Stage 6

The study of a language in Stage 6 enables students to develop skills in the areas of communication, intercultural understanding, literacy, cognitive and social development and general knowledge. It also helps to deepen students' understanding and appreciation of the diverse attitudes within the wider Australian community and beyond. In Stage 6, there are 34 languages offered.

Support for conducting and marking an HSC-style oral examination

(Information correct as at 18 August 2021)

NESA has announced that, for 2021, teachers will provide marks for their HSC students’ oral language exams. To support teachers of Beginners and Continuers courses, we have developed advice on conducting and marking an HSC-style examination.

Conducting and marking HSC-style oral examinations – advice for Beginners and Continuers (DOCX 76KB)

Language study in Stage 6

There are up to 5 courses of study available in languages at Stage 6 level:

  • Beginners
  • Continuers
  • Extension
  • [Language] in Context
  • [Language] and Literature.

Student eligibility for each course can be accessed on the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) eligibility criteria for Stage 6 Languages website.

Note: Not all languages have all 5 courses available.

The Stage 6 language syllabuses are available on the NESA HSC Languages page.

Visit our professional learning page if you'd like to enrol in our Stage 6 school-based assessment in languages eCourse.

Life Skills courses in Stage 6

Schools with eligible students can develop a School Developed Board Endorsed Course for a Stage 6 Life Skills course in any language.

Applications for these courses are submitted to NESA via Schools Online.

Objectives, outcomes and modules are pre-filled in the application form. Schools determine the topics they will deliver (in relation to the modules provided), and the content that will be taught in each topic (suggested content is provided in supporting documentation attached to the application form).

The objectives and outcomes within the application are based on the Stage 6 Beginners Languages courses.

Once endorsed, the course can be delivered by the school and count as 2 units towards a student’s pattern of study.

For more details, including timelines for applications, refer to the NESA website.

Assessment in Stage 6

Information on school-based assessment requirements, principles of assessment, assessment in practice and awarding grades can be accessed on NESA's Assessment in Stage 6 page.

Our Stage 6 school-based assessment in languages eCourse guides you through appraches to setting non HSC-style tasks. The course is interim accredited for 3 hours of professional learning. Please contact or if you would like to enrol in the course.

HSC monitoring

To learn about HSC monitoring, please visit the department's Stage 6 page.

Other options for language study in Stage 6

If a particular language course is not available at their school, students can access language courses via Saturday School of Community Languages, if eligible, or via distance education, including NSW School of Languages.

Secondary College of Languages (formerly Saturday School of Community Languages)

Secondary College of Languages offers students in Years 7-12 from government and non-government high schools the opportunity to study their background language if it is not available for study in their weekday school.

The school operates on Saturdays during the school term in 14 centres located in Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle.

Distance education – single subject language provision

If a language is not available for study at a student's home school, students in Years 9-12 enrolled at either a government or non-government high school can study a language via distance mode learning through a specialist distance education school.

The NSW Department of Education has 5 distance education schools located across NSW which offer students in Years 9-12, subject to quota restrictions, the opportunity to study a language as a single subject if it is not available to study at their registered school.

The distance education schools providing single subject language provision:

HSC hub

HSC icon banner languages

Due to the number of HSC language courses available and smaller candidature sizes, the HSC hub for Languages provides advice documents for each of the course levels.

Professional teacher associations, foreign government agencies and universities have provided support for many language courses.

We have language-specific support available here – access the language and course level from the left-hand menu to find:

  • practice speaking questions for most Beginners and Continuers courses
  • sample listening and reading activities for most Beginners and Continuers courses.

For collegial discussions with other teachers and advice from the Languages and Culture team, please join our Languages NSW (7-12) virtual statewide staffroom on Yammer (staff only).

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