Senior School Curriculum

Ascham offers girls an intellectual approach to critical thinking and effective learning. It focuses on developing a solid foundation of skills to assist every girl to fulfil her academic potential and enjoy real choices in selecting tertiary courses and professional career.

The Dalton Plan’s key objective is to develop independent learners who gain a deep understanding and critical awareness of academic subjects by taking responsibility for their work and time management. Girls complete weekly assignments for each subject. Students have considerable flexibility to decide how and when to complete assignments to deadline. This teaches motivation, time-management and personal responsibility. 

Small class sizes

The student/staff ratio across the school is less than 10 to 1, with senior school classes generally varying in size from 16 to 22 girls.

In Years 11 and 12 these group sizes are generally between 10 and 18 girls, although in many courses the classes are much smaller.

HSC subject choices

Ascham does not make girls’ choices fit into the timetable or a set of subject ‘lines’. It completely organises the timetable around the girls. Each girl is always guaranteed her first choice of subjects.

Subjects offered

Ascham is an academically focussed school. Our curriculum is organised around courses that we consider best prepare the students for tertiary study. It is very much a traditional liberal curriculum. The courses we offer are:

Years 7 to 10 – English, Mathematics, Science, Commerce, Geography, History, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Latin, Drama, Music, Visual Arts, Technology and PDHPE.

Years 11 and 12 – English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Ancient History, Modern History, Economics, Geography, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Latin, Drama, Music, Visual Arts and PDHPE.

In Years 11 and 12, we offer all available extension level courses.

Subject profile

Girls in the Senior School spend up to half their academic periods in studies, where they work either independently or with a teacher, individually or in small groups. The assignment is the focus of their attention in studies. 

The remainder of the school day is given to class lessons. These operate in the more traditional fashion, the specialist subject teacher presenting the scope of a topic in readiness for girls to begin on the set assignment which is developed through further consultation with the teacher in studies and then submitted on schedule.

Subject choices

Subjects at Ascham are chosen from the NSW Board of Studies HSC curriculum.

The range includes an academically rigorous selection with a view to Australian and international university entrance.

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Year 7


English, Mathematics, Science, History, Drama, Music, Technology, Visual Arts, PDHPE and 2 out of Chinese (Mandarin), French and/or German

Year 8


English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, Music, Technology, Visual Arts, PDHPE

Elective subjects (two must be chosen)

Modern Language electives (at least one must be chosen)

  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German

One-year elective subjects

  • History
  • Drama
  • Latin

Years 9 & 10


English, Mathematics, Science, compulsory Geography and History, PDHPE  

Elective subjects (three must be chosen)

Language electives, to be continued from Year 8 (at least one must be chosen)

  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • French
  • German
  • Latin 

Two-year elective subjects

  • Commerce/Geography
  • History
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Visual Arts

Years 11 & 12

  • English courses
  • Mathematics courses
  • Biology
  • Chemistry 
  • Physics
  • Ancient History
  • Modern History
  • Economics
  • Geography 
  • Chinese courses 
  • French
  • German 
  • Latin 
  • Drama 
  • Music courses
  • Visual Arts