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

Religious Education Coordinator – Andrew May

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.


Leader of Learning – Lauren Donnelly

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 lunchtime writing workshops, which can be organised with our Writer in Residence, Helena Pastor. There are ongoing workshops in creative writing, poetry and HSC items


Leader of Learning – Mark Harris

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.


Leaders of Learning – Daniel Fittler

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.


Leader of Learning – Cherie Stoessel

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.


Leader of Learning – Camilla Clydsdale

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 three strands during PDHPE :

  • Health, Wellbeing and Relationships
  • Movement Skill and Performance
  • Healthy, Safe and Active Lifestyles

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), Community and Family Studies (CAFS), Exploring Early Childhood (EEC) and Certificate III VET Fitness 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)

Leader of Learning – Jon Hawthorne

The TAS Key Learning Area offers a range of technological subjects for the future, to prepare students for the future. This is facilitated by enabling students 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)

Students in Year 7 & 8 rotate through a number of context areas throughout the year which include:
Year 7

  • ‘Home Tweet Home’ Birdhouses (Material Technology: Wood)
  • ‘Protein Production’ (Agriculture Technology)
  • ‘Light The World’ Lasercutting (STEM Digital Technology),
  • ‘Farm To Fork’ (Food Technology)
  • ‘Futuretech’ Coding (Digital Technology)

Year 8

  • ‘Robotics’ (Digital Technology)
  • ‘Wind It Up’ Sustainable Engineering (Engineered Systems)
  • ‘Fantastic Food’ (Food Technology)
  • ‘New Earth Entrepreneurs’ (Materials Technology: Textiles)
  • ‘Toyworld’  (Material Technology: Wood)

Stage 5 Electives include:

  • Food  “OZ Food – Then And Now”  & “On Trend Food”
  • Textiles “Carry It” & “War on Waste”
  • Design World  “What’s In The Box” &  “The Cool Stool”
  • Agriculture  “Breeding for Profit” & “Intensive Agricultural Systems”
  • STEM (Skills, Technology, Engineering & Maths)
  • “Fundamentals and Aerodynamics, Flying High” “Coding and CAD” (Computer Aided Design) “CO2 Dragsters”

Stage 6

Stage 6 TAS subjects include:

  • Design & Technology (2 Unit)
  • Engineering Studies (2 Unit)
  • Textiles & Design (2 Unit)
  • Agriculture (2 Unit)

Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)

Leader of Learning – Melanie Sampson

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.