Curriculum | Melbourne Grammar School


Students at work
The curriculum of a school can be thought of as the sum of experiences a student enjoys. For a student at Wadhurst, that list of experiences can be long and far reaching.

The curriculum is built around study in the familiar subjects of Design Technology, Drama, English, Geography, Health and Physical Education, History, Languages other than English, Mathematics, Music, Personal Development, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Science and Visual Arts. Students who immerse themselves fully in these will have a rewarding educational experience, but they have the opportunity for much more. 

However, Wadhurst students also participate in sporting, Outdoor Education and social awareness programmes. These experiences may include pitching a tent, playing a new sport, cooking at camp or cropping their hair for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Field trips and excursions organised and supervised by Wadhurst teachers complement the learning in the classroom and many opportunities exist for performance through a range of musical ensembles, bands and the annual Wadhurst Play. Visiting authors, artists and guest speakers expose students to more skills and perspectives.

In all of these activities, students push their personal boundaries to reveal unexpected strengths, they grow resilience, they develop empathy for other members of their community and they gain an insight into aspects of intellectual life that they might not otherwise appreciate. 

The curriculum provides many opportunities for students to explore their creativity in music, visual art and drama.



If young people in their formative years are introduced to music as a form of pleasure, then that inspiration will last for the rest of their lives and add an extra dimension to the way they live their lives. All Year 7 and 8 students take Music Appreciation as a classroom subject fostering an understanding and enjoyment of music.

A wide range of works is selected for study with the aim that students learn to evaluate pieces and develop an ability to express an informed view, while also fostering a love of music and an understanding of how it can be responded to emotionally, intellectually, imaginatively or physically.

The material in the course is directed at all students, irrespective of individual theoretical understanding and level of practical proficiency, who learn to listen more closely and as a result, gain a greater insight into music.

Visual Art


Art is a means of communication between people who speak different languages and are from diverse cultures. As students explore different contemporary and traditional art forms and styles, they learn how experiences, direct observation, imagination and culture (both past and present) can influence how and why art is produced.

At the Dr McKeown Art School students enjoy an innovative and creative program experiencing a range of media from photography to sculpture. Students will make use of a variety of tools, techniques and resources (including new technologies), and come to understand how these influence artistic expression. All boys are encouraged to explore and experiment with form and style and display their best works publicly at the School’s regular art shows.



The aim of Drama is for students to acquire knowledge of self and others through participation in and reflection on dramatic experience. Imaginative exploration of situations will help develop acting skills and an understanding of the world of the theatre as well as the wider world.

Cinema, radio and novels are all used alongside theatrical texts as students learn about how ideas affect cultures, and influence theatre and dramatic forms. An understanding of the history of theatre and film will also be developed through the study of comedy, with boys encouraged to develop creative scripts and to improvise.

Creative and Performing Arts Staff

Director of Music and Music Coordinator Ms Melinda Sawers
Drama Coordinator Ms Lauren Smith 
Visual Arts Coordinator Mr Adam Cawood

Further reading

Creative and Performing Arts at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

Studying English allows students to see the way language enables us to effectively communicate and to share information. The open and interactive nature of the English classroom provides students with the opportunity to explore and share ideas, developing their sense of self and self-confidence.

Students learn about the ways audience and purpose influence choices in content, style and organisation, and that language can be used to manipulate people’s understandings and interpretations.

In discovering that texts can be interpreted in different ways, students learn how literature can provide insights to human experience and allow us to learn more about ourselves.

Year 7


Students study a variety of areas including writing in the newspaper, identity, survival, poetry and short stories. Time is also devoted to Wide Reading, a popular and enjoyable programme that promotes reading, and all boys are involved in the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge.

Year 8


Students study areas including adolescence and identity, biography and debating, as well as taking part in the Wide Reading programme and the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge.

English Staff

English Coordinator Mr Nick Dawe

Further reading

English at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

All Wadhurst students are encouraged to explore their interests, ask questions and challenge their assumptions. The Extension Studies programme encourages students to further explore concepts which stem from their academic curiosity.

At the start of the year a group of the most highly able Year 8 students are approached to attend Academic Extension Studies. These students attend a class each week and may be involved in excursions and after school programmes. This programme is only offered to Year 7s in Semester Two.

All Wadhurst Students are encouraged to participate in an array of other activities offered as part of the Extension Studies programme. These include Debating, Chess Club, Astronomy Club, Robotics and Coding.

Extension Studies Staff

Extension Studies Coordinator Dr Martin Ball

Extension Studies at Senior School ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

Health and physical education are an integral part of the curriculum, and enhanced by inter-House and inter-school sporting opportunities.

Physical Education


Four single period sessions of PE are held during each ten-day cycle where boys will participate in a variety of sporting activities and learn about fitness, sporting skills and techniques, and game play. For Year 8 students, one of the four lessons will be a theory-based activity.

Through participating in Physical Education, students will learn to combine motor skills, strategic thinking and tactical knowledge to improve individual and team performance. They will use performance criteria and recorded video to evaluate and improve their own performance and the performance of others, while also learning how to measure their own fitness and activity levels, along with nutritional needs, to identify factors that influence motivation to be physically active.

Personal Development


The aim of the Personal Development program is to help students attain the knowledge and skills required to make informed decisions regarding their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. It attempts to help each boy develop a positive self-concept and to form values and attitudes which will enable him to confidently take responsibility for his actions and behaviour.

A focus on communication, leadership, teamwork and respecting each individual’s diverse qualities and attributes is a large component of the curriculum. Students will learn about the importance of friendship and communities, and that making clear and thoughtful decisions is important to wellbeing. Important for this age group, within a supportive environment students will learn about how everyone’s body undertakes changes, physically and emotionally, throughout puberty.

Health and Physical Education Staff

Director of Sport Mr Scott Whyte
Personal Development Co-ordinator Mr Matthew Houniet

Further reading

Health and Physical Education at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

Our Humanities subjects provide a broad understanding of the world in which we live, and how people can participate as active and informed citizens with the high-level skills needed for the 21st Century.         

Through studying Humanities, students will develop the ability to question, think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, make decisions and adapt to change. Thinking about and responding to issues requires an understanding of the key historical, geographical, political, economic and societal factors involved, and how these different factors interrelate.



Students will discover how the present culture and ideas are shaped by the past and how the study of history involves interpretation influenced by each individual’s values and perspective.

In Year 7, students will focus on the early migration of humans, the legacy of ancient civilizations and local history.

In Year 8, students will study the Renaissance, King Arthur, Polynesian Expansion in the Pacific/Easter Island, the clash of cultures in the expanding world, and Medieval culture.

Philosophy and Religious Studies


Students will learn how the study of philosophy and religion helps promote understanding of the ways people have made sense of the spiritual dimension of human experience. In showing how philosophy asks some of the same questions that religious faith seeks to answer, students will understand how religious belief is a valid life choice, and its practice is worthy of respect.

Students will look at the way religious texts and stories can be interpreted in different ways and that while faith claims of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are distinct, they have a common heritage. Students will consider how religion and science can co-exist in contemporary thinking, and that ethical decision making draws on worldviews and values.

Humanities Staff

History Coordinator Dr Alan Bliss
Philosophy and Religious Studies Coordinator Rev. Malcolm Woolrich

Further reading

Humanities at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

Studying languages enables boys to learn about new cultures and gain essential language skills. Students at Wadhurst choose languages from Latin, French, Chinese and Japanese. All of these languages can be continued at the Senior School through to VCE level. The opportunity to learn both Asian and European languages is one that students may find increasingly relevant as they move through a rapidly evolving global society.

In learning a second language, students are able to compare and reference across cultures to understand how language works and how it shapes and reflects experience and identity. Students become inter-culturally aware citizens as they discover how effective communication requires the learner to take risks and move outside the norms, practices and acquired behaviours of their first language.

Year 7


All students in Year 7 will study two languages from Chinese, French, Japanese and Latin, and the main focus is on the use of language as a communicative tool.

Year 8


Year 8 students study only one language, selected from the two they have studied in Year 7. In Year 8 they study their selected language for approximately twice the amount of time they do in Year 7. The purpose of this structure is to allow students maximum opportunity to gain a functional fluency in a language by the end of Year 10, when a choice can be made regarding further studies.

Languages Staff

LOTE and Chinese Coordinator Mr Greg Hughes
French Coordinator Ms Adrienne Richardson
Japanese Coordinator Ms Yoshiko Take
Latin Coordinator Mr Andrew Williams

Further reading

Languages at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

Learning Strategies offers in-class, one-to-one and small group assistance to students on a needs basis. The aim of support is to promote independence, self-reliance, and responsibility for one’s own learning.

Assistance is offered in the following areas:

  • identification and development of strategies to support personal learning styles
  • assistance with planning and organisation across curricular areas
  • time management and prioritising due work
  • strategies for sourcing appropriate information
  • support in interpretation of research material
  • literacy support, which may include assistance with spelling strategies, sentence structure, reading comprehension, punctuation and grammar
  • mathematics support through clarification of basic and new concepts introduced in class.

Students may self-refer to the Learning Strategies staff for assistance. They may also be referred by teachers and/or parents.

Learning Strategies staff who offer support to gifted and overseas students as well as to those boys requiring assistance in particular subjects.

Afternoon Learning Lab


Operating on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3.20pm to 4.30pm, Afternoon Learning Lab is open to all students for clarification of tasks, revision of content and to work on current class assignments. Teachers from different disciplines are available to assist, but students are also able to learn from peers in this forum. Individual or small group tutorials are offered on an individual needs basis outside class times.

The brain strengthening program Fast ForWord is offered to referred Year 7 students in Semester Two.

Learning Strategies Staff

Learning Strategies Coordinator Ms Julia Thiele

Learning Strategies at Senior School ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

Mathematics provides both a framework for thinking and a means of symbolic communication that is powerful, logical, concise and unambiguous, and a way in which people can understand and manage their environment.

Students will come to understand the power of mathematical reasoning and how mathematical thinking, techniques and strategies provide tools for the continuing exploration of ideas. Students will also understand that the study of Mathematics develops numeracy capabilities that all people need in their personal, work and civic life, and provides the fundamentals on which mathematical specialties and professional applications of mathematics are built.

Year 7


During Year 7 students will encounter problems and ideas from arithmetic, algebra, measurement, geometry, time, numeric patterns, graphing, problem-solving and percentages.

Year 8


During Year 8 students will encounter ideas and problems from arithmetic, algebra, measurement, indices, co-ordinate geometry, statistics, transformational geometry, space and graphing.

Year 8 Mathematics classes are streamed to cater for the different mathematical abilities of students, based on their performance during Year 7 (students may move between the streams in Semester Two, dependent on their previous semester results). In both streams, students follow the same curriculum content except that Division A students take these mathematical concepts to a higher level of understanding.

Mathematics Staff

Mathematics Coordinator Mrs Kris Faithful

Further reading

Maths at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

Studies in the sciences introduce students to particular ways of thinking and of approaching and solving problems. Design Technology also challenges students to solve problems but in a technological context.



The course at Wadhurst promotes the characteristics that define the discipline of science, rather than focussing on the subject of Science. The distinction is important as it allows for topics to be examined in depth and with a higher expectation placed on the student's role in the class. We endeavour to develop learning communities in our classrooms, defined by behaviours we expect to see in other scientific communities. That is, free sharing of information, critical analysis of ideas, testing of claims through gathering of data and celebration of shared and individual success. The student has a very important role to play in this. He is in partnership with his teacher to discover new things and to extend each other’s knowledge. 

Design and Technology


Students have the opportunity to put into practice the theories they have learned in Mathematics and Science by designing and creating a range of mechanical and electrical objects. Students will create design concepts with a focus on utility, identify suitable tools and learn to use them, select materials with an eye to sustainability, and gain an understanding of design-specific computer software.

Science and Technology Staff

Science Coordinator Mr Timothy Bratton
Design Technology Coordinator Mr Phillip Hingston

Further reading

Science & Technology at Senior School › 

Learning at Grimwade House › 

Social sciences are, in the broadest sense, the studies of society and the manner in which people behave and influence the world around us. It tells us about the world beyond our immediate experience, and can help explain how our own society works.

In the study of Geography, students will draw on their curiosity about the diversity of the world’s places and their peoples, cultures and environments, using this knowledge to promote a more sustainable way of life and awareness of social and spatial inequalities.

Year 7


During Year 7 students will develop a sense of place at varying scales from the local to the global. They will develop an understanding of spatial concepts of location, distance, distribution, pattern, movement, region, change, association and interaction. These concepts underpin their investigations and allow them to make sense of physical and human environments from a spatial perspective.

Year 8


In Year 8, students will use the systems approach to explore the complexity of the inter-relationship between human activity, environmental processes and sustainability.

Social Science Staff

Geography Coordinator Mr Iain Meyer

Social Sciences at Senior School ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

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