Curriculum with a difference
Blackburn High School offers a personalised curriculum designed around the needs of all students. We aim to not only differentiate what we teach but how we teach, recognising that students have different preferred learning styles.
Our curriculum provides the opportunity for all our students to reach their full potential. The curriculum prioritises literacy and numeracy and is influenced by some of the latest research and best practice in Learning and Teaching and by the Victorian Department of Education’s policies on Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting.
Professional Learning is important at Blackburn high School. Staff participate in a continuous Professional Learning Program that ensures their professional practice is always current and they are engaged in the changing methodologies in teaching and learning.
Blackburn High School has four periods a day. Each period is 70 minutes. Students learn in a two-week cycle and the day begins with House Mentor Group from 8:40am to 9:00am.
Students at Blackburn High School enjoy a broad based curriculum with all Year 7 and 8 students undertaking English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Language, Music/Drama, Art/Technology, PE/Health and Sport.
In Year 9 students continue to study the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Humanities, Science and a Language. Students also take part in the Connections program, an innovative research program that takes an inter-disciplinary approach to learning and is underpinned by an inquiry-based curriculum. Year 9 students begin selecting electives from the wide range on offer.
Year 10 students begin a specialist program, selecting from a wide range of subjects. Students have the opportunity for acceleration through early enrolment in a VCE subject. In Year 10 students select subjects with a view to building up a VCE program that will lead to varied pathways: University, TAFE or the work force. English, Mathematics and a Science subject are compulsory at Year 10 level.
At VCE level Blackburn High School offers a wide range of studies in the areas of English, Arts, Humanities, Languages Other Than English, Mathematics, Physical Education and Health, Music, Science and Technology.
Connections is a specialist Year 9 program designed for students to connect with themselves, with others, and with youth issues of importance to them.
The program is designed to give students opportunities to explore who they are, who they want to be, to make connections between all their learning areas and to look at the challenges and solutions to youth issues that affect them. Through rich, inquiry based learning tasks and collaborations students realise they have the power to make positive changes – in themselves, the way they learn and in the world around them.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) classes
Students in Years 7–10 who are recent arrivals in Australia undertake EAL classes as an alternative to studying a Language Other Than English (LOTE). In VCE, these students study EAL as an alternative to English.
Any student wishing to pursue study of their first language as an academic study is encouraged to do so at the Victorian School of Languages which operates within Blackburn High School on Saturday mornings.
Corrective Reading Program
All students entering at Year 7 are assessed for their literacy standard. Those who fall below the minimum benchmarks can be given additional assistance through the intensive Corrective Reading Program. We encourage parents’ involvement so they can continue to help once the student has finished the course.
Curriculum support programs
We recognise that it is essential that all our students reach their potential in terms of literacy and numeracy. The central role these skills play in underpinning all educational achievement is recognised by the Department of Education and Training (DET) which measures student attainment in these areas through the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests at Year 7 and Year 9. We aim to ensure that our students are achieving well above the expected levels in these areas and approach this in four ways: Depth of curriculum, Literacy and numeracy “across the curriculum”, English as an Additional Language classes, and our Corrective Reading Program.
STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
Developing STEM knowledge and skills is critical to facing current and future challenges, including living in a changing environment, effectively managing limited resources such as food and water, delivering improved health and wellbeing outcomes and ensuring the prosperity and development of our populations.
STEM learning emphasises project based and inquiry based learning approaches, which are used throughout the school’s curriculum. The school has a large 3D printing laboratory which is used across the learning areas. In the Year 9 Connections program students in particular undertake project based work to explore real life problems.
High Achievers’ Program
All students enrolled for Year 7 at Blackburn High School will sit the Edutest examination. This is held at Blackburn High School during their Grade 6 year. Students who are shown to be in the upper range for educational performance and potential will be invited to attend an interview with the Principal and/or Senior Staff. Places in the program will be offered from these interviews.
Assessment and Reporting
Blackburn High School follows the Victorian Curriculum Standards guidelines for assessment of students in Years 7–10. Assessment of VCE students follows the guidelines set by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).
All reports to parents are accessible online via our parent information portal, Xuno School Manager.
Interim reports are prepared at regular intervals throughout the school year as a guide to how students are working in their classes. A more comprehensive Semester Report is prepared at the end of Term 2 and the end of Term 4.