Senior Secondary


​​​​​​Senior Schooling at Cleveland District State High School

Students in Years 10, 11 and 12 are considered Senior School students at Cleveland District State High.  A three year senior gives students the opportunity to begin to specialise in certain areas of the curriculum and determine their pathway through the Senior School.  This approach leads to increased interest and enthusiasm.  Students are catered for across the range of pathways on offer.  Each pathway allows students to succeed in an area of interest and our senior schooling team closely monitor the learning needs and outcomes of all students to make sure that they are on track to achieve their learning goals and a QCE.  This approach has proven to be very successful with Year 10 preparation units structured as a prerequisite to support and prepare students for the rigours of Units 1 to 4 in each Senior General and Applied Subject. 

Learning Outcomes

The Learning Outcome for all students in Years 10, 11 and 12 is a Queensland Certificate of Education (or a QCIA for a small number of students on individualised programs).  All students are required to undertake a program which maintains their QCE eligibility and this is monitored very carefully throughout the Senior Phase of learning.  Further information on the QCE is available on the QCAA website In addition to the QCE, students select pathways that will support them to achieve their post-school goals.  


At Cleveland District State High School we are proud of our tradition of Preparing Students to Meet the Future.  To achieve this in the Senior School, we offer four pathways to success that all lead to a QCE.  These pathways are discussed in Year 9 as part of the SET (Senior Education and Training) Plan process and Career Education Program prior to subject selection.  Year 10 is an important foundation year for our students as they prepare for the rigours of the summative assessment in their chosen subjects. 

Intensive Academic Pathway

This pathway is best suited to high performing, highly motivated academic students who plan to go straight to University after Year 12.  Students choosing this pathway will enrol in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) or choose to study six General Subjects. 

Intensive Academic Pathway students may choose between the IBDP pathway or an ATAR pathway into competitive University courses on successful completion of Year 12. 

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme:

Cleveland District State High School is an IB World School authorised to deliver the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).  The IBDP is an academically challenging pathway through the Senior School that is designed to prepare students for success at university and life beyond.  The IBDP has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students.  

The IBDP is recognised by Universities in Australia and throughout the world.  Universities, such as Griffith University (, QUT  and the University of Queensland ( acknowledge the rigor of the IBDP and welcome students who have completed the IBDP.  Similar information on academic credits and academic acceleration for IBDP students can be found by searching the website of your chosen University. 

The IBDP curriculum is made up of six subject groups and three core areas – Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  Students must study one subject from each of the six groups – Studies in Language and Literature, Language Acquisition (French, Japanese or Mandarin), Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics and The Arts (or an additional Science subject).  Through the core, students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research and undertake projects that often involve community service. 


  • Language and Literature (HL and SL)
  • French Ab Initio (SL)
  • Japanese Ab Initio (SL)
  • Mandarin Ab Initio (SL)
  • Business and Management (HL and SL)
  • Psychology (HL and SL) – from Year 10 in 2021
  • History (HL and SL) – Year 11 and 12 2021
  • Physics (HL and SL)
  • Biology (HL and SL)
  • Chemistry (HL and SL)
  • Environmental Systems and Societies (SL)
  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretations
  • Visual Art (HL and SL)
  • Music (HL and SL)

ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank)

The new QCE system is now in place with the first cohort of students graduating in 2020.  Some of the major changes include:

  • The OP (Overall Position) has been replaced by the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank).  Students planning to study at University should choose the Intensive Academic pathway (which includes the IBDP option) or the Tertiary Options pathway.
  • Senior subjects are referred to as General subjects (rigorous subjects that ATAR students will generally choose) and Applied subjects (subjects that are more practical in nature and are generally chosen by students undertaking the Work Readiness or Life and Work Skills Pathway.
  • All General subjects have External Exams.  The External Exams in Mathematics and Science subjects, will contribute 50% towards the final result with the External Exams in all other subjects contributing 25% towards the final result.
  • External Exams will be common to all schools and administered under the same conditions, at the same time and on the same day. 

ATAR Calculation

Best five (5) QCAA General Subjects
Best four (4) QCAA General Subjects
Best result in one (1) QCAA Applied Subject
Certificate III/Certificate IV/Diploma/Advanced Diploma
  • If the student is eligible for an ATAR in both categories, the highest will be used.
  • Student must achieve at least a sound in an English subject (English, Literature or Essential English) to be eligible for an ATAR.
  • The English result will only be used if it fits the pattern above.

Tertiary Options Pathway

The students who will benefit most from this pathway are students who do well academically and value tertiary study at University or TAFE as an option when they complete Year 12.  Students on this pathway will choose to study a minimum of four General subjects with flexible options for their other subjects as well as a Monday study option such as the Diploma of Business or a Certificate III in Aviation. 

Students on this pathway may be unsure about which tertiary study option they want to pursue or may be interested in a combination of TAFE and University.  They supplement their study with a Certificate III level or higher Vocational qualification which provides additional QCE credits as well as contributing to their ATAR scores.  For some Universities, a Certificate III can meet the criteria for entry when combined with a successful result in General English. 

Cleveland District State High School provides a number of Certificate II, III and Diploma courses on a Monday exclusively for our students, delivered by reputable, well-established Registered Training Organisations.  The Vocational pathway to University provides students with a combination of practical skills as well as theoretical components which may suit the learning styles of students who undertake this pathway.

Work Readiness Pathway

This pathway will provide students with excellent preparation to transition straight from school to TAFE or the Workforce.  Students on this pathway will choose Applied Subjects, TAFE courses and School-Based Traineeships or Apprenticeships. 

The Work Readiness Pathway through the Senior School is designed to give students a more practical program that will lead to TAFE courses, apprenticeships, traineeships and/or paid work following Year 12.  As part of their studies, students can complete Vocational qualifications at TAFE, with an outside RTO or through a Workplace Traineeship of School-Based Apprenticeship.  Year 10 students on this pathway are strongly encouraged to complete a Certificate III Traineeship.  Opportunities are regularly advertised to students and it is their responsibility to follow up with our Industry Liaison Officer (Deb Mansfield). 

We currently have students studying a range of Vocational qualifications including:  Diploma of Business, Certificate IV in Justice, Certificate II and III in Conservation and Land Management, Certificate III in Aviation, Events, Health Services, Early Childhood Education, Design Fundamentals, Fitness, Business, Hospitality, Retail, and Certificate II in Logistics, Outdoor Recreation, Automotive, Engineering Pathways, Electrotechnology, Tourism, Hairdressing, Animal Studies and Rural Operations. 

Students studying a Vocational pathway generally choose Applied subjects, however, students can choose a combination of General subjects and Applied subjects.  Students choosing General subjects need to carefully consider the rigorous nature and assessment requirements of General subjects.  It should be noted that all General subjects have External Exam requirements. 

Life and Work Skills Pathway

Students on this pathway will receive a very practical, skills-based education with Applied Subjects, a course from our vocational partners at WYNMET in Year 10, work experience as well as assistance to gain a School-Based Traineeship. 

This pathway will suit the learning needs and life goals of students who value hands-on, skills-based subjects and who are looking to engage in paid work when they have completed their studies.  The very practical nature of this pathway will allow students to gain work experience and skills which will enhance their resumes and make them attractive to potential employers. 

Working closely with key members of the Senior Schooling Team, these students will undertake structured work placement, build connections with local industries and employers and practice the skills they need to be successful beyond the school gates.

Last reviewed 22 June 2022
Last updated 22 June 2022