Skip to content

A NSW Government website

Welcome to the NSW Curriculum website

NSW Curriculum
NSW Education Standards Authority

K–10English K–10 Syllabus

Implementation for K–2 from 2023 and 3–10 from 2024

Course 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.

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.

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: TBA

Exclusions: Students may not access Life Skills outcomes and other outcomes from the same subject.  

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 rest of 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 deciding that a student should 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 achieve expected outcomes.

The content groups are not intended to be hierarchical. They describe in more detail how the outcomes are to be interpreted and achieved, 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.