Academies | Hastings Secondary College

Our Academies are an innovative approach to secondary education for years 7 and 8 which enhance our students' learning and engagement. Academies are delivered at each campus and enable students with special talents, interests and passion to be extended and further developed in these areas.

The following opportunities increase student choice and ownership of their learning, develop their special talents and engage students in secondary education.

 Students may apply for more than one Academy; however they can only be selected to join one:

  • Creative Industries Academy
  • Sports Academy
  • STEM Academy - Science Technology Engineering Maths.

Personal Interest Project (PIP) classes

We recognise that not all students may wish to apply for an Academy. At each campus we have developed a range of Personal Interest Project (PIP) classes that will allow every child in year 7 and 8 to pursue a more personalised area of interest as part of their education.

Every student completes a preferential selection form for PIP classes.

Click here for the parent letter

The application process: 2019 applications will open August 2018

1. Complete an application form for up to three Academies if you wish to apply. Be sure to number them in order of preference. Year 6 return application/s and form to your primary school and Year 7 to your front office.

2. Complete a PIP selection form for the campus in which you are enrolled. Be sure to number them in order of preference. Year 6 return application/s and form to your primary school and Year 7 to your front office.

3. Staff at the College will consider all applications and determine Academy classes for 2019.

4. Letters will be mailed out indicating the result of their application/s. Students who are unsuccessful may reapply in the following year and will be allocated a PIP class based on their choices.

NOTE: newly enrolled students may apply, however positions can only be offered if there are vacancies.

Creative Industries Academy

Click here for the Creative Industries Academy brochure.

Click here for the Creative Industries Academy application form.     

Sports Academy

Click here for the Sports Academy brochure.  

Click here for the Sports Academy application form. 

STEM Academy

Click here for the STEM Academy brochure.  

Click here for the STEM Academy application form.     

Personal Interest Project (PIP) classes

Click here for information on Port Macquarie Campus PIPs.

Click here for Port Macquarie Campus PIP selection form.

Click here for information on Westport Campus PIPs.

Click here for Westport Campus PIP selection form.

Most Commonly Asked Questions

Can you do Zenith and an Academy and a PIP or just one?

You can do Zenth and an Academy.

You can do Zenith and a PIP.

You cannot do Zenith and an Academy and a PIP.

Do you have to have any academic level to join STEM? Do you have to know all the choices before you start?

The STEM Academy is for students with an interest, passion or talent in STEM. There is no specific academic requirement as reflected in the application. Student participation in STEM elated interests and groups both in school and at home are part of the criteria for every Academy. See the 2018 applications at

Students who are successful in their Academy application are asked to commit for one year. It is rare for students to seek to change as the courses is based on personalised project based learning and thus each individual is able to pursue areas of personal interest.

PIP (personal Interest Project) class choices are for one semester after which your child can choose the same class (with a different focus) or make another class choice.

I would like to know more about academies. For example, do we get to sample them? Is it first in best dressed? And more specific information about them.

Since the introduction of Academies at Hastings Secondary College, teachers and students from Academies visit each primary school, early term 3 in a Stage assembly. We explain each Academy in detail and bring some of the work and projects they have completed. Brochure and applications are distributed to every child enrolling at our College. We are currently investigating innovative yet practical ways to showcase our Academies and possibly offer sample lessons in 2018.

You can access further information through brochures in the enrolment packs distributed at College Connect or by your class teacher/school. They are available electronically at:

Applications have common due date and all applicants are considered as a group based on the criteria set in the application. Your child may apply for more than one academy.

The vast majority of students are successful and we have the potential to create can a second class (at each campus). PIP options often have a course which closely mirrors the Academies and may do some lessons together. Letters indicting successful placement and waiting list placement are sent at the end of Term 3. Late submissions are accepted subject to available spaces in classes.

If you choose Creative Industries do you have to do everything in the pack?

We believe “everything” means Dance Drama, Music and Visual Arts.

The Creative Industries Academy enables student to pursue further learning in Visual Arts, Drama, Music and Dance. Each student is expected to nominate a major and minor focus, though will be exposed to all four creative elements.

Can you be in more than 1 program, Sports and STEM? Can you take part in more than one Academy?

The Academies are timetabled for the same periods in every child’ timetable. Consequently our students can only attend on Academy. However, they may choose to apply for a different academy in Year 8, 9 and 10. Alternatively, they may refer PIP courses which are each semester. If for any reason your child wishes to change courses during the next 6 years they should firstly discuss their options with their Year Adviser.

As your child progresses through their year at our College, they will be offered more choices in Year 9/10 electives (usually 2 or 3 electives) and can choose all their subjects in their senior years.

Can you do just one category in STEM?

STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM education enhances student learning experiences through engaging curriculum that may include integration, inquiry and project-based learning. Students apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop high-order thinking skills within an authentic context, so they can fulfil future career aspirations that require STEM skills.

The 4 “subjects” that make up STEM are also taught as individual subjects to all students in 7-10 as part of the mandatory curriculum

Can you only do one PIP? Can you choose PIPs? Is there an English PIP? What is the complete list of PIP topics? Is it online?

Personal Interest Project (PIP) classes are selected by our students each semester. At the end of the course you can reselect the same course (it’s different each time) or choose another.

Year 6 will be able to choose whilst they are still in primary school in Term 3. This is by numbering the options from 1 to 6 in order of preference.

PIP options vary slightly between campuses and from year to year and are determined by student choice. For example very popular choices may have two classes and les popular options may not end up having a class, though the latter is unusual.

There is no specific “English PIP”, however both campuses have offered PIP’s in that area, based on student interest, such as Fantasy World and Bold Adventures.

Can you be in an Academy and have a PIP?

Unfortunately, the Academy lessons and PIP classes are on at the same time/period each week.

Consequently, you can apply for one or more Academies, but only be successful in one. Though you can apply for a different on the next year.

Some students prefer to select a PIP class, as they suit better and students can choose another in Semester 2.

How would you know what to do if nothing suits you? What do you do then?

We are pretty confident that students have a great deal of choice in Academies and PIP’s.

We recommend choosing the one you think is the best option, often Year 7 report that the Academy of PIP is even better than they thought. Others choose to change their PIP after Semester 1 either they found out abut a great one they didn’t pick or because the course they chose wasn’t what they expected.

Keep an open mind and remember we are flexible. Chat to your Year Adviser once you are at College and they can help.

For more information contact our Port Macquarie Campus on 6583 1844 or Westport Campus on 6583 6400.