Curriculum | Melbourne Grammar School


Students at work
Our holistic approach to learning results in a broad curriculum supported by an array of co-curricular activities.

At Melbourne Grammar School we understand the value of education in enabling our students to become knowledgeable, creative, thoughtful and morally responsible young men who engage actively as citizens of the world. We place great emphasis on nurturing relationships between teachers and students and understand the essential role they play in developing these characteristics, not only to encourage students to discover and become who they are, but because they are important for the successful navigation of the complexities and challenges that this century will bring.

The Senior School takes a holistic approach to teaching the curriculum, with academic and classroom courses supported by co-curricular activities that extend the understanding and application of theoretical learning in a variety of areas such as sport, outdoor education, the arts and community service.

For example, those students who wish to focus on their passion for Physical Education as part of their VCE qualification, can also take part in the extensive inter-school sports programme; while young musicians can study musical theory and composition as well as taking part in the School Orchestra and other performance opportunities. In this way, students work towards academic excellence, while also developing the personal identities and strengths that will hold them in good stead throughout their lives.

We recognise that students learn in different ways. As such, courses of study allow for a degree of individualisation, flexibility and choice. We emphasise teaching for understanding and not only for knowledge. Staff are experienced in recognising different learning styles and, through an extensive professional development programme, well equipped to offer a variety of activities designed to engage students.

Years 9 and 10


The Year 9/10 curriculum encapsulates our commitment to a broad liberal education as the way to best educate and prepare our students for their futures. Through its foundational philosophy, the core programme exposes students to a breadth of learning experiences via multiple disciplines. The core also meets our obligations to AusVELS, the Victorian interpretation of the Australian Curriculum, and takes into account current developments in educational thinking.

Core subjects in Years 9 and 10 cover all key learning areas: the Arts, English, Health/Physical Education, Languages Other Than English, Mathematics, Science, Studies of Society and Environment and Technology.

The accompanying range of elective choices gives scope for students to pursue learning in areas of individual interest and to either commit to a specific area in greater depth, or to explore the educational offerings in more breadth. Student autonomy in elective choice invites students to pursue their passions, to explore the unknown and to be active participants in their own learning.

Years 11 and 12


At Years 11 and 12 the Senior School offers close to 50 subjects accredited by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). All Year 11 and 12 students select a course of study that leads to the award of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). The VCE is a two-year course designed to give a student a broad-based education with a wide range of choice while still allowing depth of study. In general each study is sub-divided into four units; Units 1 and 2 are usually taken at Year 11, Units 3 and 4 at Year 12 level. However, both sets of units may be taken by students at either year level. The VCE timetable allows students considerable choice to suit their particular talents and educational requirements.

In efforts to ensure individual students are well catered for, students are permitted to study subjects externally and by Distance Education mode when the subject is not offered at the School, while select students may challenge themselves through extension and accelerated programmes, including the opportunity to study first year university subjects.

All students participate in the co-curricular programme with a variety of activities on offer. Apart from the compulsory sporting and outdoor education programme, students can involve themselves in debating, dramatic and music theatre productions, the extensive music programme, community service, extra outdoor activities and many other opportunities which may arise according to student and staff initiatives.

The School also encourages students to participate in activities aimed at raising awareness of social issues. The Sustainable Living Improvement Committee (SLIC) and the Student Aboriginal Reconciliation Committee (SARC) are two such organisations whose work is particularly valued.



Melbourne Grammar School enters a number of teams in each year level for the Debaters Association of Victoria (DAV) inter-school competition. Teams debate rounds spread throughout Terms 1, 2 and 3, followed by finals for those who have come first in their region. DAV presents awards to the best speakers in each region.

Our School also has a vibrant House debating competition, with each House choosing a junior and senior team to compete in rounds, culminating in the finals in Term 3.

Sir Kingsley Norris Oratory Competition


The oratory competition takes place in late Term 3 and is open to all students at Senior School. Students develop their own topics, which address broad issues or concepts rather than the personal. 

With a dedicated Creative Arts Department, students in Years 9 to 12 can undertake a variety of drama, music and visual art subjects supported by co-curricular activities in theatre, orchestra and the exhibition of their artworks.

Visual Art


Studies in visual art provides the opportunity for students to explore the way in which current artists, as well as those in other times and cultures, have developed meaning through artistic expression. Students explore ideas and develop effective working methods and a range of technical skills through investigation and experimentation. The dedicated arts space, Motor Works, contains spacious drawing studios, an eleven-person darkroom, and a large gallery, as well as facilities for printmaking, woodworking, ceramics and computer graphics.

In both the process of making and examining art, students can realise the power to inspire change through imagination, creativity and innovation. Analytical frameworks are gradually introduced across the study from Unit 1 through to Unit 4, and students are challenged to articulate their understanding of the meanings and messages contained within artworks and to examine the effects of artworks upon the viewer, culture and society.



With a focus on the creation and performance of characters, narratives and stories, drama students use role and expressive skills to create, embody and present dramatic works. They analyse the development of their performance styles from a range of cultural contexts and view and analyse performances by professional and other drama practitioners. Students develop an appreciation of drama as an art form through participation, criticism and aesthetic understanding.

Drama curriculum learning is supported by extensive opportunities to participate in theatre making with theatre sports and four school productions a year, including the Quad Play.



Music is an essential part of the education of a significant number of boys in Years 9 to 12 who are offered a wide range of performing experiences in orchestras and ensembles and have included symphonies by Mahler and string quartets by Mozart, masses by Palestrina and musicals by Bernstein.

VCE Music offers students opportunities to engage in the practice of performing, creating and studying music that is representative of diverse genres, styles and cultures. Students develop knowledge of stylistic, aesthetic and expressive qualities of music and develop their ability to communicate their understanding through music making (performing, composing, arranging and/or improvising) and musicianship (aural perception, analysis and music language).

In recent years the School Choir has joined with Melbourne Girls Grammar for performances of the Faure Requiem, the Chapel Choir has performed with The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Jazz Ensembles present two evenings of jazz every year.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Two Dimensional Studies (Units 1 and 2)
  • Three Dimensional Studies
  • Drama
  • Drama in Action
  • Media Studies
  • Photography
  • Visual Communication and Design
  • Music – Compose Yourself!
  • Music Performance

Years 11 and 12 Subjects (VCE)

  • Art (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Drama (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Media (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Music Performance (Units 1, 2 3 and 4)
  • Music Investigation (Units 3 and 4)
  • Studio Arts (Units 3 and 4)
  • Visual Communication and Design (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Head of Creative and Performing Arts Faculty and Head of Art Department Ms Cat Poljski
Head of Drama Department Mr Mark Brady
Head of Media Department Ms Jessica Rottura
Director of Music Mr Phillip Carmody

Creative and Performing Arts at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

The English curriculum is built around the three interrelated strands of Language, Literature and Literacy, that together help students become confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. Learning in English builds on concepts, skills and processes developed in earlier years, and teachers will revisit, strengthen and develop these as needed.

At all year levels, students engage with a variety of texts, including fiction, non-fiction, oral texts, poetry, film, multimodal texts and dramatic performances. Through the study of English individuals learn to analyse and communicate with others and with the world around them.

While Australia is a linguistically and culturally diverse country, participation in many aspects of life, locally and globally, depends on effective communication in English. The contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to Australian society and to its contemporary literature and its literary heritage is explored, as are Australia’s links to Asia.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • The Near and The Far
  • The Human Landscape
  • Hanging out with Goths, Ghouls and Vampires: A Survey of Gothic Literature
  • Web Journalism
  • Sportswriting
  • Heroes and Monsters: Classical Literature and Mythology
  • Film as Text
  • Creative Writing Workshop
  • Philosophy: Close Encounters of The Idea
  • Literature
  • EAL for Senior Curriculum A, B, C
  • Towards the VCE

Years 11 and 12 Subjects (VCE)

  • Literature (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • English as an Additional Language Units (1, 2, 3 and 4)


Head of English Faculty Mr Stephen Dessants
Head of Literature Department Mrs Sharon Mulready


In each faculty there is opportunity for students to extend themselves beyond the regular curriculum. These opportunities may include academic competitions, student discussion groups, international exchanges and other connections to the wider community. Students are also encouraged to participate in the many extracurricular activities that are available such as chess and debating.

The Extension Studies Co-ordinator works with selected students in Years 9 and 10 to ensure that they are actively involved in programs that encourage them to reach their full potential in areas of specific interest.

The term ‘extension studies’ also relates to first year university studies recognised by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Boys can study first year university subjects and get credit for them as part of their VCE.

VCE Extended Investigation


The VCE Extended Investigation develops students’ understanding of what constitutes both a good research question and an ethical, robust, disciplined and rational approach to gathering, interpreting and evaluating evidence in order to answer such questions.

In this study, students conduct a review of relevant literature and develop research project management knowledge and skills and ways of effectively presenting and communicating research findings. Students are introduced to a broad range of research methods and explore their comparative suitability for the investigation of particular questions. The skills that students develop in this study are transferable to any higher education course.

Years 11 and 12 Subjects

  • Extended Investigation (Units 3 and 4)


Extension Studies Coordinator Mr Simon Angus

Extension Studies at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

Health and Physical Education offers experiential learning with a curriculum that is relevant, physically active and enjoyable. Students acquire and develop skills, concepts and strategies that enable them to confidently participate in a range of physical activities. A curriculum focus on health and wellbeing is complemented by a compulsory sports programme that puts into practice the theory and skills learnt during class time.

The curriculum provides a forum for information dissemination and open discussion on a range of topics including values, role models, tobacco, alcohol, nutrition and mental health, while in VCE students focus on the interrelationship between motor learning and psychological, biomechanical, physiological and sociological factors that influence physical performances and participation in physical activity.

Team and individual sport is considered very important to a student’s overall growth and personal development. Most Senior School students compete in the Associated Public Schools competitions every Saturday, choosing one summer and one winter sport, while some students are also selected for athletics or water polo in the spring season. Additionally, House competitions are held on a regular basis to encourage exercise, foster leadership and develop teamwork.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Health and Physical Education (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Sports Science and Physical Recreation
  • Personal Development and Leadership (Units 1 and 2)

Years 11 and 12 Subjects (VCE)

  • Physical Education (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Head of Health and Physical Education Faculty Mr Nat Coull
Head of Personal Development Mrs Paula Ransom
Director of Sport Mr Nick Gibbons
Sport Manager Mr Shane Thiele

Health and Physical Education at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

With both a contemporary and historical focus, humanities is the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts. In Senior School the Humanities learning area comprises four subjects: History, Classics, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Political Studies.

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.

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 high-level skills needed for the 21st Century.       

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Flashpoints of Modern History (Making the Modern World 1750 – 1918)
  • International Crises and Conflicts (The Modern World and Australia 1918 – present)
  • History of Espionage
  • Tyrants and Terror
  • Military History
  • Philosophy and Religious Studies

Years 11 and 12 Subjects (VCE)

  • Australian and Global Politics
  • Classical Studies
  • History – Twentieth Century
  • History – Australian
  • History – Revolutions
  • Philosophy
  • Religion and Society


Head of Humanities Faculty and Head of History Dr Michael Adcock
Acting Head of Classics Mrs Sharon Mulready
Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dr Felicity McCutcheon
Head of Political Studies Ms Heather Lacey

Humanities at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

The learning of a second language is compulsory at Melbourne Grammar School to Year 10 level, after which students can choose to continue their studies in VCE. Students can select from French, German, Latin, Chinese or Japanese, with all subjects taught by native or near native speakers and opportunities for student exchange programmes in France, Germany, China and Japan.

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. A reciprocal and dynamic process the experience of being in two worlds at once involves noticing, questioning and developing awareness of how language and culture shape identity.



The basis of romance languages like French, Italian and Spanish, Latin provides invaluable linguistic tools for the native speaker and learner of English. A working knowledge of Latin enables detailed study of European literature, history, sciences and religion.



As the medium of communication for over a billion people, Mandarin Chinese is also the language of one of Australia’s valuable trading partners and reflects Australia’s location in the world.



Spoken in forty-three countries, French is the most widely taught second language after English and one of the official languages of the Red Cross, the Olympic Games and the United Nations.



As the language of one of our prominent Asian neighbours, Japanese provides an opportunity for students to learn a phonetic language with three scripts.



The first language of over 120 million people worldwide, German is used as an official language across Europe and shares many features with English.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Chinese A, B and C
  • Chinese for VCE
  • Advanced Chinese 1 and 2
  • French A and B
  • French for VCE
  • French C: A La Carte
  • Japanese A and B (Start Up)
  • Japanese A and B (Some Background)
  • Japanese C
  • Japanese for VCE
  • Latin A, B and C
  • Latin for VCE

Years 11 and 12 Subjects (VCE)

  • Chinese/Chinese as a Second Language/Chinese as a Second Language (Advanced) (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • French (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Latin (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • German (Units 3 and 4)
  • Japanese/Japanese as a Second Language (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Head of Languages Faculty and Head of French Ms Lilette Jonas
Head of Chinese Miss Wei Zhao
Head of Latin Mr Lindsey Zoch
Head of Japanese Ms Megan McLaughlin
Head of German Ms Annette Reid

Languages at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

Learning about leadership is incorporated into a broad range of academic and co-curricular programmes across the Senior School. Drawing on a range of theories and models, we place a strong emphasis on wisdom and engaged action. This results in the development of leadership skills and integrity with a focus on the dynamics of the process rather than the explicit outcome of becoming a leader.

Students in Years 11 and 12 can undertake the Ethics in Leadership course aimed to combine subject specific knowledge and content, with the development of a range of identified capacities such as critical thinking, presentation skills and decision making. It is designed for Year 11 and 12 students who are interested in applying their knowledge and skills to various real life contexts.

Student Leadership


Learning about leadership occurs through a variety of means including the acceptance of formal positions of responsibility and active engagement within the community.

Formal leadership roles in the Senior School include the School Captain, School Vice Captains and House Captains who are supported by Student Committees, House Leadership and other formal leadership roles relating to Sport, Chapel, Arts, Music and Events.

Students who do not hold a formal position are not excluded from leading and serving. The School offers a range of opportunities for leadership development and service through programmes such as Values in Action and co-curricular activities. These opportunities offer open membership across the Senior School.

The Senior Student Leadership Model honours the history and culture of our School, provides opportunities for students to develop their leadership capabilities and recognises the students who serve with distinction. Importantly, it encourages senior students to model and maintain appropriate standards and expectations which positively contribute to the School’s culture.

Values in Action


As part of the leadership programme to become responsible, productive and compassionate citizens, all Senior School students are engaged through their Houses in Service Learning projects in the community. Service to the community is an important part of Melbourne Grammar School’s culture and philosophy relating to leadership.

It is an expectation that all students in the Senior School be involved in some form of service, whether it is through the local community, an international opportunity or charitable fundraising. This allows our students to put their values into action and become directly involved in the world around them.

Years 11 and 12 Subjects

  • Ethics in Leadership (this is not a VCE subject)


Coordinator of Leadership and Service Learning Mr Phil O'Connor

Leadership and Service Learning at Melbourne Grammar School ›

Students who are experiencing serious difficulties with the acquisition of reading and writing skills may apply to undertake the Learning Skills Electives in place of another subject. Each unit runs for one semester. These units engage students in the rigorous study of spelling rules, vocabulary extension, grammar and punctuation conventions, oral reading, comprehension and written expression. Homework is given on a daily basis and students are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the programme.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Learning Skills A: Executive Language A
  • Learning Skills B: Executive Language B
  • Learning Skills C: Executive Language C
  • Learning Skills D: Advanced Language Acquisition and Written Expression


Head of Learning Strategies Mrs Jane Gleeson

Learning Strategies at Wadhurst ›

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.

Essential mathematical activities including abstracting, providing, applying, investigating, modelling and problem solving. This study is designed to provide access to worthwhile and challenging mathematical learning in a way which takes into account the needs and aspirations of a wide range of students. It is also designed to promote students’ awareness of the importance of mathematics in everyday life in an increasingly technological society, and confidence in making effective use of mathematical ideas, techniques and processes.

All students in all the mathematical units offered will apply knowledge and skills, model, investigate and solve problems, and use technology to support learning mathematics and its application in different contexts.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Mathematics (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Mathematics: Advanced

Years 11 and 12 Subjects (VCE)

  • General Mathematics A (Advanced) (Units 1 and 2)
  • General Mathematics B (Standard) (Units 1 and 2)
  • Mathematical Methods (CAS) (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Further Mathematics (Units 3 and 4)
  • Specialist Mathematics (Units 3 and 4)


Head of Mathematics Mr Bruce Ruthven

Mathematics at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

The Outdoor Education Programme is an integral component of the core curriculum. Throughout their years of schooling, each student will be challenged (physically, socially and emotionally) and will rise to the challenge. As well as personal development, students further their appreciation of the natural environment; its beauty, grandeur, power and spirituality.

In Years 9 and 10, students partake in four different adventure camps over the two years. Each trip is a week-long expedition supervised by expert staff and qualified assistants. Choices include sea kayaking, bushwalking, diving on shipwrecks, exploring central Australia, crewing a square-rigged sailing, rock climbing, surfing, cycling, canoeing and more. Students in Year 10 will participate in the Beyond the Gates Outdoor Education journey to Mt Kosciusko in Term 4.

In Years 11 and 12, students are invited on a four-week trip with World Challenge to a developing country where the emphasis is on community service.



Director of Outdoor Education Mr Simon Finnigan

Outdoor Education at Wadhurst ›

Outdoor Education at Grimwade House ›

Science provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of science’s contribution to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives. The study of science focuses on concepts, processes and practices used to develop scientific knowledge. It provides an understanding of scientific inquiry methods, a foundation of knowledge across the disciplines of science, and develops an ability to communicate scientific understanding and use evidence to solve problems and make decisions.

The curriculum supports students to develop the scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed decisions about local, national and global issues and to participate in science-related careers.

Design Technology focuses on the development of students’ skills in managing and manipulating materials and resources using a range of tools, equipment and machines to design and produce functional physical products or systems.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Science and Technology (Units 1, 2 and 3)
  • Design Technology
  • 3D Innovation
  • Multimedia
  • Astrophysics: Rockets & Robotics
  • Software Development
  • Web Development

Years 11 and 12 Subjects

  • Biology (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Chemistry (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Environmental Science (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Physics (Units 1, 2, 3, and 4)
  • Product Design and Technology (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Psychology (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Head of Science and Technology Faculty and Head of Chemistry Mr Stuart Jamieson
Head of Biology Mr Cameron Pyle
Head of Environmental Science Mr Daniel McCoppin
Head of Physics Mr Tas Anastasiou
Head of Design Technology Mr James Bourne
Head of Information Technology Mr David Aitken
Head of Psychology Mrs Phillipa Angus

Science and Technology at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

Social Sciences are broadly, the study of society, particularly the manner in which individuals in society behave, interact and influence their world.

In Business Management, Accounting and Economics generally, students will learn about the role that individuals, businesses of all sizes and also governments play in the economy and institutions, the way decisions are made to allocate scarce resources and the impact of these decisions.  

Accounting specifically is the process of recording, reporting, analysing and interpreting financial data and accounting information which is then communicated to internal and external users of this information. It plays an integral role in the successful operation and management of businesses and focuses on small business.

Economics, in particular, involves an understanding of basic economic principles and concepts. It helps students to be more informed citizens, consumers, workers, voters, producers, savers and investors.    

Legal Studies investigates the ways in which the law and legal system relates to and serves individuals and the community. It examines the process of law making , dispute resolution and the administration of justice in Australia, with emphasis on the Victorian legal system. Students develop an understanding of the law’s complexity and the challenges faced by lawmakers and dispute resolution bodies. Students are encouraged to question these systems and develop informed judgements about their effectiveness, as well as consider reforms.

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.

Years 9 and 10 Subjects

  • Commerce: Small Business Operations
  • Commerce: Business Ethics and Communication
  • Geography: Biomes, Food Security and Interconnections
  • Geography: Environmental Change and Human Wellbeing

Years 11 and 12 Subjects

  • Accounting (Units 1, 2 3 and 4)
  • Business Mathematics (Units 1 and 2)
  • Economics (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Geography (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  • Legal Studies (Units 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Head of Social Sciences Faculty, Business Studies and Geography Mrs Leanne Forbes
Head of Accounting Mr Timothy Habben
Head of Economics Mr Rob Shields
Head of Legal Studies Ms Carolyn Walker

Social Sciences at Wadhurst ›

Learning at Grimwade House ›

News & Events


Mon, 19 Feb 2018 - 8:00pm
Wed, 21 Feb 2018 -
7:30pm to 9:30pm

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 - 8:00pm

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 - 8:00pm to Fri, 23 Feb 2018 - 8:00pm
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Wed, 28 Feb 2018 -
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