LEARNING & WELLBEING

LEARNING Programs

At St Mary’s College, our students are active participants in their learning. They are empowered to think and act for themselves and explore aspects of their learning that ignite their passions and become lifelong learners.

2021 Subjects

Transformative Teaching

We believe that great teachers equal great teaching. Our teachers are transformative. They place students at the centre of their professional lives, engaging with professional learning and strategic priorities around improving student outcomes. Our teachers use high-impact strategies and strive for a close connection with parents and students. They make the most of our flexible learning spaces, resources and technologies. Our teachers challenge and inspire students, valuing the inherent dignity and worth of every student.

Professional Learning Framework

Learning that Liberates

Students learn best when their social and emotional needs are met, when they engage academically and emotionally in their learning.

We build academic resilience within our students, whereby every student has the opportunity to thrive from the choices they make, so that a culture of challenge and achievement develops and students become independent, hope filled, animated learners.

Students are supported to apply consistency of effort when pursuing personal learning goals, so that the achievement of personal best in all aspects of learning is valued, celebrated and encouraged.

Our students are empowered and inspired to thrive in the modern world through their personal development, academic achievement and acquisition of 21st century skills. They are committed to the common good, to justice and solidarity, as global citizens.

Year Level programs

At St Mary’s College, every year of schooling is important to us. Each year has its own unique purpose and a dynamic curriculum designed to engage, excite, educate and challenge students to achieve their personal best.

Year 7 program

The transition from primary into secondary school is an exciting experience. Moving up to Year 7 comes with a change to a more independent level of learning with new friends, new subjects and new learning environments like science labs and workshops.

To assist this important transition Year 7 students at St Mary’s College begin with us long before their first day of school. In the months leading up to Year 7, the students are invited to a Saturday Fun Club over consecutive weekends in October and November. Students engage in a range of activities including sport, team building activities, games, science experiments and music. This is a unique program which has a lasting impact on our students.

Our mentoring program between Year 10 and Year 7 students helps develop a sense of connectedness and belonging. This program provides our younger students with encouragement, friendship, support and guidance from an older student on campus. Junior students are also connected to other year levels through House activities and the House trophy competition.

Year 7 Camp at Anglesea, surfing lessons

Year 8 program

The Year 8 program inspires students to become independent, collaborative learners. Their participation in a contemporary educational environment and engagement with cross-curricular work through project-based learning allows each CHILD to identify their individual strengths and interests.

The Year 8 program builds on the strong foundation commenced in Year 7 and continues the emphasis on making connections between learning and developing high level skills.  Students undertake studies from the core areas of Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Science, Health and Physical Education, and the Humanities.

Studies in Japanese and Italian are also offered and the students complete outcomes in both the Creative and Performing Arts, undertaking work across the range of Arts disciplines including Music, Art, Food Technology, Textiles, Visual Communication and Design, Woodwork and Drama.  

In Year 8, St Mary’s College students learn the skill of working in teams. Far greater than old fashioned ‘group work’, Year 8 students embrace larger scale project-based activities and learn about personal accountability, how to lead others and the importance of capitalising on one another’s strengths.

The Year 8 program focuses on building particular learning capacities which support student learning and achievement. These include the ability to: be resourceful learners, show perseverance and resilience when facing new concepts and developing new understandings, undertake reflective processes to improve learning, and develop effective interpersonal learning skills which will encourage cooperative work with their peers and with other facilitators in the learning process, such as teachers, community organisations, external experts and presenters.

At the completion of the year students are well prepared to be independent and efficient learners capable of taking up the challenges presented by the Year 9 program while having developed a strong basis for encouraging high academic achievement.

Junior Science Labs

Year 9 Nobilitas program

At St Mary’s College, Year 9 is different. We’ve created something unique, a program that engages, empowers and motivates our young people as they enter the critical phase of middle adolescence.

Our Year 9 Nobilitas Program runs separately to the main school. It is an exciting and collaborative learning community that fosters respect, resilience and responsibility through a range of core subjects, interest studies, and community projects.

A dedicated team of Year 9 teaching staff works closely with students in a stimulating learning environment where positive relationships, student voice and real-world thinking are prioritised. Year 9 is about powerful and positive relationships; relationships with one another, relationships with family and community, and most importantly, relationship with self.

Throughout the year, we connect students with the wider community in rich and meaningful ways, working with local councils and community groups, Indigenous groups, voluntary organisations and businesses. Students learn how they can impact the world in practice as responsible and compassionate young people empowered by their ability to make a difference.

The program operates from the Rahilly Centre at our Presentation Campus - the perfect location with flexible learning spaces, modern classrooms, cooking and technologies areas, student gardens and a separate recreational area.

Year 9 students taking part in a Respectful Relationships Workshop

Year 10 program

Year 10 students work and collaborate as part of an inclusive, nurturing and challenging learning community to continue to develop their resilience and independence as they prepare for a senior studies pathway.

Students in Year 10 are supported to reflect on their own actions, beliefs and values in order to construct an understanding of what it means to be an active member of society in the 21st century. They are also provided with opportunities to participate in a diverse range of holistic learning experiences that are designed to promote personal growth and contribution to the school and wider community.

Year 10 is a year of choice. Three pathways are on offer: a full Victorian Curriculum Year 10 Pathway, the Edmund Rice Pathway, and the Accelerated Learners Pathway for those wanting to begin a VCE subject in Year 10. Regardless of the pathway selected, Year 10 students are laying the groundwork to make confident, informed decisions when considering senior studies options at the end of Year 10.

Through these pathways, as well as a series of educational opportunities such as work experience and electives, Year 10 students are encouraged to follow their interests, strengths and talents in preparation for their final years at St Mary’s College and life beyond school.

Year 10 Students make pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Senior Studies Program

The senior years are years to excel. With smaller class sizes, a diverse subject offering and a flexible approach to senior studies, our specialist teachers move into ‘facilitator mode’ and look to accentuate the learning style of each student in order to maximise outcomes.

In our modern, purpose-built Senior Study Centre, VCE, VCAL, and VET studies are available for our students so that they can develop an individualised learning program, and experience their own brand of success. At the start of Year 12, we often say ‘this is your year’ as students work towards university entry, a trade pathway, a traineeship or employment. Every student is known and cared for in their journey at St Mary's College.

St Mary’s College provides a carefully and seamlessly integrated Senior Pathways Program for our students in Years 11 and 12. The College is committed to ensuring that our students are motivated and focused on not only what they learn but also on who they are as lifelong learners.  The Senior School focus continues to build and develop self-confidence in our young people.  From this platform, working toward their personal best becomes an appealing and achievable goal.

Along with the achievement of the accreditation that comes with the completion of secondary schooling, the St Mary’s College senior program places a focus on who our students are becoming and looks to equip them with the tools to continue their learning and to be mindful of themselves and others both in their immediate and wider relationships and communities.  The program looks to develop engaged, resilient young people who are challenged to serve as global citizens.

College Captains lead Assemblies

LEARNING Diversity

At St Mary’s College, diverse learning needs are catered for in a nurturing environment and all forms of achievement are celebrated. We provide specific, flexible and targeted guidance and support for students with learning challenges and giftedness such as Guided Study, Homework Club, Acceleration Programs, in-class assistance.

Differentiation occurs in all of our programs in all year levels to ensure we cater to each and every student. Adjustments are made on an individual student basis, so that strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences are accommodated. This is a high-impact teaching strategy, meaning it is grounded in sound educational research that shows strong evidence of improved student outcomes. Our individualised approach to student learning ensures that students requiring additional help, acceleration and extension will receive support tailored to their needs.

Additionally, specialised extension subjects are offered in Year 10. Acceleration is also available in Year 10 where academically talented students can begin their VCE studies.