Note: Some parts of the Academic Programme detailed within are subject to change due to possible changes to government requirements and as a result of internal reflection and quality management.


The isolation of Timbertop, life in Units and the outdoors programme stand out in the minds of students and anyone who has heard much about Timbertop. Whilst the outdoors programme dominates weekends in Terms 1 and 4 and some other occasions, for five days a week students are involved in a full Year 9 academic programme with a timetable much like any other school. The only real difference is that at Timbertop, they do not have weekends on the same days as most people. For most of the year, weekends are Wednesday and Thursday, and Saturday and Sunday are normal teaching days. The reason for this is that Saturday and Sunday are busy times with bushwalking clubs and other visitors to the area, and so Timbertop changes the order of the week to avoid these busy and congested times.

The Academic Programme is a full one and very much a prime focus of the School in order to send students to Senior School at Corio thoroughly prepared for their Year 10 studies.

Where students have significant prior learning, contact should be made with the Academic Office to discuss appropriate subject choices. 

Regular contact with parents is maintained by telephone or email through the Head of Unit. In addition, the following reports are made available to parents over the school year:
Term 1
- Interim Report and Head of Unit Report

Term 2
- Mid-term Progress Report
- Reports for each subject and Head of Unit Report

Term 3
- Mid-term Interim Report
- Interim Report

Term 4
- Mid-term Interim Report
- Reports for each subject and Head of Unit Report

In Year 9, formal assessment usually occurs twice each term and these grades are accessed through the Community Portal under Online Reports in addition to the reports at the end of each semester (for further information see the Website).


All students study English, Mathematics, Science, History (The Revolution that shaped the Modern World), the Study of Religion and Spirituality, Health and Physical Education, Outdoor Education and Positive Education.


Students choose five semester units from the following:
- Chinese (Mandarin), French, Japanese, or German, (subjects that must be taken in both semesters)
- Music, Geography, History (Heroes, Villains and Local Legends) (subjects that can be taken in one semester or both)
- Visual Arts or Agriculture and Land Management (subjects that can be taken for one semester only).


Academic Support is designed to cater for students with a diagnosed learning disability. It recognises the individual needs of the students at Timbertop. In order to cater for these needs, screening and diagnostic tests are conducted at the commencement of the school year. These tests assist in the identification of students who are either under-achieving academically or who have high intellectual potential and need to be challenged. The results are used in conjunction with teacher and parent recommendations. 

Catering for High Achievers
Timbertop recognises an inclusive definition of giftedness and encourages excellence in all of its forms of intellectual, academic and creative endeavour. Students who are identified as having high intellectual ability are offered a place in the Talented and Gifted programme. The team meets once a week for a two hour session. Students can participate in a variety of projects in areas as diverse as animation, dancing, creative writing, art, engineering, computer programming and music. The students are then encouraged to partake in an individual or group project. The projects chosen should be of benefit to the participants as well as the Timbertop community. The session provides the students with the opportunity to meet with like minds and to be stimulated by their intellectual peers.

High achievers in other co-curricular domains are given the opportunity to expand their talents, whether they be in physical pursuits, artistic endeavours or community activities. Open-ended programming allows for extension and enrichment to occur.

Academic Support Programme (ASP)
The Academic Support Programme is a subject offered to a small number of students who are in need of extra assistance in an English language-based subject and/or Mathematics. These students have been selected through diagnostic testing. This elective provides the necessary time for students to work on specific weaknesses identified by either themselves or one or more of their teachers. In addition to this, instruction may be given in: time management, involving the setting of short-term and long-term goals; organisation, incorporating the physical work environment; and study skills, involving strategies for effective study habits.

English Support Programme (ESP)
The English Support Programme is offered predominantly to a small group of students for whom English is a second language. This programme is run alongside other electives, and is primarily designed to supplement the core subject of English. The course focuses on improving and extending the four macro skill areas of comprehension, pronunciation, vocabulary, and oral and written communication. In addition, the course aims to consolidate and build on already existing English skills. These skills can then be transferred to any subject area that is English language-based. The programme provides opportunities for students to access assistance with comprehension of the day to day routines and expectations placed upon them by the Timbertop curriculum.



Drawing on the Timbertop experience, this course develops language and literacy skills.

Text Response: Through the study of short stories, novels, a Shakespeare play and a variety of poetry, students develop their understanding of writing and explore the importance of theme, setting, character and plot. Students learn to write literary analyses, focusing on the importance of clear structure, the use of close textual evidence and the development of relevant ideas. Wider reading is also fostered through daily reading time.

Oral Communication: Students extend skills and gain confidence by speaking and listening in a range of formal and informal contexts, including debates, discussions and oral presentations.

Grammar: Students are taught specific skills in the use of correct sentence structure, punctuation, spelling and the importance of drafting and proof-reading in the production of accurate written work.

1. Written (65%)
2. Oral (15%)
3. Classwork and Module (15%)
4. Grammar (5%)


The Mathematics course is based on the Year 9 Victorian Curriculum with the opportunity of added enrichment throughout the course of each topic. Throughout the year the students will consolidate and develop their numerical knowledge and work towards more complex applications in problem solving situations.  Creative learning activities will be embedded throughout with the students working both individually and collaboratively at times.

The course cover the following topics: 

• Calculate the areas of composite shapes
• Calculate the surface area and volume of cylinders and solve related problems

Pythagoras and trigonometry
• Investigate Pythagoras’ Theorem and its application to solving simple problems involving right angled triangles
• Apply trigonometry to solve right-angles triangle problems

Indices & Scientific Notation
• Apply index laws to numerical expressions with integer indices
• Express numbers in scientific notation

Linear Equations and Relations
• Solve linear equations algebraically including pronumerals on both sides of equals sign and bracket
• Solving problems with linear equations and transpose formulae and literal equations

Algebraic techniques
• Using pronumerals, simplifying algebraic expressions and fractions
• Expanding and factorising algebraic expressions
• Simplifying algebraic fractions –multiplication & division
• Applications of algebra

Linear relations
• Finding the distance and midpoint between two points located on a Cartesian plane using a range of strategies, including graphing software
• Sketch linear graphs using the coordinates of two points

Introduction to quadratic equations and graphs
• Graph simple non-linear relations with and without the use of digital technologies and solve simple related equations

Probability & Statistics
• Identify everyday questions and issues involving at least one numerical and at least one categorical variable, and collect data directly and from secondary sources
• Compare data displays using mean, median and range to describe and interpret numerical data sets in terms of location (centre) and spread
Foundation Mathematics students cover a modified version of these topics with an emphasis on basic operations and relation to real world situations. They also complete a ‘Money Matters’ Unit.
All students are required to learn, practise and apply mathematical skills and techniques, utilise knowledge within a problem-solving context and to communicate mathematical method and process in a clear and effective format. Generally mathematical method makes up 40% of each test or assignment mark.

1. Classwork and Module (20%)
2. Tests and Examinations (40%)
3. Self-directed Tasks (40%)


The course includes six main topics, which draw strongly on students to an appropriate balance of theoretical and practical learning methods.

Semester 1
The year begins with an introduction to “Science at Timbertop” that involves studies of wood boilers and the related concepts of heat transfer and move on to explore sound and light energy. The Light and Optics unit aims to develop students’ understanding of properties of light, including reflection and refraction. In ecology and biodiversity, the students learn about interdependence and the influence of living and non-living factors that create an environment. Students also study the flow of energy and matter in an ecosystem and the chemistry involved in photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Finally, the students consider the natural and human impacts that influence Australian ecosystems and conduct field work at Timbertop to evaluate habitat health on the property. 

Semester 2
The study of Chemistry at Timbertop builds on the students’ prior knowledge of the Periodic Table. It aims to strengthen students’ understanding of atomic structure and the relationships between element groups. This knowledge is applied, in particular, to an examination of ionic bonding and basic chemical reactions. The final topic of the year is centred on neurons and hormones. The students are introduced to the role of the nervous and endocrine systems in maintaining homeostasis and responding to stimuli. Further to this, the students learn about diseases and the role of the immune system in responding to disease. 

1. Classwork (20%)
2. Practical and Project Work (40%)
3. Tests (40%) 


The Study of Religion and Spirituality (SRS) at Geelong Grammar School has been developed to encourage both an objective and sympathetic study of religion and spirituality. In particular to look at the beliefs, practices and experience of the Christian faith. The Year 9 syllabus aims at deepening the students’ knowledge and appreciation of faith and spirituality in an Anglican context. Students are encouraged to assess the place of religion, spirituality and personal faith in the overall setting of the Timbertop year. In broad terms the academic studies for SRS are:

Term 1 Introduction to the Christian Faith, the Bible and Christian Denominations.
Term 2 Overview of prayer, in particular the Lord’s Prayer, and The “Search for the Jesus of History”.
Term 3 "The Da Vinci Code" Fact or Fiction? and Concepts of Grace and Forgiveness.
Term 4 An overview of World Religions and a study of the film “Amazing Grace” which looks at the abolition of slavery.

Formal assignments are regularly set in the Study of Religion and Spirituality.

1. Classwork and Module (30%)
2. Written Responses/Assignments (70%)


Health and Physical Education at Timbertop encompasses sport education, fitness testing and evaluation, running technique analysis, personal development issues including harm minimization, and basic human anatomy and physiology coupled with the body’s response to exercise. Students have four HPE lessons in a two week cycle with two of those lessons being practically based.

Over the course of the year students improve their co-ordination, fine and gross motor skills and their knowledge of game sense whilst participating in a broad range of activities. To further develop their physical capabilities we incorporate a range of exercises that enhance all areas of both skill-based and health-related fitness components. These activities include Waterpolo, Netball, Ultimate Frisbee, Lacrosse, Touch Football, Oztag and a range of modified games. 

The classroom-based health course begins with fitness testing and evaluation combined with the body’s response to exercise. In Term 2, the students learn about running technique which they then utilise in the Running Programme but also within an assessment piece in which they analyse a video of their own running technique. This is followed by students learning the basic anatomy and physiology of the various body systems. In Term 3 they look at how game sense coaching techniques are revolutionizing the way athletes are trained and then the students create an animated PowerPoint presentation showcasing this knowledge. Finally in Term 4, they begin to develop the skills to effectively deal with adversities, stress and decision making related to harm minimisation, using an online forum called Voicethread to answer a range of questions relating to the consumption of Alcohol in Australia. The subject exposes students to current information, a range of information technology and multimedia tools and resources, as well as the latest information and evidence in each topic.

1. Practical work (55%)
2. Assignments and Tests (25%)
3. Classwork and Module (20%)

HISTORY (Australian Curriculum) - The Revolution that Shaped the Modern World

The Australian Curriculum History course, ‘The Revolution that Shaped the Modern World (1750-1918)’ is compulsory for all students. In addition, an elective subject “Power in the 20th and 21st Centuries” is also offered. 

Both courses aim to impart knowledge and understanding, in addition to the development of skills used in the process of historical inquiry. Significant emphasis is placed upon independent study skills through the promotion of varied research methodologies. 

History aims both to interest and stimulate students, whilst developing the individual skills and responsibility required for the continuation of History in the senior years.

This subject provides a study of the history of the making of the modern world from 1750 to 1918. It was a period of industrialisation and rapid change in the ways people lived, worked and thought. It was an era of nationalism and imperialism, and the colonisation of Australia was part of the expansion of European power. Ultimately the significance of the First World War as the culmination of this changing world will be explored.

1. Essay (30%)
2. Source Analysis (20%)
2. Tests (30%)
3. Classwork and Module (20%)


In Term 1, the Timbertop ‘weekends’ commence with students camping out and learning the practical and theoretical skills that allows them to be safe, comfortable and to flourish in the outdoors. Their training culminates with a hike up Mt. Timbertop. The remainder of the term involves students developing their navigation and camp craft skills while undertaking increasingly challenging hikes. Students are also involved in an overnight solo experience that provides them with some time to reflect on their achievements so far in the term along with an opportunity to refresh for the remainder of Term 1. The term culminates in a 3 Day Hike where students choose their own hiking routes to test their skill and resilience levels.

In Term 2, students explore new terrain during a four day Unit-Based hike. This allows students to focus on the group dynamics of their unit and provides opportunities for individuals to demonstrate leadership. Another opportunity is provided this term for a solo experience with an increased period of time to reflect. A unit-based Rogaine competition, where units race each other to collect markers around campus and up on top of Mt. Timbertop, completes Semester 1 in the outdoors.

Semester 2 begins with students undertaking an overnight winter expedition on Mt. Stirling where they sleep in the GGS Hut. The adventure then progresses to a four day unit-based backcountry snow camping expedition on the Bogong High Plains. Term 3 culminates in a Mystery Hike competition in nearby bushland around Mt. Timbertop and the Howqua River.

The culmination of the skills and resilience students have developed in the first three terms is put to the test in Term 4. Students undertake a Unit-Based Walk, Canoe and Raft Programme, two Option Hikes in addition to a cryptic ‘Hunt for the Hermit’s Gold’ Hike. The students then finish their year in the outdoors with a Four Day Hike and then a Six Day Hike where they plan their own route and create their own hike notes to enable them to safely navigate their way through the Victorian High Country.   


Positive Education classes at Timbertop are taught throughout the year to all Year 9 students. The scope and sequence of the subject scaffolds the ten Resilience skills with the six pillars for living a Flourishing life. These founding principles are: Positive Purpose, Positive Emotions, Positive Accomplishment, Positive Health, Positive Relationships, and Positive Meaning. Students discover their Character Strengths that they most frequently use which in turn increases their self-awareness. Students also focus on the skills necessary to improve some or all of the resilience competencies. Students gain a conceptual understanding in these classes, but importantly practise the application of these skills with their Unit and Head of Unit during Pastoral Positive Education sessions. The knowledge and understanding of these skills is assessed at the end of Term 4, ensuring students are able to recall and apply the skills later in life when required. This is part of their preparation as they move to Senior School and life beyond.
This is not a formally assessed subject and there is no official written report.


Students choose five semester units. Some subjects, if chosen, must be done for both semesters, other subjects can be done in either or both semesters. It is important that students select subjects that are appropriately challenging whilst preparing them for Year 10 and beyond.


Either Semester
The Timbertop campus is set on 325 hectares, approximately 200 hectares of which is farming land. It is well-suited to provide students with an exciting introduction to a diverse range of agricultural studies. Students develop their theoretical knowledge and practical skills by their involvement with the School’s Murray Grey beef cattle, prime lamb enterprise and the vineyard producing Merlot and Nebbiolo grapes for Timbertop wine production at the Delatite Winery; and other working aspects of the Timbertop farm.

Students are offered one semester to study these sub-systems. Semester 1 is offered during Summer and Autumn and Semester 2 is offered during Winter and Spring, therefore, the fieldwork covered during a semester will vary, depending on the operations occurring during that season. In Semester 1 the students will study animal production including animal husbandry and reproduction and viticulture (establishing and maintaining a vineyard through to testing grapes and pruning vines). In Semester 2 the focus will be on animal husbandry, digestion and reproduction and pastures. This aims to optimise the use of all resources, including natural assets, labour and energy without contributing to environmental degradation. 

It is expected that over the year all students studying this elective, whatever their background, will be exposed to a range of practical skills, ethical decisions and problem-solving experiences in a unique environment. The subject places strong emphasis on practical learning with the students being given the opportunity to work in the field on every possible occasion. These lessons will be of value to them in all of their present and future studies.

1. Theory (40%)
2. Practical Skills (40%)
3. Classwork and Module (20%)


Chinese (Mandarin)
(This course is not suitable for First Language students)

The Chinese programme at Timbertop requires that students have had a minimum of 100 hours instruction in Mandarin Chinese throughout Year 7 and 8, in a school where a language other than Mandarin is the main language of instruction. They must be familiar with Pinyin, and must be able to recognise the 150 most commonly used Hanzi characters. Students with no prior knowledge of Chinese (Mandarin), unfortunately cannot be accommodated at Timbertop. Likewise, students with Chinese background or who are experienced users of the language are not suitable for this course, as it is designed for learners of Chinese as a foreign language. Those students who use Chinese as one of their main forms of communication, or have had more than one year in a school where Chinese is one of the main languages of instruction, cannot study Chinese in the Timbertop programme. They may pursue other avenues in Senior School that will cater for their advanced knowledge of the language.

Both Semesters
At Timbertop, students who elect to study Mandarin Chinese will continue to develop all four macro skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. By the end of the year, students will be able to comprehend short texts in Chinese related to the topics in the textbook. Students will be able to participate in simple conversations regarding everyday topics, and will be able to write more extended sentence patterns, structured paragraphs and small written pieces. Language learning will always be supported by social and cultural contexts.

1. Listening Skills (25%)
2. Reading Skills (25%)
3. Speaking Skills (25%)
4. Writing Skills (25%)


Both Semesters
The Timbertop French course is designed for students who have received at least two prior years of French instruction, thus equipping them with sound grammatical and vocabulary knowledge. It is a course in which students continue to develop the four macro skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing in order to gather information relevant to various situations in everyday life, both at Timbertop and generally. Major thematic topics include: The Timbertop programme and school life; the French-speaking world; holidays and leisure activities; as well as discussion of personal and physical attributes applying to themselves, family, and friends. Grammatically, the course instructs students in the use of pronouns, modal verbs, interrogation, negation, adjective placement and agreement, and different tenses including the present, near future, perfect and imperfect past tense, conditional and imperative. This is done by encouraging the students to consider English grammar in greater depth, and drawing parallels between the two languages. 

Classroom activities are varied and consist of role plays, small group conversations, and grammatical instruction, supplemented by games designed to encourage effective language acquisition. The course material is cumulative, and requires students to commit themselves to a consistent and efficient programme of study and revision.

By the end of the year, students are able to participate in everyday written and spoken French communication. The Timbertop course aims to foster an interest in the French language and to develop a level of proficiency therein that is appropriate for a smooth transition to senior-level French.

1. Listening Skills (25%)
2. Reading Skills (25%)
3. Speaking Skills (25%)
4. Writing Skills (25%)


Both Semesters
This course is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of the language, while making provision for those who are continuing from the Year 8 Middle School programme. This is an accelerated beginners’ course that allows students the opportunity to take up the language whilst preparing them well for future study in German. The course is particularly suited to students with proven linguistic ability. Students who have done the Year 8 Beginners’ course in German at Corio will enhance their knowledge through the more formalised approach in the Year 9 course, particularly regarding grammatical structures and usage. The course content is cumulative in nature and commitment from students in the consistent revision and building on the language is imperative.

The four macro skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed through the combined use of the Klasse 1! Textbook, its supplementary workbook and a collection of diverse activities and resources comprising various forms of media.   

Major topics include: family, school, hobbies and interests, food, shopping, around the home and around town. The course offers authentic models of spoken and written language and an insight into the culture of young German people. 

A combination of classroom activities such as, small group tasks, role-plays and games, reinforces the vocabulary and grammar instruction covered throughout the course. Classes are often divided into groups to target differing learning abilities, with groups working closely with the native language assistant in either remedial or extension tasks. By the end of the year, students are able to engage in everyday conversation, listen and read for specified items of information and write paragraphs of several linked sentences.

1. Listening Skills (25%)
2. Reading Skills (25%)
3. Speaking Skills (25%)
4. Writing Skills (25%)


Both Semesters
The Japanese programme at Timbertop requires that students have some prior knowledge of the language, in particular, both Hiragana and Katakana scripts. Students need to have received about 100 hours of tuition during Years 7 and 8 in order to attempt this course. Students who have no prior knowledge of Japanese, unfortunately, cannot be accommodated at Timbertop. During the Timbertop year, the four macro skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are given equal attention in class activities and assessment. Learning about the culture of Japan is an integral part of each topic covered. The topics studied include: talking about time, exchanging personal information, school routines, seasons and events.

Students regularly practise their conversation with the native language assistant, and develop these skills over the year with the aim of preparing students for the end of year oral test. The students will begin to accelerate their study of Japanese Kanji script in preparation for further studies at Senior School.

1. Listening Skills (25%)
2. Reading Skills (25%)
3. Speaking Skills (25%)
4. Writing Skills (25%)


Either or Both Semesters
There are two units of study, Biomes and food security and Geographies of interconnections.

Biomes and food security focuses on investigating the role of the biotic environment and its role in food and fibre production. This unit examines the biomes of the world, their alteration and significance as a source of food and fibre, and the environmental challenges and constraints on expanding food production in the future. These distinctive aspects of biomes, food production and food security are investigated using studies drawn from Australia and across the world.

Geographies of interconnections focuses on investigating how people, through their choices and actions, are connected to places throughout the world in a wide variety of ways, and how these connections help to make and change places and their environments. This unit examines the interconnections between people and places through the products people buy and the effects of their production on the places that make them. Students examine the ways that transport and information and communication technologies have made it possible for an increasing range of services to be provided internationally, and for people in isolated rural areas to connect to information, services and people in other places. These distinctive aspects of interconnection are investigated using studies drawn from Australia and across the world

1. Classwork and Module (25%)
2. Tests (25%)
3. Assignment (25%)
4. Field Report (25%)

HISTORY - Power in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Either semester
Elective History at Timbertop focuses on relevant social issues and the historical context in which they fit. The idea “What it is to be good?” will be studied through local history and the character of Ned Kelly. Further to this, students will learn how authoritative power grows and then becomes repressive through WWII history. Additionally, the consequences for the victims of WWII will be considered. Finally, the growth of power through social resistance is studied and viewed through the lens of female rights. These efforts across the semester are then consolidated and demonstrated through a thought-provoking self-directed project.

1. Essay (30%)
2. Source Analysis (20%)
3. Tests (30%)
4. Classwork and Module (20%)


Either or both semesters
In this course there is an emphasis on practical studies. Students are formed into groups to play or sing in small ensembles, as well as developing solo performance. There is some time for individual practice during class. Musicians, who are keen to keep developing their music skills, especially if they intend to take Music as a subject in Senior School, are encouraged to consider this elective.

Other areas covered include: aural comprehension, theory, creative organisation, a historical overview of the history of rock and roll in Australia and a study of world music.

Students joining this course will have at least two years’ recent experience on their instrument. Students who have less than two years require approval from the Coordinator of Music.

Private Instrumental/Vocal Tuition
Tuition is available in major instruments. Serious instrumentalists and vocalists are encouraged to take Music Ensemble as well as having private lessons. Students are rostered for two supervised practice sessions a week. Unfortunately, due to the isolation of the campus, lessons on more obscure instruments cannot be guaranteed. In the situation where only a minimal number of students enrol in an instrument, lessons in that instrument may also be unavailable.

Students do not have to take the elective subject Music Ensemble in order to have private tuition. However, students who take the elective must be enrolled in private tuition if it is available for their instrument. There is a minimum practice requirement and students are encouraged to make use of other time when available.

There are solo and ensemble performance opportunities for instrumental or voice students both within and outside the School. Monday morning recitals in the Chapel are a much-loved part of the Timbertop routine as are concerts held for the School throughout the year. 

1. Classwork and Module (20%)
2. Aural, Theory and Composition (40%)
3. Ensemble (20%)
4. Projects (20%)

1. Classwork and Module (20%)
2. Aural, Theory and Composition (40%)
3. Ensemble (20%)
4. Examination (20%)


Either Semester
In the practical component, students plan and design works that represent ideas and artistic intentions. They develop and refine techniques and processes related to the production of two and three dimensional artworks and designs. They explore a wide range of art-making forms, such as drawing, painting, printmaking, design, sculpture and assemblage, as well as a selection of media, including charcoal, oil/soft pastels, acrylic and watercolours. An integral component of the course is the Visual Diary - where students record their artistic process, define, develop, extend and refine their ideas. Students investigate a selection of art movements, artists and artworks, from different social, historical and cultural contexts. They further develop aesthetic and critical awareness of art and design, and present personal opinions about artworks. The emphasis is placed on development of appropriate language and the capacity to discuss stylistic influences and references. This research enables students to learn about the design process that integrates the recording of sources of inspiration, technical data, media experimentation and decision-making leading to the planning, production and exhibition of finished works.

1. Folio (70%)
2. Research and Analysis (30%)