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 four and a half 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
- Reports for each subject and Head of Unit Report
- Mid-term Interim Report
- Interim Report

Term 4
- Mid-term Interim 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 (Australian Curriculum), the Study of Religion and Spirituality, Outdoor Education and Positive Education.

Timbertop’s Outdoor Education, Running, Skiing and Interunit sporting events in combination with the Positive Education and Pastoral Care programmes fulfil the requirements for Health and Physical Education as mandated by the Victorian Government. As such, Health and Physical Education is offered as an elective subject.


Students choose five semester units from the following:
- Chinese (Mandarin), French, Japanese, or German, (subjects that must be taken in both semesters)
- Music and Geography (subjects that can be taken in one semester or both)
- Health and Physical Education, Agriculture and Land Management, History (Powers in the 20th and 21st Centuries) and Visual Art (subjects that may only be taken for one semester).


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 where students use their skills to create an individual project that is shared with the Timbertop community upon completion. In the past, projects have included: animation, dancing, creative writing, art, engineering and music.  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 educational psychologists. 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.




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

Text Response: Through the study of poetry, short stories, media texts, a Shakespearean play and a novel 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. Students also develop their skills in creative writing where they write their own poems, reflections and short stories. 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 (20%)


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 covers 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
• Calculate relative frequencies, and assign probabilities to outcomes and determine probabilities for events

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 four 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. 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.

Semester 2
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. 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 an investigation to evaluate the impact, and suggest solutions, for introduced species on the campus.

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, Christian Denominations and Sprituality
Term 2 Ethical behaviour and a comparison of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam to Christianity
Term 3 The spread of Christianity through Europe and the formation of the Church of England
Term 4 The power of Christianity to bring about major social change in the world.

This is not a formally assessed subject and there is no official written report.

HISTORY (Australian Curriculum)

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 Hike, 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 is built around 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 Signature Character Strengths which in turn increases their self-awareness. Students focus on topics such as Diversity, Sleep, Gratitude, Savouring, Active Constructive Responding and Teamwork. Students gain a conceptual understanding in classes, but importantly have many opportunities to practise the application of this knowledge in their daily lives at Timbertop. This is important 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 and others may only be taken for one semester. 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%)


Health and Physical Education at Timbertop encompasses sport education, fitness testing and evaluation, running technique analysis, and basic human physiology focusing on the body’s response to exercise.
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, a range of games and sports that enhance all areas of skill-based and health-related fitness components are incorporated. These activities include Waterpolo, Netball, Ultimate Frisbee, Modified Games, Touch Football and a range of modified games. Students also implement ways to improve the quality of their own and others' performance through observation and video analysis.
The classroom-based health course is contextualised around the unique Timbertop programme. This begins by comparing the health and fitness elements of different physical activities and how each contribute to overall health and physical performance. Students analyse and evaluate the Timbertop physical programme and further develop their understanding about what is happening physiologically to their bodies as they increase their cardiovascular fitness, strength and endurance.
In the second half of the semester students are given the opportunity to collaborate creatively by developing a game or modifying an existing sport which they then teach, coach and facilitate to their peers, whilst learning about specific game sense and sporting strategies and tactics. To conclude student’s focus on relationship wellbeing by reflecting on their unique living arrangements within the Unit.

1. Theory (50%)
2. Practical Participation (30%)
3. Practical Skills and Performance (20%)


All languages must be taken in both semesters.

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.

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. Communication (50%) [writing and speaking]
2. Comprehension (50%) [reading and writing]


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, fortnightly verb/vocabulary tests and grammatical instruction, supplemented by games and drills 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. Communication (50%) [writing and speaking]
2. Comprehension (50%) [reading and writing]


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. Communication (50%) [writing and speaking]
2. Comprehension (50%) [reading and writing]


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: School life and time; locations and the Timbertop campus; Hiroshima and Japanese history; seasons and events.

Grammatically, the course builds students’ understanding of the Japanese sentence structure and particle use. The past tense, negative tense and past negative tenses of verbs and adjectives are taught during the year. Students have the opportunity to practice new grammatical structures through classroom activities such as: creating a new daily routine for Timbertop, writing and participating in an ‘Amazing Race’, touring their peers through the Timbertop campus, role plays, workbook exercises and classroom games.

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. Communication (50%) [writing and speaking]
2. Comprehension (50%) [reading and writing]


Semester 1

Semester 1 focuses on the physical Geography of the local environment whilst encouraging individual inquiry and development of individual geographical skills. Students learn to understand how Bushfires start and the effect fire has on natural environments. Students received instruction in a number of skill specific areas such as geographical surveying, map drafting, field sketching, data collection and analysis. Bushfires linked students to learning about the Australian Alpine region, as they proposed arguments for and against the importance of conservation of the endemic biodiversity. The final study of Semester 1 included data collection and analysis of local Waterways, examining the impact of humans on natural watercourses.

Semester 2
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. Term 3 examines the War on Waste Australia is facing, as students collaboratively problem solve ways that transform the campus to be more sustainable. Term 4 studies the interconnection between information and communication technologies and the influence it has on the type and amount of products people buy.


1. Group Projects/Reports 40%
2. Module 20%
3. Individual Geography Skills 40%

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

Students must be enrolled in private instrumental/vocal tuition to participate in music as an elective subject.
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.

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
Students explore a variety of media including drawing, ink, solar printing, stencil work and painting in both watercolours and acrylic. Through the study of artists and their works, students are taught the elements of Art and how to use technical terms to analyse and appreciate works of art. The rules of perspective are taught, as are the basic principles of colour, tone and hue. Several pieces are completed during the semester including landscapes, portraiture, still life and the design of a logo. In all these projects, the use of a Visual Diary is a vital component of the planning and exploratory process. Students are encouraged to assess their own completed art works and reflect upon the development stages involved.

1. Folio (50%)
2. Visual Diary (50%)