What's new in the English faculty 2023

The English faculty have been working hard to prepare for next year. No changes for English Language yet, but there are new Study Designs for Literature and English, and we’re introducing a range of new texts. Here’s a round-up of what’s new:


VCE English

For those starting year 12 next year, VCE English Year 12 remains the same for 2023; changes will be made in 2024 and you’ll be studying some of the same texts as this year’s students did. The only change is that ‘Rear Window’ won’t be studied at year 12; instead, we have a new fiction text called ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’, by Shirley Jackson. Here’s the blurb from ‘Goodreads’ on the text, just to whet your appetite:

‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.’

For English at year 11, there’s considerable change. The old comparative approach, where students had to compare a pair of texts, is gone, making way for a renewed focus on Analytical Text Response, with two texts to study next year – one in Unit 1 and another in Unit 2. We’ll be studying the Hitchcock film ‘Rear Window’ and the novel ‘Burial Rites’, by Hannah Kent. Here’s Goodreads again, to inspire you to get reading over the holidays: 

‘A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.’

As part of the text response in Unit 1, from 2023 there will be an assessment that asks you to respond personally to a text, drawing on your own interests and ideas. Another change at Year 11 will be the use of ‘mentor texts’ around a theme, which we will use as the basis for you to craft texts for a range of purposes. Next year’s big idea for this will be the environment. We’ll supply some short texts for you to use; we’ll be asking you to practise editing and honing your writing skills, to craft writing that is purposeful and creative.


VCE Literature

More big changes. The new Study Design will come in for Literature at years 11 and 12 in 2023. 

For year 12 Literature students, ‘The Anchoress’ is being replaced by a book of short stories by Australian writer Elizabeth Tan, ‘Smart Ovens for Lonely People’. That will be for the creative response. The other texts remain from this year – ‘Dracula’, ‘Othello’, ‘The Fire Next Time’ and Emily Dickinson’s verse – but some of them will be used in different ways. There are some changes to the way that we’ll assess you for Literature. 


At Year 11, we’ll start the year with ‘The Great Gatsby’ and end it with ‘The Tempest’. There are exciting new units: the ‘Voices of Country’ outcome, for which we’ll be using Ali Cobby Eckermann’s poetry and some other Indigenous writing, 


and a unit on genre, where we’ll focus on noir, using ‘The Maltese Falcon’. 



For all our 2023 VCE students, we hope you enjoy reading over the holiday period. 

Helen Jarvis, 2022 English Faculty Leader


Nine Days 


On Wednesday the 23rd of November, our Year 12 English students had the pleasure of meeting Toni Jordan, the author of ‘Nine Days’. The novel follows a Melbournian family from before World War II to the new millennium, exploring themes of duty, class and women’s rights. The students are studying her novel for their creative text response. Toni spoke about her past as a scientist before becoming a fiction writer; her inspiration for the novel and her writing process. The students asked questions for over half an hour, as they were well and truly enthralled by her presentation. 


Meeting an author is a rare opportunity and we look forward to seeing the stories our Year 12s create inspired by the novel.