Languages

Students develop communication skills, learn about languages as systems and explore the relationship between language and culture.

In NSW primary schools, the study of a language is optional. In NSW secondary schools, languages is a key learning area. The study of a language is compulsory for 100 hours in one school year in Stage 4 or 5, but preferably in Stage 4. In Stage 6, a wide variety of languages is offered in NSW schools, catering for beginning students to background speakers.

Important updates

The NSW Department of Education has completed a Review of foreign government/foreign organisation support for language education in NSW public schools.

Access the full report (PDF 1944.15KB).

As a result of this review, the department's agreement with the Confucius Institute has concluded.

Enquiries relating to the teaching of the Mandarin language should be directed to Elisabeth Robertson, Coordinator, Languages and Culture, who can be contacted by email at elisabeth.robertson@det.nsw.edu.au or phone 7814 3023.

Date Update




November 2020 Sample Stage 4 Modern Greek unit starter, assessment task (with marking criteria) and updated scope and sequence published by NSW Department of Education.
Sample Stage 5 scope and sequences for Japanese and Korean published by NSW Department of Education.





October 2020 Sample Stage 5 scope and sequences for French, German and Italian published by NSW Department of Education.




September 2020 Sample Stage 4 Indonesian unit starter, assessment task (with marking criteria) and updated scope and sequence published by NSW Department of Education.
Sample Stage 4 generic unit starter on class party (DOCX 532KB) published by NSW Department of Education, with a focus on differentiation and adjustments to support the needs of a range of learners.
Sample Stage 5 scope and sequences for Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, Modern Greek and Spanish published by NSW Department of Education.





July 2020 Sample Stage 4 Arabic and Stage 4 Korean unit starters, assessment tasks (with marking criteria) and updated scope and sequences published by NSW Department of Education.




June 2020 Sample Stage 4 generic unit of work – snack attack – released by NESA and designed to assist teachers when students are learning from home.




May 2020 Sample Stage 4 German unit starter, assessment task (with marking criteria) and updated scope and sequence published by NSW Department of Education.




May 2020 Support for head teachers supervising language teachers (DOCX 1.7MB) published by the NSW Department of Education.




April 2020 Sample Stage 5 generic unit starter on food trucks (DOCX 93KB) published by the NSW Department of Education.




April 2020 Sample Stage 4 assessment tasks (with marking criteria) and unit starters (sample units of work) for Chinese, Italian and Spanish published by the NSW Department of Education.




November 2019 Sample assessment tasks, sample Stage 4 scope and sequences for Indonesian and Modern Greek and support for intercultural understanding and communication published by the NSW Department of Education.




September 2019 New K-10 syllabuses for Hindi, Macedonian, Persian , Punjabi and Tamil published by NESA for implementation from Term 1 2020.




September 2019 Sample Stage 4 assessment tasks (with marking criteria) and unit starters (sample units of work) for French and Japanese, and sample Stage 4 scope and sequence for French published by the NSW Department of Education.




August 2019 Sample unit of work and sample assessment activity for Stage 4 for French published by NESA.




August 2019 Support materials for 2020-2024 course prescriptions for Stage 6 Extension courses published by the NSW Department of Education in Arabic, Chinese, French , German, Indonesian, Italian , Japanese, Modern Greekand Spanish.




August 2019 Support for head teachers supervising language teachers (DOCX 1.7MB) published by the NSW Department of Education.




June 2019 Sample assessment schedules for 7-10 French, Japanese, Korean and Spanish and sample Stage 4 scope and sequences for Japanese, Korean and Spanish published by the NSW Department of Education.




June 2019

Course performance descriptors for the K-10 language syllabuses (2017-2019) published by NESA.






May 2019 New 7-10 programming resources published by the NSW Department of Education, including programming guidelines, sample unit of work proformas (sample 1 and sample 2) and a backward mapping tool.




April 2019 Sample units of work and sample assessment activities for Stage 4 for German, Korean and Spanish published by NESA.




February 2019 Sample unit of work and sample assessment activity for Stage 4 for Italian.
New K-10 syllabuses for Arabic, Modern Greek, Turkish and Vietnamese published by NESA for implementation from 2020 with K-6, Year 7 and Year 9 and from 2021 with Year 8 and Year 10.
In 2019, schools will continue to implement the 2003 syllabus documents.
November 2018 New sample scope and sequences for Early Stage 1 to Stage 5 French, German, Indonesian , Italian, Korean and Spanish published by NESA.



November 2018 New HSC course prescriptions for the 2020-2024 HSC for Stage 6 Extension courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German , Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek and Spanish published by NESA. Implementation of the new course prescriptions will commence at the start of Term 4 2019 for the 2020 HSC examination.



August 2018 New support materials for Chinese and Literature, Indonesian and Literature, Japanese and Literature and Korean and Literature published by the NSW Department of Education.



July 2018 CCAFL Stage 6 Indonesian in Context course to be suspended following 2019 HSC examination



May 2018 Stage 6 Arabic Beginners course to be suspended following 2019 HSC examination.



April 2018 New sample scope and sequences, sample units of work and sample assessment activities for Early Stage 1 to Stage 5 for Chinese and Japanese published by NESA.



March 2018 New K-10 syllabuses for French, German, Indonesian , Italian, Korean and Spanish published by NESA for implementation from 2019 with K-6, Year 7 and Year 9 and from 2020 with Year 8 and Year 10.



August 2017 CCAFL Stage 6 Ukrainian Continuers course to be suspended following 2018 HSC examination.



June 2017 New K-10 syllabuses for Chinese and Japanese published by NESA for implementation from 2019 with K-6, Year 7 and Year 9 and from 2020 with Year 8 and Year 10.



June 2017 New Languages K-10 Framework published by NESA.



June 2017 New course prescriptions for Stage 6 Language and Literature courses in Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean 2019-2023 published by NESA for implementation from Term 1 2018.




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