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

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.


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


Mathematics is the only subject that counts! At O’Connor Catholic College we have a talented and experienced staff that 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 embedment of Core Catholic Principles and Values is explicit in the Mathematics learning and teaching activities, as it is in all other KLAs.


Science is integral to our everyday lives. Its importance lies in being able to practically solve the problems of our future. In our ever-changing world students need to be equipped with the skills necessary to make decisions based on valid and reliable resources. Through the NSW Board of Studies Syllabus’ 7-10 and stage 6 Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Investigating Science and Science Extension students develop the ability to question the world around them and deepen their understanding, interest, and enthusiasm for science.

At O’Connor, students are encouraged to further expand on their scientific knowledge through participation in local, national and international competitions, workshops and holiday programs. We pride ourselves on being able to educate the next generation of problem solvers and critical thinkers as being science literate is no longer just an advantage but an absolute necessity.


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.


Skills learnt in PDHPE are essential skills students take with them for life. Through the study of Personal Development, Health and Physical Education courses at O’Connor (which is mandatory in years 7-10), students develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes needed to take action to protect and enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing in varied and changing contexts. Physical education is fundamental to the acquisition of movement skills and concepts to enable students to participate in a range of physical activities – confidently, competently and creatively.

PDHPE develops students’ capacity to enhance personal health and well-being. It promotes their enjoyment of and commitment to an active lifestyle and to achieve confidence and competence in a wide range of physical activities. Through PDHPE students develop knowledge, understanding, skills values and attitudes that enable them to advocate lifelong health and physical activity

All students in Years 7-10 study the following four strands during PDHPE :

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

During Years 9 and 10 students may elect to study Physical Activity and Sport Studies (PASS) or Child Studies

During Year 11 and 12 students may study Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE ), Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation (SLR) and Community and Family Studies (CAFS) for the HSC.

For all courses a range of local facilities such as the Armidale Gymnastics Centre, Armidale Aquatics Centre, Sport UNE Sports Science Laboratory, The Armidale Hospital, Child Care Centres and Fitness Centres are utilised to allow students to participate practically in a range of physical activities and key unit concepts.

Technological & Applied Studies (TAS)

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)

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.