Academic Program

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As a fully selective high school, Perth Modern School provides rigorous stimuli for students across a range of curricular areas. Additionally, programs are in place to further intellectually stimulate and challenge our gifted students. This section of the website gives additional information about these programs together with information about curriculum areas.

More information is available in our Fact Sheets:

Students are taught under the principles of Gifted and Talented education, in which the curriculum is differentiated to cater for the needs of gifted students. This is done so that they may fulfil their potential through opportunities to direct, manage and negotiate their own learning, both as group members and as individuals within the classroom. The curriculum is differentiated on the basis of acceleration, extension and enrichment.


Perth Modern School’s purpose is to nurture a love of learning in order to develop academically gifted and talented students enabling them to reach their full academic potential. We aspire to develop engaged, creative, independent lifelong learners who will be contributing and responsible members of the global community.

The Perth Modern School experience reflects both an exceptional academic outcome and exceptional ‘rounded’ experience in a co-educational environment. Students can be confident they are involved in the highest quality teaching and learning environment with a cohort of like-minded peers. Additionally, students enjoy a wide variety of co-curricular opportunities through music, sport, clubs and tours.

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Acceleration refers to an advanced pace of learning which enables students to learn at a level corresponding to their ability and matched to the speed at which they learn. Different forms of acceleration include:

  • curriculum compaction,
  • advanced placement by subject,
  • advanced placement by year.

Each of these is not an end in itself; an appropriately challenging curriculum for the student is the goal.

Curriculum Compaction:

Curriculum compaction is a process used to streamline the regular curriculum. By rationalising the syllabus, time can be allocated for extension and enrichment that suits the learner’s level of mastery, interests and learning preferences. The traditional Year 8 to 10 curriculum is compacted for the provision of extension and enrichment. Curriculum compaction also allows students the opportunity for advanced placement by subject or by year.

Advanced Placement by Subject:

This occurs when a student takes a single subject, or a limited range of subjects, one or two years earlier. This will typically occur when individual Year 10 students choose to study Year 11 courses in place of the Year 10 equivalent subject.

Advanced Placement by Year:

This occurs when students progress through schooling at least one full year ahead of their age peers.

Accessing Advanced Placement:

Whilst the school will never insist that any child should access advanced placement, the school may make recommendations to parents based on subject results and teacher observations. The decision to accelerate a student by subject will be based on consultation with the parent, and recommendations from the child’s teacher and the Head of Learning Area. In the case of advanced placement by year, opinions will also be sought from the School Psychologist and the Manager of Student Services. The recommendation will be made by the Associate Principal. Parents who wish their child to be considered for advanced placement should contact the school to make an appointment with the Associate Principal.


Enrichment broadens the range of experiences for all students, and encourages expansion of knowledge and skills in the regular teaching and learning program. It enables gifted and talented students to participate in learning based on their own performance and skills. Enrichment activities include:

  • Clubs and competitions
  • Excursions and guest speakers
  • Hands-on experiences
  • Use of Information Communication Technology (ICT).


Extension deepens the understanding of students in a particular subject area, and also encourages expansion of knowledge. Extension activities include:

  • clubs and competitions,
  • excursions and guest speakers,
  • university extension studies,
  • use of mentors.

The recognition that students should proceed at their own rate and at their respective ability is an important aspect of sequential learning. Individual students at Perth Modern School are encouraged to progress academically at a rate consistent with their abilities, needs and interests. We encourage parents to work closely with students when selecting their courses. We endeavour to ensure that students will be able to select courses appropriate to their interests, abilities and needs, and that all will find satisfaction in their schooling. A Curriculum Handbook designed to provide students, parents and staff with information about the range of courses offered at Perth Modern School is available for each year group. Curriculum Handbooks designed to provide students, parents and staff with information about the range of courses offered at Perth Modern School is available for both the Middle Years and Senior Years. The relevant handbooks are issued to students before they make academic selections for the following year and are available on this website.

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Mod Curriculum

At Perth Modern School the curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for students intending to progress to tertiary studies. Teaching and learning programs reflect the expectation that our highly able students have the ability and desire to be challenged through a broad education.

Our curriculum encompasses:

  • High expectations for all students
  • Gifted and talented teaching and learning principles
  • Curriculum which is differentiated, compacted and accelerated
  • Appropriate challenge
  • Deep core learning
  • Breadth
  • Learning beyond the classroom
  • Personalised learning opportunities
  • Co-curricular opportunities
  • Support for all students
  • Personal development

Our Advocacy program will continue to contribute to the well being and well-rounded growth and support of our students through emphasis on social and emotional well being. Advocacy will add to the curriculum through developing effective organisational skills, interpersonal relationships and an appreciation of the value of community service and ‘giving back’. School spirit and connection will be advanced through participation in House activities and whole school events. Students in the Middle Years will participate in camps to develop relationships, health and wellness and leadership skills. Special Advocacy groups will be formed for students involved in the Student Council and students interested in sustainability.


Central to the Perth Modern School experience is our renowned music program. Perth Modern School has an international reputation for excellence in performance and music studies. Over 500 Music students take part in a dynamic, classically-based program and are taught by highly skilled musicians. Individuals will continue to benefit from working with like-minded students who are passionate about music. Students will also have every opportunity to grow their skills through performance in a range of choirs, orchestras and ensembles. Our choirs, orchestras and ensembles perform publicly at major cultural events. Every third year, our music students have the opportunity to travel to an overseas music festival and to visit other centres of music excellence.


The Co-curricular Sport program caters for students at all levels and is highly valued for its contribution to the development of the whole child. Students may participate in a variety of before and after school activities and day carnivals. A wide range of sporting opportunities will continue to be available for inter-school sport competitions with the following sports having a very strong record of participation and success: swimming, volleyball, tennis, basketball, netball, badminton, soccer, cricket, rowing, AFL and athletics. A strong club culture complements the sport program by giving students the opportunity to participate in table tennis, boot camp, sailing, fencing, rowing and other recreational activities.*Clubs can vary from year to year

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Core Philosophy: Engage students in the love of learning

The Middle Years’ curriculum focuses on providing opportunities for students in a broad range of areas so they may explore their strengths and passions and demonstrate their personal best. The focus is on developing all aspects of our students through breadth and depth within and beyond the classroom. The curriculum is compacted, extended and enriched. Within this framework, students will have opportunities for acceleration by subject or by year. Self-esteem and confidence will be developed through challenge and achievement. Students will explore ‘Who am I?’, ‘What are my strengths and challenges?’, ‘How do I relate to others?’ and ‘Where do I fit into the world?’.

Specifically the curriculum will embed:

  • Year 7: Sense of Belonging: To Feel part of the Perth Modern community.
  • Year 8: Sense of Engagement: To explore sources of interest and passion.
  • Year 9: Sense of Self: To appreciate different values and perspectives.

Typically, students in Year 7 will follow a set timetable including Music and will rotate through various subjects in Arts and Technologies. In Year 7 students select a language from Chinese, Italian, French and Japanese which they continue with in Year 8. They may choose to continue with the Language from Year 9. Optional School Clubs are also offered in a wide range of areas. The Clubs take place before or after school and provide a fun basis for students to engage in an area of interest. In Years 8–9 students may choose to continue with class level or the specialist extension music program. As part of the music program, students will participate in choirs, orchestras and bands.


Fundamental to the Middle Years’ curriculum is the Apprenticeship in Thinking. In contemporary educational thinking, the teaching of innovation is considered increasingly important in a rapidly changing world. The Australian Curriculum and its General Capabilities emphasise creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving as well as communication and collaboration. Cultivating these 21st Century learning skills is the cornerstone of our Apprenticeship in Thinking in the Middle Years. A key aim is the teaching of structured visible thinking, particularly through the integration of the philosophical Community of Inquiry, Thinking Routines, and Habits of Mind. We believe that thinking involves the structured learning of a skill set and the appropriate habits or dispositions for thinking.

The Apprenticeship in Thinking links directly to key principles of Gifted and Talented best practice. It engages students conceptually in real world issues. It differentiates learning in accordance with each student’s interests by providing opportunity for choice. It extends the learning experience by its emphasis on analysis, evaluation and synthesis, which are the phases of higher-order thinking that must be used in the process of researching, problem-solving, and the planning and presenting of innovative solutions and ideas to an audience. In this way, students at Perth Modern School are given the opportunity to develop important learning skills for the 21st Century, as captured in the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum.


Core Philosophy: Achievement

The Senior Years’ curriculum provides opportunities for successful outcomes for students so they may reach their post-school goals. Fundamental to Senior School is the young adult ethos which fosters independence, individual and social responsibility and the achievement of personal best. Opportunities to develop a broad portfolio which enhances post-school options are encouraged through a commitment to co-curricular experiences and community service. Students at Perth Modern School complete many hours of community service through Youth Ambassadors and the Booster Club. Students have the opportunity to develop global understandings through co-curricular activities and extensive international tours.

The curriculum provides opportunities for choice through individual pathways. Students may choose to accelerate by course or year to meet their study goals. Students are encouraged to explore breadth as well as depth with a requirement from Year 10 for courses to represent a balance of both List 1 and List 2 Courses, based on West Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) requirements.

As a core initiative, Year 10 students will complete 14 semester-long courses, seven in each semester. This allows students to mix and match courses for an individually-mapped program. Students will study as a minimum, two semesters of English and one semester each of Mathematics, Social Science, Science and Physical Education at Year 10 or Year 11 levels. Students may make up the remainder of the program with Year 10 level courses or a mix of Year 10–11 courses. The Year 10 program allows students to specialise in areas of interest at a level for which they are ready. Students studying a Year 11 course will make this choice for the whole year.

In Years 11–12 students will have seven course choices. Year 11 students will do a minimum of six year-long WACE courses, plus one additional WACE or recreation course. Year 12 students will complete a minimum of five year-long courses, plus one (minimum) or two additional WACE courses or one semester of recreation or private study.

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Exceptional schooling. Exceptional students.


We believe learning extends beyond the classroom. Students are encouraged to participate in school life through involvement in co-curricular activities. The School runs a variety of *Clubs which students are invited to become involved. Aeronautics, Art, Badminton, Breakdance, Cake Decorating, Cheerleading, Chess, Coder Dojo, Coding for Girls (Years 7-9), Community Service (Youth Ambassadors), Design and Technology, Drama, Engineering, Food, Future Problem Solving, Gardening, Homework Club, Human Trajectories, Mathematics Club, Robotics, Space, Sustainability and Technology, Titration Stakes and Tournament of Minds *Clubs can vary from year to year


Art Exhibitions (various), Australasian Intermediate Maths Olympiad, Australasian Maths Olympiad, Australasian Maths Olympiad Committee, Australasian Problem Solving Maths Olympiad, Australian Brain Bee, Australian Geographic, Beijing Youth Science Competition, Big Science Competition, Black Swan Portraiture, Book in a Day, City of Subiaco Art Awards, Dorothea McKellar Poetry, F1 in Schools, Have Sum Fun, Have Sum Fun Online, ICAS Science, Maths, English, Computing, Karen W Treanor Youth Awards (Poetry), Make Your Own Story Book, Maths Challenge, Maths Talent Quest, Mock Trial, National Chemistry Quiz, National History Challenge, National Young Writers awards, OzCLO Linguistic Competition, Perspectives, Photography (various), Python Competition, Science Café, Science IQ, SCRAM, Sleek Geeks, Tim Winton Award for Young Writers, Tournament of Minds, UNSW Australian Economics and Business Studies Competitions, UNYouth Evatt Trophy, UNYouth Voice, WA Debating League–Junior, WA Debating League – Senior, West Australian Junior Olympiad, Write4Fun and Youth on Health


Chamber Ensembles–Wind and String, Choir–Boys, Choir–Girls, Choir–Mixed, Classical Guitar Ensembles, Jazz Band, Junior and Senior Orchestra, String Orchestra and Wind Band


Accounting and Finance, Ancient History, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Chinese Background, Chinese: Second Language, Design–Photography, Drama, Economics, English, Food Science, French: Second Language, Geography, Human Biology, Italian: Second Language, Japanese: Second Language, Literature, Mathematics Applications, Mathematics Methods, Mathematics Specialist, Modern History, Music, Philosophy and Ethics, Physical Education Studies, Physics, Politics and Law, Psychology and Visual Art.


AFL– Boys and Girls, Archery, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Boot Camp, Cricket, Cross Country, Dance, Fencing, Hockey, House Athletics Carnival, House Beach Carnival, House Swimming Carnival, Jazz Dance, Lightning Carnivals Years 8–10, Netball – Boys and Girls, Rowing, Rugby, Sailing, Soccer, SSWA Athletics, SSWA Swimming, SSWA Triathlons, Super 8 Cricket, Swimming club, Table Tennis, Tennis, Touch Rugby, Volleyball and Yoga


Chinese Background, Chinese Heritage, French, Italian and Japanese


Aquatic Recreation, Design and Technology, Digital Technologies, Drama, Visual Arts, Food Technologies, Music–Class or Extension, Design–Photography, Physical Recreation, Practical Engineering, Sports Challenge and Specialised Sport–netball/soccer


Canberra Tour (Year 9), Netball Camp, Swimming Camp and Whole Year Camps (Years 7–9)


May not run every year

Arts and Technology, Chinese Language, European History, French Language, Italian Language, Japanese Language, Music (every third year), NASA Space Camp, New York Arts Tour, NIDA Drama Tour, Photography Camp, Volleyball – Melbourne, Ski Trip and World Expedition


Perth Modern School has several long-running partnerships with a number of community institutions including the Telethon Kids Institute and Scitech. Curriculum and research links have also been established with Subiaco Council, Chevron, the University of Western Australia, WA Youth Theatre Co, the Ear Institute, Harry Perkins Institute, Thinking Science Australia, Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. Perth Modern School has established sister school relationships with Liceo Guglielmo Marconi in Parma, Italy and with six Middle Schools in Akishima, Japan.


Euler Enrichment Series, Gauss Enrichment Series, IGGY membership, Noether Enrichment Series, Polya Enrichment Series, Thinking Science Australia, Skills Week, Keys for Life–Driver Education, Employment Advantage, CCI Forum, Health Expo, Mini Science Conference UWA, National Youth Science Forum, Premier’s ANZAC tour, RAC BStreetSmart, Thinking Convention, UNYouth State and UNYouth Young Leaders