Planning, programming and assessing HSIE K–6

It is mandatory for all students from Kindergarten to Year 6 to study both geography and history in the key learning area of human society and its environment (HSIE).

The NSW Education Standards Authority recommends that 6-10% of a typical school week is spent teaching HSIE.

In HSIE, inquiry involves a deliberate, structured approach where teachers employ explicit teaching strategies such as the gradual release of responsibility, chunking and sequencing of content, connecting new knowledge with prior learning, and using effective questioning. This structured approach contrasts with the more open-ended exploration typically associated with inquiry learning. Instead, our syllabuses adopt a disciplined inquiry process to deepen students’ understanding through carefully structured learning.

Key inquiry questions from the history and geography syllabuses are thoughtfully incorporated into these resources, to further focus and guide student understanding. This approach ensures that foundational knowledge is clearly taught, preparing students for more complex, independent tasks. For further details, see our statement on Explicit teaching in NSW Public Schools.

The History K–10 Syllabus (2012) is a separate document from the Geography K–10 Syllabus (2015).

Scope and sequences

Learn how to develop effective K-6 scope and sequences (includes sample scope and sequences).


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