From the NESA Framework:

‘NSW syllabuses provide context within which to develop core skills, knowledge and understanding considered important for the acquisition of effective, higher-order thinking skills that underpin successful participation in further education, work and everyday life, including problem-solving, collaboration, self-management, communication and information technology skills.

Learning across the curriculum content including the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities, assists students achieve the broad learning outcomes defined in the NESA Statement of Equity Principles, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (December 2008) and in the Australian Government’s Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (2013).

Cross-curriculum priorities enable students to develop understanding about and address the contemporary issues they face.

Please refer to the list below for more information on each of the General Capabilities.


In the Australian Curriculum, students develop capability in critical and creative thinking as they learn to generate and evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities, consider alternatives and solve problems. This capability combines two types of thinking – critical thinking and creative thinking. Though the two are not interchangeable, they are strongly linked, bringing complementary dimensions to thinking and learning. (ACARA vs 7.0)

The Religious Education curriculum involves students in critical and creative thinking as they seek meaning in Scripture and Church Tradition through story, wondering and responding within a community of inquiry. They also develop their critical and creative thinking as they explore literature and moral issues. Critical and creative thinking skills and dispositions support students in encountering the Catholic religious tradition and in connecting this to their own life experiences, increasing their understanding of themselves and others and deepening their capacity for empathy.


Students develop ethical understanding as they identify and investigate the nature of ethical concepts, values and character traits, and understand how reasoning can assist ethical judgement. Ethical understanding involves students in building a strong personal and socially oriented ethical outlook that helps them to manage context, conflict and uncertainty, and to develop an awareness of the influence that their values and behaviour have on others (ACARA – General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum).

In Religious Education, students explore ethical concepts as they engage in units that focus on Catholic values and ethical behaviour. Students investigate how to make informed decisions and respond ethically to issues that include but are not limited to: conscience, social justice, environmental sustainability, personal and social sin, discrimination, prejudice, exclusion, unity, truth and peace.

Students are called to examine ways in which they apply the teachings of Jesus to their own lives by responding to Scripture, engaging in discussion and debate on ethical issues and participating in prayer, liturgy and social justice initiatives that are integral to our understanding of being a Catholic in today’s world.

Students develop capability in using ICT for tasks associated with information access and management, information creation and presentation, problem solving, decision making, communication, creative expression, and empirical reasoning. This includes conducting research, creating multimedia information products, analysing data, designing solutions to problems, controlling processes and devices, and supporting computation while working independently and in collaboration with others.

Competence in ICT is most evident in Religious Education associated with locating, processing and communicating information. This includes the use of information technologies to access a growing range of digitised online materials; digital technologies to

create, publish and present their learning; communication technologies, for example wikis and blogs, to enhance students’ analytical thinking capabilities in their study of Religious Education and online forums and video conferencing to discuss and debate ideas.

ICT aims to provide students with opportunities to enhance their critical, creative and analytical thinking in RE. This is achieved by ensuring students have access to a growing range of digitised materials and are able to use technology to present their learning. Students develop knowledge, skills and dispositions around ICT and its use, and the ability to transfer these across environments and applications. They learn to use ICT with confidence, care and consideration, understanding its possibilities, limitations and impact on individuals, groups and communities.

Students develop intercultural understanding as they learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. They come to understand how personal, group and national identities are shaped, and the variable and changing nature of culture. The capability involves students in learning about and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect. (ACARA – General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum).

Intercultural understanding in Religious Education involves learning about and exploring the beliefs and values of people, past and present, and the importance of understanding their own and others’ histories. Students explore how people interact across cultural boundaries and consider how factors such as group membership, traditions, customs and religious and cultural practices impact on civic life. Students will make informed decisions and evaluate their own judgement and behaviour towards others.

Literacy is the ability to use a repertoire of knowledge and skills to communicate and comprehend effectively, using a variety of modes and media. It includes the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create and communicate purposefully using written, visual and digital forms of expression.


Through Religious Education students develop specific Religious Literacy as they acquire knowledge, skills and understanding of the traditions, beliefs, Scripture and stories of the Catholic Church. This includes key terms, symbols, doctrines, rituals, practices, prayers, metaphors and narratives.

The Religious Education Curriculum provides students with opportunities to apply literacy skills to various aspects of the Religious Education Curriculum and to foster critical and creative thinking and reflection on life experience and faith. Students use and create a wide variety of print, visual, oral and multimodal texts. They recognise how

contextual information and language features of a variety of texts assist to create meaning.

Students become numerate as they develop the knowledge and skills to use Mathematics confidently across all learning areas at school and in their lives more broadly. Numeracy involves students in recognising and understanding the role of Mathematics in the world and having the dispositions and capabilities to use Mathematical knowledge and skills purposefully. (ACARA – General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum).

Numeracy in Religious Education would include, but not be confined to, competency in navigating the numerical referencing of the Scriptures; the symbolic significance of certain numbers; interpreting maps, grids, area, scale and distance; counting and measuring tables, dates, calendars, time and spatial information; and organising and interpreting historical events and developments in the Church.

Students develop personal and social capability as they learn to understand themselves and others, and manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively.

The capability involves students in a range of practices including recognising and regulating emotions, developing empathy for others and understanding relationships, establishing and building positive relationships, making responsible decisions, working effectively in teams, handling challenging situations constructively and developing leadership skills.

In Religious Education students explore themes relating to understanding themselves and others through unit strands specifically focused on ‘self’ and ‘others’.

Through engagement with, and reflection on Scripture, life experience and Church teaching, students develop their understanding of relationships with God, themselves, others and with all creation. They also explore the responsibilities associated with these relationships.

Religious Education provides opportunities for the development of sound decision making processes based on Christian values and Catholic social teaching. Opportunity for reflection and contemplation through a variety of prayer approaches and liturgical experiences, both personal and communal, support students’ personal, emotional and social development.

Involvement in social action provides the opportunity for developing empathy and understanding, initiative taking, decision making, communication skills, working with others, reflective practice and a disposition to make a difference in the lives of others.