Do you have to have an academic level to join STEM? Do you have to know all the choices before you start?

The STEM Academy is for students with an interest, passion or talent in STEM. There is no specific academic requirement as reflected in the application. Student participation in STEM-related interests and groups both in school and at home are part of the criteria for every Academy. 

Students who are successful in their Academy application are asked to commit for one year. It is rare for students to seek to change as the courses are based on personalised project-based learning, with each individual able to pursue areas of personal interest.

PIP (personal Interest Project) class choices are for one semester after which your child can choose the same class (with a different focus) or make another class choice.

I would like to know more about academies. For example, do we get to sample them? Is it first in best dressed? 

Since the introduction of Academies at Hastings Secondary College, teachers and students from Academies visit each primary school, early term 3 in a Stage assembly. We explain each Academy in detail and bring some of the work and projects they have completed. Brochures and applications are distributed to every child enrolling at our College. We are currently investigating innovative yet practical ways to showcase our Academies and possibly offer sample lessons.

You can access further information through brochures in the enrolment packs distributed at College Connect or by your class teacher/school. They are available electronically on our website under academies.

Applications have a common due date, and all applicants are considered as a group based on the criteria set in the application form. Your child may apply for more than one academy.

The vast majority of students are successful, and we have the potential to create a second class (at each campus). PIP options often have a course which closely mirrors the Academies and may do some lessons together. Letters indicating successful placement and waiting list placement are sent at the end of Term 3. Late submissions are accepted subject to available spaces in classes.

If you choose Creative Industries, do you have to do everything in the pack?

We believe “everything” means Dance Drama, Music and Visual Arts.

The Creative Industries Academy enable students to pursue further learning in Visual Arts, Drama, Music, and Dance. Each student is expected to nominate a major and minor focus, though will be exposed to all four creative elements.

Can you be in more than one program, Sports, and STEM? Can you take part in more than one Academy?

The Academies are timetabled for the same periods in every child’ timetable. Consequently, our students can only attend one Academy. However, they may choose to apply for a different academy in Year 8, 9 and 10. Alternatively, they may refer PIP courses which are each semester. If for any reason your child wishes to change courses during the next 6 years they should first discuss their options with their Year Adviser.

As your child progresses through their education at our College, they will be offered more choices in Year 9/10 electives (usually 2 or 3 electives) and can choose all their subjects in their senior years.

Can you do just one category in STEM?

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM education enhances student learning experiences through engaging curriculum that may include integration, inquiry and project-based learning. Students apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop high-order thinking skills within an authentic context, so they can fulfil future career aspirations that require STEM skills.

The 4 “subjects” that makeup STEM are also taught as individual subjects to all students in 7-10 as part of the mandatory curriculum

Can you only do one PIP? Can you choose PIPs? Is there an English PIP? What is the complete list of PIP topics? 

Personal Interest Project (PIP) classes are selected by our students each semester. At the end of the course, you can reselect the same course (it’s different each time) or choose another.

Year 6 will be able to choose while they are still in primary school in Term 3. This is by numbering the options from 1 to 6 in order of preference.

PIP options vary slightly between campuses and from year to year and are determined by student choice. For example, very popular choices may have two classes and less popular options may not end up having a class, though the latter is unusual.

There is no specific “English PIP”, however, both campuses have offered PIP’s in that area, based on student interest, such as Fantasy World and Bold Adventures.

Can you do Zenith and an Academy and a PIP or just one?

You can do Zenith and an Academy.

You can do Zenith and a PIP.

You cannot do an Academy and a PIP.

Can you be in an Academy and have a PIP?

Unfortunately, the Academy lessons and PIP classes are on at the same time/period each week.

Consequently, you can apply for one or more Academies, but only be successful in one. Though you can apply for a different one the next year.

Some students prefer to select a PIP class, as they suit better and students can choose another in Semester 2.

How would you know what to do if nothing suits you? What do you do then?

We are pretty confident that students have a great deal of choice in Academies and PIP’s.

We recommend choosing the one you think is the best option, often Year 7 report that the Academy of PIP is even better than they thought. Others choose to change their PIP after Semester 1 either they found out about a great one they didn’t pick or because the course they chose wasn’t what they expected.

Keep an open mind and remember we are flexible. Chat to your Year Adviser once you are at College and they can help.

For more information contact our Port Macquarie Campus on 6583 1844 or Westport Campus on 6583 6400.