Heathcote High School

Excellence, opportunity and success for all our students

Telephone02 9520 9488



English study is mandatory in NSW from Kindergarten to Year 12.

Students learn about the English language through written, spoken and visual texts of increasing complexity as they progress through their schooling.

An understanding of the English language is central to how we communicate and essential for intellectual, social and emotional development.

The study of English should develop a love of literature and learning and be challenging and enjoyable. It develops skills to enable students to experiment with ideas and expression, to become active, independent and lifelong learners, to work with each other and to reflect on their learning.

In Year 11 and 12, the study of English is mandatory. Courses offered include:

  • English Standard    
  • English Advanced
  • English Studies
  • English as an Alternative Language or Dialect (EAL/D)
  • English Extension 1
  • English Extension 2
  • English Life Skills

English at Heathcote High School

Welcome to all students in 2019!

I'd like to extend an invitation to all parents, particularly those who are new to the school, to contact me whenever you have questions or concerns about your child's studies in English. I'm never too busy to address any concerns you may have regarding your child's learning. Schooling is a partnership and I believe parents should enjoy an active role in that partnership. We all want the best for your children.

The English Faculty is heavily involved in whole school activities and organisation.

  • Ms Gurr is Head Teacher of English. She spends much of her time supporting staff and students. She will be leading the team in prioritising ALARM as a teaching and learning tool in the classroom, as well as ensuring the uptake of the use of the Google Suite across all English classes to help students become 21st Century learners and workplace ready. She also co-ordinates activities which enhance the primary partner linkages. She is one of the school's NAPLAN administrators. Ms Gurr shares the Year 12 Standard Coordinator role and she is the Year 9 Subject Coordinator.
  • Mr Baker is currently a temporary English teacher at the school. He is Year 9/10 Debating and Public Speaking Coordinator. He also brings with him expertise in Drama.
  • Ms Borysiewicz assists with coordinating the ICAS English Competition. Ms Borysiewicz is the Year 7/8 Debating Coordinator.
  • Mrs Chetty remains the official LaST (Learning and Support Teacher). She is responsible for ensuring equal access to the curriculum for all students. Mrs Chetty is the Year 12 English Studies Subject Coordinator.
  • Mrs Cook is welcomed back in a temporary part-time position. She brings her teaching experience to our students and will support in many areas in the staffroom, predominantly in the Wide Reading Program. 
  • Mrs Coppock is one of our Drama Coordinators. She is also the technology coordinator, mentoring teachers in the Faculty to learn Google Suites and Office 365. Mrs Coppock is also the school's Gifted and Talented Coordinator. She is coordinating the Drama Club and the Writing Club. Mrs Coppock is also the Subject Coordinator for Year 12 Advanced, the Year 7, Year 12 Extension 1 and 2 and Year 12 Drama.
  • Mrs Etcell is another of our Drama Coordinators and is a coordinator for the ICAS English Competition. Mrs Etcell is the Year 11 English Studies Subject Coordinator.
  • Mrs Hoskins assists our Careers Advisor with the organisation of some careers programs to help students transition to the workplace. She is the co-ordinator for the school's practicum placements. Mrs Hoskins is the Year 8 Subject Co-ordinator and she shares the role as Year 12 Standard Subject Coordinator.
  • Ms Kang Is a temporary teacher who has retained her position. She brings with her expertise in developing students with diverse backgrounds. She is coordinating the Book Club. Ms Kang is the Year 10 and Year 11 Standard  Subject Coordinator.

All English staff act as mentors for Year 12 and offer support to all school activities. The staff are very approachable and happy to offer support and guidance when needed.

Literacy is important

  1. Heathcote High School has subscribed to the online literacy program WordFlyers for all Year 7 to 10 students. This program is able to be pitched at each individual student's level so that they are able to progress at a rate that suits them. We encourage parents to have a look at what they are doing at home, as work will be set for homework. The texts are not just English texts, and there will be other faculties setting tasks for classwork or homework. The program is worth 10% of the total assessment at the end of the year.
  2. We will again dedicate one period a week of our English lessons to the development of literacy skills through an Extension Reading and Writing Program in Years 7 to 10. The program allows students to use different learning processes to investigate and reach deeper understanding of texts they read of their own choice. An assessment task is attached to this program which is worth 10% of their total assessment at the end of the year.
  3. All students have access to the marking guidelines for NAPLAN so that they will be able to understand the expectations of written work for better achievement.
  4. All students will have access to a spelling list, and they will be tested at regular intervals.
  5. All of our teachers have formal grammar training and will be able to extend or remediate the content of our programs.  We aim to offer some home activities on our website in the near future where students can practise their skills
  6. Another online literacy program, Renaissance, has been made available to students who need additional literacy support. This will take the place of the WordFlyers online program. Students will be able to use their personally chosen text to complete WordFlyers and the Wide Reading Program.



Reading and completing work not finished in class form the basis of the faculty's homework policy. Assessment tasks will also require some home time for preparation. WordFlyers should be completed at home once students have familiarised themselves with its structure. Both WordFlyers and the Wide Reading Program can be completed as homework. Most classes have the opportunity to complete the Wide Reading Program once a week in class, where possible.

We will continue to offer before, after school, lunch time and holiday support for all of our students. As you may be aware students are welcome to use technology to seek advice and feedback at any time from their teachers.


New Senior Syllabus

Our Year 12s in 2019 will be the first group to complete the new senior syllabus. There are some interesting and challenging common courses for Standard and Advanced and new modules that offer exciting new texts to study.  Our English Studies students now have the option to complete a two and a half hour HSC examination to be elligible to receive an ATAR.


Australian Curriculum

We are always updating our programs and the new scope and sequence for the junior classes which will be interesting and engaging for our students and include mandatory cross-curriculum content of Aboriginal, Asian and texts on sustainability. The new scope and sequence takes into account what the students are aiming towards in Years 11 and 12. Throughout the years, students will be required to respond to texts in a variety of ways to ensure fairness, as different students thrive in different forms of response – written, spoken, listening, and viewing and representing. All our year groups begin with a textual concepts focus on code and convention.

Year 7 begin the year with a four week Back to Basics literacy unit. They then complete a unit called Craft and Artistry which asks students to explore how ideas are represented in poetry and will experiment with their understanding of how meaning is conveyed through the clever use of literary techniques. Throughout the year, students will be studying the following units: Picture Books, Close Study of Novel and Drama.

Year 8 begin with a unit on the The Art of Persuasion – Advertising, completing a project based learning task, by pitching their own unique product Shark Tank styleThroughout the year, students will be studying the following units: Close Study of a Novel - The Hero's Journey; Difference and Diversity; and Sustainability - with a focus on poetry and picture books.

Year 9 begin with a unit on Protest which will provide them an opportunity to focus on how rhetoric is used to sway opinion. They will be learning more about persuasive writing in readiness for NAPLAN in this unit. Throughout the year, students will be studying the following units: Appropriation of Shakespeare, Close Study of a Novel and Representation of Adolescence.

Year 10 begin with a Film Study-Voices, study focusing on representation context and perspective. Throughout the year, students will be studying the following units: Poetry, Close Study of a Novel (genre study) and Drama Study (either Shakespeare or a modern drama) to prepare them for the senior English study.

Year 11 Standard and Advanced students begin a common course Reading to Write, with a focus on what makes great writing and then applying this knowledge to their own writing. Standard students will then complete two modules: Contemporary Possibilities (Serial podcast) and Close Study of Literature (Jasper Jones) while the Advanced students will complete Narratives that Shaped our World (Othello and other texts) and Critical Study of Literature (A Brave New World). Advanced English students will be visiting the theatre in April to see a production of Othello.  Students are expected to read widely and have been given direction on our expectations.

Year 11 Extension 1 students are completing a unit on Texts, Contexts and Value, exploring the evolution, appropriation and echoes of texts over time.

Year 11 English Studies students will complete a Mandatory Module: Achieving through English, followed by modules on The Big Screen: English in Film Making and On the Road – English and Experiences in Travel. The English Studies course offers students an opportunity to complete a common course in Year 12 in order to achieve an ATAR if they so choose.

All Year 12 Advanced, Standard and English Studies classes have completed the Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences. 

Year 12 Advanced English students are completing their Module A: Textual Conversations focusing on the texts The Tempest and Hag-seed.  They will then complete Module B: Critical Study of Text T.S. Eliot. Module C: Craft of Writing is being completed concurrently with all other modules.

Year 12 Standard English students are completing a unit on One Night, the Moon for Module A: Language, Identity and Culture.  They will then complete Module B: Close Study of Literature (Robert Gray). Module C: Craft of Writing is being completed concurrently with all other modules.

Year 12 English Studies are finishing up an extended mandatory unit on We Are Australians, followed by Playing the Game - English in Sport and then Part of the Family - English in Family Life.



The following excursions have been organised to enhance the learning experiences and opportunities for students. Please make a note in your calendars and ensure that the payments are made by the due date when your child brings home the permission note.

  • Year 7 – Steven Herrick – one of Australia's most loved poets for children and adults will be performing some of his favourite poems for young teens on Wednesday 6th March in the school hall.
  • Year 8 – Valanga Khoza – will speak about and perform some of his music that he has composed to raise awareness of the fight for freedom in South Africa since his exile in 1976. This will take place on Wednesday 14th August in the school hall.
  • Year 9 – Barb Wired - as part of Appropriation of shakespeare unit, students will see how the old tales are still relevant to a modern audience. The performance will take place in the school hall on Thursday 23 May.
  • Year 10 – Luka Lesson – one of Australia's most successful hip hop and slam poets will be returning to the school to inspire the poet and the educator in all of us. He will be at the school hall on Wednesday 27th March.
  • Year 11 Advanced English – Othello - all students will be travelling to the Seymour Centre in Chippendale on Friday 12 April to see a performance of their prescribed text for Module A: Narrative that shaped our world.
  • Year 12 Advanced English The Tempest – all students will be travelling to the Seymour Centre on Friday 4 May to see a performance of their prescribed text for Module A: Textual Conversations.

Parents should know that we value their support at home and appreciate the lengths to which they go when supporting their children with homework and assessment tasks. We ask that you encourage your children to complete their own work and if students are struggling, please let the class teacher know rather than completing parts for them. The staff are very willing to assist all students. I draw your attention to the unit that is completed by all students at the end of Year 10 called All My Own Work. I welcome phone calls to discuss any of your concerns.

Have a great year!

Ms B. Gurr

Head Teacher - English