SENIOR SCHOOL – Years 7 to 12
A bright future awaits
The Dalton Plan truly comes to life in Senior School: each girl explores and expands her learning, undertaking an exciting course of robust academic study with the unwavering individual guidance of her teachers.
Brave and confident young women.
Welcome to Senior School
Each girl’s journey in Senior School is brimming with opportunities to flourish, find her voice and immerse herself in study and co-curricular activities.
It is a time when our girls define their passions and we see significant growth personally, emotionally and academically. We believe strongly in the balance between academic study and co-curricular pursuits and the girls have an extensive range of activities that enrich their experiences at School. From Sport to Community Service, Leadership and Social Justice, exchange programs and tours to Public Speaking, Music, Drama and Debating, every girl can fulfil her passions, develop essential life skills and build positive, caring relationships.
Our Wellbeing framework, Vi et Animo—with heart, soul, strength and courage, is integrated throughout our girls’ Senior School journey to ensure they are well supported, academically buoyant, brave and confident.
As they leave Ascham in Year 12, they will be equipped with the unique benefits of the Dalton Plan and prepared both academically and personally for the demands of the 21st century.
Deputy Head of School
The power of
The Dalton Plan comes into its own at Ascham from Year 7—girls are guided and supported by their teachers as they mature into active and inquisitive learners. The power of the Plan is evident as they attend Lessons, direct their own learning during Studies and complete their Assignments. With this immersive academic framework supporting each girl, they are prepared for final examinations and excited for tertiary study.
The Dalton Plan caters perfectly to our overarching goals of positive and brave learners as our small class sizes (16 – 22 students) and one-on-one attention in Studies ensure every girl receives consistent feedback and no one is left behind.
The flexible approach offered by the Plan means that students are able to adjust their weekly ‘Study’ pattern to fit with their co-curricular timetable. Lessons and Studies are typically removed from timetables around examination times to allow students to focus more completely and be fully prepared.
Throughout their journey in Senior School our girls develop research and critical thinking skills, become attuned to meeting deadlines, and are encouraged to pursue lifelong learning with passion.
It’s what we call the Dalton difference.
The Senior School
Our broad curriculum broadens minds and, coupled with the Dalton Plan, it develops an intellectual approach to critical thinking and fosters effective learning.
Our focus is for girls to develop the ability to think more deeply about their learning and to set new learning targets each term. With individual guidance and the setting of firm expectations, girls reflect on their work, feel confident in voicing their opinions and take risks in their learning in a positive learning environment based on mutual respect.
Our Senior School girls are headed for tertiary education, and we provide a solid foundation of skills including Critical Thinking and Study Skills that will assist them in fulfilling their academic potential and provide desirable choices in tertiary courses and rewarding professional careers.
Guaranteed subject choices
Thanks to the flexible structure of the Dalton Plan, girls are guaranteed their first choice of subjects, which are chosen from the NESA (NSW Education Standards Authority) HSC curriculum. The range includes an academically rigorous selection with a view to Australian and international university entrance:
English, Mathematics, Science, History, Drama, Music, Technology, Visual Arts, PDHPE and 2 out of Chinese (Mandarin), French and/or German.
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, Latin.
Other elective subjects:
English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, 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, Latin, German.
Two-year elective subjects
Commerce/Geography, History, iSTEM, Drama, Music, Visual Arts.
English courses, Mathematics courses, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Ancient History, Modern History, Studies of Religion, Business Studies, Economics, Geography, Chinese courses, French, German, Latin, Drama, Music courses, Visual Arts, PDHPE.
Extension courses are also offered.
Academic enrichment and support
Academic Enrichment Program
Girls are extended through enrichment experiences allowing them to take risks, immerse themselves in something they are passionate about and discover new and challenging ideas.
- STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) challenges and coding.
- Creative entrepreneurs.
- Challenges and consultation with industry professionals.
- Enrichment courses in the Humanities, Maths and Sciences.
- Engagement with visiting academics who speak on a range of topics designed to stimulate intellectual engagement.
A benefit of the Dalton Plan is that it provides overall academic support at an individual level, through the regular interaction between student and teacher in Studies.
Teachers know the girls well, understand how they work and through the Dalton Plan can help them in a focused, supportive manner. Girls can talk to their teachers about concepts not understood in their lessons and by combining regular homework with constructive feedback the girls understand where they need help.
STEAM and Innovation in Senior School
Our Senior School STEAM lab is brimming with innovation and opportunities. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education is vital for students if they are to embrace their professional lives with confidence and success.
Girls undertake project-based learning, combining the components of STEAM that challenge them to develop their capabilities in authentic, real-world problem solving, project management and teamwork.
Ascham provides a fully integrated learning platform, with many digital resources available to further support a deep understanding of our girls’ chosen subjects and passions.
Senior girls are provided open access to information and can use their devices to connect with assignments and classwork materials and engage with a rich set of assets including Canvas, our Learning Management System which manages online classes, homework, grading, quizzes, interactive learning pages, discussion boards, online submissions and teacher feedback.
Vi et Animo
— with heart, soul, strength and courage
Our girls’ wellbeing is of paramount importance to us and integral to the learning process in Senior School and we maintain a school-wide supportive framework to foster this, based on strong and caring relationships. It is vitally important that girls can maintain a positive, confident mindset as they hone their social and emotional capabilities and continue to feel engaged in their academic studies and wider activities throughout their Senior School years.
For students to remain academically buoyant, they need to be ‘feeling good and functioning well’ and our wellbeing framework, Vi et Animo—with heart, soul, strength and courage, is woven through all aspects of daily life.
This unique approach ensures they are fully supported and recognised in their abilities, and can grow into brave and confident young women. It includes activities on positive leadership development, service-centred learning, and peer programs.
The strong relationships our teachers form with our students can be attributed to the structure of the Dalton Plan. Girls develop a deep understanding of how they are managing both academically and personally and the individual connections allows student and teacher to identify any issues or concerns and appropriate actions to be taken to ensure a positive outcome.
Leadership at Ascham is an integral part of the Senior School educational journey: we want Ascham girls to be resourceful and proud of their role in the world, becoming the leaders of tomorrow and helping to shape the society they live in.
Ascham aims to build a culture of leadership centred around community, where girls are trained in the skills needed to lead. There are many valued leadership positions available, each with a number of duties and responsibilities including the School Committee, Portfolio Committees, House Chairs and Representatives, and Captains for Sport, Music, Debating, Speech and Drama, Chess and Public Speaking.
Real-life experiences in the service of others help improve self-assurance, challenge previously held beliefs and provide insight into community operations.
To embed this, girls are encouraged to become involved in a wide range of opportunities throughout the year, taking on activities in Community Service, Social Justice programs and charitable causes.
Strong relationships in Senior School help build self-confidence, kindness and a sense of community.
Our peer programs give girls the chance to enhance these personal skills by creating bonds across different year groups, and includes the Houses and Sisters program which plays a central role in building a sense of belonging and connectedness.
Wherever her passions may take her, every girl has numerous options to spark ideas, foster new interests, stimulate engagement and social interaction, find her voice and get involved. Being actively involved in pursuits outside the classroom builds personal and emotional wellbeing, which in turn promotes a positive sense of balance in School life.
Sport, Music, Drama and the Arts offer our girls many opportunities to choose from.
“Stay healthy, have fun with it, and embrace all the moments. Because anything can happen.”
Ascham girls play sport because they love it! It is testament to our girls’ passion for being part of a team that drives our participation levels to well over 90%, and we are proud of them getting involved, setting audacious goals and conquering them. Ascham regularly produces incredible results in inter-school, state and even national competitions.
Our coaches’ approach instils discipline, focus and integrity, and promotes all the benefits of teamwork, commitment and lifelong physical activity across a comprehensive sporting program.
Sports on offer include Athletics and Cross Country, Basketball, Diving, Equestrian, Fitness Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Netball, Rowing, Sailing, Snowsports, Swimming, Tennis, Touch Football and Water Polo. There is a sport for every girl, whatever level she is at.
“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”
― Albert Einstein
Where do we start? Music is so much a part of life in Senior School and the list of opportunities and options is almost endless!
From the classroom music program to private tuition, joining a choir, ensemble or band, and taking part in assemblies, recitals, concerts and musical productions, there is an avenue—and an instrument—for every girl to explore, to stretch her creativity and develop her musical ability.
Discover all the opportunities in our Senior School Music Program.
Getting ready for tertiary study
Leaving school for university or to begin a career is one of the great adventures life has to offer. Ascham is extremely passionate about helping each girl to manage her transition to higher education and to make informed decisions about her future beyond high school.
Girls are guided individually to research a wide variety of tertiary institutions, and we offer significant support and preparation for applications to NSW, interstate, US, UK and European universities, with access to regular careers assessment, university visits, interview practice and guest speakers. Girls also participate in valuable work experience, giving them exposure to professional life.
Girls are encouraged to sit the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) if they are interested in the US tertiary education system and assisted with Oxbridge applications and for other tertiary institutions in the UK.