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 academic programme at Timbertop is the bedrock upon which challenge, success and resilience is built. Whilst the isolation of our community, life in Units and the outdoor programme stand out in the minds of anyone who has heard of Timbertop, the academic programme is where our students put their perseverance, creativity and courage to the test each day. Alongside the multifaceted physical and pastoral programmes, 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.

At Timbertop, our driving ethos is to best prepare our students for the academic rigour of learning in Senior School at Corio Campus whilst harnessing the opportunities that our unique context affords. Students are thoroughly supported in building their subject specific knowledge within the framework of embedding core skills of critical, analytical and creative thinking.

Assessment, Reporting and Feedback

Regular assessment and reporting aligned with Federal reporting standards occurs throughout the year.
Regular contact with parents is maintained by telephone or email through the Head of Unit. Should a student be under-performing or not engaging in their learning, our staff will work with them and may be in contact with parents so as to determine a course of action to support or guide the student to better outcomes.

In Year 9, formative assessment occurs to give students feedback on how they are progressing through Units of Work in their subjects. This allows students and their teachers to check for understanding at regular intervals, revisit critical concepts and receive feedback on how to improve. In addition, Mastery Checkpoints are undertaken so that students receive written feedback on their progress and again how to improve or advance their knowledge and skills. Summative assessment is conducted at the end of significant periods of study to provide feedback to students on their achievement against the learning outcomes for that study period and result in a grade being awarded. Both forms of assessment are reflected in subject reports. Reporting includes subject progress and end of semester course achievement. Written reports, course grades and engagement with learning are available to parents through Hive.


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 inter-Unit 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 participate in small group, skills focused lessons once per fortnight. These lessons vary depending on the curriculum being taught across the core classes and are used to target areas where students are demonstrating a need for further scaffolding or extension. The focus for these skills sessions includes topics ranging from critical thinking, analytical writing, decoding questions, unpacking mathematical concepts, study and memory skills.


Students choose five semester units from the following. Some subjects must be studied for Semester 1 and 2, some can be studied in either and some may be studied in both.

Must be studied in both semester (therefore 2 units):

  •  Chinese Continuers (Mandarin)
  •  French Continuers
  •  Japanese Continuers
  •  German Beginners (not appropriate for students with prior learning)
  •  Academic Support Elective (see notes below)

Can be studied in one or both semesters:

  •  Music (Students must study a musical instrument and take private music lessons on campus)
  •  Geography: Semester 1 Bushfires and Biomes, Semester 2 Globalisation and Sustainability

Can be studied in one semester only (curriculum is repeated each semester)

  •  Health and Physical Education
  •  Agriculture and Land Management
  •  History (Powers in the 20th and 21st Centuries)
  •  Visual Art

When selecting subjects, it is critical to make a thoughtful choice as these selections dictate the timetable. Subject changes are very difficult after the timetable has been created and changes cannot be guaranteed.


Academic support is designed to cater for all students, not just 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.

Academic Support Programme (ASP) elective
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 subjects 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. This is run as an elective block across both semesters and students must have a diagnosed learning disability to be eligible. 

Other Support Structures

Given the busy nature of the Timbertop programme, students will find that with the loss of weekends and the competing demands for their time, keeping up with their academic workload is challenging. Staff at Timbertop offer a range of extra-help sessions for support out of class times. These are voluntary for students; however, some students may be asked to attend to give them the support they need beyond the normal class time. There is no paid tutoring available at Timbertop, however, for all students the opportunity to get assistance is available, they often just need to ask. In addition, students who experience some difficulty accessing the curriculum may be provided Inclusive Learning Recommendations, which assists them and their teachers to best meet their individual needs. These plans are prepared by the school after discussion with key academic staff, parents and the student, all done on a case-by-case basis.

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. There are a range of opportunities to develop musical and artistic talents in the co-curricular programmes. In pure academic pursuits, enrichment is provided to students who show capacity beyond the core offerings. For example, in Mathematics, students can self-select the level of challenge in every part of the course. Classes are not streamed and staff will work with any student to guide them in their studies to achieve their best. Where students have significant prior learning, contact should be made with the Academic office to discuss appropriate subject choices and enrichment opportunities.