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Not for ourselves alone

Curriculum 2023



What is the SACE?
Students who successfully complete their senior secondary education are awarded the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). The SACE is an internationally recognised qualification that paves the way for young people to move from school to work or further training and study and gain the skills they need for the future as citizens.

The SACE is based on two stages of achievement:

  • Stage 1 (normally undertaken in Year 11)
  • Stage 2 (normally undertaken in Year 12)

What are SACE subjects?
A full list, brief summaries and full Subject Outlines of SACE subjects are available from the SACE Board website:

How do students gain the SACE?
Students can gain the SACE in the equivalent of two years of full-time study. For most students, this is spread over three years, commencing with the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) in Year 10.

Stage 1 is completed by most students by the end of Year 11, while Stage 2 is completed by most students by the end of Year 12. Some students elect to return to school for Year 13 to complete the requirements of the SACE.

Each subject or course that is completed earns credits towards the SACE. Students require a minimum of 200 credits to gain the certificate.

Students receive a grade, from A+ to E-, for each subject. For compulsory subjects, students need to achieve a C- grade or better.

Compulsory subjects requiring C grades include:

  • Personal Learning Plan - 10 credits at Stage 1
  • Literacy – 20 credits (two semesters) from a range of Stage 1 English subjects or courses
  • Numeracy – 10 credits (one semester) from a range of Stage 1 Mathematics subjects or courses
  • Research Project – 10 credits for an in-depth major investigation at the Stage 2 level
  • Other Stage 2 subjects totalling at least 60 credits

The remaining 90 credits may be gained through additional Stage 1 or Stage 2 subjects or SACE Board recognised courses.

What is the Personal Learning Plan?
The Personal Learning Plan is a compulsory SACE subject gaining 10 credits and is normally undertaken in Year 10. It is compulsory for students to achieve a C grade or better.

The Personal Learning Plan helps students to:

  • Identify and research career paths and options, including further education, training and work
  • Choose appropriate SACE subjects and courses based on plans for future work and study
  • Consider subjects and courses available in and beyond school
  • Gain an understanding of the SACE Capabilities that underpin all Stage 1 and 2 subjects
  • Gain skills for future employment
  • Identify their goals and plans for improvement
  • Review and adjust plans to achieve their goals.

What is the Research Project?
The Research Project is a compulsory Stage 2 SACE subject gaining 10 credits. It is compulsory for students to achieve a C- grade or better.

Students investigate a topic or a question that they are interested in, whether it be a scientific study, an art project or even a project in the local community.  They develop a question as a focus for their investigation, which they then research using a research framework. Students will commence the Research Project in Semester 2 of Year 11.

What is VET, and how can I do it?
VET is an acronym Vocational Education and Training and provides students with skills for work, particularly in the trades and industry. Students are able to use VET courses to build pathways through the SACE while making significant progress towards completing VET qualifications.

To complete the SACE, students must achieve 200 SACE credits, 180 of which can be gained through VET courses. Depending on the course, students may be able to satisfy the literacy and numeracy requirements of the SACE. The remaining twenty credits are gained from the Personal Learning Plan (10 credits) and the Research Project (10 credits).

The recognition arrangements for VET in the SACE include completed or partially completed qualifications.

Students are able to earn 5 SACE credits for successfully completing 35 hours of VET and 10 SACE Credits for 70 hours. The SACE Board will decide whether the SACE credits earned for a particular VET qualification will be recognised at Stage 1 or Stage 2. Students can refer to the VET Recognition Register for more information.

What is Community Learning?
Students can earn SACE credits for Community Learning in two ways.

  • Community Developed Programs
  • Self-directed Community Learning
Community Developed Programs include, for example, the Australian Music Examinations Board, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the SA Country Fire Service. Program details are updated as new information becomes available.

Self-directed Community Learning is gained through informal community activities such as coaching a sports team, being the primary carer of a family member, or leading an environmental project in the community. Students need to provide evidence of their learning for assessment so that the SACE Board can provide recognition and award SACE credits.

University and TAFE entry
TAFE SA recognises the SACE as meeting the entry requirements for most of its courses. It also considers a variety of other qualifications and experiences in its entry and selection processes.

Students who complete the SACE are eligible for University entry, provided they meet certain requirements. For University entry, students need to achieve 80 credits at Stage 2, including three Stage 2 subjects worth 20 credits each. The final Stage 2 credits can be gained in a variety of ways, as defined by the Universities. Universities may also specify required subjects for some of their courses.

Full details of University and TAFE entry requirements are included in the Tertiary Entrance Booklet, which is published by the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre.
Visit the SATAC website for more information:

Students with Disabilities
The SACE offers a range of Stage 1 and Stage 2 modified subjects to provide opportunities for students with disabilities to demonstrate their learning. Modified subjects are intended for students who have any of the following:

  • Severe multiple disabilities
  • Moderate to profound intellectual disability
  • Mild intellectual disability

For 2023, the following modified SACE subjects will be offered at Mount Barker High School:

  • Business Innovation
  • Creative Arts
  • Cross-Disciplinary Studies
  • English
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Languages other than English
  • Mathematics
  • Personal Learning Plan
  • Physical Education
    Research Project
  • Scientific Methods
  • Society and Culture

For further information, please contact Nicki Hacquoil, Senior Leader Inclusion, at the school.

SACE Planner and Checker
The SACE Planner and Checker is an online tool that allows students and teachers to plan and check enrolments towards the SACE.

A paper version of the SACE Board course planner can be downloaded from the SACE Board website.

Further information
Visit the SACE Board website