that world as productive, happy and morally upright citizens. St Kevin’s sees its important role in educating young men of Melbourne as critical in shaping lives that will give back to others – those in our city, our state, our country and, indeed, our world – who have not had the same opportunities as they. Indeed, education liberates. If St Kevin’s students are to make a difference in the world, and before they can truly liberate the less fortunate, the oppressed and the marginalised, they must first become liberated by the education they receive. In the 21st Century, education is more highly-regarded than ever it has been before. 

The Junior School: Glendalough

A boy’s pathway at St Kevin’s College begins at Glendalough, where our students from Prep to Year 6 are engaged by a lively and age-appropriate education. Importantly, the life of a Glendalough student establishes and encourages a love of learning through an inquiry-based approach, where all Junior School students undertake units of work around a cyclically-developed inquiry subject. Such subjects include Sustainability, Identity, Systems and Structures, Change, and Community. There is a strong focus on literacy and numeracy at Glendalough; and, active reading is prioritised for all students because of the essential skills it develops in pre-secondary school students. Compulsory elective subjects, such as Music, Art, Spanish and Physical Education are taught as discrete disciplines by specialist teachers, while other areas such as History, Geography, Science, Religious Education and Digital Technologies are integrated into the daily curriculum. Students who are ascertained as Gifted and Talented will be afforded higher-order thinking and problem-solving classes to accelerate beyond the Junior School curriculum; and, students who are diagnosed with any learning challenges will be afforded extra support in literacy and numeracy so that they will be better able to manage the Junior School curriculum. 

The Middle School: Heyington

At St Kevin’s, the learning pathway continues at Heyington, where students are assigned to a Tutor Group in which they undertake their study of core subject areas, namely, Religious Education, English, Mathematics Science, History, Geography and Languages. Other subjects undertaken in specialist areas of the school and under the direction of specialist teachers are: Drama, Music, Visual Art, Digital Technologies and Physical Education. All boys in Year 7 study all of these subject areas, including the four languages offered at the school – French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish. In Year 8, while undertaking their core subjects, students are invited to make some elective choices about their academic pathway. Students must study only one language, for example. As well, they might be inclined to focus on Art or Drama or Music or Digital Technologies; or, they might like to focus on more than one of these disciplines. Physical Education remains compulsory for all students in Year 8. Selected students are invited to join the Advanced Mathematics class in Years 7 and 8; there are opportunities for emerging scientists to join the Visiting Scientist Program; and, selected students are given the opportunity to be part of the Creative Thinking Program. Identified students are afforded extra support in literacy and numeracy from the teachers in the Educational Support Department so that they can become more confident in their study of English and Mathematics. All boys in Years 7 and 8 take part in the CRUNCHIE Reading Program, which is administered by the staff of the Library. 

Year 9: Waterford

Our Year 9 campus gives boys who are between the ages of fourteen and sixteen a breadth of academic experiences. Often, these experiences are coupled with additional programs, such as Outprac and RICE to ensure that connections between learning and the real world are made all the clearer to the Year 9 boys. We know that Year 9 can be a time of emotional and physical growth for boys, and that, with this growth, boys can become unsettled and restless. It is our hope that by having a campus devoted solely to Year 9 boys, the group will blend well as a collective unit, grow to accept individual differences and find the academic spark that can so often be missing in boys of this age. At Waterford, all subject areas are taught and learnt using a teaching and learning paradigm that is germane to the Year 9 campus. This paradigm consists of four principles: learning from explicit instruction; learning for experience; collaborating to learn; connecting to the wider world. At Waterford, there are new and exciting elective subjects from which the students can select when putting together their course of study. We encourage boys to experiment with unknown and untried disciplines. Apart from the core subject areas all students must study, boys can select from Forensic Science, Creative Writing, International Studies, Digital Technologies, Health and Human Movement, The Moving Image, Drama, Visual Art and Music. Students who have been identified as requiring extra support in numeracy and literacy will be invited to attend small-group classes with dedicated Educational Support teachers to assist in their development in these two broader areas of the Year 9 curriculum.

The Senior School: Heyington

Students return to Heyington for their final three years of secondary school. Here, all Year 10 boys must study the core subjects, consisting of Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science and Australian History (for one semester). Apart from this, they will also choose to study a variety of other elective subjects. Most often, these subjects are studied for three periods a week. The exception to this is that any foreign language is studied for six periods a week. In Year 10, we encourage the boys to select as broad a range as possible to make up their suite of studies in both Semester One and Semester Two. Some subjects are offered as semesterised subjects only, while others are offered as year-long subjects. It is during Year 10 that all students embark on their Career Avenues Testing, which is administered by the staff of the Careers Department. This standardised test provides Year 10 students and their families with excellent evidence about natural ability across a spectrum of cognitive areas such as verbal reasoning, mechanical reasoning, numerical reasoning and clerical speed and accuracy. Students and families are encouraged to meet with the staff of the Careers Department in the Term Two of Year 10 to start the process of subject selection for Years 11 and 12. As has been the case in Years Prep to 9, students in Year 10 who are identified as needing assistance with literacy and numeracy will be given opportunities to be supported in smaller classes and, in some cases, one-on-one situations with dedicated Educational Support teachers.

The next two years – Years 11 and 12 – are the culmination of a student’s academic pathway in Victoria and at St Kevin’s. In these two final years, all students must study Religious Education and English. Apart from these two subjects, all other subjects the school offers can be studied. In Year 11, it is typical for students to study Religious Education, English and five other subjects. In some cases, one of these subjects might be a Units 3/4 subject. At St Kevin’s, entry to study a 3/4 subject is not automatic: students and families should be aware that there are requisite criteria for students to meet by the end of Year 10 if they are to be accepted into a 3/4 subject in Year 11. As well, not all Year 12 subjects are able to be studied in Year 11. In Year 12, students typically study Religious Education, English and four other subjects. Ideally, these four subjects will have been studied at the Units 1/2 level in Year 11; however, we accept that, sometimes, students do not always make the right decisions about their suite of subjects. It is possible to change subject choices in Year 11, both at the end of Semester One and at the end of Semester Two, leading into Year 12. What is not possible, is to change subject choices at any time during Year 12. In Years 11 and 12, some students – usually somewhere between 5 and 12 – will show an interest in studying a VET subject. To do so, students must apply through the Careers Department, and families must be prepared to pay for the external provider to deliver the curriculum. It is customary that VET subjects are held on a Wednesday afternoon. They are always held off-site. From time to time, students are desirous of studying a subject St Kevin’s does not offer. Where this is the case, students are able to study an external subject. Most often (but not always) these subjects are foreign languages, such as Greek, Italian or German. In these instances, St Kevin’s must give approval for the student to be enrolled by the external provider, and families must be prepared to pay for the external institution to deliver the curriculum. Students who might have been enrolled at Language and Culture schools when they were younger will not be given the school’s approval to enrol in foreign language subjects at an external school if that foreign language is French, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish: all students must study these languages at St Kevin’s. Any student who is identified as requiring extra assistance with literacy is afforded this opportunity in both Years 11 and 12. In these final two years of school, this assistance takes place within the student’s timetable. In Year 12, all students are allocated five periods of Study, which is housed in the Albert Street Study Centre atop the Kearney Building. 

The Academic Pathway Completed

One of the things about which we talk with the boys of Years 10, 11 and 12 goes to their resilience in all areas of their lives: they are encouraged never to give up, even when subjects become more challenging, concepts become more complex and the workload inevitably increases. The boys – with the great support from their teachers – are given every opportunity to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it in Ulysses. The College hopes that the boys will be fascinated by their discovery of new learning experiences in all of the academic undertakings from when they are four years old, to when the conclude their time at Heyington when they are eighteen.