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...academic excellence 

For over a century, PLC Sydney has been a leader in girl’s education, empowering and nurturing independent and purposeful young women who are confident of their ability to make a difference in a changing world.

We are very proud of the regularly outstanding results in the Higher School Certificate, with more than half our students ranking in the top 10 percent in the state, and many of those are in the top one percent.  PLC Sydney consistently ranks in the top independent girls’ schools in Sydney. Our primary focus however is her actual learning. Curricula needs to provide a rich, broad and deep crasp of complex concepts and issues.

At PLC Sydney, we offers both NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and Cambridge Assessment International Education courses. 

Students in Year 7 follow a compulsory curriculum largely determined by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). with an increasing number of elective subjects introduced from Year 8 onwards, until Years 11 and 12, where the widest possible choice is made available.

All students study Christian Studies from Years 7–10.

In Years 7 and 8, students study courses mandated by the NSW Education Standards Authority.

These include:

  • English
  • Design and Technology
  • Geography
  • History (Year 8 only)
  • Languages – French or Chinese in Year 7
  • Languages – French or Chinese; plus one of Japanese, Italian or Latin (Year 8)
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
  • Science
  • Visual Arts

Students in Years 9 and 10 study a NSW Education Standards Authority program which includes:

The compulsory subjects:

  • Australian Geography
  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
  • Science

And 3 electives chosen from:

  • Commerce
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • French
  • Geography
  • History
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Chinese
  • Music
  • Philosophy and Belief
  • Physical Activity and Sports Science
  • Textiles Technology
  • Visual Arts
  • Vivid Text

In addition to the NESA subjects offered, Years 9 and 10 students are also offered the opportunity to study Cambridge Assessment International Education courses which are used to supplement learning. 

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) elective courses include: 

  • Computer Science 
  • Global Perspectives
  • History 
  • Physical Science

PLC Sydney offers the option of Cambridge International courses in Years 9 and 10 to supplement learning, in addition to the NSW Education Standards Authority courses. It also enables students to sit examinations in globally recognised courses.

Cambridge elective courses offered at PLC Sydney include:

  • Computer Science
  • Global Perspectives
  • History
  • Physical Science
  • AS Level General Studies (Year 11 course)

Students start their Cambridge studies in Year 9, with exams for most courses taking place near the end of Year 10. 

PLC Sydney also offers an additional course in Philosophy and Theology. The course is run in conjunction with Excelsia College Sydney and Regent College Canada. The course's main objective is to help our students 'make sense' of the world they live in. 

In Years 11 and 12 students are prepared for the NSW Higher School Certificate. The HSC is the traditional pre-tertiary qualification for entry into university for students across Australia.

There is a broad range of courses are offered through the HSC with NESA requiring students to study a minimum of 12 units of Year 11 (Preliminary Year) and 10 units in Year 12 (HSC Year). 

The English offered at PLC Sydney is either English Advanced, Standard or Extension courses. English as a Second Language is also available for students whose first language is not English.

Other courses available are:

  • Ancient History
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • Economics
  • Food Technology
  • Geography
  • Languages – Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin
  • Legal Studies
  • Mathematics – all levels
  • Modern History
  • Music (Course 1 and 2)
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
  • Community and Family Studies
  • Physics
  • Studies of Religion
  • Textiles and Design
  • Visual Arts

NB By 2024, PLC Sydney will introduce Cambridge ‘AS’ level studies to students in Year 11 and 'A' level courses in 2025 (i.e. Year 12). These will be offered alongside the HSC. 

We also run 3 one unit courses in Year 11 only.  They are:

  • Photography, Video and Digital Imaging
  • Computing Applications
  • Visual Design

Year 11 students are also able to complete the Cambridge 'A' level General Studies examinations. 

In Year 12 we also offer Extension subjects in:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • History
  • Music
  • All Languages

Higher education is changing rapidly. The increased demand for higher education means that there is more competition than ever before on all sides of the school-university-student ledger. The potential pathways and career options available to students are very different to those of even ten years ago. However with more students comes more competition for the most attractive courses and universities. 

The traditional method for entering an Australian University in NSW has been to achieve a HSC mark. 

Until recently most Australian tertiary institutions used the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) as the means by which to select students into their courses. The ATAR is calculated based on students’ HSC results. However over the last few years, tertiary institutions are now choosing to look more broadly than just a ranking score when selecting students for places at their institutions.

Increasingly, Australian Universities are now moving towards a model, similar to systems that are operating overseas where tertiary institutions want more:  

  • A very good final mark – or school-based estimate* 
  • Consistent academic results from Years 9-12 
  • A strong co-curricular program from Years 9-12 
  • Service to the community 
  • Evidence of good character 

Macquarie University, for example, provided places for 85% of its students in 2017 outside of the direct ATAR-based system. They have early entry programs that rely on school based estimates of academic work, and a portfolio.

Programs such as CAP (Australian Catholic University’s Community Achiever Program) which recognises a student’s participation in her community and Macquarie University’s Leaders and Achievers Program which recognises a student’s leadership and co-curricular participation as well as Year 11 academic results, have provided reassurance and reduce pressure on students as they prepare for the HSC exams. 

In 2020, 30% of PLC Sydney Year 12 students went into their HSC exams having already received offers into the university courses of their choice. 

What is the PLC Sydney Portfolio? 

The PLC Sydney Portfolio plays an important part in this new world order. 

As you all know PLC Sydney provides a comprehensive education, catering for student’s individual strengths and interests. Students are encouraged to nurture and pursue their individual talents. We offer a rich academic program supported by a very strong cultural, sporting and co-curricular framework, having one of the most extensive ranges of co-curricular activities available with more than 50 co-curricular activities offered in Senior School. 

Key elements of the portfolio include:

Marks from assessments • Marks for exams • External extension and enrichment reports • NAPLAN • Teacher comment • Box and whiskers • Median • A-E grade • Top twenty percent placings • Transferable skills • Learning Virtues • Graph of progress for each subject • Pastoral comments • Aptitudes • Attitudes

  • Attendance
  • Awards and Certificates
  • Discipline
  • Cambridge A levels - supplementing the HSC
  • Sports / Co-curricular activities
  • Service Learning participation
  • Leadership positions held
  • Feedback included from both students and teachers (be that marks, grades, video etc)

The PLC Sydney Portfolio is a way of recognising each student’s strengths and interests and supporting our student’s early entry into the tertiary institution and course of their choice. 

PLC Sydney is renowned for its dedicated special education program that helps develop the academic, independent living and social skills of Year 7 to 12 girls with mild or moderate intellectual disabilities. 

Click here to find our more about The Transition Program


For further information about the Transition Program, please contact: 

Ms Anna O'Brien
Transition Program Co-ordinator
T (+612) 9704 5690

...more than half our students ranking in the top 10 percent in the state, and many of those are in the top one percent.