High School

Years 7–12

Students take the exciting step into their High School years in Year 7 where they flourish in the new learning environment which greets them.  The balance of intellectual/academic, artistic and practical subjects is maintained, but the orientation is now turned more to the outer world.

About our High School

In High School, our students are nurtured towards a bright and fulfilling future. Students are taught by specialists in their field as they are challenged to awaken their capacity for discerning thinking and independent judgment. The curriculum, building on and extending the subjects covered in the Primary School, unfolds a rich panorama of world and life through the sciences, arts, humanities and practical subjects.

Students graduate from Mount Barker Waldorf School as creative and flexible thinkers with clarity of thinking, sensitivity of feeling and strength of will.

Quote marks

The true aim of education is to awaken real powers of perception and judgement in relation to life and living. For only such an awakening can lead to true freedom.

— Rudolf Steiner

Purpose-built facilities

Our purpose-built facilities provide every opportunity for students to immerse themselves in their learning, perform practical work, openly participate in discussions, and delve into investigations.


Our High School curriculum provides students with an array of experiences which will give them the confidence to forge their own path. A focus is placed on allowing each child the time and space to develop their own interests and their questioning and research are supported by our faculty.

While continuing to introduce the significant new themes of English and mathematics through main lessons, these lessons also focus on developing requisite skills through three practice lessons each per week.

Physics, chemistry and biology all continue through to Year 12.

  • Practical lessons happening for physics in Classes 9, 10 and 11
  • Chemistry in 9 and 10
  • Biology in 11 and 12.

History recapitulates studies of ancient through to modern cultures, but now from the perspective of understanding the underlying influences that shaped the different cultures and the qualities and ideas the peoples developed and brought into the world, culminating in an overview of the world today in Class 12.

Geography spans the four elements in the lessons from Class 9 to Class 12:

  • Geology and geomorphology the focus in Class 9
  • Climatology/weather patterns in Class 10
  • Cartography in Class 11
  • Astronomy in Class 12.

The Arts focus on the aesthetic element through a series of main lessons:

  • Art history in Class 9
  • Poetry and literature in Class 10
  • Music history in Class 11
  • History of architecture in Class 12.

Painting, drawing and music continue as subject lessons to Class 11, becoming electives in Class 12.

Physical education is taught for all High School students, with a focus on fostering a love of exercise and healthy living.

Drama comes more into focus in the High School with the production of a full play in Class 10 and a final play in Class 12 that is rehearsed and performed within the last three weeks of the year. In each case the whole class is involved in the production and performance. The experience of taking on a role and playing someone else’s part in life fulfils an important need in adolescence when young people are searching for their own identity.

Students are given the chance to perform in our bespoke Living Arts Centre.

German and Japanese continues through to Class 12, students choosing one or the other from Class 10 on.

Woodwork is taught in Class 6 and extends into the Design Tech curriculum in High School for all students from Class 7 to the end of Class 10. Metalwork is also included in the Class 10 curriculum.

Class 11 and 12 students can choose to continue developing their skills Design Tech by choosing to focus on this area as part of their Senior studies.

Machine sewing is taught in Years 7 and 8.

The study of Gardening in Classes 5 and 6 expands into the study of Horticulture in High School from Class 7 through to to Class 10.

Various practical subjects form part of the curriculum as lessons for a year or less in high school. These include areas such as design tech and sewing, first aid and from time to time other craft activities such as weaving and basketry.

Camps form an integral part of certain subjects such as geography, surveying and botany and combine with outdoor education activities such as cycling, sailing, canoeing and bushwalking.

Our camps are often a favourite with students.  They incorporate a wonderful balance of challenge and wonder.  They are carefully planned to nourish connections with student learning, with each other and with nature.

Work experience is included as part of our important 3-year ‘Pathways’ program to allow students to meet the world. It incorporates opportunities to experience the world of work, to develop skills in collaboration and team work and offers them meaningfull opportunities to contribute to our community and the wider community.

  • In Class 9 students work on local community projects supported by the school.  They also engage with local farms and farming communities in voluntary roles.
  • In Class 10 the students participate in individually negotiated workplace placements. They often choose to explore a workplace which aligns with personal interests and passions.
  • In Class 11 students undertake leadership training and develop community projects which they champion to contribute to community needs they identify.   the focus of these community projects is on elevating student agency and equipping students with the skills they need to engage meaningfully in community projects with more responsibility as student leaders. This experience also provides students with an opportunity to develop some of the skills they will need to call on for community work in their Class 12 Independent Project.

Year 11 and 12 program

In Years 11 and 12, students undertake a course of study, which rounds off and culminates the previous 10 years of school work in the Waldorf School. Main Lessons continue for each year group and supplementary courses are offered to both year groups together. Students can select supplementary coursework in areas of interest such as: Nutrition, Sports Science, Language Study, Geography, Creative Digital Arts, Design Tech, Music, Physics, P.E., Fine Art, History, Chemistry, Biology, Politics/Economics.

In Year 11 this involves course work in the major core units:

  • Maths
  • History
  • English
  • Geography
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Social Studies.

As well as the units:

  • Physical Education
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Language Study
  • Design Tech
  • Leadership in Community
  • Digital Photography

Year 12 is a culmination of many subjects and is offered as part of a full Waldorf curriculum. Each student also undertakes a major project of their choice and design which they work on independently, but with guidance from a supervisor and mentor, for the year. Results are published and presented to a large assembly at the end of the year. This is a major presentation lasting around 40 minutes in which the students must show their work, speak about the process and their results and answer questions. This project is in addition to the full range of subjects studied in the Year 12 curriculum.

Major core units in Year 12 include:

  • Maths
  • History
  • English
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Philosophy
  • Special Project.

As well as the units:

  • Drama
  • Music
  • Bothmer Gym
  • Visual Arts
  • Foreign Language
  • Physical Education
  • Additional electives where appropriate.


Throughout High School most Main Lesson subjects have informal tests associated with them. The tests are used primarily to provide feedback to students on their understanding of aspects of the subjects, not particularly for grading purposes. This is in addition to the regular marking of work throughout the Main Lesson which culminates in a marking of the completed Main Lesson book as an expression of some/ all of their learning of the course. From Class 8 on, students are expected to complete the requirements of each subject within a given timeframe, and they are followed up if it is evident they are not accomplishing this.

In Years 11 and 12, both formative and summative assessments are used. A formative assessment is given to students as a matter of course in the reports on their work in all subjects.

A summative assessment for tertiary admission is also recorded and is available to students on request. A summative assessment of all units is made in Year 12. Our Year 12 curriculum offers an alternative to SACE, and students are given a SATAC Selection Score based on their substantial course work throughout the year, which includes an individual Special Project. Graduates of the school have been accepted into all South Australian universities, and have been successful across a broad range of disciplines in their tertiary studies.

After school pathways

More about the school journey