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South Australia: post-primary school English curriculum


The English curriculum varied according to the different kinds of post-primary schools established by the state. The establishment of state post-primary education for students in regional and metropolitan areas was particularly complex during the first half of the twentieth century (Cormack, Grant and Kerin, 2000:17).

Cormack, Grant and Kerin (2000) identify four major threads in the development of post-primary education in South Australia:

Below is a representation of the development and changes of post-primary institutions from 1910 � 1960.

*This illustrates the number of schools (not enrolments)
*Area/Consolidated Schools created in 1942 included as High Schools
*Adult Education Classes in regional areas created in 1957 included as Vocational Education

Basic course statements

The Education Department of South Australia published complete and distinct Courses of Study for three post-primary educational settings: Central Schools (1924), Technical Schools (1929) and High Schools (1929 � for 1st Year and 2nd Year). The senior secondary years in High Schools (Intermediate, Leaving and Leaving Honours) were governed by the syllabus and examinations as set by the Public Examinations Board of the University of Adelaide.*
* For further details on post-primary education in South Australia refer to Cormack, Grant and Kerin (2000), pp.17-31.

Below are the basic course statements published by the Education Department, South Australia, for post-primary schools. The course statements (English) are linked as PDF files of the scanned document where available.

Course of Study in District High Schools
pp.57-59  (Published in the Education Gazette) (PDF 1167kb)

Course of Study in District High Schools
pp.180-184 (PDF 1254kb)

Courses of Study for High Schools, Domestic Art Schools and Higher Primary Schools (separate publication).

Courses of Study for Central Schools: A. Commercial; B. Junior Technical; C. Home-Making

Title & Preface  (PDF 1021kb)   Course (PDF 1052kb)

Thebarton Technical High School Syllabus (eg, pp.176-184)
Year 1  (PDF 790kb)   Year 2 (PDF 463kb)

Courses of Study for High schools (separate publication)
Title (PDF 52kb)   Course (PDF 2330kb)

Courses of Study for Central Schools, Boys: A. Commercial; B. Junior Technical (separate publication)
Title (PDF 78kb)    Course (PDF 524kb)

Courses of Study for Central Schools, Girls: Home-Making Course (separate publication)
Title & Preface (PDF 872kb)   Course (PDF 512kb)

The Public Examinations Board (PEB) released a new document each calendar year to be implemented in High Schools. The subject English component of The Manual of the Public Examinations Board of the University of Adelaide will shortly be available below for every five years for the period 1900-1938.

Manual of the Public Examinations Board - Title page
1905 (PDF 40kb)   1910 (PDF 62kb)   1915 (PDF 48kb)  1920 (PDF 42kb)  1925 (PDF 65kb) 
1930 (PDF 52kb)  1935 (PDF 76kb)

1925 (PDF 746kb)   1930 (PDF 810kb)   1935 (PDF 906kb)

Junior public examination*
1905 (PDF 443kb)   1910 (PDF 322kb)   1915 (PDF 131kb)   1920 (PDF 92kb)   1925 (PDF 319kb)  
1930 (PDF 371kb)   1935 (PDF 214kb)

Senior public examination*
1905 (PDF 557kb)   1910 (PDF 113kb)   1915 (PDF 301kb)   1920 (PDF 96kb)

Higher Public examination*
1905 (PDF 188kb)   1910 (PDF 348kb)   1915 (PDF 155kb)   1920 (PDF 104kb)

Junior commercial examination
1915 (PDF 162kb)

Examination Papers for the previous year
Junior examination papers*
1904 (PDF 292kb)   1909 (PDF 281kb)   1914 (PDF 229kb)   1919 (PDF 169kb)   1924 (PDF 294kb)  
1929 (PDF 255kb)   1934 (PDF 679kb)

Senior examination papers
1904 (PDF 276kb)   1909 (PDF 248kb)   1914 (PDF 246kb)   1920 (PDF 168kb)

Higher examination papers
1904 (PDF 179kb)   1909 (PDF 235kb)   1914 (PDF 263kb)   1919 (PDF 395kb)

Notes by examiners for the previous year
Junior examination*
1905 (PDF 125kb)   1910 (PDF 180kb)   1915 (PDF 430kb)   1920 (PDF 587kb)   1925 (PDF 1809kb)   
1930 (PDF 1125kb)   1935 (PDF 1090kb)

Senior examination
1905 (PDF 295kb)   1910 (PDF 313kb)  1915 (PDF 485kb)   1920 (PDF 1396kb)

Higher examination
1905 (PDF 320kb)   1910 (PDF 148kb)   1915 (PDF 445kb)   1920 (PDF 123kb)

*In 1923, the Junior Public Examination was renamed the Intermediate Examination.
In the same year the Senior Public Examination was relabelled the Leaving Examination and remained the main course for university matriculation. The Higher Public Examination was renamed Leaving Honours, continuing the tradition of allowing an extra year in High School for students wishing to specialise before entering university.