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The senior years of study are a time when students will discover just how capable a student they are, as they bring together the years of learning already experienced and apply them in a new and stimulating context.

While the choices students make may provide a foundation for their future endeavours, most importantly they should also be the choices that suit their current passions, capabilities and interests. At Cornish College, we are helping students to become agile, adaptive learners, capable of taking on future challenges because they will know how to seek understanding and to apply their learning skills in any situation. Whilst these might be the final years of their secondary schooling, they are by no means the final years of their education, no matter which pathway students choose.

Our VCE team will guide you through a course selection process with our Careers Coordinator, teachers who know our students well, parents and some of our Cornish College alumni. Students are not on their own – in fact, this is the team that will support them through their final years of schooling at Cornish College.

Cornish College provides a senior studies program beyond boundaries, with access to VETiS, Virtual Schools Victoria and the Victorian School of Languages amongst other opportunities.

The course students choose for their senior studies is only part of the program at Cornish College. So much richness comes from engaging in the opportunities that bind us as a community – one students will ultimately be part of forever. All students are encouraged to take part in all that Cornish College offers as it is designed to promote balance in their life as a senior student.

Year 10 Program and VCE Pathways

In designing the Cornish College Year 10 curriculum we are ever mindful that young people – perhaps now more than ever – require a curriculum that is future-focused to prepare them for what lies ahead, yet at the same time serves their current academic and wellbeing needs in a way that nurtures and cares for them rather than pressures and rushes them. With this in mind, Cornish College has developed a three-year senior secondary program that strikes a balance between academic enhancement in response to student interest and readiness, and consolidation for areas of study that give necessary breadth to a Year 10 curriculum.

In recent times, there has been much discussion about the VCE (along with equivalent senior years programs across Australia) and the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for their roles in shaping education into something that places students under pressure to compete for scores, to choose subjects and courses that are not always in their best interests and, what was initially designed to be a tool for determining entrance into university, has now, for many, become the goal. We believe that all students should be able to achieve their best possible outcomes at school. Whether that be measured by an ATAR or alternative outcomes, it should not come at the expense of mental health and wellbeing, nor at the expense of opportunities for students to thrive outside their school education.

It is for these reasons that Cornish College has implemented a three-year senior secondary program that slows down, rather than speeds up the VCE years of secondary schooling. By accessing some VCE subjects in Year 10 that enhance the breadth of our program, students can spread out the completion of their VCE studies over three years. Ultimately, this can result in students choosing to study fewer subjects at a time each year as they work toward their certificate. Fewer subjects studied each year means we create time to ‘slow down’. We create time for personal development, time for wellbeing and time to immerse in the sort of education that Cornish College is committed to providing – education for a sustainable future.

This program enables students to balance a challenging Year 10 curriculum with some acceleration into subjects usually reserved for study at Years 11 and 12. Cornish College maintains its commitment to providing students with the breadth of curriculum experiences afforded at the Year 10 level, whilst acknowledging the readiness of many students to engage in studies at the VCE level. The Year 10 curriculum program therefore necessarily includes the study of core curriculum areas expected of a school offering a Year 10 curriculum.

Year 10 students have the opportunity to select aspects of their academic program. This will include a combination of VCE Units 1 & 2 studies, Year 10 Language, Design Futures and Explore. Generally, it is anticipated that Year 10 students will complete two VCE studies. To support diversity of learning pathways for each individual, it is possible that a student with appropriate academic development could complete three VCE studies, and that for most students there would be a minimum of one VCE study.

Year 11 and Year 12 VCE Program and Future Pathways

Students make choices from a range of VCE studies based on their passions, interests and proposed career pathways. The College then structures its timetable around meeting the individual programs for each student. Students can choose from 32 VCE studies.

Senior students are also involved in leadership, conferences, community service, sport and school activities, health, driver education, digital citizenship programs, drug and alcohol education, and cocurricular programs as well as a range of internal and external programs. These educational programs provide space for students to explore their passion within and beyond VCE, and complete the education of our young adults as well-rounded citizens.

Cornish College delivers a flexible and personalised Years 11 and 12 VCE program. As much as possible, our students are not restricted by timetable constraints, course restrictions, mode of delivery, or other boundaries. We believe that our innovative model of senior secondary education:

  • Provides diversity of learning and appropriate challenge, while enabling choice and autonomy
  • Stimulates deep learning by moving away from repetition
  • Sets high expectations while developing independence

We aim to tailor individual courses for each student in order to meet the needs of their career pathway choices. This may mean students:

  • Attend classes on campus
  • Access courses at other educational institutions
  • Undertake courses online or through Virtual Schools Victoria with the support of a learning coach at school
  • Undertake a VETiS program including starting an apprenticeship
  • Participate in a flexible and blended learning environment combining face-to-face and online learning under the guidance of Cornish teachers
Enhancement – Cross Year Studies

Cross year studies are those where a student studies a subject at a higher or lower level than their normal year.  The timetable structure for Years 10 to 12 enables cross year studies. A Year 10 student may study a Units 1 & 2 level subject while completing a core curriculum at Year 10. A Year 11 student may study a Units 3 & 4 sequence while all other subjects are at the Units 1 & 2 level. Students interested in these options should consult their teachers, speak with their parents and obtain and complete an Expression of Interest for Cross Year Studies form from the Secondary Studies Program Leader. Factors to be considered include attitude, behaviour, academic results, time management skills, maturity, past experiences, work habits, career pathway and future course needs. 

Continuing the flexible three-year VCE pathway commenced in Year 10, Year 11 students can access a range of VCE Units 3 & 4 studies or others, by negotiation. Highly able students have the opportunity to extend their interest in a subject by undertaking the study of a first-year university subject in Year 12. This can be intellectually rewarding and will count as a VCE study.

Vocational Education and Training in Schools

VETiS (Vocational Education and Training in Schools) programs are vocational training programs approved by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Years 11 & 12 students undertaking a VETiS program have the opportunity to receive both a senior secondary qualification (VCE) and a nationally portable VET qualification. Students attend their VETiS training for a half-day per week and typically receive a Certificate 2 or 3 qualification. All VETiS programs provide credit towards the VCE, either as Units 1 – 2, or as Units 1 – 4. Cornish College students have access to up to 30+ VETis courses through external providers (such as Chisholm Institute, Holmesglen Institute and others) where they also gain valuable experience in the world outside secondary school.

Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) & School-based Apprenticeships

At Cornish, some of our students complete a practical work-related experience during their senior years with the intention of moving from VCE directly into a vocational pathway, such as an apprenticeship. The Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) program and School-based Apprenticeship (SBA) programs provide this flexibility for students who choose this pathway from school to the workplace.

Students complete VCE studies as well as their (i) VET and (ii) and one full day work placement (Structured Workplace Learning), or (iii) School-based Apprenticeship program.

Design Futures

Design Futures is an evolution of the Cornish College curriculum enabling students to co-create a personalised curriculum, to sit alongside their VCE program, in line with areas of interest and aspirational goals. Design Futures develops students’ creativity, self-efficacy, critical thinking, collaboration skills, entrepreneurial mindset, agility, and autonomy and builds deep conceptual understandings of interdisciplinary studies. Students studying Design Futures choose their own area of inquiry or interest and learn to view it through the lens of applied systems-thinking, design-thinking and sustainability. Through a research and development focus, students develop communication skills and seek out solutions to make a positive difference in our communities. A Design Futures inquiry can further deepen understanding of any existing VCE study. It is designed to provide transferable application of skills and metacognition across the breadth of senior course offerings. 

With our three-year VCE program, students clearly have the opportunities in Years 10, 11 and 12 to create space alongside their VCE studies to pursue learning in areas they are passionate and curious about – areas that go well beyond the scope of what a traditional curriculum or VCE study design would provide.

Summary of courses offered at Years 10, 11 and 12 at Cornish College
Year 10 into VCE Pathways

Courses offered will be in response to research amongst the student body regarding future career directions, associated tertiary courses and VCE prerequisites but will be chosen from:

For further information please review the Senior Secondary Curriculum Handbook.

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