The cross-curriculum priorities make up one of the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum. They support the Australian Curriculum to be a relevant, contemporary and engaging curriculum that reflects, regional, national and global contexts.

There are three cross-curriculum priorities in the F–10 Australian Curriculum:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability.

Cross-curriculum priorities are incorporated through learning area content; they are not separate learning areas or subjects. They provide opportunities to enrich the content of the learning areas, where most appropriate and authentic to do so, allowing students to engage with and better understand their world.

The Review improved the organising ideas for the cross-curriculum priorities with reference to current research. The Australian Curriculum has also been decluttered by improving the relationship of the cross-curriculum priorities to the content of the learning areas, so teachers can focus on teaching essential content.

Overview of the key proposed revisions

  • Cross-curriculum priorities have been explicitly and purposefully included in the revisions to content descriptions and elaborations in all learning areas.
  • Some learning areas explicitly develop student understanding of one or more of the organising ideas from each cross-curriculum priority through their content descriptions. For example:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures in History and The Arts
    • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia in the Humanities and Social Sciences and Languages
    • Sustainability in Geography, Science and Technologies.
  • Content elaborations have been revised in all learning areas to ensure they only include authentic illustrations of how the cross-curriculum priorities can support the teaching and learning of the learning area content.

Australian Curriculum Review – the process

The review of each cross-curriculum priority involved a review of current research, mapping and analysis of the current curriculum, and collaboration with key experts and organisations. Evidence and information gathered in this process was used to refine and propose revisions to the organising ideas for each priority for consultation and feedback through ACARA’s reference groups and advisory groups.

In particular, ACARA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Advisory Group led the review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures priority. We collaborated closely with the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) to draft revisions to the priority on Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia. We worked with groups such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Association for Environmental Education and the Australian Science Teachers’ Association on revisions to the Sustainability priority.

Download the cross-curriculum priorities consultation documents

To give feedback download the document for the cross-curriculum priority you wish to comment on below. The following documents contain introductory information and the revised organising ideas for each priority. They also provide the current organising ideas so you can easily compare to the proposed revisions.

You can access the primary level scope and sequence charts that combine all the learning areas and are presented by year level

How to have your say

Provide your feedback through our survey, which will ask you to respond to statements about the revised cross-curriculum priorities. You can see a copy of the survey questions before you begin to give your feedback.

For further information on the survey, including how to save and return to it, refer to the survey information sheet.

Cross-curriculum priorities are one of the three dimensions of the Australian Curriculum. They reflect regional, national and global contexts and support the Australian Curriculum to be a relevant, contemporary and engaging curriculum for students.

There are three cross-curriculum priorities in the F–10 Australian Curriculum:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability.

Cross-curriculum priorities are incorporated through learning area content, they are not separate learning areas or subjects. They provide opportunities to enrich the content of the learning areas, where most appropriate and authentic to do so, allowing students to engage with, and better understand their world.

Opportunities to apply cross-curriculum priorities to learning area content vary; they are only embedded in content descriptions where the development of knowledge, understanding and skills relating to the priority are core to the delivery of the learning area content. They are also identified in content elaborations where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning.

The revised curriculum in each learning area provides teachers with clear information as to the key relationships of the learning area content to the cross-curriculum priorities, specifically highlighting those that have the most authentic fit and provide meaningful learning using the learning area content.

The terms of reference for the Review of the Australian Curriculum required ACARA to “revisit and improve, where necessary, the organising frameworks for the cross-curriculum priorities with reference to current research”.

The review of each cross-curriculum priority involved a review of current research, mapping and analysis of the current curriculum, and collaboration with key experts and organisations. Draft revisions were provided to the teacher and curriculum reference groups set up for the Review, and input and feedback sought from ACARA’s standing advisory groups.

ACARA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Advisory Group led the review of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures priority. We collaborated closely with the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) to draft revisions to the priority on Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia. We worked with groups such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Association for Environmental Education and the Australian Science Teachers’ Association on revisions to the Sustainability priority.

The Review found the existing organising ideas were outdated and did not reflect Australia’s First Nations Peoples’ calls for truth-telling with greater respect for, and inclusion of, First Nations Australians histories and cultures throughout the F–10 Australian Curriculum.

As a result, the organising ideas have been revised to better reflect core aspects of Country/Place, People and Culture for today and the future, and to provide greater clarity to support their inclusion in selected content descriptions and elaborations in each learning area. Together, the revised organising ideas identify what many First Nations Australians believe is essential cultural knowledge that all Australians should know.

These changes are detailed in the consultation paper.

The Review found the need to underscore the importance for young Australians to have the capacity to examine issues of local, regional and global significance, understand and appreciate different perspectives and worldviews, establish positive interactions with people of different backgrounds, and take constructive action through connection and collaboration.

The revisions to this cross-curriculum priority:

  • improve the focus on the peoples and countries of Asia and its diversity, Asia’s place in the world, and growing Asia–Australia engagement
  • give greater emphasis to the development of skills and student agency through relationship-building, active citizenship and collaboration
  • update terminology and ensure natural connections between the organising ideas and the opportunities provided within learning areas’ content.

These changes are detailed in the consultation paper.

Revisions to the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority reflect evolving understanding of the concepts that underpin sustainability and the features of effective sustainability education. In particular, the revisions position the priority with reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The revisions to the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority:

  • broaden references to environmental sustainability to include all earth’s systems, not just the biosphere
  • focus on the interdependence of sustainability of environmental, social and economic systems
  • expand the focus on sustainable design of products, environments and services
  • broaden actions for sustainability to include the mitigation of human impacts and restoration of environments, in addition to preservation
  • provide clearer support to explore how individuals and communities can take action and effect positive change
  • ensure that organising ideas fit naturally within learning areas and can be applied to content descriptions and elaborations.

These changes are detailed in the consultation paper.

The terms of reference for the Review also required ACARA to “declutter the content of the Australian Curriculum by improving the relationship of the cross-curriculum priorities to learning area content”, and “improve the quality of content elaborations by only embedding the cross-curriculum priorities explicitly in content elaborations where it is most authentic to do so”.

Cross-curriculum priorities have been explicitly and purposefully included in the revisions to content descriptions and elaborations across the learning areas. Some learning areas explicitly develop student understanding of one or more the organising ideas from each cross-curriculum priority through their content descriptions. For example:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures in History and The Arts
  • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Languages
  • Sustainability in Geography, Science and Technologies.

We have revised content elaborations in all learning areas to ensure they only include authentic illustrations of how the cross-curriculum priorities can support the teaching and learning of the learning area content.

Teachers may access the organising ideas of each cross-curriculum priority for a deeper understanding of the priority, but the Review has worked to ensure these ideas are adequately addressed in the content descriptions and elaborations across the F–10 Australian Curriculum.