Senior School Drawing upon their values and educational experiences, Senior School students start to focus on what's to come when they graduate.

There is an emphasis on learning, curriculum extension activities and community service. There is also an added focus on preparing students for their post-school academic, career and community endeavours.

Students in Year 10 complete their International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. Students in Years 11 and 12 may then study either the IB Diploma or the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

Within both curriculum models, students choose subjects from the essential areas of learning – the Arts, English, Languages, Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, studies of Society and Technology. Religious Education with wellbeing provided through Home Group classes at each Year Level.

Curriculum Handbooks | Helpful information for parents

Home Groups
Students in Years 10 to 12 are welcomed each day by a their Home Group teacher. Home Group teachers work with students and may advocate on behalf of them in the event of illness or matters of personal wellbeing. They also serve as the intial point of contact for families. 

In addition, specific curriculum matters are taught and explored within this class group, including our Growth and Personal Skills Programme (GPS).

Each week, students and teachers work together on aspects of personal growth, skills relevant to life beyond school and the development of the whole person. Home Group teachers also teach specific academic subjects and this relationship is supported through the contact with each other at the beginning of every day.

Student Leadership
Developing leadership skills is at the core of our ethos at Mercedes College. Through our formal leadership structure all students are provided with the opportunity to express themselves and be a voice for the student body.

Our leaders demonstrate a range of skills including vision, reliability, commitment and inspiration with the Mercy Keys of Compassion, Loyalty, Justice, Integrity, Responsibility and Mutual Respect becoming the essence of this journey. Opportunities for student leadership exist through the Student Representative Council, College Captain, Sports Leader and House Captain roles and leadership of student clubs and societies.

Student Services Centre
The Student Services Centre offers a variety of services and information to students.This includes career and tertiary course counselling and assessment services that assist students decisions and career choices. Work experience and observation programs are provided with personal counselling service is also available.

Senior School Subject Areas

Students in Year 10 complete their International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. Students in Years 11 and 12 study either the IB Diploma or the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

While students select either the IB Diploma or SACE at the beginning of Year 11, all students will meet the criteria necessary to complete Stage 1 of their SACE Certificate. This enables an IB student to transfer to SACE for Year 12 if they decide this is a better path for them, in consultation with their Careers and Subjects Advisor. 

The IB Diploma

The IB Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre‐university course of study for students in Years 11 and 12. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open‐mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view.

The Diploma encourages the concurrent study of a broad range of academic areas. Students study:

Studies in Language and Literature
Language A: Literature (usually a student’s native language). This course is based upon a study of the literature of that language, and includes works translated from another language designed to expose students to cultural bases other than their own. Mercedes offers English A and Chinese A. Other Language A courses may be available through external bodies where required.

Language Acquisition
A second modern language: Language B or Language ab initio.

The Language B courses are intended for students with several years’ prior study of the language, and emphasises the acquisition and development of the language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Languages offered at Mercedes are French B, Indonesian B, English B and Spanish ab initio.

Individuals and Societies
Students select one of Business Management, History, Economics or Psychology.

Experimental Sciences
Students select one of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Sports, Exercise and Health Science.

Students select one of Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches, or Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

The Arts
Students select one of Visual Arts, Theatre or Music. Alternatively, they may choose an additional subject from one of the above fields, aside from Mathematics.

IB Diploma Core Requirements
In addition to the six academic areas, IB Diploma students are required to complete the three core course requirements:

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course encourages students to think about the nature of knowledge, to reflect on the process of learning in all their subjects, and to make connections across the academic areas to apply transferable skills across disciplines. TOK is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of how to learn, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge.

The Extended Essay, a substantial piece of writing of up to 4,000 words, enables students to investigate a topic of special interest to them. It encourages them to develop the skills of independent research that will be expected at university.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) involves students in experiential learning through a range of artistic, sporting, physical and service activities.

For detailed information on the IB Diploma Program at Mercedes College in Years 11 and 12, see the IB Diploma Curriculum Handbook.

South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)

The SACE is an internationally recognised senior secondary qualification that provides students with the knowledge, skills, and capabilities they require to advance to further learning and work as confident and responsible global citizens. Upon successful completion, the SACE qualifies graduates for admission to tertiary institutions both nationally and abroad, and meets community expectations that school-leavers will:

  • Be equipped to successfully undertake further studies, training and employment
  • Achieve a desired level of literacy and numeracy
  • Study a broad range of subjects

The SACE offers subjects and courses at Stage 1 (Year 11) and Stage 2 (Year 12). Students acquire valuable literacy, numeracy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The SACE helps students to learn how to work with and alongside others, and to understand how one’s decisions can affect people, situations and the world.

These outcomes are encapsulated in the seven capabilities that underpin the SACE:

  1. Literacy
  2. Numeracy
  3. Information and communication technology capability
  4. Creative and critical thinking
  5. Personal and social capability
  6. Ethical understanding
  7. Intercultural understanding

The development of these capabilities supports students to become successful 21st Century learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.

Subjects offered through the SACE include:

  • Accounting 
  • Biology 
  • Business Innovation 
  • Chemistry 
  • Chinese (background speakers)
  • Creative Arts
  • Drama 
  • Economics 
  • English
    English Literacy Studies or Essential English 
  • English as an Additional Language 
  • French 
  • Health and Wellbeing 
  • History 
  • Indonesian 
  • Legal Studies
  • Life and Faith 
  • Mathematics
    Essential Mathematics or General Mathematics at Stage 1 and 2
    additional options of Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics at Stage 2
  • Music 
  • Nutrition 
  • Outdoor Education 
  • Physical Education 
  • Physics 
  • Politics, Power and People 
  • Psychology 
  • Research Project (compulsory, undertaken in Year 11, Semester 2) 
  • Religion Studies 
  • Society and Culture 
  • Visual Art 
  • Visual Art – Design

For more detailed information on each subject, see the SACE Stage 1 Curriculum Handbook  and SACE Stage 2 Curriculum Handbook curriculum handbooks.