The Australian Curriculum sets out the essential knowledge, understanding, skills, and quality of learning for each Australian student's first 11 years of schooling. 

The Curriculum is three-dimensional as it includes:

  •  learning areas
  •  general capabilities
  • and cross-curriculum priorities.

Together, the three dimensions set out essential knowledge, understanding and skills all young Australians need so they will be able to learn, contribute and shape their world now and in the future.

Eight Learning Areas and disciplines from which they are drawn provide the foundation of learning.

The Australian Curriculum identifies and organises the essential knowledge, understanding, and skills students should learn.

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Humanities and Social Science
  • The Arts
  • Technologies
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Languages

Seven General Capabilities equip young Australians with the knowledge, skills, behaviours, and dispositions to live and work successfully.

They support and deepen student engagement with learning area content and are developed within the context of the learning areas.

Three Cross Curriculum Priorities support the Australian Curriculum to be a relevant, contemporary and engaging curriculum that reflects national, regional and global contexts. 

They are incorporated through learning area content; they are not separate learning areas or subjects.

Please visit the Australian Curriculum website for more information.


Schooling in NSW is based on the mandatory NSW syllabuses for students from Kindergarten to Year 12. The syllabuses are developed and endorsed by News South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA). 

St Mary's follows the approved syllabuses with the exception of Religious Education, which is approved by the Bishop of Lismore.

Subjects are called Key Learning Areas (KLAs).

They are:

  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • English
  • Human Society and its Environments
  • Personal Development Health and Physical Education
  • Creative Arts
  • Religious Education

As a Catholic school, Religious Education is both a Key Learning Area and integral to our way of life.  

You can visit the NESA website for more information on the NSW syllabuses.

St Mary's provides students with a safe and supportive learning environment with innovative learning experiences. We foster within each student the ability to grow and develop the skills necessary to adapt to an ever-changing world underpinned by the Catholic ethos of leadership, responsibility, duty and dignity towards others.

You can view the Parents Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabus for examples of what your child may learn.


The staff at St Mary's provide innovative learning opportunities for each student to be engaged, imaginative and reflective in their learning. We promote a culture of inquiry-based learning, ensuring that all students gain the knowledge, skills and deep understanding required for future success. We are dedicated to quality teaching that nurtures lifelong learning, enabling our students to realise their true potential and empowering our students with the skills and attributes that will enable them to achieve the fullness of life.  

In our St Mary's learning community, we believe that a partnership between families, community and parish is vital in developing a supportive, holistic learning environment for our students. We foster in our students the values necessary to meet the challenges in this dynamic and ever-changing world, strengthened by their Christian values. This enables us to guide our students to develop and recognise their full potential, guided by the Gospel teachings of our Catholic tradition.

Our engaging and inclusive curriculum focuses on developing students' depth of understanding of key skills needed to be adaptive, transfer learning to new contexts and prepare for learning throughout life.

We offer a broad curriculum with a high priority given to literacy and numeracy.

Our Learning Areas:

  • The Arts (Dance, Drama, Music, Visual Arts)
  • English
  • Health and Physical Education
  • HSIE
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Technologies
  • Languages (Indonesian).

We are committed to excellence and equality in the growth and development of all students as lifelong learners who are actively engaged with a passionate curiosity and wonder about the world.


OPAL: Ongoing Performance and Assessment Log

OPAL is a system designed to provide feedback about student effort and engagement on a regular basis. OPAL is designed to be a supportive tool and encourage students to give their best consistently.

How does it work?
Twice per term classroom teachers record a score for each student in the log (online OPAL system) on the school intranet. Values will are to be recorded prior to Thursday (end of school day) of the cycle. Staff will be notified via the school calendar and Curriculum Coordinator when OPAL scores are expected.

A minimum value will be 5 extending to a maximum value of 10. The value of 1 is reserved for non-submission of a formal assessment task (Big A).

1. Non submission of assessment task
5. Poor effort (unsatisfactory)
6. Limited effort (causing some concern)
7. Basic effort (satisfactory)
8. Sound effort
9. High Level effort
10. Outstanding effort

These are awarded in respect to:

  • General classroom behaviour and work ethic.
  • Completion of assignments and assessment tasks
  • Homework


Blue Opal

Over the cycle, a student achieving an average of 8.5 or above across subject areas will receive a Principal’s award and awarded a 'Blue Opal.'

Green Opal

This occurs when a student is achieving an average above 7 and less than 8.5 across subject areas. The student receives a 'Green Opal,' which indicates that the student is achieving at a commendable level.

White Opal

A student who receives an average above 6.75 and yet has a subject that receives a '5.'

will receive  a 'White Opal.' The student will be issued with a White Caution Card. This White Caution Card will list the subject(s) that the student is under-performing in and will need to be redeemed by speaking with the relevant teachers.

Yellow Opal

A student receiving an average above 6 and less than or equal to 6.75 will receive a 'Yellow Opal.' These students will be issued with a Yellow Caution Card which will need to be redeemed by speaking with the relevant teachers.

Red Opal

A student receiving an average of 6 or below will be notified via a 'Red Opal.'  These students will be issued with a Red Caution Card which will need to be redeemed by speaking with the relevant teachers. A student will also receive a Red OPAL if they receive an score of ‘1’ in any subject. A score of 1 is only issued if an assessment task has not been submitted.


Quick Smart

QuickSmart aims to improve the numeracy and literacy development of students who are experiencing learning problems or delays and, hence, not achieving their academic potential. Participating students may have varying levels of learning difficulties because of knowledge gaps, lack of practice, mild intellectual disability, anxiety, low confidence, or associated behaviour problems.

It is an intensive 30-week program.

Students are identified each year based on classroom observations and standardised assessments.

Teaching All Students

The College aims to strengthen the capability of all teachers to deliver inclusive, high quality teaching and learning for students with all abilities.

Curriculum Adjustments

Adjustments are measures or actions taken in relation to teaching, learning and assessment that enable a student with special education needs to access syllabus outcomes and content on the same basis as their peers. The types of adjustments made will vary according to the needs of the individual student. (  Life Skills programs are implemented for students identified through assessment who need to access a curriculum that allows them success.  The Life Skills program runs alongside the mainstream curriculum within the classroom environment. Each student is individually catered for.

Disability Provisions – Assessment Tasks

Disability provisions are practical arrangements designed to assist students who couldn’t otherwise make a fair attempt to show what they know in an examination setting. The Disability Standards for Education 2005, issued under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act, outlines the obligations of education and training providers to ensure that students with disabilities are able to access and participate in education without experiencing discrimination.

The college is responsible for determining and approving disability provisions for all school based assessment tasks. The principal has the authority to decide on, and implement, disability provisions for school-based assessment tasks, including examinations. The Board of Studies determines Disability provisions for the Higher School Certificate (HSC) examinations only.

Year 6 to Year 7

The college endeavours to ensure that the teaching staff and your child are prepared for the transition to secondary school. The school has an orientation days in December.

Some students require extra visits to orientate to a new school environment. These visits can be arranged in Term 3 or 4. These can be on an individual basis or with peers.

Students with an identified disability will have a supported enrolment interview.