Rethinking the Senior Secondary Years

Rethinking the senior secondary years across Australia requires a deep rethink and the ATAR is not needed as part of its future. As seen below, the ATAR is not required to access most university course disciplines.

The relevance of the ATAR has declined dramatically since it inception over 10 years ago. As seen in the two graphics below, universities offer many other alternative pathways for students to access course offered by their institutions.

Interestingly, VET courses at 12% and higher education courses at 26%, without an ATAR and without a HSC, are seen as credible options for universities when accepting undergraduate university students. And, it is in the area of ‘higher education course’, that St Luke’s Catholic College, along with Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, have partnered with Kaplan Education to develop new thinking for senior secondary years.

Over the past two years St Luke’s has been in discussions with KAPLAN. The outcome being that St Luke’s can now offer a pathway which, through their HSC work in years 10, 11 and 12, allows for a student to attain their HSC AND a diploma qualification through KAPLAN -Essentially,

a dual credential is possible when leaving Year 12 at St Luke’s.

For students embracing their senior years of learning at St Luke’s, we will:

  • Continue to vigorously pursue our vision to nurture faith filled curious children to become creative contributors and innovative problem solvers for a changing world;
  • We will maintain our commitment to enable students develop the social skills and enterprise skills required for a changing world; and,
  • We will ensure the HSC is available and attainable for each and every one of our students.

We have started doing this in Year 10 in 2021 by carefully mapping Life Design (a 7-10 course unique to St Luke’s) content with HSC requirements so that by the end of Year 10 students will have accrued 3 preliminary units and one HSC unit of study. Essentially, their HSC has already begun! This reality allows for much flexibility and increases the number of learning opportunities over the next few years and therefore a number of post school options. The first of these is: 

  1. a traditional learning pathway where students engage in a number of elective subjects to obtain a traditional HSC qualification.  This will include a diverse range of offerings to cater for student interests, and will include the opportunity for students to attain VET qualifications and possibly complete extension subjects, if they are able and interested. 
  1. Secondly, there will be Diploma Pathway Options. Students will be able to use some of their HSC learning to act as recognised prior learning towards units of a Diploma program. Specifically, St Luke’s currently has an articulation agreement with Kaplan Business School which aligns learning in Years 10, 11 and 12 with a Diploma of Commerce when studying Work Studies in year 10, Mathematics in Year 11 & 12, and Information Process and Technology (IPT) in Year 11 & 12. Successful completion of these courses will see students receive certification for up to half of the Diploma at no cost, all the time working their way towards the HSC.
  2. Either option allows for an ATAR to be attained, however, it is not necessary.

Further to this, and through a clever use of time, students will then have the opportunity to accrue the other half of the Diploma directly with Kaplan Business School. Successful completion of this Diploma by the end of Year 12 ensures direct entry into a 2nd year, Bachelor of Business. 

Our next step ia to broaden Diploma Program by working with Kaplan and other Higher Education organisations so that we can offer other streams in areas such as Information Technology, Creative Industries, Tourism and Events, Engineering, and even Entrepreneurship.

As you can see, by rethinking the senior secondary years at St Luke’s, we are really looking to ‘what ‘s next’, when it comes to the HSC. How exciting!

As always, questions, comments, suggestions are welcome.



One thought on “Rethinking the Senior Secondary Years

  1. Really is breaking the traditional ATAR pathway! Would love to hear student and parent feedback around what they think and would like. I imagine there will be parents who will find this confronting and challenging but then again it’s the role of schools to push boundaries but re-educate parents too. A great reality is shaping up at St Luke’s.

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