The English Department offers stimulating and challenging courses in English subjects from Years 8 to 12. The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate with and build relationships with others and with the world around them. The study of English helps young people develop knowledge and skills, and become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society.

St Mary's English courses are based on the Australian Curriculum. Students learn about the English language and how to use it effectively through their study of a wide range of written, spoken, multi-modal and visual texts. Our courses are designed to foster a lifelong interest in language and a love of reading and creating texts. Students learn to create texts of their own and to engage with those produced by other people. They are invited to enter competitions and listen to visiting writers, poets and performing artists in order to extend their class studies of English.

Years 8, 9 and 10

English is a compulsory subject in Years 8 – 10. The Australian Curriculum: English is organised into three interrelated strands (Language, Literature and Literacy) that support students' growing understanding and use of Standard Australian English. Together the three strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading, viewing, speaking and writing. 

Years 11 and 12

It is compulsory for students in Years 11 and 12 to study an English subject chosen from English, Literature or English as an Additional Language/Dialect.


English ATAR and English General are offered in Year 11 in 2015, while English Stages 2 and 3 continue to be offered for Year 12.

The English ATAR course focuses on developing students’ analytical, creative, and critical thinking and communication skills in all language modes, encouraging students to critically engage with texts from their contemporary world, the past, and from Australian and other cultures. Through close study and wide reading, viewing and listening, students develop the ability to analyse and evaluate the purpose, stylistic qualities and conventions of texts and to enjoy creating imaginative, interpretive, persuasive and analytical responses in a range of written, oral, multimodal and digital forms.

The English General course focuses on consolidating and refining the skills and knowledge needed by students to become competent, confident and engaged users of English in everyday, community, social, further education, training and workplace contexts. The course is designed to provide students with the skills to succeed in a wide range of post-secondary pathways by developing their language, literacy and literary skills. Students comprehend, analyse, interpret, evaluate and create analytical, imaginative, interpretive and persuasive texts in a range of written, oral, multimodal and digital forms.

English Literature

Literature ATAR is offered in Year 11, and Stage 3 in Year 12.

The Literature ATAR course focuses on the study of literary texts and developing students as independent, innovative and creative learners and thinkers who appreciate the aesthetic use of language; evaluate perspectives and evidence; and challenge ideas and interpretations. The Literature ATAR course explores how literary texts construct representations, shape perceptions of the world and enable us to enter other worlds of the imagination. In this subject, students actively participate in the dialogue of literary analysis and the creation of imaginative and analytical texts in a range of modes, media and forms.

English as an Additional Language

English as an Additional Language/Dialect is offered as an alternative course for students whose first language is not English.