Development of the Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) used an extensive and collaborative curriculum development process to produce the Australian Curriculum.

The Shape of the Australian Curriculum, first approved by the council of Commonwealth and state and territory education ministers in 2009, guided the development of the Australian Curriculum. The paper reflected the position adopted by ministers collectively in their 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (PDF 978 kb). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum v. 4.0 (PDF 402 kb) was approved by the ACARA Board in late 2012, reflecting the evolving processes used in the development of the Australian Curriculum.

The process and specifications for the development of the Australian Curriculum is described in two key documents:

ACARA's infographic (PDF 482 kb) illustrates how the Australian Curriculum was developed.
ACARA drew on the best national talent and expertise to draft the curriculum and considered thousands of opinions – from teachers, academics and parents to business, industry and community groups – to make improvements along the way. ACARA's consultation processes in the development of the Australian Curriculum are described on the 'Consultation' page of this website.
The curriculum development process involved four interrelated phases outlined below:


A broad outline of the Foundation – Year 12 (F–12) curriculum for a learning area/subject is developed. Earlier this paper was called the Initial Advice Paper but it is now referred to as the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: [subject name]. A shape paper, developed with expert advice, provides broad direction on the purpose, structure and organisation of a learning area. Along with the Curriculum Design Paper, it guides writers of the curriculum and provides a reference for judging the quality of the final curriculum documents for the learning area. The shaping phase includes key periods of consultation including open public consultation as well as targeted consultation with key stakeholders. A consultation report for this phase is available for each learning area/subject.


Teams of writers, supported by expert advisory groups and ACARA curriculum staff, develop the Australian Curriculum. This includes the development of content descriptions and achievement standards. Writers are guided by ACARA’s Curriculum Design Paper and advice from the ACARA Board. Writers also refer to national and international curriculum and assessment research, state and territory curriculum materials, and research on the general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities. The draft Australian Curriculum for the learning area/subject is released for public consultation and subsequent modification in the light of feedback. A consultation report is available for each learning area/subject here. The writing phase incorporates the process for validation of achievement standards and intensive engagement processes through the trialling of the curriculum in classrooms. The writing phase culminates in the publication of the learning area/subject curriculum on the Australian Curriculum website.


The curriculum is provided in an online environment to states and territories and schools to prepare for implementation. Implementation and support of the curriculum are the responsibilities of state and territory school and curriculum authorities. ACARA works with authorities to support their ongoing implementation planning. A summary of state and territory implementation plans is available on the 'F–10 curriculum' and the 'Senior secondary curriculum' pages of this website.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation of the Australian Curriculum paper describes processes for systematically collecting feedback and analysing data on the effectiveness of the Australian Curriculum and reporting these findings to the ACARA Board in the second half of each year. The ACARA Board will determine if any findings require further evaluation and change. These processes will involve partnerships with state and territory curriculum and school authorities where subject data gathering is required. The monitoring and evaluation paper is provided below.