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K–10English K–10 Syllabus

Record of changes
Implementation for K–2 from 2023 and 3–10 from 2024
Expand for detailed implementation advice

Overview

Syllabus overview

Organisation of English K–10

The organisation of outcomes and content for English K–10 highlights the role and connection that Understanding Texts and Creating Texts have across all areas of English. The organisation of outcomes and content reflects the essential knowledge, understanding and skills that students are expected to learn, including the study of a wide range of literature.

The knowledge, understanding and skills described in the outcomes and content of each focus area provide a basis for students to successfully progress to the next stage of learning. Focus areas should not be interpreted as hierarchical or time bound, as instructional priorities will be informed by learner needs.

K–2 focus areas

The focus areas for each stage support students’ growing knowledge and understanding in the areas of:

  • Oral language and communication
  • Vocabulary
  • Phonological awareness
  • Print conventions
  • Phonic knowledge
  • Reading fluency
  • Reading comprehension
  • Creating written texts
  • Spelling
  • Handwriting
  • Understanding and responding to literature
Overview of English K–2 which shows the syllabus outcomes.
Figure 1: The organisation of English K–2
3–6 focus areas

The focus areas for each stage support students’ growing knowledge and understanding in the areas of:

  • Oral language and communication
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading fluency
  • Reading comprehension
  • Creating written texts
  • Spelling
  • Handwriting and digital transcription
  • Understanding and responding to literature
The figure shows the connection between Understanding Texts and Creating Texts across English 3–6 focus areas.
Figure 2: The organisation of English 3–6

In English K–6, the importance of strong foundations in the early years across oral language, reading and writing is highlighted. The organisation of the syllabus supports the development of early literacy knowledge and skills, while continuing to acknowledge the importance of learning about and enjoying literature.

Evidence highlights the importance of oral language, reading and writing. Oral language can include spoken, nonverbal, symbolic and gestural forms. This includes Auslan, which fulfils the same function as oral language in meeting the communication and language development needs of students who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.

Making connections through related content K–6

Many connections exist between the focus areas in English. Knowledge of and skills for focus areas often develop in an interrelated manner and are therefore best addressed in parallel.

Within the context of the syllabus, ‘in parallel’ means teaching:

  • multiple focus areas at the same time
  • related content in a sequential manner
  • application of knowledge, understanding and skills through interrelated focus areas.

Addressing outcomes in parallel enables teachers to efficiently teach and assess essential concepts within the syllabus content while supporting students to make connections with their learning.

Examples of outcomes and content that could be addressed in parallel are identified for each focus area. These are not an exhaustive list of ways that knowledge, understanding and skills are related or can be taught together. Teachers should consider their students’ needs and abilities when selecting related content, to design meaningful teaching and learning experiences.

7–10 focus areas

The focus areas for each stage support students’ growing knowledge and understanding in the areas of:

  • Reading, viewing and listening to texts
  • Understanding and responding to texts
  • Expressing ideas and composing texts

English 7–10 builds on the foundational skills developed in the earlier years to support the growing knowledge, understanding and skills in the areas of Reading, viewing and listening to texts, Understanding and responding to texts and Expressing ideas and composing text.

The 3 focus areas of the syllabus and how they are interrelated. Details in text below image.
Figure 3: The organisation of English 7–10

Image long description: The 3 focus areas of the English 7–10 Syllabus: Reading, viewing and listening to texts; Understanding and responding to texts; and Expressing ideas and composing texts. The first focus area is surrounded by a rectangular box titled Understanding texts. The third focus area is surrounded by a rectangular box titled Composing texts. The second focus area is elongated, so as to be included in both rectangular boxes.

Course requirements K–10

Text requirements

Engaging with texts is central to the study of English.

Understanding and creating a wide range of texts is central to the study of English. In K–2 the term texts refers to print, digital or spoken forms of communication and includes fiction and nonfiction works. Many types of texts are easy to recognise by their subject matter, forms and structures, such as imaginative, informative and persuasive texts. Texts have evolved over time for the purpose of communicating effectively with a range of audiences. Sometimes a number of elements from different types of texts can be included in a single text, resulting in a hybrid text. For example, an imaginative text such as a narrative will predictably have language features such as action verbs and descriptive noun groups, but may also contain visual features such as speech bubbles, diagrams and subheadings more typically seen in informative texts.

The act of creating texts involves:

  • selecting the language appropriate to purpose
  • adapting and experimenting with language
  • using textual elements from different styles, modes and text forms.

Literature

Literature is defined as a body of work that has enduring personal, social, cultural or aesthetic value. It comprises a dynamic and evolving range of fiction and nonfiction texts from diverse contemporary, historical and cultural contexts.

Literature should be readily available to students in the classroom and updated regularly.

Across a year of learning, teachers must give students daily opportunities:

  • To be read to: Being read to supports children in acquiring new vocabulary from a text, gives students access to texts beyond their immediate means and supports the development of reading as pleasure. Independent reading should not supplant being read to. Where reading aloud is not accessible for students, they should be read to using their preferred communication form(s).
  • To read decodable texts: Decodable texts support beginning readers to use decoding strategies and practise their developing reading skills. Provide decodable texts for beginning readers in Early Stage 1, and as needed for students in Stage 1 and beyond.
  • For wide reading: Once students can consistently use phonic knowledge to decode words, the use of decodable texts does not need to continue. At this point, students should be reading a wide range of texts of increasing complexity and varied topics.
  • For wide writing: Students need to practise and experiment with creating written texts in English and all other learning areas. Specific opportunities for writing may be found in texts being read, or in other experiences that can provide real contexts, audiences and purposes.

Text selection

As teachers identify what their students need to learn at particular points in time, they can select texts to facilitate the learning. Text selections should respond to the individual needs of students. Texts should be selected that either support or extend students’ reading. A well-chosen text enables students to practise, enhance and transfer knowledge and skills they already have and apply this learning to new contexts.

Across a year of learning, the selection of texts must give students opportunities to engage with a variety of texts, including:

  • texts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Australian literature
  • picture books
  • poetry and texts that feature wordplay and figurative language
  • classic and contemporary literature which include cultural and linguistic diversity
  • narrative texts that include examples of character (the term ‘narrative’ refers to an account of events or related experiences that can be real or imagined)
  • texts that provide information in different forms
  • texts that include persuasive arguments presented in different forms
  • plays
  • decodable texts
  • a range of digital texts (Stage 1).

Text complexity

Text complexity may vary in:

  • ideas or knowledge
  • structure
  • vocabulary
  • sentence complexity
  • levels of meaning or subtlety.

Most texts combine aspects of simple and complex features. As learning progresses, students can sustain reading of more complex texts for longer periods of time.

Teachers should preview all texts that students study in class. This allows teachers to identify potential areas for targeted teaching.

Diversity of learners

Students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) should be provided with opportunities to share their experiences of reading or viewing texts in their home languages or dialects. This can assist them to make meaningful connections between their home languages or dialects and Standard Australian English. For students for whom Auslan is their first language, this should include a variety of signed texts, which may be live or recorded. Students whose first language or home language is Aboriginal English may be considered EAL/D learners.

These students bring a richness of linguistic capital and experiences which should be valued so that all students can be active agents in their engagement with texts.

It is important to provide the opportunity for students to respond to and create texts using their preferred communication techniques and systems. This may include assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) systems, such as:

  • gesture
  • signing (reference to signing as an augmentative and alternative communication method typically refers to Key Word Sign)
  • real objects
  • photographs
  • pictographs
  • pictograms
  • texts with enlarged print
  • audio books
  • braille
  • speech-to-text and text-to-speech applications
  • digital technology.

Understanding and creating a wide range of texts is central to the study of English. In 3–6 the term texts refers to print and digital forms of communication that include linguistic, visual, audio, gestural and spatial meaning-making systems. Quality examples of literature should be presented in print and digital mediums, as well as in multimodal, visual and spoken modes, including picture books.

Many types of texts are easy to recognise by their subject matter, forms and structures. Persuasive, informative and imaginative texts include a range of genres for different social purposes.

Texts have evolved over time for the purpose of communicating effectively with a range of audiences. Sometimes several elements from different types of texts can be included in a single text, resulting in a hybrid text. Hybridity can encompass genre, modality and form.

Literature

Literature is defined as a body of work that has enduring personal, social, cultural or aesthetic value. It comprises a dynamic and evolving range of fiction and nonfiction texts from diverse contemporary, historical and cultural contexts. Literature is a way of sharing experiences about and beyond readers’ lives while also creating empathy and opportunities for enjoyment.

Literature should be readily available to students in the classroom and updated regularly.

Across each year of learning, teachers must give students daily opportunities:

  • To be read to: Teachers can support the development of reading for pleasure. By reading aloud and engaging students in discussions, teachers provide students with access to texts beyond their immediate means, introducing them to new ideas and vocabulary and encouraging them to explore different ways of thinking.

Where listening to texts read aloud is not accessible for students, they should be read to using their preferred communication form(s).

  • For wide and deep reading: Students should independently read and respond to a wide range of texts of varied genres and topics, with increasing complexity. They should also read and respond to texts of personal interest. Students should read aloud and silently for meaning, to acquire new ideas and vocabulary for communication, and for enjoyment.

Students who are not reading independently and have not mastered the initial and extended phonic code may need access to age-appropriate decodable texts to continue learning and consolidating decoding skills.

Where reading aloud is not accessible for students, they can share their reading using their preferred communication form(s) or engage in silent reading.

  • For wide writing: Students need to practise and experiment with creating persuasive, informative and imaginative texts in different forms. These can be created in English and in other learning areas, in both print and digital modes. Students should practise their writing under a variety of conditions with varied parameters of length and time. Writing refers to the creation of texts rather than the skill of handwriting. Students should be encouraged to create texts using their preferred communication form(s), including through the use of assistive technology as required. Reading supports wide writing, giving students the knowledge to:
      • select appropriate language suited to purpose
      • adapt and experiment with language
      • use textual elements from different genres and modes. 

Text selection

As teachers identify what their students need to learn at points in time, they select texts to facilitate that learning. Text selections should respond to the individual needs of students. Texts should be selected that either support or extend students’ reading. Selecting high-quality texts enables students to study features within and between texts. It can also enhance their knowledge, understanding and experience of others and of how texts represent the world. High-quality texts can support students to apply their language learning to new contexts for both reading and writing.

The selection of texts must include:

  • texts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Australian literature
  • literature from other countries.

Across a year of learning, the selection of texts must give students opportunities to engage with a variety of literature that includes strong examples of:

  • narrative
  • characterisation, including examples of stereotypical and archetypal characters
  • imagery, symbol and connotation
  • genre
  • theme
  • context and perspective
  • argument and authority.

Literature must include:

  • novels (may include quests, fantasy, science fiction, mystery novels)
  • plays
  • poetry
  • classic and contemporary literature that represents diverse experiences (may include literature by authors with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including authors with disability)
  • myths, legends, fables and fairytales
  • texts that provide information in different forms (may include everyday texts such as brochures, community publications, recipes, advertisements)
  • texts that include persuasive arguments presented in different forms
  • hybrid texts (an imaginative text such as a narrative will typically have language features such as the use of dialogue but may also contain visual features such as diagrams and subheadings more typically seen in informative texts)
  • texts chosen by students for personal interest and enjoyment.

Text complexity

Text complexity may vary in:

  • ideas or knowledge
  • structure
  • vocabulary
  • sentence complexity
  • levels of meaning or subtlety
  • modal elements.

Most texts combine aspects of simple and complex features. As learning progresses, students can sustain reading of more complex texts for longer periods of time.

Teachers should preview all texts that students study in class. This allows teachers to identify potential areas for targeted teaching.

Diversity of learners

Students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) should be provided with opportunities to share their experiences of reading or viewing texts in their home languages or dialects. This can assist them to make meaningful connections between their home languages or dialects and Standard Australian English. For students for whom Auslan is their first language, this should include a variety of signed texts, which may be live or recorded. Students whose first language or home language is Aboriginal English may be considered EAL/D learners.

These students bring a richness of linguistic capital and experiences which should be valued so that all students can be active agents in their engagement with texts.

It is important to provide the opportunity for students to respond to and create texts using their preferred communication techniques and systems. This may include assistive technology (AT) and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems such as:

  • gesture
  • signing (reference to signing as an augmentative and alternative communication method typically refers to Key Word Sign)
  • real objects
  • photographs
  • pictographs
  • pictograms
  • texts with enlarged print
  • audio books
  • braille
  • speech-to-text and text-to-speech applications
  • digital technology.

Engaging with texts is central to the study of English. In Years 7–10, texts should be understood to mean any written, spoken/signed, nonverbal, visual, auditory or multimodal communication.

The forms, features and structures of texts evolve over time for the purpose of communicating effectively with a range of audiences. Sometimes a number of elements from different types of texts can be included in a single text, resulting in a hybrid text.

Students undertake essential content, and work towards course outcomes, by engaging meaningfully with a range of texts. Teachers select texts based on their understanding of what students need to learn at particular points in time. A well-chosen text enables students to study features within and between texts that can enhance their knowledge, understanding and experience of how texts represent the world. Texts should be selected that either support or extend students’ reading.

Text selection

As the focus of learning in each Stage, students are required to engage meaningfully with:

  • at least 2 works of extended prose (including at least one novel)
  • at least 2 collections of poetry
  • at least 2 films
  • at least 2 drama texts (including at least one Shakespeare play in Stage 5)
  • a range of types of texts inclusive of short prose, visual, spoken, multimodal and digital texts.

Across each stage, the selection of texts must give students experiences of:

  • a range of fiction and non-fiction texts that are widely regarded as quality literature
  • a range of texts by Australian authors
  • a range of texts by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors
  • a range of quality texts from around the world, including texts about intercultural and diverse experiences (might include literature by authors with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including authors with disability)
  • a range of cultural, social and gender perspectives, including from popular and youth cultures
  • texts chosen by students for personal interest and enjoyment.

Teachers should preview the texts that they select to use as a part of students’ learning. This allows teachers to identify potential areas for targeted teaching.

Text complexity

Text complexity may vary in:

  • ideas or knowledge
  • structure
  • vocabulary
  • sentence complexity
  • levels of meaning or subtlety
  • modal elements.

Most texts combine simple, predictable, moderately complex and highly complex features. The selection of texts should provide opportunities for students to engage with features of texts that provide appropriate levels of challenge.

Diversity of learners

Students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) should be provided with opportunities to share and extend their experiences of reading or viewing texts in their home languages or dialects. This can assist them to make meaningful connections between their home languages or dialects and Standard Australian English. For students for whom Auslan is their first language, this should include a variety of signed texts, which may be live or recorded. Students whose first language or home language is Aboriginal English may be considered EAL/D learners.

These students bring a richness of linguistic capital and experiences which should be valued so that all students can be active agents in their engagement with texts.

It is important to provide opportunities for students to respond to and compose texts using their preferred communication techniques and systems. This may include assistive technology (AT) and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems such as:

  • gesture
  • signing (reference to signing as an augmentative and alternative communication method typically refers to Key Word Sign)
  • real objects
  • photographs
  • pictographs
  • pictograms
  • texts with enlarged print
  • audio books
  • braille
  • speech-to-text and text-to-speech applications
  • digital technology.

Note: For English Life Skills 7-10, the Text requirements can be used as guidelines to provide relevant and meaningful teaching and learning opportunities that draw from a wide range of texts.

Mandatory curriculum requirements 7–10

The mandatory curriculum requirements for eligibility for the award of the Record of School Achievement (RoSA) include that students:

  • study the Board developed English syllabus substantially in each of Years 7–10 and
  • complete at least 400 hours of English study by the end of Year 10.

Satisfactory completion of at least 200 hours of study in English during Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) will be recorded with a grade. Students undertaking the English course based on Life Skills outcomes and content are not allocated a grade.

Course numbers:

  • English: 300
  • English Life Skills: 303

Exclusions: Students may not access both the English Years 7–10 outcomes and content and the English Life Skills outcomes and content.

Access content points K–6

Access content points have been developed to support students with significant intellectual disability who are working towards Early Stage 1 outcomes. These students may communicate using verbal and/or nonverbal forms.

For each of the Early Stage 1 outcomes, access content points are provided to indicate content that students with significant intellectual disability may access as they work towards the outcomes. Teachers will use the access content points on their own, or in combination with the content for each outcome. If students are able to access outcomes in the syllabus they should not require the access content points.

Life Skills outcomes and content 7–10

Students with disability can access the syllabus outcomes and content in a range of ways. Decisions regarding curriculum options should be made in the context of collaborative curriculum planning.

Some students with intellectual disability may find the Years 7–10 Life Skills outcomes and content the most appropriate option to follow in Stage 4 and/or Stage 5. Before determining whether a student is eligible to undertake a course based on Life Skills outcomes and content, consideration should be given to other ways of assisting the student to engage with the Stage 4 and/or Stage 5 outcomes, or prior stage outcomes if appropriate. This assistance may include a range of adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment activities.

Life Skills outcomes cannot be taught in combination with other outcomes from the same subject. Teachers select specific Life Skills outcomes to teach based on the needs, strengths, goals, interests and prior learning of each student. Students are required to demonstrate achievement of one or more Life Skills outcomes.

Balance of content

The amount of content associated with a given outcome is not necessarily indicative of the amount of time spent engaging with the respective outcome. Teachers use formative and summative assessment to determine instructional priorities and the time needed for students to demonstrate expected outcomes.

The content groups are not intended to be hierarchical. They describe in more detail how the outcomes are to be interpreted and demonstrated, and the intended learning appropriate for the stage. In considering the intended learning, teachers make decisions about the sequence and emphasis to be given to particular groups of content based on the needs and abilities of their students.

Working at different stages

The content presented in a stage represents the typical knowledge, understanding and skills that students learn throughout the stage. It is acknowledged that students learn at different rates and in different ways. There may be students who will not demonstrate achievement in relation to one or more of the outcomes for the Stage.

Students who are new to learning English may understand concepts, themes and ideas appropriate to higher stages of learning. However, teachers may need to provide additional explicit teaching of content that will support students' language learning and enable them to demonstrate their understandings.

There may be instances where teachers will need to address outcomes across different stages in order to meet the learning needs of students. Teachers are best placed to make decisions about when students need to work at, above or below stage level in relation to one or more of the outcomes. This recognises that outcomes may be achieved by students at different times across stages. Only students who are accelerated in a course may access Stage 6 outcomes.

For example:

  • Some students in Early Stage 1 could be working on the Stage 1 Vocabulary outcome while also working on Early Stage 1 Phonic Knowledge
  • In Stage 2 or Stage 3, some students may not have learnt initial and extended phonic knowledge and will need explicit phonics instruction as outlined in Early Stage 1 and Stage 1. They will also need age-appropriate decodable texts to practise reading. These students must be given additional instruction, with intervention continuing until the extended phonics code has been mastered and skills are automatic.
  • Some students will achieve Stage 2 outcomes for Creating Written Texts during Year 3 and will need to be extended by accessing content at a higher stage.
  • In Stage 4, some students may not be able to access texts that are complex in their construction. These students must be given support to develop their skills through explicit teaching and consideration of the content in the Stage 3 Reading Comprehension outcome.

The importance of language in English

Students’ knowledge and understanding about language will grow and deepen as they engage with increasingly complex texts across a range of modes. Students continue to develop their understanding of how language use at word, sentence, paragraph and whole text-level, is determined by context, audience and purpose. Students’ knowledge of their first language will support this development.

The development of students’ vocabulary and background knowledge can be supported by their teachers engaging them in rich discussion and analysis of a range of texts, including those widely regarded as quality literature. This can support students’ comprehension and has the potential to expand their ideas and experience of both their own world and the world of others. As students deepen their knowledge of language, they can apply new understanding to purposefully communicate their ideas, with increasing confidence and efficacy. Through knowledge and understanding of language, students can appreciate, reflect on and enjoy texts that are widely regarded as quality literature.