School Curriculum

At SOTE, we try to make learning fun and engage the children’s interest by using a variety of teaching and learning styles. We strive to help all children become proficient at the key skills required for academic learning and this is facilitated by small class sizes and the cultivation of positive teacher-student relationships.

Assessment & Reporting

Twice a year, parents receive a comprehensive report on their children’s progress in all areas. This covers character, physical and academic development. Comment is made on a child’s level of achievement in relation to the average or expected standard for each grade level as well as their attitude and effort. However, formal grades (A-E) are not used in assessment and reporting at SOTE until Year 7.

The school also participates in National literacy and numeracy testing (NAPLAN) at Grades 3, 5, 7 and Year 9. Feedback is provided to parents on where their children are placed in relation to state norms and national benchmarks in literacy and numeracy. However, unlike many schools, the children are not ‘hot-housed’ in preparation for these tests and parents are free to withdraw their children from the tests.

In Year 11 and 12, the curriculum is set by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority. In year 12, assessment involves internal (set by the school) and external (set by the state) assessment for each subject. Students may then be eligible for an ATAR ranking determining their eligibility for university. Year 12 students may also be eligible for a Queensland Certificate of Education and a Senior Education Profile listing their results.

SOTE’s distinctive curriculum program

Quiet Time (Primary)

Quiet Time is for primary children and emphasises the value of spending time settling and finding a sense of quietude. Stories involving positive values are used to settle the children and are told rather than read. They then spend a few minutes with eyes closed listening to music or ambient sounds.

Listening and Breathing

Children from middle primary through to secondary level are taught a simple breathing routine and a quietening exercise known as Listening. These exercises are derived from Yoga and are aimed at developing a sense of quietude, promoting a greater capacity for concentration, and as a preventive measure for stress management. Children in Prep to Grade 2 learn some simple quietening practices and sensory activities to encourage them to settle.

Yoga Classes (Secondary)

Yoga classes are offered to secondary students from Year 9 onwards. These are conducted at the Centre For Healthy Living which is adjacent to the School. Classes involve Yoga breathing exercises, physical practices and mental quietening. There is strong research evidence for the beneficial effects of Yoga for both adults and children, including a positive impact on many health issues such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, obesity, respiratory problems and mental and emotional well-being.

Daily Phys-Ed

All students from Prep to Year 12 participate in a 15-minute Daily Physical Education Program. For students in Prep to Grade 3, this focuses on the Movement for Learning Program, which includes cross-patterning exercises and coordination activities which stimulate brain development.

The daily program is supplemented by a weekly sport program. Together, these total over two hours per week of physical education.

Outdoor Education

The aim of the Outdoor Education Program is to grow each student’s self-belief, self-confidence and resilience. It does this through providing experiences in the natural environment of the Outdoor Education Centre at the school’s farm at Upper Freestone and other places around Warwick. Working both individually and as a team, the students undertake collaborative and personal challenges and appreciate the joy of being in nature.

These experiences develop the students’ knowledge, skills, love and respect for the outdoors where they learn to be safe and feel at ease in the natural environment. It also feeds into their capacity for quietness, focus and concentration.

Music and Concerts

Each primary school grade has two sessions of music per week. The program is singing and performance based and incorporates the inclusive Orff-Schulwerk methodology with each child learning and responding to a large variety of songs and movement activities from a variety of musical genres.


Children are encouraged to participate through games, singing and moving. They then translate learned and improvised patterns onto instruments including glockenspiels, xylophones, tuned bells, marimbas and Djembe drums, as well as keyboards and guitars.

Kodaly principles are also used to introduce basic music theory. There are regular student concerts, giving individuals the opportunity to perform for their peers, parents and friends in a very inclusive and encouraging environment. The music program meets the Australian Curriculum requirements.

Year 9 Discovery

An integral aspect of the school is the Year 9 Discovery Program. Year 9 is recognised as a crucial time in the transition to adulthood and the aim of the program is to give these students space, time, and tools to undertake this journey, which is one of discovery about themselves and the world.  The students take time-out from the constraints of the academic curriculum and are able to engage with and reflect on their own values, what the world is about and how they are going to contribute to it.

The Year 9 Discovery program retains the core academic subjects of English, Maths, Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) and Science. It enables the opportunity for challenge through camps and outdoor activities, for life skills training, fitness and nutrition, and for work experience. It also enables the inclusion of a formal rite of passage element involving parents and inspiration from alumni to help transition the students towards adulthood.

Through the program, the students learn the value of planning, develop the ability to make choices, and build a more intrinsic motivation which the School believes is helpful for their secondary studies.

Healthy Eating (Mealtime)

Teachers and students eat meals together every day in the School Dining Room. This creates a positive family atmosphere and encourages habits of healthy eating. Helping with preparation of meals in the School Kitchen is an important avenue of parent contribution to the school.

Vegetable Garden & Chicken Run (years 9/10)

Primary students help to look after the school vegetable garden which produces fresh vegetables for the school community. The children really enjoy contributing in this way.

Special Days (Cultural Days)

Special Days facilitate a whole-school focus on a particular theme. In the few weeks leading up to the Special Day, students study topics around the chosen theme and prepare activities for the Special Day. Special Days often extend into the evening, with parents contributing to a shared meal and enjoying the outcomes of the children’s studies. Some recent Special Days were Asia Pacific Day and Medieval Day.

Extra-curricular Activities

Sports days

Sports days are based on the philosophy of noncompetition while being fun and engaging. Primary and secondary days are held separately with a variety of track and field activities. The students apply themselves with enthusiasm, often achieving excellent results. There is 100 percent involvement from the students who show genuine pleasure in celebrating each other’s successes.


The School of Total Education has a well-known reputation for delivering high-quality school musicals. Every two years, secondary students are given the opportunity to participate in a chosen production. Together with a team of dedicated staff and parents, the students spend months rehearsing to deliver a spectacular show on opening night.

Primary students also participate in individual class plays throughout the year which family and friends are invited to attend. Together with their teachers and parents, the children enjoy transforming the classroom and themselves into entertaining characters and settings. Every other year, the primary school holds a performance event involving all students.

Year 12 Graduation

At the end of each year, the school community comes together to celebrate and farewell our graduating year 12 students. The students are given the opportunity to address the parent and school body when receiving their graduation certificate which is a very moving experience for all. Guest speakers are invited to address parents, students and the wider school community.