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What is the SACE?

The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) is the local senior secondary qualification designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge and capabilities to thrive as an engaged global citizen. Students are awarded the SACE if they successfully complete a two-stage course of study that meet the flexible requirements.

What are the requirements for SACE completion?

The SACE is a two-stage program offering a range of subjects. As students study the SACE, they will gain valuable literacy and numeracy skills in each of the disciplines offered, be challenged to think critically and creatively, problem solve, develop entrepreneurial skills and build upon their intercultural and ethical understanding.

Most students study Stage 1 in Year 11 and Stage 2 in Year 12, and can support their SACE completion by earning credits for individual and/or community activities e.g. the Duke of Edinburgh, or through recognition of vocational education and training (VET) courses.

Students will need to complete 200 credits of study to complete the SACE. Each subject is worth either 10 or 20 credits, depending on the length of the subject. Typically, subjects are awarded 10 credits for one semester and 20 credits for a full year.

Some of the 200 credits required to complete the SACE are awarded through the successful study (C grade or higher at Stage 1 and C- or higher at Stage 2) of the compulsory requirements. They are:

  • Stage 1 Personal Learning Plan (10 credits)
  • Numeracy requirement – a mathematics subject in Stage 1 or Stage 2 (10 credits)
  • Literacy requirement – an English subject in Stage 1 or Stage 2 (20 credits)
  • Stage 2 Research Project (10 credits)

These compulsory requirements make up 50 credits of the 200 needed to complete the SACE. As part of the remaining 150 credits, a minimum of 60 credits must be awarded at a Stage 2 level.

How does this work at Norwood Morialta High School?

Typically, students complete their SACE according to the following pattern:

  • Year 10 – 10 credits from Personal Learning Plan – More details can be found at the PLP Digital Hub.
  • Year 11 – 100 credits from the study of 5 subjects per semester.
  • Year 12 – 90 credits from the study of 4 subjects and Research Project. More information about the research project for families can be found by clicking here.


Research Project is offered to students in Year 11 if they wish to complete this requirement alongside their Stage 1 studies.

Norwood Morialta High School is proud to offer a wide and varied range of subjects for students to study when completing their SACE. The full range of subjects can be found by accessing the Online Curriculum Guide .

What is an ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a rank given to secondary school students ranging from 0 to 99.95.

It is a numerical ranking (not a score) that shows how a student performed in their studies compared to other students completing an Australian Year 12 program.

Entry into courses at tertiary institutions can be quite competitive, which is cause for a fair and transparent process and tool for ranking applicants. As such, the ATAR is used to compare the results of students nationally for tertiary institutions to determine who will be offered entry into their courses.

In South Australia, the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) calculates the ATAR. Click Here to find out more information about how the ATAR is calculated.

What post-school pathways exist?

University Pathway

If students intend on pursuing a university pathway after graduating, they must qualify for an ATAR. To do so, students need to complete at least 90 credits of Stage 2 study (or study recognised as Stage 2 learning e.g. a completed Certificate III course). Typically, this would include:

  • Research Project (10 credits)
  • 4 x Stage 2 subjects (80 credits)Or
  • Research Project (10 credits)
  • 3 x Stage 2 subjects (60 credits)
  • 1 x completed Certificate III course (20 credits)

TAFE Pathway

Students aged 16 or over are eligible to apply to TAFE. Course admission requirements are specific to each course, so students may be eligible for some courses and not others.

If a course is competitive, meeting the course admission requirements does not always guarantee an offer. All applicants for competitive courses who meet the course admission requirements are then ranked for selection and offers are made in merit order. The rules for ranking applicants are set by TAFE SA. Students may be required to complete the CSPA (Core Skills Profile for Adults) measuring their reading, writing and numeracy abilities.

Vocational Pathway

The school offers considerable support to students to contemplate their vocational pathway for life beyond school, including the ability to undertake VET studies as part of their learning. The school is supported by the Department for Education’s Further Pathways team who have created the Student Pathways site as one resource to support students.

What is VET?

VET stands for Vocational Education and Training. VET enables students to acquire skills and knowledge for work through a nationally recognised industry-developed training package or accredited course delivered by a Registered Training Organisation such as TAFE. It always includes practical, hands-on learning, and it can lead to employment in many fields. Senior school students can apply to undertake a VET course (generally at Certificate I, II or III level) that aligns with their interests and future career goals. Recognised qualifications can contribute to a student’s SACE completion.

Flexible Industry Pathways

A Flexible Industry Pathway (FIP) is an industry-endorsed pathway from secondary school to employment in key growth industries in South Australia. The training programs have been designed in consultation with industry and have been endorsed by the South Australian Training and Skills Commission’s Industry Skills Councils.

FIPs include one or more VET qualifications at Certificate II to III level that industry considers suitable for school students, with enterprise and employability skills training and specific industry requirements linked to the pathway.

For more information about VET courses available in the 26 FIP areas please visit the Vocational Education and Training section of the Norwood Morialta High School Curriculum guide.

What is a Flexible Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

Flexible Apprenticeships involve a combination of school, work and vocational training. A senior student can enter into a Flexible Apprenticeship or Traineeship once they have been offered an opportunity by an employer. Students, parents and the employer then negotiate a part-time school timetable allowing them to attend work/training 1 or 2 days per week and school 3 to 4 days per week. Work experience is the recommended first step for students seeking to gain a flexible apprenticeship or traineeship.

More details can be found via a video specifically created for Norwood Morialta High School students – to access this video, click here.

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