Senior School Subjects

Middle Years


Our Art Program provides a range of activities to engage students’ in the process of art making, develop their observation skills, and familiarise them with applications of 2D and 3D Media.

Using a variety of art making approaches, the overriding themes of the Art Program are looking, feeling, imagining and thinking. Students explore this broad range of themes and applications to provide them with an opportunity to find a mode and voice which reflects their individual perspective.

In Year 9, the broad theme is ‘The Immediate World’, where students use the world close at hand and their relationship with that environment as the primary source of stimulus for art making.

Big History

Big History explores the ‘Big Questions’, such as: Where did everything come from? How did we get to where we are now? Where do humans fit in? And where are things heading?

These are the questions that different cultures and societies have research and explored for thousands of years. This subject attempts to answer them by examining different ideas, research and theories.

Throughout the course, students will explore different scales of time and space and view human history from new angles. This subject is offered in Year 9 only, pending timetabling and expressions of interest each year.

Christian Education

Christian Education is based on the teachings of the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ. It recognises the importance of a reasoned approach to the Christian faith and to the development of a Christian worldview.

Students are assessed in the form of short exams, research assignments, group work, oral presentations and participation in class activities and discussions.


Drama is a unique art form that re-presents and re-enacts experiences, ideas, stories and emotions. Drama is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression and continues to be a significant part of all cultures and societies.

Created and performed in diverse spaces to achieve a wide range of purposes, Drama is usually shared live, but can also be created and shared through digital media and other platforms. Engaging with drama in all its manifestations provides opportunities to experience, understand and communicate different perspectives on the world.

Drama students are provided with the opportunity to learn about different forms and styles of drama and gain an understanding of human experience in other cultures, times and places. Drama connects students to creative, technical and other cognitive processes and provides a way for them to imagine and explore beliefs, feelings, behaviours and relationships across many situations and contexts


The English program for Year 7-9 students focusses on the pleasure of reading; engaging in literary and non-literary texts; and building knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, viewing, reading, writing and speaking. 

Students engage with a variety of texts, designed to extend their ability to read independently and critically; expand their perspectives, and sharpen their appreciation of the way language works to communicate meaning.   

Year 7 

English will study a range of media and digital texts, early adolescent novels, short stories, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Students will create their own imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, and respond creatively and analytically to the ideas and concepts explored. 

Year 8 

Students will explore the importance of literature in shaping identities and expanding perspectives; and investigate the way language works to communicate meaning. Students will develop the skills to analyse, interpret and evaluate complex texts, and respond through preparing analytical essays, persuasive speeches, reflective role-plays and multimedia presentations.

Year 9 

English engages with a range of texts to understand, and to challenge the way language operates within its context, its purpose, and its power to influence an audience. Focussing on Australian texts, including film, poetry and fiction; Year 9 English focuses on independent and higher order thinking, and develops their ability to respond critically and thoughtfully to texts, in preparation for English in the Senior Years.

Financial Literacy

Being financially literate involves making informed financial decisions. Financial literacy is the application of knowledge, understanding and skills in financial contexts.

This subject will cover concepts related to earning, saving and spending money. Students will be equipped with the skills and confidence to make smart decisions about their money.

Year 7 

Geography is structured into two units, ‘Place and Liveability’ and ‘Water in the World’.

‘Place and Liveability’ examines factors that influence liveability and how it is perceived. Students will evaluate the liveability of their own place and to investigate whether it can be improved through planning. 

‘Water in the World’ focuses on water as an example of a renewable environmental resource, examines the many uses of water, how it is perceived and valued, its varying availability, and its scarcity.

Year 8 

Geography covers the units ‘Landforms and Landscapes’ and ‘Changing Nations’.

‘Landforms and Landscapes’ investigates geomorphology, processes that shape individual landforms, cultural values and meanings, hazards, and management of landscapes.

‘Changing Nations’ investigates the changing human geography of countries, revealed by shifts in population distribution. This unit explores the process of urbanisation, drawing on studies of an Asian-region country to show how urbanisation changes the economies and societies of low and middle-income countries.

Year 9 

Geography covers the units ‘Biomes and Food Security’ and ‘Geographies of Interconnections’. ‘Biomes and Food Security’ investigates the biotic environment and its role in food and fibre production. The distinctive aspects of biomes, food production, food security and fair trade are investigated using studies drawn from Australia and across the world.

‘Geographies of Interconnections’ investigates how people, through their choices and actions, are connected to places throughout the world, and how these connections help us work toward global consensus. This unit examines the interconnections between people and places through international sporting events, using studies drawn from Australia and across the world

Health and Physical Education

Health and Physical Education provides opportunities for students to adopt lifelong healthy, active living.  Integral to the subject is the development of movement skills, concepts and strategies that enable students to confidently participate in a range of physical activities.  

These activities are outlined in more detail within year group's Subject Outline. Through participation in lessons, students practise a range of personal, social and cognitive skills and learn to appreciate the significance of physical activity in Australian society. 

Theoretical units covered include the science of energy, movement and body structure, health related concepts including community health, growth and development
and nutrition.

Digital and Design Technologies

The Middle Years Digital and Design Technologies program is designed to complement and extend the use of Digital Technologies by the students at Somerville House. It also meets the objectives of the National Curriculum (ACARA) for Digital and Design Technologies across Years 7, 8 and 9.

The program develops digital literacy and introduces students to an extensive and varied range of digital and design products, applications and approaches. These include many aspects of Robotics such as the use of Spheros, 3D printing, graphic, web and video design, utilising a number of Adobe products in particular.

It also involves Algorithmic Programming across all Year levels, both with graphical interfaces and text-based coding, data analytics, online communications, practical computing and basic electronics with the Microbit and Inventor Kit, drone coding, computer animation as well as augmented reality and virtual reality apps.

The Somerville House Digital and Design Technologies program is regularly updated to embrace new and innovative technologies, such as the Merge Cube, which can help our students to be better prepared for the technological and transformative world they are entering.  


Languages offered in the Middle Years include: Chinese, Japanese, French and German.

Studying a language in the Middle Years, students will engage in communicative, authentic and meaningful use of the target language, and develop their skills in comprehension (Listening and Reading) and expression (Speaking and Writing).  

As language and culture are strongly linked, students will learn about and gain an appreciation of other cultures, and views of the world. Comparisons will also be made to the student’s own culture. Music, role plays, poetry and film are often used as ways to learn the language in class. 

Classes also will also use technology to bring them in contact with up-to-date language and cultural issues.  Out-of-class linguistic and cultural activities are also organised, including immersion activities. 

To assist students to communicate effectively in the target language, classes will often focus on discrete vocabulary and grammatical points, including verb conjugations. 
By the end of this course, students should have the foundations, and the confidence, to engage in further study in the target language.


Learning mathematics creates opportunities and enriches student perspectives of the world. It develops numeracy capabilities which all students need in their personal, work and civic life, and provides the fundamentals for mathematical specialties and professional applications to be built upon.

This course focuses on developing sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, logical reasoning, analytical thought and problem-solving skills.

These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematical strategies to make informed decisions and solve
problems efficiently.

Students will investigate a variety of mathematical and life-related contexts. Using these contexts, students will develop the mathematical tools and models needed to make informed conjectures and generate meaningful solutions to problems. 

Students will also develop techniques for collecting data from a variety of sources and use mathematical tools to generate a meaningful analysis of that data.

Students will investigate linear and non-linear relations and apply them to real life contexts. They will learn how to communicate their understanding using mathematical
and natural language.

Year 7

Music is designed to develop the students’ knowledge, understanding and skills through direct participation in the ‘experience of music’.

The course is taught through two dimensions of Making (Composing and Performing) and Responding. Students experience an integrated approach using glockenspiel and their voice. There is an emphasis on improving the understanding of Music as a language through reading, writing, listening, performing and creating.

Years 8 and 9

Music is an elective subject, where students can enjoy the challenge of furthering their musicianship skills. The development of these skills directly influences their capacity to understand and perform the music of other artists, and to create their own original music. The course is also taught through the two dimensions of Making (Composing and Performing) and Responding. Students learn through an integrated approach using their own voices, piano keyboards and other instruments. 

Year 7 

Science familiarises students with the tools, equipment, resources and behaviours associated with the successful and enjoyable learning of Science. Topics covered include classification of organisms, habitats and ecosystems; experimental methods and report writing; space discoveries and website design; forces and bridge design; and properties of substances. 

Practical tasks are a prime focus of this program, and use of information and technology skills are integrated into the course content. Students are assessed under two criteria: knowledge and conceptual understanding; and investigation, process and communication.

Year 8 

Science continues to expose students to a variety of assessment techniques such as written tests, data interpretation, experimental reports and multi-modal presentations. Topics covered are: laboratory safety and data collection; graphical skills; use of microscopes and cell theory; human organ systems; dissection techniques; energy changes and toy design; chemical and physical changes; and human reproduction. 

Year 9 

Science expands on topics and criteria introduced in Year 7 and 8, advancing students' learning and application of theory. Topics covered include electrical circuitry; heat and sound; energy; light energy; lenses and the human eye; coordination of human body systems; chemical reactions and equations; nuclear reactions; and scientific report writing. Scientific skills and literacy are of prime importance, as is the integration of technology in collecting, processing, analysing and evaluating data to reach justified conclusions.

Senior Years


Accounting is designed for students who have an interest in business studies and management of financial resources. The study of Accounting enables students to understand the processes involved in recording and reporting accounting information. 

Year 10

Students are provided with opportunities to develop skills in managing financial resources which can be applied at a personal level and in the business environment. Students will be introduced to the accounting process from source documents, journals, ledger and financial reports. 

Years 11 and 12

The study of accounting involves the conveyance of relevant business information to interested users to evaluate performance; facilitate decision making and control; and to report on the operation of an organisation from internal and external perspectives.


The Senior Visual Art Program provides each student with the artistic means and confidence to make art which possesses a personal expression and has both visual and human integrity. There are two central components to the course: making and appraising. Making is the production of artworks that communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences and observations through sensory modes; and appraising is the appreciation of artworks from past and present social and cultural contexts.

Progressing from Middle into Senior Years, students’ conceptual exploration will shift from their physical environment to a more expressive level, exploring their individual interpretations of the world. This progression begins the expressive and conceptual shift to Senior Visual Art.

The Appraising (the appreciation of art) aspect of the course, sees students complete the ‘Core Appraising Program’. This program aims to develop visual literacy and provide an understanding and knowledge of art. The program provides essential knowledge of important artists and concepts as preparation for Senior Visual Art aims to complement the work that they do in Art Making.


Year 10 Biology equips students with knowledge, techniques and skills to prepare them for biology studies in Years 11 and 12. The course places an emphasis on investigations using scientific method, abilities and processes. Students will develop skills in the critical analysis of topics from an objective position rather than an emotive one. 

Students are encouraged to inquire about and question their living surroundings, and the structure and function of living things. They will investigate topics which inspire a genuine interest in science, and encourage their lifelong learning.

Biology is an area of study where understandings are developed in terms of concepts rather than lists of content. The following principles are covered in the study of biology:

  • Survival of species is dependent on individuals staying alive long enough to reproduce.
  • At every level of organisation in the living world structure and function are interrelated. Each level of organisation in the living world has its own unique aspects and there is continual interaction of structure and function between these levels.
  • Continuity and change occurs at all organisational levels in the living world. Changes may be cyclical or directional. The continuity of life is a balance between all the change processes.
Year 10
Business is a contemporary discipline that impacts on and presents a range of challenges to individuals, community members and government representatives. The study of Business aims to equip students for their role in a global society. Year 10 Business focuses on engaging students by exploring a range of business environments and situations, achieved through an inquiry approach utilising real-life case studies and simulations. The study of Business creates a learning environment conducive to fostering entrepreneurial ambition, social responsibility and ethical behaviour.

Years 11 and 12

Business, students investigate the business life cycle from the seed to post-maturity stage and develop skills in examining business data and information. Students learn business concepts, theories, processes and strategies relevant to leadership, management and entrepreneurship. A range of business environments and situations is explored. Through this exploration, students investigate the influence of and implications for strategic development in the functional areas of finance, human resources, marketing and operations. Learning in Business integrates an inquiry approach with authentic case studies. 

Students become critical observers of business practices by applying an inquiry process in undertaking investigations of business situations. They use a variety of technological, communication and analytical tools to comprehend, analyse, interpret and synthesise business data and information.


Chemistry involves a dynamic study of the matter around us, its structure and reactions and the important role it plays in environmental understanding, social and economic practices and the quality of human life.

This subject introduces Year 10 students to the structure of the knowledge, techniques and skills that should allow them to progress to the study of Chemistry in Years 11 and 12. Students will gain an understanding of ‘the basics’ and develop skills required to design experiments, work effectively in the laboratory, collect and analyse data, draw conclusions and evaluate findings.

Chemistry is a “central” science with applications in many scientific and associated fields. The study of chemistry engages students in investigation of the material universe. Matter and its interactions, from supernovae to chromosomes, space age alloys to fashion fabrics, lifesaving medicines to cosmetics, are the essence of chemistry. The investigative process is the major focus for this subject. All teaching and learning will occur within the framework of a real–life context.

Students study chemistry for a variety of reasons, as a means of enhancing their understanding of the world around them, to achieve knowledge and useful skills, and as a stepping-stone to further study. Studying Chemistry embraces the intrinsic ‘hands-on’ nature of the subject and provides opportunities for the development of knowledge and techniques using realistic applications.


Chinese studies for Year 10 – 12 students enhances their capacity to communicate effectively with others, increasing their fluency and accuracy. Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of the linguistic features of Chinese, become familiar with grammatical structures, and gain social-cultural awareness. Class activities are based on realistic situations and explore a wide range of topics, from everyday encounters to social issues with the four macro skills implemented. 

Year 10 

The China tour is a primary focus of the course, with many tour-related topics covered. Themes and topics studied in Year 10 Chinese include my world, my community, travel in China, and shopping. 

Year 11

Themes and topics studied in Year 11 Chinese include personal description, holiday planning, and adolescence.

Year 12

Themes and topics studied in Year 12 Chinese include Chinese geography, future plans, the environment, celebrations and special occasions.

All students are encouraged to recognise and reproduce Chinese characters, and homework will be set to monitor progress. Students are also encouraged to participate in activities such as the China tour, Immersion Day or hosting exchange students

Christian Education

The Christian Education curriculum is based on the teachings of the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ, recognising the importance of a reasoned approach to the Christian faith and the development of a Christian worldview.  

Assessment is in the form of short exams, research assignments, group work, oral presentations and participation in class activities and discussions. 

Year 10

Students in Year 10 will cover topics including: Jesus' Parables, Jesus' Resurrection, Forgiveness and Justice, Is the Bible Reliable, Personal Identity, Identity of Christ, Buddhism, Character and Decision-making.

Year 11

Students in Year 11 will cover topics including: Book of James, Suffering and the Hiding Place, Hinduism, Managing Stress, History of Christianity, Cults, Dealing with Death and Grief, and Does God Exist?

Year 12

Students in Year 12 will cover topics including: Extraordinary People, Technology and Ethics, Love Marriage and Relationships, the Search for Meaning, and the Matrix


Drama is a unique art form that re-presents and re-enacts experiences, ideas, stories and emotions. Drama is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression and continues to be a significant part of all cultures and societies. 

Created and performed in diverse spaces to achieve a wide range of purposes, Drama is usually shared live, but can also be created and shared through digital media and other platforms. Engaging with drama in all its manifestations provides opportunities to experience, understand and communicate different perspectives on the world.

Drama students are provided with the opportunity to learn about different forms and styles of drama and gain an understanding of human experience in other cultures, times and places. Drama connects students to creative, technical and other cognitive processes and provides a way for them to imagine and explore beliefs, feelings, behaviours and relationships across many situations and contexts.

Economics and Law

Economics and Law is designed to bring together knowledge and skill-building activities from the areas of Economics and Legal Studies. 

The Economics component of the course introduces the general nature of the subject and examines issues such as the economic problem, the price mechanism and how the Australian economy works, as well as contemporary economic issues such as globalisation. Students are also provided with the opportunity to study the stock-market.

The Legal Studies component of the course introduces students to the broad principles of the Australian legal system, including a study of the operation of our government; different categories of laws such as the role of the police, types of criminal offences and sentencing options for convicted criminals. Students are also asked to consider their rights and responsibilities as citizens through an investigation of the court system and current legal issues facing society.


This course introduces students to the general nature of economics and examines issues such as the price mechanism and how the Australian economy works, and contemporary economic issues such as globalisation and sustainable development. Students will also complete a unit on managing personal finances, which includes a study of the share market. 

This course stresses the desirability of understanding; the significance of economic events; and the implications of individual, business and government in economic decision-making. The course emphasises the application of economic skills and concepts to the problems and issues facing Australian society. 


English is based on the study of language and texts, both literary and non-literary. Students learn to interpret, evaluate, create, discuss and perform texts through writing, reading, viewing, speaking and listening; and engage with themes and issues involving levels of abstraction, higher order reasoning and intertextual references.

Year 10

Year 10 English students will encounter a wide range of text types, including informative, persuasive and imaginative texts. The course incorporates four categories, including: literary texts, both classic and contemporary; non-Literary texts; visual and media texts; and multimodal and digital texts.

Years 11 and 12

For Year 11 and 12 students, English remains a key discipline. A commitment to academic rigour underpins the Senior Work Program for English, the School’s interpretation of the Senior English Syllabus published by the Queensland Studies Authority. Furthermore, a sound achievement in English is a prerequisite for entry to most university courses.

Senior English students will learn to develop an enthusiasm for language and literature, and communicate effectively in Standard Australian English for a range of social and cultural purposes and audiences. Covering a range of literary and non-literary media, Senior students will learn to interpret, analyse, evaluate, respond to and construct a variety of texts, through reading, listening, viewing, speaking, writing and shaping. 

Year 10

The Year 10 French course broadens students’ knowledge of the French language in the four macro skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

Students will have the opportunity to move from the five lessons a cycle in Year 9 to the eight sessions per cycle in Year 10. Covering topics in depth, students will learn more about the cultural richness and diversity of France and French-speaking countries, and enjoy the satisfaction of making greater progress in the language. Themes and topics studied in Year 10 French include exchanges to French-speaking countries, and issues faced by young adults in today’s society.

The Year 10 French course focuses on encouraging fluent oral communication, and establishing a solid grammatical base, providing a firm foundation for Years 11 and 12. 

Years 11 and 12 

The Senior French course enables students to gain a practical knowledge of French; and an appreciation of French thought and culture, encouraged through language material, including novels, poetry and film. Useful travel material is also included in the units.

Themes and topics studied in Year 11 French include health and future plans, including study. Year 12 French will cover topics including the environment, and France in the context of WWII.

Studying a Language Other than English, such as French, until the end of Year 12 may improve students’ chances of being accepted into the university faculty of their choice.


Geography is the study of the interaction between people and environments. This subject develops knowledge and understanding of the distribution of natural and human phenomena; including inequalities in wealth, land formations and climate. 

Students will study a number of topics including: the phenomenon of terrorism and how people perceive and respond to the challenge it represents; sustainability, focusing on the school and its immediate environs; and ‘Geographies of Wellbeing’, investigating differences in human wellbeing between places. 

Geography provides a basis for students to engage in questioning, inquiring, creating solutions and decision-making. Students will learn to use and interpret maps, photographs and other representations of geographical data. The content, cognitive processes, skills and values covered in the Geography course provide an important medium to help students better explore, understand and evaluate the world's social and environmental dimensions.

Geographical skills or knowledge are applicable to further studies in architecture, town planning, environmental law, environmental science, tourism and recreation, teaching, real estate, cartography, geographic information systems, heritage/national park planning and management, resource/land management, environmental consulting and spatial science careers such as imagery, engineering and surveying.


Language learning is a cumulative process and as such, is not complete at the end of Year 9 or Year 10. 

Year 10

Year 10 students will have had the opportunity to gain sufficient working knowledge of German to converse in everyday topics, and developed the confidence to use what they have learned in German-speaking areas of the world. Themes and topics studied in Year 10 German include literature, and environmental issues.

Year 11

Progressing from Year 10 into Year 11, students should have mastered enough of the basics to be able to cope, in a simple fashion, with a visit to Germany, living with a German family, talking with friends, asking directions, eating out and going shopping. 

The two year Senior German course is aimed at the young adult and is intended to develop this basic knowledge and increase competence in communicating as a visitor in German-speaking countries and corresponding with German-speaking students overseas. Students should also be able to read with comprehension and enjoy German magazines and simple literary works.

Themes and topics studied in Year 11 German include schooling in Germany and Australia and student exchanges.

Year 12

Themes and topics studied in Year 12 German include the environment, and East Germany and the former DDR.

Year 10

Year 10 ‘History 1’ provides a study of the history of the modern world and Australia from 1918 to the present, with an emphasis on Australia in its global context. 

The history content for Year 10 students incorporates two strands: Historical Knowledge and Understanding and Historical Skills. The key inquiry questions at this year level are:

  • How did the nature of global conflict change during the twentieth century?
  • What were the consequences of World War II? How did these consequences shape the modern world?
  • How was Australian society affected by other significant global events and changes in this period?

Students who undertake this course of additional Historical Studies will complete the Australian Curriculum component in semester 1 and continue with additional historical studies in Semester 2 to prepare for Senior History (Ancient and Modern).

The Australian Curriculum component of this course investigates wartime experiences through a study of World War II and investigates struggles for human rights in depth. 

Year 10 ‘History 2’ re-introduces Ancient History topics covered in Year 7 under the Australian Curriculum. Students will also cover a unit in Ancient Egyptian History, and have an opportunity to research an aspect of ancient, medieval or modern history and society.  The emphasis in this unit will be on the research process and preparing a research folio

Ancient History
Years 11 and 12

Ancient History studies the essence of what it means to be human in time periods very distant from the present, to help us to better understand who we are today. This subject analyses the political and cultural achievements of people and uses evidence to reveal aspects of their daily lives.

Ancient History students will gain skills and knowledge valuable in a range of academic and other life situations, and relevant to many tertiary subjects including History, Art History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Sociology, Law, Politics and Journalism.  

Students will learn that Ancient History is an interpretative discipline; develops understandings about the forces and influences that have shaped societies over time; involves critically evaluating attitudes, ideas and concepts; and results in understandings and skills that assist them to participate more effectively as global citizens.

Modern History
Years 11 and 12

Modern History develops understandings about people and how they are influenced by past events. Through explorations of various historical documents and images Modern History helps students to understand current events and to think critically and creatively about people and what motivates them. 

This course is designed to be both enjoyable and rigorous, gradually developing some sophisticated understandings and skills that will benefit students academically and encourage their life-long learning. It explores events from the 1930s to the present and ranges from political to social history. European, Middle Eastern, American, Japanese, Chinese and Australian histories are involved, as well as major global events. 

Studying Modern History can help students to live more effectively and ethically as global citizens. This course will not only teach students about a range of topics and facts, but will assist with the development of their skills and understanding in writing and systematic approaches to research.

Digital Solutions and Technologies
Year 10

Digital Solutions & Technologies (DST) is an intermediary course that transitions from Digital & Design Technology (DDT) and prepares students for Digital Solutions in Year 11 and 12. Building on the foundational knowledge acquired in Middle Years DDT, students further their learning about algorithms, computer languages and user interface design as they mature from concept acquisition and consolidation towards production and generation of solutions. Students learn about data and information systems, as well as their applications to digital solutions and integration with software. Students also gain an appreciation of the local and global impacts of technology, not only in terms of the practical issues, but also in terms of social and ethical issues.

DST lays the foundations for a range of careers in a variety of contexts, developing thinking skills that are relevant for digital and non-digital real-world challenges.

Digital Solutions and Technology will develop students' abilities in coding, particularly in preparation for Senior School or other further study in programming. The technical skills required to create software systems will also be taught in the broader context of the life cycle of a digital solution, which includes both technical and non-technical considerations. Students will also gain an understanding of the structure of information systems and the interactions between computer hardware, software and networks.

Digital Solutions
Years 11 and 12

Throughout Years 7 to 9, students have studied Digital & Design Technology (DDT) and have been introduced to a number of computing disciplines. In Year 10, students further their learning about algorithms, computer languages and user interface design when studying Digital Solutions & Technologies (DST).

Digital Solutions enables students to learn about algorithms, computer languages and user interfaces through generating digital solutions to problems. Students engage with data, information and applications to create digital solutions that filter and present data in timely and efficient ways while understanding the need to encrypt and protect data. They understand computing's personal, local and global impact, and the issues associated with the ethical integration of technology into our daily lives.

Students use problem-based learning to write computer programs to create digital solutions that: use data; require interactions with users and within systems; and affect people, the economy and environments. They develop solutions using combinations of readily available hardware and software development environments, code libraries or specific instructions provided through programming.

Students create, construct and repurpose solutions that are relevant in a world where data and digital realms are transforming entertainment, education, business, manufacturing and many other industries.

Law - Year 10
Year 10

Study of Law in Year 10 focuses on enhancing students’ ability to recognise the diverse legal situations and issues that arise in their everyday lives. 

This subject introduces students to the broad principles and processes of the Australian legal system and provides students with an introduction to the different categories of laws which are of direct relevance to young people such as the role of the police, types of criminal offences and sentencing options for convicted criminals. 

Students are also asked to consider their rights and responsibilities as citizens through an investigation of the court system and the process of law reform.

Legal Studies - ​Years 11 and 12​
Years 11 and 12

The Legal Studies course in Years 11 and 12 is designed to give a broad a coverage of the Australian Legal system. 

Students will examine the nature and function of our legal system and study specific areas of law that are most likely to affect their daily lives. This will help to promote an awareness of the numerous legal situations and issues that arise in their everyday life. These situations and issues often have legal implications that affect the rights and obligations of themselves and other community members. Students will gain knowledge to understand legal frameworks that regulate and shape society

Year 10

Year 10 students will have had the opportunity to gain sufficient working knowledge of Japanese to converse in everyday topics, and developed the confidence to use what they have learned in Japanese-speaking areas of the world. 

Progressing from Year 10, Senior Japanese is an extension of the students’ receptive skills and further development of fluency and correctness in both oral and written expression. To achieve competence in the areas of reading and writing, students are exposed to a greater number of Chinese characters (kanji) to be learned for reproduction and recognition. 

Year 11

Themes and topics studied in Year 11 Japanese include going on exchange, celebrations, health and fitness and the environment.   

Year 12

Themes and topics studied in Year 12 Japanese include the travel, tourism, obtaining a driver’s licence, the formal, future plans and working and living in Japan.

Concluding their Year 12 studies, students will have acquired knowledge of over 200 kanji. These kanji will give students a good working knowledge of kanji that appear in everyday life situations (eg. road signs, houses, maps, shops). 

Culture is not taught formally. However, students will gain a greater understanding of Japanese thought, customs and way of life through materials of cultural significance and by learning the language in realistic settings and situations.

Mathematics 1
Year 10 

Mathematics 1 focuses on the core Year 10 Mathematics concepts detailed in the Australian Curriculum Strands- Number and Algebra, Measurement and Space, and Probability and Statistics.

The course develops the knowledge, skills and processes required for a study of General Mathematics in Years 11 and 12. This course will require students to use their mathematics to solve problems, develop mathematical models and use them to make predictions. It caters for those students who have experienced difficulty with the harder and more abstract concepts studied in Year 9 (for example, algebraic facility) or who do not require advanced mathematics in Years 11 and 12 for courses beyond Year 12.

Students who study Mathematics 1 in Year 10 will study the General Mathematics syllabus in Years 11 and 12 and will not be able to study Mathematical Methods or Specialist Mathematics.

Mathematics 2
Year 10 

Mathematics 2 focuses on the core and the advanced Year 10 Mathematics concepts detailed in the Australian Curriculum Strands - Number and Algebra, Measurement and Space, and Probability and Statistics.

This course develops the knowledge, skills and processes required for the courses of study Mathematical Methods or Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics. This course is for students who enjoy mathematical challenges and who are wishing to use their understanding of mathematics to solve problems, to develop mathematical models and to evaluate the accuracy of their conclusions. Students are required to have a good understanding of algebraic concepts and be able to apply them fluently.

In general, students who study Mathematics 2 in Year 10 will select from one of the following courses of study, Mathematical Methods or Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics in Years 11 and 12.

To study either of the courses, Mathematical Methods or Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics in Year 11, students must have satisfied the following prerequisites:

1.       Studied a full year of Mathematics 2 (or equivalent) and

2.       Obtained a year rating of at least B-.

Students who are uncertain about their choice of Mathematics subject should seek advice from their class teacher or Mr Redmond, Head of Mathematics.

General Mathematics
Years 11 and 12

General Mathematics is designed for students who want to extend their mathematical skills beyond Year 10 but whose future studies or employment pathways do not require calculus. It incorporates a practical approach that equips learners for their needs as future citizens. Students will learn to ask appropriate questions, map out pathways, reason about complex solutions, set up models and communicate in different forms. They will experience the relevance of mathematics to their daily lives, communities and cultural backgrounds. They will develop the ability to understand, analyse and take action regarding social issues in their world. When students gain skill and self-assurance, when they understand the content and when they evaluate their success by using and transferring their knowledge, they develop a mathematical mindset.

The major domains of mathematics in General Mathematics are Number and algebra, Measurement and geometry, Statistics and Networks and matrices, building on the content of the P–10 Australian Curriculum. Learning reinforces prior knowledge and further develops key mathematical ideas, including rates and percentages, concepts from financial mathematics, linear and non-linear expressions, sequences, the use of matrices and networks to model and solve authentic problems, the use of trigonometry to find solutions to practical problems, and the exploration of real-world phenomena in statistics.

Mathematical Methods
Years 11 and 12

Students who undertake Mathematical Methods will see the connections between mathematics and other areas of the curriculum and apply their mathematical skills to real-world problems, becoming critical thinkers, innovators and problem-solvers. Through solving problems and developing models, they will appreciate that mathematics and statistics are dynamic tools that are critically important in the 21st century.

The major domains of mathematics in Mathematical Methods are Algebra, Functions, relations and their graphs, Calculus and Statistics. Topics are developed systematically, with increasing levels of sophistication, complexity and connection, and build on algebra, functions and their graphs, and probability from the P–10 Australian Curriculum. Calculus is essential for developing an understanding of the physical world. The domain Statistics is used to describe and analyse phenomena involving uncertainty and variation. Both are the basis for developing effective models of the world and solving complex and abstract mathematical problems. The ability to translate written, numerical, algebraic, symbolic and graphical information from one representation to another is a vital part of learning in Mathematical Methods.

Specialist Mathematics
Years 11 and 12

Students who undertake Specialist Mathematics will develop confidence in their mathematical knowledge and ability, and gain a positive view of themselves as mathematics learners. They will gain an appreciation of the true nature of mathematics, its beauty and its power.

The major domains of mathematical knowledge in Specialist Mathematics are Vectors and matrices, Real and complex numbers, Trigonometry, Statistics and Calculus. Topics are developed systematically, with increasing levels of sophistication, complexity and connection, building on functions, calculus, statistics from Mathematical Methods, while vectors, complex numbers and matrices are introduced. Functions and calculus are essential for creating models of the physical world. Statistics are used to describe and analyse phenomena involving probability, uncertainty and variation. Matrices, complex numbers and vectors are essential tools for explaining abstract or complex relationships that occur in scientific and technological endeavours.

Year 10

Year 10 Music studies covers a spectrum of musical experiences including musicology, composition and performance. Students study two units based on vocal and instrumental music; and analyse, compose and perform in the genres associated with these units. 

Practical skills are developed through activities such as ensemble playing and singing, conducting, and improvisation. The course emphasises training in musicianship, develops a comprehensive theoretical understanding of music, nurtures performance confidence and encourages creative composition. 

Individual musical tuition such as A.M.E.B. can be helpful to the performance aspect of the course, but is not a prerequisite. The study of classroom Music nurtures creative composition skills that are not usually covered in individual musical tuition.

Years 11 and 12

Progressing into Year 11 and 12, students build on the foundation established by applying their developing musicianship through an exploration of the musical elements. Students explore a variety of contexts, genres and styles to achieve the interrelated dimensions of composition, musicology and performance. 

Through this course of study, students are provided with opportunities to interpret the ‘experience of music’ framework in a structured learning sequence, designed to provide a variety of learning experiences. These learning experiences are selected to:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of the elements of music (duration; expressive devices; pitch; melody, harmony, tonality, structure; texture and timbre)
  • Develop a deep understanding of the significant historical contributions to the body of music
  • Explore a range of genres, styles, cultural and historical contexts including Australian music
  • Include both vocal and instrumental experiences
Music Extension
Year 12

Music Extension is designed to offer a greater challenge than Senior Music for students who are passionate about this creative field. The challenge of this subject includes expectations of accelerated independence, increased cognitive, expressive and musical demands and assessment task requirements. 

The course is studied for the two semesters of Year 12, concurrently with the parent syllabus. Music Extension is designed for students interested in exploring in greater depth one of the three areas of study that lie behind the general objectives of the Senior Music (2013) syllabus. The senior Music objectives have been developed in the Music Extension syllabus into the three specialisations of composition, musicology and performance.

Through a focused study of one specialisation, students develop their audiation and strive for a heightened level of musical success. The discipline and commitment of music-making builds students’ self-esteem, personal motivation and independence. Opportunities may also exist for the refinement of collaborative teamwork skills. Whether for career, commercial or leisure needs, students will have the opportunity to gain the basis for a life-long engagement with music.

When students conduct an Investigation of Music Sources in Music Extension, they research within their specialisation by exploring, analysing and synthesising evidence from a range of music sources such as scores, audio and visual recordings, live performances, case studies, essays, lectures, journals or musicology surveys, and present their findings. This process of investigation informs their development as a musician and guides the direction of their emerging work.

Physical Education

Physical Education integrates health and physical education. It is a course of study designed to encourage students to:

  • Analyse how personal, social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental factors shape understanding of and opportunities for health and physical activity locally, regionally and globally.
  • Understand how movement and physical activity concepts are informed by several sciences: the biophysical, the sociocultural, and the behavioural. These are presented in both practical and classroom settings.
  • Acquire the skills, concepts and strategic awareness required for participation and enhanced performance in physical activities performed both individually and in groups.
  • Develop personal and social skills and strategies to promote a sense of identity, wellbeing, and positive relationships.

Progressing into Year 11 and 12, Physical Education focuses on the complexities and inter-relationships of sports performance by investigating the psychological, biomechanical, physiological and sociological factors that influence individual and team physical performance, and wider social attitudes to physical activity.

Subject matter and principles are integrated with, and applied to physical performance to develop students’ learning in, about and through physical activity. Physically educated performances are those that demonstrate this application

Year 10

Year 10 Physics will study the different aspects of the subject area related to everyday experiences and events. This approach links analysis to the context of modern society, including the nuclear energy debate and the physics of safety devices in cars. Experimentation will model real life situations. Engagement with techniques, skills and conceptual understanding in this subject should prepare students for Year 11 and 12 Physics.

Years 11 and 12

For Year 11 and 12 students, Physics will explore the energy and forces that shape the physical world, from the interior of the atom to galaxies of stars. In a broad sense, physics is the study of matter and energy and the relationships that exist between these quantities; more specifically, it is the study of the behaviour and structure of matter on a macroscopic, microscopic and subatomic level. Physics is the basis of technological development. 

At Somerville House, students of Physics are provided with an educational environment which allows them to study the subject in a historical and modern context, through instruction, enquiry, observation and experiment. The Physics course helps students to develop skills in logical thinking, problem solving and analysis as well as practical techniques. Where possible the concepts are placed in context to enrich the learning experience.

What is Senior Pathways?

Students in Years 11 and 12 at Somerville House are required to maintain a full academic program equivalent to six subjects. Students may choose to study a Vocational Education and Training (VET) recognised course as the equivalent of one or two out of these six subjects. This is called a Senior Pathway course.

Structure of VET learning

Students undertake VET learning at a Certificate III or Diploma level, in one of the following ways: 

  • Attending classes one day per week maximum at a TAFE Queensland or private Registered Training Organisation (RTO) (Off-campus Vocational Education)
  • Studying the qualification online through TAFE Queensland or a private RTO
  • Completing a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship (SAT) (towards a Certificate III)

Objectives of the VET-eligible Senior Pathway are to provide:

  • Additional ranges of subjects of interest and benefit to students, via access to external institutes 
  • An alternative pathway and possible entry into tertiary study
  • A career head start
Benefits of choosing a Senior Pathway
  • Upon successful completion, VET qualifications give a student between 4 and 8 credits towards their Queensland Certificate of Education
  • Enhancement of an application to university with a pre-existing qualification*
  • Possibility of increasing the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER), and therefore possibly opening up further options for entry into university in Queensland
  • Possibility of reducing the future time spent at a university in Queensland by approximately one year after completing a Diploma level qualification*
  • Increased communication, vocational and other employability skills
  • Gaining practical skills and knowledge at an adult learning level