Preparing our girls for life following school

Principal's news Wednesday, 23 Mar 2022

At the recent Board Conversation event, a question was asked about how we are preparing our girls for life following school, and careers that may emerge. At Shelford we know academic ability is important for future success, but that it’s just as important to foster and teach the mindset students will need to flourish in the future, with a continual growing demand for innovation, creativity, communication, empathy, adaptability and social skills.

What do we teach at Shelford and why?

Content, that is, the ‘what’ we teach, is vitally important and never more so than at a time when we are all exposed to exponentially large volumes of material daily.

Compliance Framework

All schools in Victoria need to be accredited, by the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). The minimum standards for registration that relate to curriculum and student learning require us to have a curriculum framework, student learning outcomes, monitoring, and reporting on students' performance. At Shelford, we follow the Victorian Curriculum framework with reference to the Australian curriculum.

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Curriculum 

The Unit 1–4 subjects studied in Years 11 and 12 have their content prescribed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in study guides. These prescribed curriculum areas are assessed by the teacher during the year and in the independent external examination. 

Teachers and schools may make small curriculum choices, such as choosing from the prescribed lists of texts for Literature, English and EAL, between several Revolutions in History, or case studies in subjects like Legal Studies and Global Politics but largely the content we cover is prescribed.

Prep–Year 10

The Victorian Curriculum Prep–10 includes both knowledge and skills. These are defined by learning areas and capabilities. The Australian Curriculum Prep–10 includes three additional general capabilities: Literacy, Numeracy and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). And three Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia, and Sustainability. 

Learning areas Capabilities
The Arts



Media Arts


Visual Arts

Visual Communication Design


Health and Physical Education

The Humanities

Civics and Citizenship

Economics and Business







Design and Technologies

Digital Technologies

Critical and Creative Thinking



Personal and Social 

Shelford’s Strategic Plan outlines our commitments and direction

Read our full Strategic Plan.

Shelford’s curriculum

Within our learning community, our curriculum documentation for all areas is not static and is regularly reviewed and updated by teachers and leaders in the school, responding to our strategic direction, changes in the world, best practice, student choice and teacher interests and backgrounds.

 Our staff have rigorous discussions around what to include in our courses. Consideration is given to traditional western culture, but also to voices and experiences from around the world and new and modern contexts. What is taught to your daughter should have altered from what you and generations previously were taught; although there are key texts, historical periods, and scientific and mathematical principles, that may still be relevant, engaging and necessary.

The Crowded Curriculum

In recent years, schools have taken on more of the social–emotional learning and practical skills that were once the domain of the church or family; as well as areas such as emerging technologies, mental health, physical wellbeing, new economies and real-life learning. 

It is impossible to teach all that the community, media, and government see as being part of the purview of schools. There is not enough time and teachers already lament the lack of time available to cover key areas of their courses, particularly in the wake of extended periods of remote learning when content had to be reduced. 

Shelford outcomes 

Shelford students emerge with knowledge and understanding in a range of areas; they are well-rounded individuals with a broad generalist education. Through our wellbeing programs, assemblies, service learning, core subjects, camps, challenges, excursions, electives, and extra curricula programs, they understand their world.

They also have a capacity to learn, and this is in many ways the most important thing. Understanding yourself and how you learn, being a critical and creative thinker and excellent communicator, cannot be underestimated.

Our students are facing a rapidly changing future and we need to support them in moving confidently into that future. At Shelford, we balance a respect for the traditional with the innovative, new, and fresh. This is the lens we bring to the ongoing discussions and decisions around ‘what’ we teach. 

We look forward to continuing to work together, to ensure our students’ education is future focused, yet remains rigorous and challenging, as we begin a review of our Year 9 and 10 electives over the next year and continually shape our curriculum in the Junior and Senior Schools. 

Katrina Brennan

This article was originally published in our Shelly News