Head of Senior School’s Welcome
Mr Nick Hackett, Head of Senior School, gives an insight into the programmes, facilities and extensive opportunities to pursue academic excellence at TIGS.
Students at TIGS excel across a range of disciplines including their core academic subjects, as leaders and through sport and the arts. Each student is supported to achieve their personal best in a culture of high effort and achievement. TIGS students regularly feature in the Higher School Certificate (HSC) Merit Lists which recognise the top Year 12 achievers in NSW. Approximately 90% to 95% of our Year 12 students are typically accepted into university. Band 6 results, indicating the highest level of performance, were achieved across 24 different subjects in 2018. This demonstrates the exceptional depth of teaching and support that equips students to excel across many disciplines at TIGS.
Teacher quality has a profound impact on learning. Our staff are of the highest calibre, handpicked for their extensive level of expertise and dedication, providing your child with the ideal environment to achieve their best. 95% of families at TIGS rank the quality of teaching as the main reason they chose to send their children to our school.
TIGS provides a stimulating and challenging learning environment with an international approach that sets us apart. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is the world’s leading academic programme and is used as the framework for teaching and learning at TIGS. Students undertake deeper learning, become more culturally aware, learn to think independently and apply their learning to local and global issues.
TIGS provides an environment where wellbeing is paramount, and students can achieve their best, knowing they are safe and supported. We expect high standards of personal presentation and behaviour and provide guidance through Mentor programmes and the Chaplaincy team. Our House system brings strong camaraderie to life, across every cohort, where the effort of every student is encouraged and celebrated. This strong sense of connectedness is vital to each students’ positive outcomes both personally and academically.
Universities and future employers are increasingly seeking well-rounded students with a range of skills and experiences. The extensive co-curricular programme provides students with the opportunity to tailor their learning and pursue their unique talents and interests on the local, national and international stage. TIGS has the Illawarra’s most extensive co-curricular programme encompassing academic, art, sport, Christian service, outdoor education and cultural experiences.
With an awe-inspiring view of the Illawarra escarpment, the School is in a beautiful natural setting providing our students with a strong connection to nature and the outdoors. Jacaranda trees provide shade for the students at lunch and play, and our exceptional facilities, gym and sporting grounds support students through learning and co-curricular activities. Our private bus fleet transports students to and from school, and students can study and develop a passion for literacy and autonomous, self-directed learning in our Library, the Goodhew Research Centre.
Mr Nick Hackett, Head of Senior School, gives an insight into the programmes, facilities and extensive opportunities to pursue academic excellence at TIGS.
At TIGS we cater to the individual needs of each of our students. We carefully observe each student and identify those who exhibit Gifted and Talented attributes and explicitly address their needs. Gifted and Talented students need to be stimulated, extended and taught the skills and understandings they need for educational success. By looking at each child’s pace, timing and learning style, we will accelerate or broaden their experiences.
We intend to move away from schooling as a race where students rush to the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or IB Diploma Programme (DP). Education is a journey and we encourage our students to inquire into their learning, follow their interests and take on manageable new tasks from their earliest days at TIGS Prep, all the way through to the Senior School. Our teachers are skilled in delivering differentiated curriculum and ensure we meet each learner where they are at, providing the scaffolding and challenges to help them reach their fullest potential.
Academic Co-Curricular opportunities at The Illawarra Grammar School are renowned for enabling the intellectual potential of our students to flourish. Creative, engaging and authentic problem-solving activities of the highest order empower students to think critically, voice their ideas with courage and collaborate effectively both as individuals and in teams. Programmes incorporate all aspects of the curriculum including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. Participants regularly enjoy interaction and success at local, state, national and international levels of competition. TIGS students have the opportunity to participate in the following programmes:
For the full list of academic co-curricular opportunities, please see our Co-Curricular book.
Year 7 to Year 10 makes up a particularly critical phase of personal and intellectual development for your child. As your child transitions through adolescence, they require a programme that encourages active participation and responsibility in a changing world. Learning how to learn and how to evaluate information critically is as important as learning facts.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) develops both subject-specific and interdisciplinary understanding and includes:
The MYP culminates in Year 10 with a Personal Project, where your child will complete a significant piece of work. This Personal Project involves deciding what they want to learn about, identifying what they already know, discovering what they will need to know to complete the project, and creating a proposal for completing it. The Personal Project enables practical explorations through a cycle of inquiry, action and reflection.
In Year 11 and Year 12, our students can choose the IB Diploma Programme (DP) as an alternative to the Higher School Certificate (HSC). Students who choose to take part in the DP will be following a different pattern of study to those who choose the HSC.
The DP is acknowledged worldwide as an outstanding course of study for students planning to process through to university. It is unique to the HSC as it focuses on developing the student through a broad pattern of study. The DP facilitates independent thinking, development of skills and lifelong learning.
Students are required to study six subjects, one from each of five groups (Language. Language Acquisition, Individuals and Society, Science and Mathematics). The sixth subject may be from The Arts or a second Science or Individual and Society subject. This ensures a breadth of knowledge and understanding.
The DP curriculum also includes:
This programme is run based on student interest.
In Year 11 and Year 12, students at TIGS have the opportunity to choose between the IB Diploma Programme (DP) or the Higher School Certificate (HSC) for their senior pathway. We use a carefully measured approach to determine which course is suitable for each student’s specific style of learning. The HSC enables students to specialise in one area or undertake a broad pattern of study.
In Year 11 students are required to student a minimum of 12 Units and in Year 12 students are required to study a minimum of 10 Units (five subjects). English is the only mandatory subject. HSC students at TIGS are required to participate in service activities and are encouraged to participate in sports and co-curricular programmes.
Year 7: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies – History, Mathematics, Music, Physical and Health Education, Language Acquisition, Science, Design and Visual Arts. Students must study a language from Year 7 to Year 10. They can choose either French, Japanese or Mandarin.
Year 8: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies – Geography, Mathematics, Music, Physical and Health Education, Language Acquisition, Science, Design and Visual Arts.
Years 9 and 10
Students study the compulsory subjects of Biblical Studies, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science, Individuals and Societies – History, Individuals and Societies – Geography, Physical and Health Education and Language Acquisition.
They also make two elective choices from Commerce, Dance, Drama, Physical Activity and Sports Studies, Industrial Technology (Timber), Music, Media Arts, Visual Arts, Design and Technology, Philosophy, Japanese, French and Mandarin.
Year 11 and Year 12
HSC Subjects Offered:
In Year 11 and Year 12, English is the only compulsory subject. Students then choose electives from the following range of subjects: Ancient History, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Dance, Design and Technology, Drama, Earth and Environmental Science, Economics, English Extension 1 and 2, French, Geography, Industrial Technology, Legal Studies, Mathematics, Mathematics Standard, Mathematics Extension 1 and 2, Modern History, Music 1, Music 2 and Extension, Personal Development Health and Physical Education, Physics, Visual Arts, Society and Culture, Chinese and Literature, Japanese Continuers, History Extension and VET Entertainment (delivered by TIGS under the scope of AIS RTO No: 90413).
DP Subjects Offered:
Language A: Language and Literature Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL), Economics HL and SL, History HL and SL, Music HL and SL, Chemistry HL and SL, Visual Arts HL and SL, Mathematics HL and SL, Physics HL and SL, Biology HL and SL, Business and Management HL and SL and Spanish ab initio SL.
Students must study three HL subjects and three SL subjects.
Subjects offered may vary from year to year and are dependent on student choice and course numbers.
TIGS students have the opportunity to follow a representative sporting pathway from local all the way through to national and international championships. We support all of our students in achieving their goals and have expert coaches we provide at the school and can offer flexible learning arrangements for students who travel for their sport so they can uphold their academic commitments as well.
We have supported students at state and national levels in swimming, athletics, cross country, football, hockey, rugby league, skiing and mountain biking.
Students have the opportunity to play representative sports in:
In Senior School, students may be nominated for our Talented Athletes Programme which is designed to propel TIGS students towards their dreams. In this programme we identify students with sports potential and nurture them as they grow into elite athletes. The sessions are run twice a week and focus on strength, mobility and conditioning. Students can develop holistic fitness for their chosen sport. For warmer months, there is swimming and aquathon training and cooler months are more focused on cross country and athletics training. Students who are invited to participate in the programme will develop an athletes all-round fitness by drawing upon a variety of disciplines, work out strategies, and training intensities.
From tennis to rugby and futsal, to surfing, stand up paddle boarding and snow sports our sporting opportunities are as diverse as the students we teach. We want all students to enjoy participating in a variety of sports, and believe sport is vital to a holistic education, providing a range of benefits including fitness, friendships and personal development. For more information about the programmes offered, request a Co-Curricular book below. Our programme includes:
Each year, our programmes become more diverse, as our students are provided with a variety of learning experiences ranging from Drama and Dance to Orchestra and Capture Team. The benefits of learning an instrument, performing in front of an audience and making artworks are well documented and include opportunities to build self-confidence, to refine music performance and artistic skills and to develop collaboration, goal setting and time management skills. Our Co-Curricular Arts Programmes include:
The School Production is the highlight of our Arts calendar and brings together the entire community at TIGS. The School community contributes their unique talents as cast members, stage crew, orchestra, technical team, set designers, makeup, wardrobe and front of house managers to create a refined and entertaining show. Our productions are recognised externally for their high level of professionalism, winning industry awards such as ‘Best School Production’, ‘Best Leading Actress’ and ‘Best Orchestra’. This annual event is a great chance for your child to engage in a fun but demanding performance that builds camaraderie, creativity, teamwork, and self-esteem.
Our Outdoor Education Programme provides the context for valuable teamwork, communication and leadership skills to develop and flourish. Our programmes are designed to extend students beyond their comfort zone in a controlled and supportive environment, tailored to best suit their ability and confidence. Outdoor Education adds a valuable dimension to every student’s educational experience. Some things are best taught outside of the classroom, and with a comprehensive range of activities and opportunities, each child is able to build their resilience, grow in confidence, and expand their understanding of what’s possible.
The Year 7 Camp focuses on building positive relationships. Through team building, trust and awareness activities such as abseiling, ropes courses, navigation, giant swings and orienteering, we encourage teamwork, collaboration and leadership. Students also build friendships and strive beyond their perceived limits on a two-day adventurous hike.
Our Year 8 camp takes place in the bush and develops the essential skills of outdoor education like selecting a campsite, pitching a tent, cooking on stoves and equipment maintenance. By stepping out of their personal comfort zones in an adventurous outdoor journey, your child will learn what it means to become more accepting of themselves and others.
This five-day journey is physically and mentally challenging. It involves substantial travel and hiking and mountain biking on steep terrain in cold temperatures. By participating in challenging activities, students will build upon skills developed in previous camps and develop their understanding of character strengths, leadership, teamwork and resilience.
A range of activities focused on organisation, confidence and collaboration bring out the leader in every participant and acts as preparation for leadership opportunities in senior years. This camp is a valuable tool for recognising leadership potential and making positive steps towards becoming a valuable leader in our school community.
Year 10 students have a choice of three programmes. At Winter Camp, skills like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and building snow shelters are developed alongside vital survival skills during four nights in the snow. Summer Camp Option 1 is a six-day journey-based programme taking place in the Kosciusko National Park. Students hike through NSW high country, learning life skills that they can apply well beyond school. Summer Camp Option 2 is a six-day white water programme based in Victoria. Your child will paddle the Snowy River, heading towards the Victorian coast and mastering fast-moving water. They will develop leadership and teamwork skills as they work together to survive remotely with little outside support.
This three-day camp at the Shoalhaven River encourages creative exploration through a range of activities including artmaking, filmmaking, creative writing, play building, dance, storytelling, technical production and music. Students gain inspiration for future school assessments including exhibitions and performances.
Students on this camp refine their own skills to produce crafted, imaginative, persuasive and informative text. They participate in sessions with accomplished writers in order to learn transferable skills that are applicable to a classroom and exam room environment.
Students that attend this camp develop skills to further prepare them for their Year 12 exams.
The Snow Trip is an annual weekend of skiing and snowboarding in the Australian Snowy Mountains open to Year 7 to Year 12 students. Lessons cater to beginners through to those looking to refine their technique in a non-competitive setting.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a leading youth development programme that empowers an exploration of your child’s full potential. The programme is voluntary, flexible, interesting and fun. Programmes are individually tailored to incorporate four key areas: Physical Recreation, Skill, Service and Adventurous Journey.
Each year, a large number of students will achieve Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards with the support of a network of supervisors, mentors, teachers and our Outdoor Education Coordinator.
If your child chooses to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, they will have the opportunity to travel to New Zealand to fulfil the Award’s expedition requirements.
Each year, TIGS Senior School students have the opportunity to see the world and experience new cultures. Exploring the world allows students to develop their own global perspective as well as their cultural appreciation. Our Cultural Learning programme allows students the opportunity to experience the following trips.
One of the best ways a child can learn to appreciate and understand another culture is through language, so we offer a range of languages other than English – as well as an Enrichment Programme for students where English is a second or third language.
The school day doesn’t start and end with the school bell. We have a variety of opportunities for students to make the most of the programmes and resources available at TIGS. Students can receive additional tuition at our daily Homework Hub, practice study papers or train and compete in our academic, sports and arts co-curricular programmes.