Term Dates


Term I
  1 February - 7 April
Term II
26 April - 30 June
Term III
24 July - 22 September
Term IV
  9 October - 12 December



Term I
  31 January - 13 April
Term II
30 April - 29 June
Term III
23 July - 28 September
Term IV
  15 October - 11 December

Diploma Programme (DP)

The DP, which will be offered at TIGS from 2017, requires a different pattern of study to that followed by students who will choose the HSC. The subjects that will be available at TIGS will depend on the number of DP candidates and their preferences.
The requirements of the awarding of the IB Diploma are as follows:
1.     Students are required to study one subject from each of six subject groupings ensuring breadth of knowledge and
        understanding. Students are required to study three of these subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard
        Level (SL). The subject groups are:

Group 1     Studies in Language or Language & Literature (TIGS students will choice of English at HL and SL)
Group 2     Language Acquisition (An additional language, either at continuing level or beginners level (ab initio), both at SL. Languages available at TIGS include French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish)
Group 3     Individuals and Society (At TIGS these might include Economics and History, both offered at HL and SL)
Group 4     Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology, all at HL and SL – students requiring a second Science subject will do so in Group 6)
Group 5     Mathematics (At TIGS three levels will be offered: HL, SL and Mathematical Studies (SL)
Group 6     The Arts (such as Music and Visual Art, both at HL and SL) or an additional Science subject

  • HL subjects are allocated 240 teaching hours over two years
  • SL subjects are allocated 150 teaching hours over two years
2.     Extended Essay - students are required to complete a 4,000 word research essay on a topic of their choice.
3.     Theory of Knowledge - (100hrs over two years) requires students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how
        we know and learn.
4.     Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) - 150 indicative hours to be spent in CAS enables students to live the IB learner
        profile in real and practical ways, to grow as unique individuals and to recognise their role in relation to others.
        CAS is organised around the three strands of Creativity, Action and Service defined as:

a.    Creativity - arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking
b.    Action - physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing academic work elsewhere in 
       the IB Diploma Programme
c.    Service - an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student.

Assessment is based on some externally moderated school-based assessment and external assessment (examinations at TIGS will be held in November). Each of the 6 subjects is graded from 1 to 7. Up to 3 additional points are awarded for the combined performance of a student in the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. A student must achieve 24 points to be awarded the IB Diploma. The maximum result is 45 points.
There is no scaling of marks in the DP. All subjects, whether at HL or SL, are treated as of equal value.
Students that satisfy these requirements are awarded the IB Diploma. DP graduates are highly sought after by universities and it is not uncommon for a strong performer in the DP to be offered advanced standing in their university courses.


At the information night held on Wednesday 19 February 2015, parents and students had the opportunity to ask questions about the DP which will be offered for the first time at TIGS to Year 11 in 2017. The following are the questions and replies to those questions as well as additional questions received following the meeting:
Answers are provided by:
Mr Stephen Kinsella (Headmaster of TIGS)
Mr Antony Mayhofer (Curriculum Coordinator at St Paul’s Grammar School, Penrith)
Both have extensive experience in the HSC and DP and are familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of both programmes.
Q1       Are results in DP subjects scaled?
A1        No. Each subject in the DP is given equal value - results in all subjects are graded from 1 to 7.
             HSC results are scaled when ATARs are calculated. It is not known from year to year by how much the results
             of students will be changed by the scaling process.
Q2        If a child does not proceed down the Diploma path will the cohort for the HSC especially in English and
             Maths will be severely weakened if the cream of the year does the Diploma?
A2        The experience in other NSW schools is that capable students tend to choose the DP. However, the
             experience is also that this does not disadvantage those that follow the HSC pathway. In the TIGS context,
             we can expect the same experience because:
  •  Teachers at TIGS will be allocated teaching in both the HSC and DP courses. The same level of expertise will be available to DP students as HSC students.
  • The HSC does not advantage students from strong schools or strong cohorts of students.

o    Assessment of performance in HSC examinations is made impartially by examiners who are not aware of
      the school from which students attended.

o    Allocation of marks by BOSTES for school-based assessment is determined by each student’s rank and the
      gap between their performance and the performance of others in school-based assessment tasks. The
      size of the class is not a factor. The HSC, by its very design, causes students to compete against each
      other rather than work in collaboration with each other. Collaboration rather than competition is the
      School’s preferred approach for student learning.

o    DP and HSC students will still be part of the same cohort and will be together for all events and activities
      except for lessons. They will still be able to study together outside of class time. The School expects in the
      first years of implementation the number of HSC students will well exceed the number of DP students.

Q3        The availability of subject in the HSC and IB may diminish due to students being divided amongst two
             courses of study.
A3        TIGS currently offers more subjects to students entering Year 11 than any other school in the Illawarra. The
             compatibility of some HSC and IB subjects means that some subjects in The Arts and Languages may be
             combined, enabling the subject to be taught.
             The School will continue its practice, within the constraints of the resources available, of doing all it can to
             ensure that the maximum number of students are able to study their chosen subjects in the HSC and DP.
Q4        Why has the ab initio language offered to Year 11, 2017 changed from Italian to Spanish? 
A4        The School has been advised that, due to an insufficient number of students world-wide studying Italian ab
for the November session, Italian is not examined. This may change in the future as the DP continues to
Q5        What options will be offered in Group 6?
A5        The School will offer Music and Visual Arts in Group 6 along with an additional Science subject. We will also
             be looking at the compatibility of Theatre Arts/Drama and Dance to determine if a combined HSC/DP is
             viable. The School intends to make subjects in the HSC and DP accessible for as many students as possible.
Q6        What is the difference between a subject studied at Higher Level (HL) and a subject studied at Standard
             Level (SL)?
A6        In general terms, HL subjects cover more content than SL subjects. HL subjects have at least 240 teaching
             hours allocated over two years while SL subjects are allocated at least 150 hours. In some subjects HL
             students go into greater depth than SL students (e.g. Maths, Physics, Chemistry) but usually the difference is
             the amount of content covered, hence the greater allocation of teaching time.
Q7        Is a student at a disadvantage because they will be in the first cohort?
A7        TIGS teachers are very experienced in teaching their subject areas. All have had the experience of
             teaching to a new syllabus which happens from time to time in the HSC. All the TIGS teachers have been or
             will be specifically trained in the requirements of the DP at IB workshops before they start teaching the
             course in 2017. All the teachers of the first cohort in 2017 have volunteered to teach the IB and are excited
             by the opportunity. There are several teachers already on staff that have experience in teaching the DP in
             other schools.
Q8        How will a child with average writing skills be able to write a 4,000 word Extended Essay (EE)?
A8        The experience in other schools is that students have trouble restricting their answers to the word limit. This is
             largely because they choose the topic of research and devise their own question. This degree of autonomy
             is unusual in the senior years of schooling where study is largely centrally prescribed. Students like writing
             about topics that they are interested in. The students are also provided with advice from teachers on how
             to prepare the essay and the IB provides clear guidance on how marks are allocated. The format of the
             essay is valued in the assessment process as much as the content.
Q9        What will be the impact of the DP on HSC students?
A9        DP and HSC students will still be part of the same cohort and will be together for all events and activities
             except for lessons. They will still be able to study together outside of class time. The School expects in the first
             years of implementation the number of HSC students will well exceed the number of DP students.

HSC students are not disadvantaged by the size of the HSC class or the performance of the students. In HSC formal assessment tasks the important     
outcome for a student is their ranking against other students and the mark gap between those other students. There is no advantage in being in a 
class of 1 or 20. In HSC Examinations, students are not able to be identified in the marking process - the markers do not know which school they
attended or the number in the cohort. Examination papers are marked against the standard set across the state, not the standard of the cohort within
the school.

HSC students at TIGS will have the same teachers as DP students and, in some classes where the syllabus requirements allow, will be taught with DP

Q10      When would it be better to study the DP?
A10      The School advises students to understand the differences between the HSC and the DP and to choose
             which course of study that best meets their needs. A comparison of the HSC and the IB is provided above on tab 3.
             In general terms, the DP is suitable for students that:
  •   Intend to study at university;
  •   Do not want their results scaled when their ATAR is calculated – in the IB all subjects are given equal weighting.
  •   Want to be assessed against the DP standards, not ranked against other students;
  •   Want to study a broad range of subjects and not specialise in one area of learning;
  •   Are interested in learning in an international context, including the learning of a second language (at either continuing or beginners level);
  •   Want to be well prepared for study at university by completing the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge requirements of the DP.
  •   Have a balanced approach to living and learning, as required by the CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) programme
  •   Are able to cope with the idea of a pass/ fail standard – DP students must achieve at least 24 IB points to receive the IB Diploma

Q11      Where is the DP accepted?

A11      The DP is accepted at all universities across the world, including all Australian universities. Most universities
             have a direct entry pathway for DP graduates. A growing number of Australian universities now allocate
             courses on the basis of a student’s DP score and do not make a conversion to an ATAR score.

Q12      Will there be combined classes? 

A12      To maximise the opportunity for HSC and DP students to study subjects that traditionally have small cohorts
             at TIGS, the School will offer combined HSC/DP classes where the syllabus requirements allow. This is most
             likely in subjects from The Arts and Languages.

Q13      Are the teachers trained to teach the DP? 

A13      TIGS teachers are accredited by the NSW Institute of Teachers and have tertiary qualification in their
             specialty subjects. DP teachers have or will undergo training by the IBO in the specific requirements of the
             DP before they start teaching the DP in 2017.

             TIGS is already an accredited IB World School and is authorised to teach the PYP. IB representatives will visit
             the School in 2016 to ensure that TIGS is at the standard required to teach the DP. TIGS will then be a fully
             accredited DP school authorised to teach the DP. The IB protects its reputation by not authorising schools
             that do not meet their high standards.

Q14      How many TIGS students do you expect to take up the DP?

A14      TIGS is planning for 20 students to be in the first cohort starting in Year 11 2017.

Q15      What will be the size of classes?

A15      This is hard to predict and will depend on the number of students choosing the DP. However, TIGS classes in
             Years 11 and 12 are smaller than found in most schools and DP candidates can expect this to be their

Q16      Will the course run if only one or two students choose that subject?

A16      It is not financially viable for schools to provide classes of this size. TIGS will do all it can to help students to
             study their chosen courses of study and will use combined classes with HSC students when the syllabus
             requirements allow.

Q17      How does the assessment work?

A17      All DP subjects include a component of school-based assessment when calculating DP grades.
             School-based assessment is marked by the teacher against the DP standards and a sample is sent to an 
             internationally based moderator to ensure the marking is consistent and accurate.
             The requirements for school-based assessment vary from subject to subject - in general terms the ratio used 
             for awarding grades is around 70% examination mark and 30% assessment mark.

Q18      If the subjects are on the same line can you take more than one?

A18      This is a timetabling challenge and at TIGS we move subjects around to meet the needs of the greatest
             number of students. However, when the timetable is completed, subjects on the same line are taught at
             the same time.

Why the DP at TIGS?

Why the DP at TIGS?
From 2017, students at TIGS will have a choice of two pathways through Year 11 and 12 – the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or Diploma Programme (DP).
TIGS students achieve excellent results in the HSC and this will continue for those students that choose the HSC as their course of study. The School remains committed to offering the best HSC programme in the Illawarra.
The DP is acknowledged world-wide as an outstanding course of study for students planning to progress to study at Tertiary level. It has been recognised by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as an alternative to the Australian Curriculum and the HSC.
The DP was the first of the IBO programmes to be developed. It began in the 1968 as a service for the children of diplomats that were having their education disrupted because of family relocations. The DP is now recognised as the leading academic credential world-wide at Year 12 level. Australian universities typically have a recognised pathway for enrolling DP students that stands separate from the HSC/ATAR pathway. It is common for IB students to be given advanced standing by Australian universities for high achievement in the DP.
DP students are at an advantage over HSC students when applying for university study overseas as the DP is recognised world-wide.
The DP is implemented differently to the MYP and PYP. The DP stands alone and has no connection to the HSC, unlike the PYP and MYP frameworks that are superimposed on mandated BOSTES curriculum requirements.
The DP is offered in 63 Australian Schools and 2,627 schools world-wide. Schools in NSW that offer the DP include Kambala, MLC, Monte Sant’ Angelo, Newington, Queenwood School for Girls, St Andrew's Cathedral School, Trinity Grammar and St Paul’s Grammar School.

A more detailed overview of the IB Diploma Programme can be found on the IBO website at: http://ibo.org/diploma/curriculum/


The DP and HSC Compared

The Illawarra Grammar School will offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) for the first time to Year 11 in 2017.
Students at TIGS will have the choice of two pathways as they enter Years 11 and 12 - the HSC or the DP. The School will support students in both programmes with the same teachers being allocated teaching duties to both courses of study.
The benefit of offering two courses of study is that a student can select the pathway that best suits their needs. The following is a comparison of the HSC and DP:
Higher School Certificate
International Baccalaureate  Diploma (DP)
Organised by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) Organised by The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO)
Over 69,346 candidates sat for the HSC in 2014 Over 70,000 candidates sat for the IB Diploma in 2013
HSC examinations are held in October/November and results are released about 1 week before Christmas DP examinations are held in November (or May in the Northern Hemisphere) and results are released early in the New Year
HSC caters for students of all academic ability levels. Subjects available include the traditional academic disciplines and vocationally focussed subjects DP is designed specifically for students intending to progress to further study at University. Subjects studied are drawn from the traditional academic disciplines.
HSC students normally study subjects at 2 unit level. A few subjects are offered at the Extension level DP candidates must study 3 subjects at Standard Level (SL) and three subjects at Higher Level (HL). HL subjects are allocated additional tuition time.
HSC is awarded to all students that satisfy the BOSTES requirements. There is no pass/fail award in the HSC based on assessment results. DP is awarded to students that achieve the DP course requirements and a minimum standard in their assessment results. Failure to achieve this standard means that the students do not receive the Diploma.
HSC assessment covers study in Year 12 only – the HSC year. The HSC is assessed using school assessment and external examinations DP assessment covers all of Years 11 and 12. It includes school assessment and external examinations
HSC students must study a minimum of 10 units (5 subjects), one subject must be English DP students must study 6 subjects, 1 from each of 6 subject groups – the DP requires a broad range of subjects to be studied.
HSC students are required by TIGS to participate in service activities and are encouraged to participate in sport and co-curricular programmes DP students are required to participate in the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) programme
  DP students are prepared for study at university by being required to:
*Study Theory of Knowledge (How we know and learn)
*Complete and properly reference a 4,000 word research assignment (Called the Extended Essay)on a topic of their choice
The HSC results of students are scaled by the University Admission Centre (UAC) to determine an ATAR score which is used to allocate places at university. The results of DP students are not scaled - all subjects and levels are treated equally. There is a direct conversion table equates IB result with HSC ATAR score.
HSC students wishing to study internationally must apply directly to the university of their choice and submit their HSC/ATAR results for consideration. DP scores are recognised by universities world-wide. It is usual for international and Australian universities to accept an IB Score as sufficient information when allocating places in courses of study.
Students entering Year 11 at TIGS from 2017 will be in the unique position of being able to choose between two highly respected courses of study - the HSC or the DP.


Comparison of DP and ATAR results (2013)

In the DP the maximum possible score is 45 and the minimum score for a pass is 24.
The following table is used by Australian universities to compare results for the purpose of offering places in courses of study.