The Curriculum 

The College aims to create Christ-centred learning communities where staff, parents and students are immersed in the mystery of God’s presence.

We hope to create a sense of adventure in our community to promote the communication of Truth, an abundance of life for all and service to the Church and world.

The College aims to create a culture of excellence. We have high expectations and a shared vision of a vibrant learning community. We value strong partnerships built on collaboration, trust and inclusivity.

St John’s College Woodlawn offers a broad range of curriculum opportunities to cater to a range of talents and gifts. Our courses promote success, inspire learners and lead to the development of confident and creative individuals. Our curriculum is dynamic and is developed and reviewed to build on the gifts and skills of the learner.

Our teachers use a broad range of proven pedagogies to enable learners to analyse and use knowledge effectively, develop skills and gain deepen understanding of themselves and their world.

Our students thrive in the Woodlawn family community that is safe and supportive. We create learning environments to encourage innovation and inquiry and help create a sense of belonging.

Click on the following links for further information on Curriculum:

Key Learning Areas

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Human Society and Its Environment
  • Languages
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
  • Creative Arts
  • Technology and Applied Studies
  • Learning Support
  • Careers and TAFE
  • Vocational Educational Training
  • School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • Curriculum Extension

Key Learning Areas

Click on the headings below to view information for each subject

Religious Education

St John's College, Woodlawn, is a Christ centred learning community that witnesses faith, hope, love and service in the way of Mary. We aim to develop students' knowledge and understanding of Christianity in the light of Jesus and the Gospel. This is reflected in the unfolding story and diversity within contemporary Australian and global society. Our students are challenged and inspired in their service to others and engagement in the Church and the world.

At St John’s we teach the Diocesan Religious Education curriculum as mandated by Most Rev Gregory Homeming, Bishop of Lismore. The goal for which we strive is that students will mature in their understanding and practice of the faith of the Catholic Church in the areas of Knowledge, Worship and Christian Living (To Know, Worship and Love). Students are given the opportunity to engage their heads, hearts and hands in their lessons.

Religious Education participates in the Church’s mission of evangelisation, to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ. Religious Education also participates in the Church’s mission of catechesis, to hand on and share faith within the community of believers.

The Religious Education department provides collaborative learning experiences that provide students and teachers with the opportunity to explore, experiment and be challenged in their thinking. Students are engaged in problem-solving and critical thinking that encourages them to work creatively, developing skills and resilience. This enables them to use knowledge effectively, develop skills and gain a deeper understanding of both the Catholic tradition and other religious traditions.

List of subjects offered in this KLA

Years 7 - 10 Catholic Studies

Years 9 and 10

  • CSYMA (optional class)

Year 11

  • Studies of Religion 1 unit
  • Studies of Religion 2 unit
  • Catholic Faith in Action 1 unit

Year 12

  • Studies of Religion 1 unit
  • Studies of Religion 2 unit
  • Catholic Studies 1 unit
Creative Arts

The Creative Arts bring together people of creative ability to be inspired and instructed in a trusting and encouraging atmosphere. It is an opportunity for students to strengthen their practical skills in an art form, immerse themselves in a dynamic creative environment, think critically about the arts, history, contemporary life and find new ways of tackling creative challenges.

Students have the opportunity to become intellectual, imaginative and self-directed learners through personalised attention and rich feedback.

Visiting artists and performers complement permanent staff as part of a wide range of opportunities for learning and excellence in performance, exhibitions and creativity. Active performances, excursions and exhibitions are an integral part of College life.

A range of peripatetic tutors are available on-site for Music, while new technologies are utilised in and out of the classroom for all subjects. Student’s lives and learning are personalised and enriched by their experience in the Creative Arts.

Subjects offered in this KLA

  • Dance - Elective Years 9-12
  • Drama - Elective Years 9-12
  • Music - Mandatory in Stage 4 and Elective Years 9-12
  • Photography and Digital Media - Elective Years 9-12
  • Visual Arts - Mandatory in Stage 4 and Elective Years 9-12

The English Faculty at St John's College is committed to providing experiences of literacy, literature and language that are both stimulating and enjoyable. It is our aim for students to become effective communicators, critical and imaginative thinkers and active participants in society.

Skilled teachers support our students to embrace both the critical and creative faculties so that their command of the language grows. We want our students to become more confident in their ability to question, assess, challenge and use language to clarify issues and solve problems.

We hope to instill in students a love of literature and our texts include those widely acknowledged from both past and present societies, as well as from cultures that are different from our own. We hope that through composing and responding students will broaden their capacity for cultural understanding.

Students engage in a variety of reading, writing, viewing, representing and listening activities and assessments throughout the year. Equally important is the opportunity that the study of English provides for students to become equipped with the skills they need to become independent and lifelong learners. We believe that English is vitally concerned with the development of the individual.

Subjects offered in English

  • English Years 7-10
  • Advanced English
  • Standard English
  • English Studies
  • English Extension 1
  • English Extension 2

The study of Mathematics allows us to better understand and describe the world around us. It enables us to be analytical and think critically to solve a range of problems both within and beyond Mathematics. As such, it is integral to scientific and technological advances in many fields of endeavour.

In addition to its practical applications, the study of Mathematics is a valuable pursuit in its own right, providing opportunities for originality, challenge and leisure. The beauty of Mathematics can be seen throughout nature, in the shape of seashells, flowers and honeycomb produced by bees.

Mathematics provides opportunities for students to learn to describe and apply patterns and relationships; reason, predict and solve problems; calculate accurately both mentally and in written form; estimate and measure; and interpret and communicate information presented in numerical, geometrical, graphical, statistical and algebraic forms.

Mathematics also provides support for concurrent learning in other key learning areas and builds a sound foundation for further Mathematics education.

The ability to make informed decisions, and to interpret and apply Mathematics in a variety of contexts, is an essential component of students’ preparation for life in the twenty-first century. To participate fully in society students need to develop the capacity to critically evaluate ideas and arguments that involve mathematical concepts or that are presented in mathematical form.

St John’s College Mathematics faculty aims to do this through:

  • A rich curriculum that extends students, differentiates learning and is designed to meet the needs of the students.
  • A learning based community, valuing partnerships between parents, teachers and students with high expectations of all learners.
  • Creating a positive and engaging atmosphere that supports students to share, challenge and support each other.
  • Purposeful, meaningful, contemporary pedagogy.
  • A culture of learning that values collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and reflection.

List of courses offered in this KLA

  • Year 7
  • Year 8
  • Year 9 (5.3, 5.2, 5.1 courses)
  • Year 10 (5.3, 5.2, 5.1 courses)
  • Standard Mathematics 1 and 2
  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Extension 1 Mathematics
  • Extension 2 Mathematics

Learning languages involves communication appropriate to the sociocultural context in which the language is used. The form of this communication is such that it includes productive language use and the cognitive processing of information.

Communication of ideas, information and feelings incorporates both linguistic and non-linguistic aspects in a dynamic way. Learning another language extends, diversifies and enriches the students’ way of thinking.

Languages are a means of communicating across cultures and promoting sociocultural awareness and the understanding of the richness of human diversity and difference. They prepare the students for meaningful and purposeful lives in a linguistically multicultural society.

The Languages Curriculum provides students with the opportunity to explore, experiment and be challenged in their learning. It is designed to be engaging and multimodal in its delivery in order to empower the students with the knowledge and skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking. As teachers; we strive to help students in their proficiency development.

This enables students to communicate effectively with other speakers of that specific language and builds a foundation for the students to achieve their full academic potential.

List of subjects offered in this KLA

  • Year 7 Italian or Year 8 Italian - (Mandatory study of a second language- 100 hours)
  • Years 9 – 10 Italian - (Elective Course- 200 hours)
  • Year 11 Italian Beginners
  • Year 12 Italian Beginners
  • Year 11 Italian Continuers
  • Year 12 Italian Continuers
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) is a subject passionately taught at St John’s College Woodlawn. Staff members are committed to a culture of learning where the priority to provide a rich curriculum to students maximises student physical, emotional, mental and spiritual development.

The desire to stimulate critical and creative thinking through the study of concepts such as interpersonal relationships, communication, decision making and life-long physical activity habits is supported by a versatile pedagogy that is engaging and multimodal in its delivery.

Beyond the mandatory Stage 4 and Stage 5 curriculum, all students have the opportunity to broaden their studies in PDHPE by electing to do Stage 5 Physical Activity and Sports Studies (PASS) and Stage 6 Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation (1 Unit), Community and Family Studies (2 Unit), Exploring Early Childhood (1 or 2 Unit) and PDHPE (2 Unit).

The versatile options ensure students are provided with purposeful, meaningful and relevant topics of study from sports coaching, biomechanics and nutrition to child development, community groups and Independent Research projects.

We provide supportive, stimulating and challenging learning opportunities through utilising outstanding facilities at St John’s College.

The pool ensures all students are encouraged to develop their aquatic skills and throughout the duration of their schooling, students are exposed to a number of lifesaving programs.

The Colin Centre enables students with year-round involvement in practical lessons. The indoor soccer/cricket area, along with the weights room, table tennis mezzanine and multi-use court floor provides students with ample opportunity to develop their motor skills in a range of sports.

The numerous tennis courts, volleyball, basketball, badminton and netball courts connect learners and provide opportunities for flexible and intentionally developed learning environments.

List of subjects offered in this KLA

  • Stage 4 – 6 PDHPE
  • Stage 5 Physical Activity and Sports Studies
  • Stage 6 Community and Family Studies
  • Stage 6 Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation
  • Stage 6 Exploring Early Childhood

Science has developed as a field of intellectual activity as people have sought to discern and explain patterns of events and phenomena in the world around them and beyond. It has progressively developed into a learning discipline with its own customs, procedures and fields of investigation, facilitating a process that constructs new knowledge and increased understanding.

Science has accumulated a body of knowledge that builds a culture of learning that leads to explanations for a variety of phenomena and interactions in our surroundings. In their study of science, students investigate phenomena over a wide range of scales, from the subatomic to the cosmological, from events that take place almost instantaneously to processes over millions of years, from the origins of the universe to contemporary phenomena, and it extrapolates to future events.

Students who study science ‘work scientifically’ in a learning community. Students engage in a rich curriculum that is rigorous and inspiring. They are encouraged to be sceptical, to identify evidence-based conclusions and to make informed decisions about their environment, the natural and technological world and their own health and wellbeing. They develop the customs, procedures and intellectual processes that are characteristic of scientific activity.

Science students participate in a range of learning experiences that are purposeful, meaningful and relevant by investigating, collecting, analysing, understanding and communicating ideas to others. They develop the ability to challenge, construct and compare their ideas with those held by the scientific community.

By studying Science, students develop scientific literacy. They increase their capacity to think critically by calling upon a wide range of knowledge, procedures and approaches to analyse issues. Thinking scientifically encourages students to examine the impact of scientific knowledge on their lives, their communities and their surroundings, and to develop positive attitudes toward Science, society and the environment.

List of subjects offered in this KLA

Years 7 to 10

  • Science- mandatory

Preliminary and HSC Course (Stage 6)

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Earth and Environmental Science
Technology and Applied Studies

Technology education at St John’s College, endeavours to encourage and inspire a flexible learning environment.

At St John's College, we will constantly strive to promote a flexible and energising technology curriculum by working together as a group of educators informed and ready to meet the challenges that society and the curriculum have set.

The TAS faculty utilises both traditional and industry-standard technologies to provide students with opportunities to engage in innovative practical design activities.

The rapid rate of technological change in an increasingly knowledge-based society highlights the need for flexible technological capability, innovative thinking and effective communication skills. Vital life skills such as teamwork, communication, time management and organisational skills underpin all TAS design projects. Students identify needs that have personal relevance, apply design theory and use design processes that encourage flexibility, resourcefulness and imagination in the development, communication and production of quality solutions.

Students studying TAS use a variety of materials, tools and techniques to solve real-world problems and create solutions in response to this.

TAS electives provide the opportunity for students to complete practical projects, which are both challenging and rewarding. They allow students to develop sound practical skills which are an asset both personally and later in the workplace.

List of subjects offered in this KLA

Years 7 and 8 (Stage 4)

  • Technology (Mandatory)

Years 9 and 10 (Stage 5) Elective

  • Agriculture Technology
  • Food Technology
  • Industrial Technology – Timber
  • Industrial Technology – Metal
  • iSTEM
  • Textile Technology
  • Year 10 Textiles

Preliminary and HSC Course (Stage 6)

  • Agriculture
  • Industrial Technology – Timber Products and Furniture Technologies
  • Textile and Design
  • HSC Major Work

In summary, TAS is a Key Learning Area that integrates both procedural and conceptual knowledge based on a holistic view of design concepts.

Human Society and its Environment

The key learning area of Human Society and Its Environment or HSIE offers a wide range of study options. HSIE focuses on developing skills in students that allow them to engage with people, places and contemporary issues. This encourages students to explore the diversity of human society and its environment, its origins, current developments, consequences and possibilities for the future. HSIE also provides students with experiences outside of the classroom that support and enhance our programming. At St John’s we provide a culture of inquiry-based learning opportunities for students to “develop as a whole person” based on collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. Students conduct fieldwork and site studies including visits to the Sydney Jewish Museum and further investigate a variety of our local natural environments as part of their learning. Through analysing information, students can make informed decisions about social, cultural, economic, religious, civic and environmental issues that may affect them now or in the future.

Students in Years 7 to 10 study History and Geography as well as having the option to select Commerce in Years 9 and 10 as an elective subject.

Years 7 and 8 (Stage 4)

History: The Ancient World and the Ancient to the Modern World

Geography: Water and the World, Place and Liveability, Landforms and Landscapes, Interconnections

Years 9 and 10 (Stage 5)

History: The Making of the Modern World and The Modern World and Australia

Geography: Sustainable Biomes, Human Wellbeing, Changing Places, Environmental Change and Management

Commerce - Elective

Preliminary and HSC (Stage 6)

In Years 11 and 12 students may elect to study from a wide range of HSIE subjects including:

Ancient History Legal Studies
Business Studies History Extension (Year 12 only)
Geography Modern History
Society and Culture Work Studies

These subjects allow students to develop skills in critical thinking, high-level research and analysis that assists students in preparing for their future.

Learning Support

St John's College, Woodlawn is committed to providing students with an education that is in harmony with their particular needs and abilities.

The Enrichment and Assisted Group Learning Environment (EAGLE Centre) is an inclusive and student-centred learning space that caters for the diverse range of needs and abilities of the College's students.

Learning support, enrichment and inclusion are facilitated by the experienced EAGLE Centre team through classroom support, one-to-one assistance, progress monitoring and collaboration with teachers, students and parents/guardians.

The Eagle Centre provides a large range of services to the College community with the main areas of support including additional needs, literacy and numeracy assistance, well-being, examination support and enrichment activities as well as Indigenous student support.

This vibrant and multifunctional centre offers support and encouragement to all students in an inclusive, safe space to enable their active participation in the College community to the fullness of their ability.

Careers & TAFE

Careers education at St John’s College encompasses a number of activities that are mainly aimed at students in Years 10, 11 and 12.

Below is an introduction to ways in which we can assist each of the year groups. More extensive information can be found on the Woodlawn Careers Website.

Year 10 activities include the following:

  • Assistance with acquiring knowledge of specific occupations and courses – this is achieved through attending a local careers expo; participating in careers testing; through work experience which can generally be undertaken during school vacation periods
  • Assistance with subject selection for entry into senior years
  • Accessing TVET subjects and School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Year 11 activities are mainly centered around:

  • Subject selection issues, particularly following the completion of the Preliminary HSC
  • TVET organisation and enrolment
  • Work experience for non-ATAR students
  • Attending local careers expos
  • Discussions regarding university entry and employment prospects
  • School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • Queries relating to particular occupations

Year 12 activities have an emphasis on:

  • Provision of information regarding university applications, including early entry requirements, scholarships, residential accommodation, etc
  • Assisting students with job-seeking skills e.g. accessing apprenticeship opportunities
  • Advice regarding a Gap Year
  • Providing details of various careers events such as Tertiary Information Days, University Open Days and University Experience events
  • Individual interviews on a range of career-related matters

In addition to the above, the Vocational Pathways Organiser is available to discuss career-related issues with parents, employers and institutions such as TAFE and universities.

School Based Apprenticeships & Traineeships

School based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATS) are available to students usually in Year 10, 11 or 12 at St John’s College. SBATS are apprenticeships or traineeships that commence while the student is at school, and they enable a student to gain a vocational and technical qualification while still at school.

The features of SBATS include:-

  • Attendance at school and work
  • A training contract that links to an industrial award or agreement signed by the employer, trainee or apprentice and guardian (if under 18 years of age).
  • A nationally recognised Vocational and Technical qualification
  • Wages paid for the time spent in the workplace (a minimum of 48 days per year).
  • An Employment, Training and Education Schedule completed and approved by the school and signed by the employer, a recognised training provider, trainee/apprentice, guardian and principal.

A school based apprentice will:-

  • Complete stage 1 of a Certificate III trade qualification by the end of the HSC year
  • Complete a minimum of 100 days of paid work over 2 years
  • Attend training each week with TAFE or another training provider

A school based trainee will:-

  • Complete a Certificate II or III qualification by the end of the HSC year
  • Complete a minimum of 100 days of paid work over 2 years
  • Attend training each week with school, TAFE or another training provider.

Further information on the subjects on offer at Woodlawn can be obtained via our Libguide Links.

Year 8 into 9 Libguide link

Year 10 into 11 Libguide link

Curriculum Extension/Gifted and Talented

“All students regardless of race, age or gender, by virtue of their Dignity as human persons have a right to an education that is situated to their particular needs and adapted to their ability.”

Gravissimum Educationis nl. 1965
Declaration on Christian Education, Pope Paul VI


St John’s College is committed to providing students with an education that is in harmony with their particular needs and abilities.

At Woodlawn, we provide support and encouragement for learners who demonstrate the ability to work at a level significantly above their peers.

One of the goals of the College is to empower our gifted and talented learners and to support them in their role as academic school leaders. Students are provided with opportunities to develop deep insights whilst engaging in collaborative and meaningful partnerships with like-minded peers.

Using Professor Francois Gagne’s Model of Giftedness, the College embraces a holistic approach to the recognition of giftedness in students and provides a catalyst in the emergence of individual talents.

Procedures for the Identification of Gifted Students:

  • Teacher nomination
  • Parent nomination
  • Peer nomination
  • Self-nomination
  • Behavioural checklists
  • Off level texting-including items such as results in the Australian Mathematics Competition, Science and English competitions
  • Naplan results
  • Performance in common year level tests

Some strategies

Cluster grouping of students in particular subjects

  • Ability grouping
  • Acceleration of a student through one or more curriculum areas or a through a whole year in all curriculum areas
  • Gifted and Talented camps and workshops
  • Curriculum compacting
  • Opportunities for self-directed special interest projects.

Interim Reports are provided at the end of Term One for all Year 7 and new students.

Academic Reports are provided twice a year for students in Years 7-12 at the end of each semester.

Progress Reports are provided on request.

If parents do not receive a report, they should contact the College.

Reporting dates are published in the College Calendar.