The senior phase of learning incorporates Years 10, 11 and 12.

At Cathedral, Year 10 is seen as a foundation year that prepares students for Years 11 and 12. It is a year in which students can 'sample' senior subjects to assist them in choosing which pathway they would like to travel down in the final two years of school. In Years 11 and 12, Cathedral offers students many options in their academic choices, as well as the support that matches students to the pathway that best suits their interests, tertiary prerequisites, career aspirations and personal strengths.

Students are prepared for employment, traineeships, apprenticeships, TAFE, the Defence Forces and university. The Cathedral School senior curriculum is a challenging and inspiring mix of traditional study and modern skills that equips students to take their place in the changing environment that is the workforce in the 21st century.

Curriculum Introduction

Year 10 

In Year 10 students take a group of core subjects (taken by all students) and elective subjects (taken by some students).

The core subjects are English, Mathematics or Advanced Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Christian Education, Lifeskills Physical Education and Personal Development. In the Humanities, student will study Legal Studies, Accounting, and Geography and History units. In Science, student will study Psychology, Biology, Physics and Chemistry units.

Elective subjects consist of Drama, Visual Art, Food Textiles Technology, Digital Technology, Production Design Technology, Graphical Design Technology, Health & Physical Education and Economics & Business. Music and Japanese are year subjects and all other electives are studied for one semester.

Students taking Japanese or Music in Year 10 are expected to have studied these subjects in Year 9.

Years 11 and 12

There are many pathways that students in their senior years can take. It is important in the first instance for students to have a general idea of what they wish to do on leaving school as this will determine a student’s choice of academic program. Students at Cathedral will study English and Mathematics and will choose four other electives.

University Entrance

Students who are planning to go to university after graduating will generally study six general subjects or five general subjects and one applied subject. Usually general subjects are used for tertiary entrance however a combination of general and one applied or general and one VET course could also be used (one of these subjects must be English (English or English as an Additional Language)).

School Based Traineeships, School Based Apprenticeships and Work Placement

Students who wish to combine school studies, on the job training and some vocational studies can elect to do a school based traineeship or school based apprenticeship. This generally involves doing one day of work per week, some TAFE studies and four school subjects. Traineeships and apprenticeships are generally for the two years of senior schooling. Traineeships finish when a student leaves school but apprenticeships continue after graduation. The school will assist families with the paper work required to set up a traineeship or apprenticeship but some family assistance may be required to find a suitable employer.

Some students do not wish to undertake a formal traineeship or apprenticeship, but still work. The school is able to assist students in getting work placement one day a week. This enables students to learn valuable skills (while still at school) which they can demonstrate to an employer on graduation. These students usually take four or five school subjects.



The Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE offers many valuable courses for Cathedral students. Students who go to TAFE usually go one day per week and work towards a certificate I, II or III in a chosen area. Students who go to TAFE usually take five subjects.

Other Pathways

The options listed above are not exhaustive. Students can plan their own study pathways in consultation with the Director of Studies and Careers Coordinator.

At the end of Year 12 most students are eligible for the Queensland Certificate of Education. This certificate records a student’s performance in a wide range of studies that can be undertaken in Years 10, 11 and 12. The management of a student’s eligibility for a QCE occurs on an individual basis at the school. For university entrance using an ATAR, students must study five general subjects for the two years of 11 and 12 or a combination of four general subjects and one other applied subject or VET course. It is also possible to be considered for university entrance using vocational certificates, Diploma’s and other courses offered through the Cathedral School. This process is managed by the Careers Coordinator and Director of Studies.

Vocational Programs

Every year, about 35-45 Year 11 and 12 students are enrolled in a wide variety of Certificate Courses from Hairdressing and Nursing to Automotive and Electro-technology and Justice studies to Media/Animation. These courses are all taken by Nationally accredited RTO's including TAFE and TCTC.  In addition, there are a number of students who are participating in regular work experience, and others who are signed up as school-based trainees or school-based apprentices while they are completing their final years at school. This gives them great preparation for the workforce and easier access into their chosen career, as well as invaluable work experience references for their chosen tertiary pathway.

Year 11 and 12

i)...... Each student studies English or English as an Additional Language (both are general subjects) or Essential English (not an ATAR subject but meets the literacy requirements of the QCE). All students study General Mathematics or Mathematics Methods (both ATAR subjects) or Essential Mathematics (not an ATAR subject but does meet QCE numeracy requirements).

ii)..... All students have lessons in Christian Education, Lifeskills Physical Education and Personal Development (these are subjects offered only by Cathedral - school subjects).

iii).... Students choose up to four subjects (depending on their pathway) from the list of subjects below. Columns of subject choices are developed after students have indicated their preferences - clashes on a student timetable may occur. Unless indicated, all subjects contribute towards an ATAR or tertiary entrance.

  • Accounting

  • Biology

  • Business - Certificate III - not an ATAR subject but counts towards a QCE

  • Chemistry

  • Drama

  • Economics

  • Geography

  • Industrial Graphics Skills - not an ATAR subject but counts towards a QCE

  • Furnishing Skills - not an ATAR subject but counts towards a QCE

  • Physical Education

  • Certificate III in Fitness - not an ATAR subject but counts towards a QCE

  • Hospitality Practices - not an ATAR subject but counts towards a QCE

  • Digital Solutions

  • Japanese

  • Legal Studies

  • Mandarin - (Year 12 only)

  • Mathematics (Specialist)

  • Modern History

  • Music

  • Music Extension - (Year 12 only, by audition)

  • Physics

  • Visual Art

Most subjects can also be also offered at a non ATAR level i.e. a school subject. This means that it will not contribute towards an ATAR or be recorded on the QCE but will be recorded on the school report issued by Cathedral.

iv) Music, Music Extension and Mandarin classes will occur outside normal lesson times depending on student numbers.

v) Japanese may also occur outside of normal lesson times depending on student numbers.

vi) Where the total number of students enrolled in any course is 10 or less, the subject cannot be guaranteed but an attempt will be made to offer it.

vii)   A request for a change in a subject must be made to the Director of Studies early in the first semester. The granting of such a request may occur after consultation with the student, Head of Department, Head of House, Careers Coordinator and parents.

Senior Education Profile

Students in Queensland are issued with a Senior Education Profile (SEP) upon completion of senior studies. This profile may include a:

·      statement of results

·      Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)

·      Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA).

For more information about the SEP see:

Statement of Results

Students are issued with a statement of results in the December following the completion of a QCAA-developed course of study. A new statement of results is issued to students after each QCAA-developed course of study is completed.

A full record of study will be issued, along with the QCE qualification, in the first December or July after the student meets the requirements for a QCE.

Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)

Students may be eligible for a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) at the end of their senior schooling. Students who do not meet the QCE requirements can continue to work towards the certificate post-secondary schooling. The QCAA awards a QCE in the following July or December, once a student becomes eligible. Learning accounts are closed after nine years; however, a student may apply to the QCAA to have the account reopened and all credit continued.

Senior Subjects

The QCAA develops four types of senior subject syllabuses — General, Applied, Senior External Examinations and Short Courses. Results in General and Applied subjects contribute to the award of a QCE and may contribute to an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) calculation, although no more than one result in an Applied subject can be used in the calculation of a student’s ATAR.

Typically, it is expected that most students will complete these courses across Years 11 and 12. All subjects build on the P–10 Australian Curriculum.

General syllabuses

General subjects are suited to students who are interested in pathways beyond senior secondary schooling that lead primarily to tertiary studies and to pathways for vocational education and training and work. General subjects include Extension subjects.

Applied syllabuses

Applied subjects are suited to students who are primarily interested in pathways beyond senior secondary schooling that lead to vocational education and training or work.

Senior External Examination

The Senior External Examination consists of individual subject examinations provided across Queensland in October and November each year by the QCAA.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Students can access VET programs through The Cathedral School through:

·      a third-party arrangement with an external provider for an “on campus” VET course (Certificate II and III in Business offered through Binnacle Training).

·      TAFE and TCTC facilities off campus.

·      opportunities for students to undertake school-based apprenticeships or traineeships.

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) Eligibility

The calculation of an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) will be based on a student’s:

·      best five General subject results or

·      best results in a combination of four General subject results plus an Applied subject result or a Certificate III or higher VET qualification.

The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) has responsibility for ATAR calculations.


English requirement

Eligibility for an ATAR will require satisfactory completion of a QCAA English subject.

Satisfactory completion will require students to attain a result that is equivalent to a Sound Level of Achievement in one of five subjects — English, Essential English, Literature, English and Literature Extension or English as an Additional Language.

While students must meet this standard to be eligible to receive an ATAR, it is not mandatory for a student’s English result to be included in the calculation of their ATAR.

Learning Support

The Learning Support Department caters for students in Years 10-12 in the following categories:

  • Students who have been ascertained for a disability (Special Needs) and require an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or and EAP (Education Adjustment Plan). 

  • Students who have been diagnosed formally with a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. 

  • Students who have fallen below the Literacy and Numeracy benchmarks in the NAPLAN testing.

The aim of the department in the Senior School is to assist students to take responsibility for their own learning. This is achieved by working with teachers to develop classroom and learning strategies which will equip students for lifelong learning. Teacher aides may be used in classes to assist students to engage with their learning. At times students may need to be withdrawn from classes to work on specific skills. This is done in consultation with teachers, parents and the Head of the Learning Support Department.