Proposed changes to the Western Australian Curriculum

Proposed changes to the Western Australian Curriculum

The School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) has released the proposed changes to the Science learning area of the Western Australian Curriculum. The final revised curriculum will be available for familiarisation in 2025, and implementation is scheduled for 2026. We’ve done some closer analysis of the suggested changes, so you don’t have to. 

Read on to learn what’s changed in the proposed update to the science curriculum and how we’ll be prepared to support you with implementing the final version. 

What are the proposed changes? 

“The authority has focussed on improving the clarity of the content and providing exemplification of the content to support teachers in planning for teaching, learning and assessment.” School Curriculum and Standards Authority, 2024

  1. Science as a human endeavour has been removed
    Science as a human endeavour is no longer a strand in the proposed science curriculum. Instead, its content has been moved into a new sub-strand of science inquiry skills called Collaborating and applying. 

    This change is minor, as it simply shifts content from the strand to the sub-strand level. Content has also been reworded and examples included, but it otherwise remains very similar. We don’t believe it will have any significant impact on teachers or students.

    One notable change is that the verb “illustrate” has been used to begin each of the content descriptors in this sub-strand e.g. “Illustrate how proposed scientific responses to contemporary issues may impact on society.” This provides some flexibility in how students demonstrate their understanding and, therefore, more opportunities for both creativity and differentiation.
  2. Examples have been added
    Many content descriptions include bullet-pointed examples intended to clarify and “support teacher understanding and provide contexts for teaching.” These bullet points are not required content but rather act as guidance regarding what could be taught. These act in a similar way to the elaborations within Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum.  

    We think this is a helpful addition to the proposed curriculum, though it’s important that examples are used as guidance only and are not treated as a checklist of material that must be covered. 
  3. Increased specificity
    In many cases, content descriptions have been reworded. This is intended to provide clarity for teachers. Perhaps unintentionally, however, it has also resulted in a very specific, somewhat prescriptive curriculum that could limit flexibility and creativity in how you teach. 

    For example, one of the proposed Biological Sciences content descriptions for Year 9 states: “Organisms have mechanisms to respond to changes in their environment; endotherms and ectotherms respond differently to changes in external temperature; plant tropisms help them respond to external stimuli”.

    The current curriculum allows flexibility in teaching how: “multi-cellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment (ACSSU175)”. The proposed revision would remove this flexibility. Teachers would be required to teach all three aspects listed in the statement, leaving little room for creativity. We think this is a significant limitation of the proposed revisions.

    It is also interesting to note that, unlike Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum, verbs have not been used in the science and understanding curriculum descriptions. Some of the example bullet points include verbs, but others do not. We think using verbs would have been an excellent way to provide further clarity for teachers and to guide the depth of knowledge required by students, and this is a missed opportunity for improvement.
  4. Content changes
    A table at the bottom of the page summarises the proposed rearrangement and additions to the curriculum’s content. Additions to Earth and space science are intended to provide context for learning about Western Australia’s space and mining sectors, while additions to Biological sciences are intended to provide context for learning about Western Australia’s biological diversity. We believe opportunities to contextualise learning within a local context are a positive change. Additions to Chemical sciences are intended to make the concepts to be taught more explicit, which is also welcomed. Additionally, the reorganisation of content allows for better integration with other content descriptions within each year level. 

What next? 

We’ve submitted our opinion on the proposed revisions to SCSA. Now, we wait to see what other opportunities for consultation arise before the final curriculum is released next year. We encourage you to do the same and engage with these as a chance to have your say! 

When the final version of the curriculum is released, we’ll start working straight away to make sure our teaching materials address all the requirements. We’ve had plenty of practice with Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum and are working on updates for the new New South Wales Syllabus at this very moment. 

With Stile as your core curriculum, you’ll have a fully aligned, engaging science program that’s ready to use with your students ahead of the implementation timeline. 

Content changes



New content

Year 7

Earth and space

  • Classification of celestial objects in the night sky as planets, stars, moons, asteroids, meteors, comets, constellations and galaxies

  • Distinguishing features of planets in our Solar System

  • Lunar phases and tides as predictable phenomena caused by the relative positions of the Sun, Earth and Moon

Year 8

Earth and space

  • The properties of rocks and how these influence their use

  • Rocks’ composition from minerals that can be classified using physical properties including colour, streak, lustre, transparency, hardness and cleavage

  • Useful resources being extracted from minerals

Year 9

Biological science 

  • Endotherms and ectotherms’ response to changes in external temperature

  • Plant tropisms, which help them to respond to external stimuli

  • Structural, behavioural and physiological adaptations that help plants and animals to survive in their environment

  • The effect of biotic and abiotic factors on population size and species biodiversity

  • Techniques for monitoring abiotic factors and estimating the number of organisms

  • The use of ecological monitoring to inform ecosystem health and the impacts of human activity

Year 9

Chemical science

  • Using atomic number and mass number to determine the protons, neutrons and electrons in an element’s atoms

  • Isotopes of an element have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and the same chemical properties

  • The arrangement of elements in the periodic table in order of increasing atomic number, and the similar properties of elements in the same group

  • The formation of compounds when atoms lose, gain or share electrons and how these can be represented using formulae and models

  • The combination of positively charged and negatively charged ions to form ionic compounds

  • The rearrangement of atoms to form new substances in chemical reactions and the use of equations to represent this and demonstrate the law of conservation of mass

Year 10

Earth and space

  • Space exploration’s contribution to knowledge of the formation and evolution of the universe and Earth, as well as providing useful tools and technologies to improve our life on Earth

Content that has been reorganised in the curriculum is listed in the table below.

Current year 

Proposed year




  • Plate tectonics

This change means plate tectonics can be taught alongside the rock cycle. This echoes changes made in Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum.



  • Global systems and climate change



  • Renewable and non-renewable energy

This content has also moved strands. It currently appears as part of Earth and space but is proposed to become Physical science, which will allow it to be taught in the context of electrical energy.