We provide a diverse program within a weekly routine and structure. Our curriculum is designed to provide students with appropriate challenges and educational opportunities and build their self-esteem.

The program specifically focuses on numeracy and literacy development, the learning of social and behavioural skills, work/training readiness and provision of VCAL & VET options for senior students.

We run an extensive practical and activity-based program which includes: Sport, Woodwork, Music, Art, Photography, Cooking, Media and Graphics.

Our curriculum is designed to be:

We use:

Aims to foster:

Encourages students to:

Middle School

Our Middle School curriculum focuses on inspiring students to engage and take responsibility for their own learning. We help improve their fundamental skills in literacy and numeracy, increase their problem solving skills and general knowledge and give them the ability and confidence to tackle senior courses.

Strategies include: reading/writing exercises; poster design, projects and model making; netbooks; use of information technology; film and text studies; role-playing activities; demonstrations; individual and group tasks and a range of excursions which support and enhance the learning activities which take place in the classroom. Our tasks and outcomes have been mapped to VELS.


The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning course is offered at Collingwood Alternative School. VCAL is an accredited senior school completion certificate and is offered as an alternative to a VCE course.

Students in Victorian Certificate Applied Learning (VCAL) classes participate in an integrated program that link and address the four VCAL strands which include Personal Development, Work Related Skills, Literacy and Numeracy. Each of the strands is incorporated within the learning tasks that students undertake. Each semester, classes focus on different themes. Examples include Community Leadership, Design and Technology, Film and Animation, Food Technology, Art/Music, Sport/Fitness and Outdoor Educational.

This program is designed for young people who have a desire to complete secondary education, undertake vocational training in an area of interest and who require support around literacy and numeracy skills.

Students complete their VET component on Wednesday’s and participate in structured work placements throughout the year. Students are assisted with developing their employability skills through a range of vocational, personal development and work related learning outcomes.

The VCAL program is suitable for student requiring support with literacy, numeracy and communication skills in order to go onto further study, apprenticeships or employment

Vocational Education & Training (VET)

Senior students undertake Vetis in schools courses on Wednesday’s, either choosing the Certificate 11 in Furniture Making at CAS, or another course hosted by a TAFE or other provider.

VET Certificate II Furniture Making LMF20309

These classes will give students the knowledge and skills required to enter the furnishing industry with a major focus on Work Place Health and Safety. This two year course has 12 competencies all of which must be completed competently in order to achieve a Cert II in Furnishing. Students design and make four pieces of furniture over the two years. Additionally, the theory component of the course requires students to complete four workbooks and successfully pass a series of short written tests. Students complete a work placement in the furnishings industry.

Literacy intervention

Intervention strategies such as THRASS (Teaching Handwriting, Reading & Spelling Skills) are provided to students with specific learning needs.

English as an additional language (EAL)

The EAL support program is designed to assist students learning English as an additional language.

All EAL students participate and spend the majority of their time in the mainstream classroom with EAL teaching strategies and additional classroom support.

To enhance language skills and ensure successful learning progress, EAL classes are offered and taught by the specialist EAL teacher on both an individual and small group basis. 

Class room planning, teaching and assessment support EAL learners in all areas of the curriculum. 


Students participate in a range of physical activities aimed at increasing their skill level, teamwork, sense of fair play and level of fitness. Each Thursday, staff and students participate in a school volleyball match and they also have the opportunity to become involved in inter-school sports classes each week. The multi sport stadium caters for indoor soccer, basketball, tennis, modified games and badminton. In addition, the students can participate in fitness units and have access to Yarra Gyms through a community membership program run by the school.

Visual Arts

CAS stages a major annual art exhibition to showcase our student’s creative endeavours. Throughout the year students are encouraged to develop personal 2D & 3D projects for display. Classes are designed to help students acquire the artistic and technical skills needed to fully realise their ideas. With each new art work students become more confident and independent.

Parents and community members have been consistently impressed by the quality of the work exhibited.

Hands on Learning (HOL)

Over the past ten years we have developed a strong partnership with “Hands on Learning” which promotes applied learning practices throughout Australia. At CAS this program operates one day a week and sees students involved in a wide variety of ongoing maintenance projects at school and within the local community. This program ideally suits a person interested in a career within the building and construction industries and students often go on to engage in pre-apprenticeships. As the projects are developed in response to a real need, students have greater motivation to complete them to a high standard. They receive positive feedback and a tremendous sense of satisfaction for their efforts. 

A recent example of ‘HOL’ was the Dining Table Project.

Students chose to design and build a large Victorian Ash table for our communal eating area, creating a more 'family' feel outside our newly refurbished kitchen space.

They were responsible for producing designs, pricing and purchasing materials and building the table.

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, came to Collingwood Alternative School on Tuesday the 15th of May. She is the Patron of ‘Hands on Learning Australia’ and was keen to see the many applied learning projects our students have been involved in.

She spent time talking with individuals about their work and then was involved in a round-table discussion (on the rectangular dining table) about the benefits of ‘applied learning’ in schools. Our students had made scones, cakes and tea, and served “Her Excellency” throughout the conversation.

It was a very exciting morning for staff and students, who were proud and appreciative that she took such interest in their endeavours.

Multi Media

Students collaboratively create film projects, beginning with devising the story line, writing a script, storyboarding and then sourcing settings and props. They then take the roles of actors, camera operators, sound and lighting  technicians and finally film editors. Students also have the opportunity to work with programs such as StopMotion Pro, Maya, Adobe On Location, Premiere Pro, After Effects and Encore.

One recent project was our film “Outer Space, Inner Space” which was funded by Arts Victoria for the 2011 Artists in Schools Program.

Our students also won $1,000 first prize in the 2012 “Freedom From Fear” competition run for schools in the City of Yarra during Refugee Week.


Our music program is designed to give students the opportunity to acquire skills and confidence on a range of instruments. They are able to learn, composition, sound production, how to ‘play by ear’, to read notation as well as individual and group performance skills. Classes are designed to be responsive to students’ musical tastes and interests and explore a variety of musical styles. Our classroom is equipped with recording and editing facilities, electronic keyboards, interactive guitar amplifiers, P.A. systems, guitars and drum kits. For those who wish, there are opportunities to play in front of live audiences throughout the year.


The cooking program enables students to develop practical skills in preparing healthy, nutritional lunches and snacks for the school community. All students are encouraged to sit down together and partake in the lunch provided by the cooking class.  The recipes used are printed for students so they can make the dishes at home for parents and friends.

As part of the VCAL program, students study food handling and food safety techniques, as well as basic cooking and knife handling skills.  Students also provide catering for special school events and produce the schools ‘healthy food cookbook’.