Leading languages 7–12

Support for teachers and head teachers who lead a Languages faculty.

Through learning languages, students engage in purposeful communication and reflect on the heritage, culture and identity of themselves and others. The study of one or more additional languages strengthens literacy skills in a student’s first language and supports participation in the global community.

Support for leading Languages 7–12

Language faculties are often smaller than other faculties and may be supervised by an out-of-faculty head teacher. To support language teachers and their supervisors in leading a Languages faculty, Leading Languages 7–12 (DOCX 1939 KB) provides key information to support a common understanding of the languages key learning area.

The guide aims to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of languages education
  • provide an overview of languages K–10 syllabuses
  • provide an overview of Board-developed Stage 6 language syllabuses and eligibility requirements
  • outline the support available to language teachers.

Virtual Languages Mentoring Network

The Virtual Languages Mentoring Network (VLMN) is a 2-year mentoring program for language teachers 7–12 in NSW public schools. It links experienced teacher mentors with beginning teacher mentees. Mentees must be permanent or temporary and be in their first 5 years of teaching.

The VLMN was designed in response to many language teachers not having a languages-trained head teacher and/or being the only language teacher at their school. It provides an engaging, collegial network of support, with targeted professional learning opportunities, throughout the 2 years of support. Funding to participate is provided to both mentors and mentees. If you would like to know more, contact Shanelle Ingram

Language study in Stages 4 and 5

The study of 100 hours of one language over one continuous 12-month period is mandatory between Years 7–10, but preferably in Years 7–8 (Stage 4).

Students may also elect a language course in Stage 5.

Language study in Stage 6

In Stage 6, there are 32 languages offered.

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

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

Note – not all languages have all 5 courses available.

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

HSC monitoring

Visit our Stage 6 monitoring and support page to learn about HSC monitoring.

Assessment in Stage 6

For support with assessment in Stage 6, visit Planning, programming and assessing in 11–12.

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.

Other options for language study

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

Secondary College of Languages

Secondary College of Languages offers students in Years 5–12 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.

Distance education schools providing single subject language provision:


  • Teaching and learning


  • Educational Standards
  • English
  • Principals and school leaders
  • Teaching and learning
  • Web page
  • Year 10
  • Year 11
  • Year 12
  • Year 7
  • Year 8
  • Year 9

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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