Subject Choice

Downlands offers the broadest curriculum on the Darling Downs, which then provides the widest choice after secondary school.

By supporting both apprenticeship and university pathways, the College caters for everyone, including siblings with different strengths and abilities. As school should be a place to learn about life, our coeducational school reflects the world in which we live. 

Curriculum choices

Our approach promotes learning excellence and encourages students to integrate faith with life and to develop a love of learning.

We engage students in learning processes that will help them to strengthen their learning gifts, talents and abilities. As part of the Digital Downlands Program, each student is provided with a Dell Ultrabook, a laptop/tablet combined, to enhance learning in a digital environment and support his or her individual learning journey. The allocation of this is covered by the Technology Levy and your child keeps the computer over the holidays.

The school curriculum is aligned to state and national requirements.

Click to view current Curriculum Handbooks

 

Excellent teachers

Our teaching staff genuinely know your children and the College is small enough to cater for each child’s individual needs, with their progress regularly communicated to parents. Teachers also provide tutoring and regular feedback on pupils’ assignments drafts.

Our teachers often go above and beyond to enable students to take opportunities offered outside the school environment.

Junior School

After the successful introduction and continued success of Years 5 & 6 at Downlands, the College is delighted to welcome Year 4 students in 2019. 

Downlands Junior School students will be based in the spacious, newly renovated Junior School Precinct in Mooney Wing.

The growth of the Downlands Junior School means that our education team has grown and we are delighted to introduce the new staff members joining us in 2019. We are extremely fortunate to have secured the services of a wonderfully diverse group of passionate educators.

Year 4 – Mrs Kara Locke
Kara has been teaching for 26 years in a range of educational contexts within Education Queensland. Her strengths and experience lie firmly in the Middle Primary years and in providing students with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to create a springboard for future learning success in their later years of schooling. Kara is passionate about cultivating positive parent partnerships and establishing an engaging and rigorous classroom culture which promotes students' self-discipline, organisational skills, resilience and care for each other.

Year 6 – Mr Michael West
Michael has a Diploma of Teaching Primary and a Bachelor of Education and comes to Downlands with over 16 years teaching experience in Catholic Education throughout the Toowoomba Diocese. Michael has a wealth of life experience embedded in his teaching to support students to grow, not only academically, but also personally, culturally, spiritually and socially. Michael has a great deal of experience teaching in the Middle to Upper Primary year levels. His teaching philosophy is centred around building positive relationships with his students, their parents and the wider school community. Michael has a long history in both school and club rugby coaching. He is very keen to be a part of our vibrant, exciting and evolving Junior School and will be a wonderful asset.

Learning Support Teacher – Ms Mary Green
Mary comes to Downlands from All Hallows School where she served as Head of Department for Learning Support and Enrichment in Years 5 to 12. She has a diverse teaching background and has taught in New Zealand, Taiwan, New South Wales and Victoria. Mary’s work history reveals an enthusiastic and experienced educator in the field of Inclusive Education, providing students with innovative opportunities to achieve, learn and grow. Mary also possesses a passion for literacy and her skill set as a Teacher-Librarian will be a great asset to the Downlands Junior School.

Teacher of Years 4 to 6 – Ms Rosanne Pietsch (Music and Drama Specialist)
Rosanne has 15 years classroom teaching experience in both Queensland and New South Wales. She has taught at a number of different schools including St Ignatius College in Sydney and Loreto College in Brisbane. Most recently, Rosanne has enjoyed being the Flute Tutor in the Downlands College Music Immersion Program and conducting the Years 5 and 6 Immersion Band. This follows on from 2017 where Rosanne completed a year-long contract at Downlands teaching students from Year 5 through to Year 12. Rosanne has a Master of Education and brings with her a wealth of real-world experiences which can only enhance the teaching and learning culture of the Downlands Junior School.

On behalf of the students and staff of Downlands College we extend a warm welcome to all members of the Junior School team. 

Downlands Junior School - Staff Structure

  • Learning Support Teacher – Ms Mary Green
  • Teacher of Years 4 to 6 (Music and Drama Specialist) – Ms Rosanne Pietsch
  • Year 4 Blue – Mrs Kara Locke
  • Year 4/5 Red – Mrs Leigh Lucht (Curriculum Team Leader)
  • Year 5 Blue – Miss Katelyn Hannah
  • Year 6 Red – Mr Michael West
  • Year 6 Blue – Mr Keith Blaikie (Junior School Team Leader)

 We look forward to another fantastic year in 2019.

 

Middle School

The Years 7 – 10 curriculum program at Downlands College is also known as the ‘Middle School’ curriculum program.


In these very important years of secondary school, Downlands College aims to provide all students with a quality curriculum which is brought to life in classrooms and beyond by contemporary approaches to learning and teaching.

How are the units of study in Years 7 – 10 organised?


The Middle School Curriculum program is based on the Australian Curriculum and the Queensland Essential Learnings. It involves units of study organised into Downlands College learning areas.

The Downlands College learning areas in Years 7 – 10 are as follows:

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Humanities including History and Geography
  • Languages
  • The Arts
  • Technology
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Agricultural Education
  • Business Studies

Details of the specific units of study are set out in Units of Study section of the Years 7 - 10 Curriculum Handbook.

 
Encouraging students to develop a love of learning, as well as promoting student success at learning are central to the Middle School curriculum program. At Downlands College, the concept of success is recognised in broad terms and in such a way as to build the academic strengths of all students. In essence, our aim is to engage students in learning processes which will help them to strengthen their learning gifts, talents and abilities.

The Downlands College Years 7 - 10 curriculum program is aligned to state and national developments in curriculum and it is therefore both relevant and current to today’s adolescent learner. Our program reflects both a breadth and depth of learning and it prepares students well for study in Years 11 and 12 and beyond.

The Years 7 - 10 Curriculum Handbook outlines information which explains how the curriculum is organised and provides advice on how students and parents/carers can work in partnership with the school to plan a well-rounded and success-oriented curriculum experience for all students.

  • Throughout these years of secondary schooling, the Middle School curriculum program aims to:
  • implement the Australian Curriculum and the Queensland Essential Learnings
  • infuse teaching and learning with our MSC Pedagogy of the Heart and Habits of Mind
  • promote and acknowledge academic excellence
  • encourage all students to achieve to the very best of their ability
  • continuously improve assessment and reporting processes
  • embed Information Communication and Technologies (ICTs) in all learning areas
  • regularly monitor and report on individual student academic progress
  • allow students to have some choice in the design of their specific curriculum program
  • adequately prepare students for transition into the Senior years of schooling.

How is the Years 7 – 10 curriculum program structured across semesters?

 
The Middle School Curriculum Program spans eight semesters of study and extends from the beginning of Year 7 until the end of Year 10. Each semester, students experience a selection of units of study across a number of learning areas. 

What is the length of a unit of study in Years 7 – 10?

 
For each semester of study across Years 7 – 10, the typical student curriculum program involves the study of seven units of study. Most Years 7 – 10 units of study are one semester (two terms) in length, with the exception of Year 7 units of study in Technology and The Arts, which are one term in length.

Please note that adjustments to the typical student workload can be made for students with learning difficulties, for gifted and talented students, and for other circumstances particular to the needs of an individual student. Variations to a typical student workload should be discussed with the Deputy Principal – Teaching and Learning.

 

 

Senior School

Years 11 and 12


The needs of the individual are at the centre of the Senior Curriculum. Downlands aims to help students strive for the highest level of achievement in learning of which they are capable. While excellence can be seen as an absolute, there is a relative level at which individuals should be challenged to perform excellently with their respective talents. We encourage all students to attain this level. Serious study is stressed, as well as critical thinking and openness to religious values.

The typical student workload for students in Years 11 and 12 at Downlands College is six subjects. All students must enrol in a Religious Education, English and Mathematics subject. In addition to studying these subjects, students at Downlands College are required to select three other subjects.

Careers & Learning Pathways

There are an infinite number of pathways for careers in the 21st century.


The workplace of the future requires workers with ever-changing skills, necessitating individuals to be motivated and prepared to become life-long learners. No longer will students necessarily have a direct route to further study or remain in one position in the workplace. To this end, Career Education and Vocational Education and Training (VET) specifically empowers Year 11 and 12 students as they transition from school to the many possible pathways through work, travel and further studies. 

Careers Education


Years 10, 11 and 12 students work towards having a better understanding of the many choices available to them and are guided towards being able to make proactive decisions relating to their career development. Year 10 students implement their Senior Education and Training (SET) Plan aided by their Personal Development teacher. All Year 11 and 12 students have a dedicated Career Education class with the College Careers Counsellor where they investigate, explore and are empowered to plot their transition to beyond their secondary schooling. These opportunities culminate in students being able to achieve one QCE credit point in this QSA Subject - Career Development Studies.

Click here to download the SET Plan brochure. 

Vocational Education and Training (VET) offered by Downlands College RTO 30039

Recognised VET programs cater for a broader range of student learning styles. These subjects have nationally recognised certificates, potentially opening up a range of post-school further education, training and employment possibilities and, therefore, fostering life-long learning. Students have the opportunity to gain entry level qualifications to many related traineeships and apprenticeships, affording students a head start towards gaining valuable qualifications. Research consistently reveals a strong relationship between levels of formal schooling and later involvement in further education.

Click here to read the VET Student Handbook 2016 

Other Available Vocational Education


A number of other vocational opportunities are available to students at the College. Downlands fosters a close liaison with many other public and private training providers along with TAFE, Australian Agricultural Colleges, Rural Industry Training and Education (RITE), QUT and the University of Southern Queensland. Students undertake units available, depending on their areas of interest e.g. TAFE units: Hairdressing, Photography, Nursing and university courses e.g. Mathematics, Accounting, Law subjects. 

School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships


Students undertake training with an employer in a structured traineeship or apprenticeship, usually working with the employer one day per week and accessing training, either at the workplace, through subjects at the College, or with a training provider such as TAFE. A Certificate II traineeship or the first year of a Certificate III apprenticeship may be completed during Years 10, 11 and 12, while students work towards their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).

This "hands on" approach is encouraged for both OP bound and non-OP students as an opportunity to develop a strong work ethic and gain recognition for applied work skills and also to fine tune options, network with the business community and for their own personal growth.

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships are available in over 600 different areas and are limited only by the availability of placement with an employer and a suitable training provider.

To date, areas have included: Audio Visual, Automotive – vehicle servicing, Automotive – spare parts, Bakery, Butchery, Cabinet Making, Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Computer Technology, Electro-technology, Hairdressing, Horticulture, Hospitality – food and beverage service, Office Administration, Real Estate, Refrigeration, Retail and Veterinary, just to name a few. 

Industry Partnerships


This year, Downlands College is proud and pleased to be both a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and Gateway to Agribusiness school. Involvement in these partnerships brings significant benefits and opportunities for students and staff at the College. The QMEA hosts workshops and develops relationships between the Energy and Resources sector and its member schools. The Gateway to Agribusiness partnership offers similar Agribusiness-related activities to its member schools. 

Industry Placement


Industry placement is available to students studying Vocational Education subjects. Students are monitored and trained on up to a ten day placement in an area of employment that interests them. Experience, business contacts and the possibility of referees are some of the positive outcomes. 

Work Experience


Work experience is actively encouraged during Years 10 to 12 and students may take part in work experience during their holidays or during suitable school hours, as coordinated by the College.

As part of their SET Planning process, Year 10 students have a dedicated week to undertake work experience in a vast array of work sites. This experience gives students insight into career options for themselves, often clarifying areas of interest for further pursuit, and also opening doors for school-based traineeships and apprenticeships.