Key Learning Areas (KLA)

We partner with families to enable students to become engaged learners from Kindergarten to Year 12. Our schools provide pathways for students to become successful, independent people. We offer access to credentials from the NSW Board of Studies including Record of Student Achievement (RoSA) and the Higher School Certificate (HSC) and ASQA Vocational Education and Training certification.

Religious Education

Mr Damian Roff
Religious Education Coordinator

In the Diocese of Armidale Religious Education is the heartbeat of who we are as an education system. The embedding of Core Catholic Principles and Values is explicit in Religious Education learning and teaching activities, as it is in all other KLAs.

Religious Education reveals and deepens students’ knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and of our Catholic Faith Story and Traditions. The development of comprehensive religious literacy enables students to enter more fully into the life of the Church.

Students are invited to respond in action to their learnings and be conscientious and caring citizens, who make positive contributions to our local and global communities. Celebration is an important aspect of Religious Education and the sacraments, prayer and liturgy are integral to the faith life of our school communities.


Ms Susan McLeod
English Coordinator
McLeod Mrs Susan

English is Essential! It is our major communication tool and the only compulsory subject in the Higher School Certificate. It is the study of humanity through literature engaging in Language and Literacy.

At O’Connor Catholic College we have a rich and varied expertise in teaching the six major aspects of English: Reading/Viewing/Speaking and Writing/Representing/Listening. These areas are critically engaged through: Novels, Poetry, Film, Non fiction, Drama, e-texts, Graphic Novels and Picture books, embracing a wide range of Australian, Asian and world literature.

Our Staff are highly accomplished and caring teachers with experience in Higher School Certificate marking. We offer weekly lunchtime tutorials, Debating, Public Speaking and Creative Writing for all levels and ranges of students. There are ongoing workshops in creative writing, poetry and HSC items


Mr Stephen Chapman
Mathematics Coordinator
Chapman Steven

Mathematics in the Diocese of Armidale provides opportunities for students to recognise the power of mathematical modelling and creative reasoning. Through inquiry and connectiveness, our students model their world, selecting and applying mathematical concepts to situations and problems as they arise. They are active learners in the Mathematics classroom, they take risks and learn from their mistakes. Students access appropriate technology to reinforce and enhance their understanding of the subject. They are appropriately challenged through a variety of learning experiences that develop and extend their skills and knowledge to work mathematically. Learning is differentiated to ensure equity to all members of the classroom without losing the integrity of the content. We support our students in making mathematical sense of their experiences within and outside the classroom.
The embedding of Core Catholic Principles and Values is explicit in the Mathematics learning and teaching activities, as it is in all other KLAs.


Mr Mitchell Smidt
Science Coordinator

 Science is integral to our lives and is an ever increasing field in today’s society. Students develop a sense of wonder and expand their natural curiosity about the world around them through their understanding, interest in and enthusiasm for science. They need to be equipped with the skills necessary to make decisions based on valid and reliable sources. In our ever-changing world the role of Science and Technology, delivered in our school through the NSW Board of Studies Syllabuses Science (7 – 10) and Biology, Chemistry Physics and Senior Science (Year 11 -12), are of utmost importance. The Science curriculum is based on an inquiry model and involves students and teachers planning, performing and evaluating solutions to the big questions that effect our world.

The embedding of Core Catholic Principles and Values is explicit in the Science learning and teaching activities, as it is in all other KLAs.


Mrs Lorna Ahern
HSIE Coordinator
Lorna Ahern

Human Society and Its Environment involves the study of people, cultures, societies and environments. Studies in this area encompass people and environments (human and natural) over time. Human Society and its Environment encompasses the Curriculum subjects of History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship; and Economics, Legal Studies, Business Studies and Business Services. At O’Connor the HSIE department also includes the study of Indonesian language.
The aim of HSIE is to develop in students the values and attitudes, skills, and knowledge and understanding that,

  • enhance their sense of personal, community, national and global identity:
  • enable then to participate effectively in maintaining and improving the quality of their society and environment.


Mrs Ruth Patrick
PD/H/PE Coordinator

The Personal Development, Health and Physical Education program at O’Connor promotes physical, social and emotional development of our students. The program is compulsory for Year 7 -10 and encourages students to develop full participation in physical activity whilst developing self-confidence and an understanding of lifestyle choices.
We begin in Year 7 with fundamental motor skills and progress through to the HSC where the complex issues of community health and improving performance are studied.

Strands studied are,

  • Self and Relationships
  • Movement Skill and Performance
  • Individual and Community Health
  • Lifelong Physical Activity

These are integrated with skills in communicating, decision making, problem solving, moving and planning.

Students at O'Connor in Year 9 and 10 may elect to study Physical Activity and Sports Studies (PASS) the program’s content is organised in modules within the following three Areas of Study,

  • Foundations of Physical Activity
  • Physical Activity and Sport in Society
  • Enhancing Participation and Performance

In the Senior years students may study PDHPE and Community and Family Studies (CAFS) for the HSC. Course modules studied in PDHPE are,

  • Better Health for Individuals
  • The body in Motion
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Improving performance

Modules studied in CAFS during the Preliminary Year are,

  • Resource Management
  • Individuals and Groups
  • Families and Communities

The HSC studies are Research Methodology, Groups in Context, Parenting and Caring and The Individual and Work
Sport Leisure and Recreation (SLR) in Year 11 Areas of study include,

  • Aquatics
  • First Aid and Sports Injuries
  • Games and Sports Application

Excursions are run in conjunction with studies. The City to Surf provides an opportunity for students to apply knowledge.
Outdoor camp experiences in senior years to Pindari dam.
Use of the local facilities such as the Armidale Gymnastics Centre, Armidale Aquatics Centre, Sport UNE and Fitness Centre as well as Armidale Indoor Sport and recreation allows students to participate in a range of physical activities.

Technological & Applied Studies (TAS)

Mr Jon Hawthorne
TAS Coordinator

Teachers in the Technological & Applied Studies Key Learning Area at O’Connor Catholic College are committed to fostering students’ sense of personal achievement and abilities to:

  • understand technology through critical thinking and aesthetic appreciation,
  • apply technology responsibly, respecting our need for environmental sustainability, and
  • humanise technology through co-operation, sharing, patience and tolerance.

Stage 4 Technology (Mandatory)

Year 7
Currently the four Technology classes in Year 7 rotate each Term to experience Technology through different contexts.
‘Home Tweet Home’ Wood Technologies. This unit of work involves students in designing, producing and evaluating their own birdbox design using timber technologies. They identify the factors that affect the design of birdboxes and investigate the environmental and associated issues. Students use a range of methods to generate and communicate design ideas and further develop communication and presentation techniques.

‘Boxers’ Textiles Technologies. This unit of work involves students in designing, producing, marketing and evaluating their own pair of boxer shorts/pajama pants/board shorts using textile technologies.

‘Sheep & Wool’ Agriculture Technologies To introduce students to sheep handling and animal care and to encourage students to interact with one of the major local rural industries.

‘My Restaurant Rules’ Model-Making Technologies. This unit of work requires students to design, plan and construct a model of their ultimate café or restaurant, creating zones for all needs. Students are encouraged to use an era of time or theme as inspiration.

Year 8
Currently there are four Technology classes in Yr 8, which rotate every term to experience Technology through a different context.

‘Toy World’ Mixed Material Technologies Students will develop a toy for a pre-school aged child. This unit aims to develop practical skills, an appreciation of the need for a folio detailing the project, and the opportunity for individual expression by each student.

‘Picture Perfect’ Information Communication Technologies. Students design, produce and evaluate a cushion cover that tells a story ‘about ME’ or someone special in their life using a variety of fabric decoration techniques including photo transfer.

‘Cyberfood’ Media & Food Technologies students undertake a series of food technology tasks to generate images and recipes for their recipe web site. Media technologies are used to capture images of the completed healthy foods and these are downloaded into the designed web page using KEYNOTE.

‘Sustainable Mechanics’ Control Technologies. Using Lego Dacta, students to design and construct a number of different projects including a simple geared machine that can be combined with a sustainable energy

Stage 5
Stage 5 gives students the opportunity to choose TAS subjects that are of interest, at which they excel as well as being of value to later career choices.

Subjects offered in Stage 5 include:

Design & Technology
Throughout Stage 5 students will design manufacture and evaluate products that will meet a specific need. These will involve working in plastics, metals as well as wood to design stools, clocks and mobile phone holders.

Textiles Technology
Projects in Year 9 include non-apparel products such as a backpack, an art quilt and hand dyed hippie pants as well as the study of basic sewing skills, decorative techniques of appliqué, fibre classification, the study of natural, knitted, woven and non woven fabrics

Food Technology
The study of Food Technology provides students with a broad knowledge and understanding of food properties, processing, preparation and their interrelationships, nutritional considerations and consumption patterns. It addresses the importance of hygiene and safe working practices and legislation in the production of food. It also provides students with a context through which to explore the richness, pleasure and variety food adds to life.
Students develop practical skills in preparing and presenting food that will enable them to select and use appropriate ingredients, methods and equipment.



Agriculture Technology
Agriculture Technology in Year 9 covers animal anatomy, preparation of cattle and birds for show, cattle leading techniques, knots, public speaking, presentation of self, compete in junior competitions at District Shows.

This School Developed Board Endorsed Course is an attempt to provide an innovative and imaginative curriculum which will inspire students to take up the challenge of a career in Technology or Engineering.
The course covers a number of modules in the fields of technology and engineering, including: Engineering Fundamentals, Aerodynamics, Motion, Mechatronics and the Major Research Project.
Individual modules provide specific content related to CNC, mechatronics, aerodynamics, computer controlled machining, computer integrated manufacture, product modelling and testing which will be developed in the key areas of; Skills, Technologies, Engineering Principles and Processes and Mechanics.

Stage 6
The practical nature of Stage 6 TAS subjects allows students to specialise in subjects for which they have a particular talent as well as often making a significant contribution to post HSC study or a career.

These subjects include:
Design & Technology
Textiles & Design

Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)

Mrs Jenny Roff
CAPA Coordinator

O'Connor teachers use contemporary learning approaches to provide vibrant and engaging learning opportunities for all students in the delivery of the NSW BOSTES Creative Arts Syllabuses.

Creative Arts in the Secondary consists of six syllabuses;

Photographic and Media
Visual Arts
Visual Design
The embedding of Core Catholic Principles and Values is explicit in the Creative Arts learning and teaching activities, as it is in all other KLAs.

Creative Arts provide students with the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of and appreciation for a diverse range of artistic expressions in history and culture. Vibrant and motivating learning and teaching activities encourage students to explore their own creative interests and talents. Students enjoy opportunities to experiment with and consolidate understandings and celebrate achievements through engaging with a range of artistic mediums and experiences.

Additional information