Building the roots to success

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 led by dedicated and enthusiastic staff who are focused on instilling a love of learning, curiosity and confidence in every student.

Core subjects

The opportunities afforded to students in the English classroom at Timbertop are aimed to equip them with the language and forms to express their unique experiences and perspectives.

Through a study of poetry, short stories, contemporary media, drama and a novel, students explore and reflect on their personal understanding of the world gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts. We place emphasis on creating a community of inquiry through literature examination and analysis, argumentative and persuasive writing, group discussion, oral presentation, and peer review.

The Mathematics curriculum offers students the opportunity of added enrichment within the course of each topic. Throughout the year students will consolidate and develop their numerical knowledge and work towards more complex applications in problem solving situations. Creative learning activities are embedded throughout the course with opportunities for both individual and collaborative learning.

Students are expected to attain an appropriate level of achievement in measurement, Pythagoras and trigonometry, indices and scientific notation, linear equations and relations, algebraic techniques, introduction to quadratic equations and graphs, probability and statistics.

The study of Science at Timbertop encourages students to better understand and explain the world around them, often drawing from actual experiences on campus. Students are encouraged to work scientifically by using a range of methods to collect, manipulate and present data in appropriate ways, draw conclusions and relate them to the aims of the investigation.

The Study of Religion and Spirituality (SRS) 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 and to deepen the students’ knowledge and appreciation of faith and spirituality in an Anglican context. Students are also encouraged to assess the place of religion, spirituality and personal faith in the overall setting of the Timbertop year.

‘The Making of the Modern World (1750-1918)’ is compulsory for all Year 9 students. ‘Power in the 20th and 21st Centuries’ is offered as an elective.

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.

Positive Education is embedded throughout the Timbertop programme. The six pillars for living a flourishing life, which are taught explicitly, 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, 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.

Outdoor activities are integral to the experience of Timbertop. It is a year long programme, and provides experiences are fundamental to presenting new challenges and helping students to discover their potential. In many ways the year at Timbertop is a year of journey and our experiences in the outdoors are a literal foundation for this.


Elective Subjects

Studied for one semester only. Students cannot elect which semester as this is determined by the timetable and their other electives.

Our campus includes 200 hectares of farming land and 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 other working aspects of the Timbertop farm.

The nature of the studies and fieldwork will depend on whether the student completes Semester 1 or Semester 2, and the operations occurring during that season. In both semesters, students will study sustainable agriculture practices, basic economics, pasture and land management, animal production including animal husbandry, reproduction and digestion. The subject places strong emphasis on practical learning and creative education, giving students the opportunity to work in the field on every possible occasion and exposing them to a range of practical skills, ethical decisions and problem-solving experiences in this unique environment.

Studied for one semester only. Students cannot elect which semester as this is determined by the timetable and their other electives.

Health and Physical Education (HPE) at Timbertop allows for an authentic, relevant, and contextualised experience where students are provided with opportunities to improve their coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and their knowledge of game sense through participation in a broad range of physical activities. To further develop their physical capabilities, a range of modified games and sports that enhance all areas of both skilled based and health related fitness components are undertaken. These include, but are not limited to, Water Polo, Netball, Ultimate Frisbee, Touch Football, and a range of modified games.

The classroom-based health course is uniquely appropriate to Timbertop. This begins with fitness testing and fitness programming evaluation, in which students analyse the Timbertop physical program to better understand what is occurring at a physiological level as their fitness increases throughout the year. Furthermore, students engage with and learn about running technique using video analysis of their own running style. Students are encouraged to then implement this knowledge to become a more efficient and effective runner, whilst also reducing the likelihood of injury. In the second half of the semester, students are given the opportunity to collaborate creatively by developing their own game which they then teach to their peers. This allows students to learn about specific game sense approaches, sporting strategies and tactics in a creative space.

Studied for one semester only. Students cannot elect which semester as this is determined by the timetable and their other electives.

Elective History focuses on the people and events that played a role in shaping the modern world. A focus is placed on the context of each period and the legacy which historical figures and events left behind. A study of the political compass and some of the major ideological ideas of the time, aids in understanding the views and opinions of important individuals from the 20th and 21st century. Following the investigation of a significant person in history, students turn their attention to some major events, their historical causes and effects: the fateful sinking of the Titanic, the Great Depression, and the Cold War.

Studied for one semester only. Students cannot elect which semester as this is determined by the timetable and their other electives.

This subject takes full advantage of the beautiful natural setting of Timbertop, with students exploring a variety of media including drawing, stencil work and painting in both watercolours and acrylic. 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 of their skills.

Geography can be studied in either or both semesters.

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.

In second semester, students study geographies of interconnections, focusing on how people, through their choices and actions, are connected to places throughout the world in a variety of ways, and how these connections help to make and change places and their environments. Students examine the various ways that corporations do, or do not, contribute to global social wellbeing and environmental sustainability, culminating in a creative design project for a sustainable building on campus.

Music can be studied in either or both semesters. Students with advanced music knowledge who only wish to study it for one semester should select Semester 2.

The Music Performance Elective course focuses on aspects of musicianship where students gain valuable performance experience in solo, small and large group presentations. Performance is an integral part of any music student’s development as are the skills involved in becoming a confident and expressive musician and ensemble player. There are opportunities to prepare and perform for the cohort and the wider Mansfield community. Music Performance elective classes also explore the theoretical foundations of rhythm and harmony, composition and sound structures, and the analysis and historical context of works chosen for group and individual performance repertoire. Student agency drives many of their performance choices once positive group dynamics have been established.

Students must be enrolled in private instrumental tuition from the beginning of the year to advance their skills and understanding on their preferred instrument.

Languages must be studied for both semesters.

The Japanese programme  requires that students have some prior knowledge of the language, in particular, both Hiragana and Katakana scripts. 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, with key topics including: school life and time, locations and the Timbertop campus, and seasons and seasonal events.

Languages must be studied for 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 environment and climate change, the French-speaking world, and talking about the future.

Languages must be studied for both semesters.

The Chinese programme at Timbertop requires that students have had a minimum of 100 hours instruction in Chinese as a second language. 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.

Studied for both semesters. Only students with a learning diagnosis are eligible.

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.