In late 2023, ACES launched an ambitious project to develop a classical curriculum package suited to our Australian context that could be adopted (and adapted) by schools. As many of you are aware, a number of sample curricula – some quite detailed and practically ready to pick up and use – already exist in the United States. While purchasing these are helpful in the short-term, what we really lack is a comprehensive curriculum that specifically addresses Australian concerns and, more pointedly, that maps on to the Australian Curriculum.

To meet this challenge, a diverse team has been formed of over twenty people throughout the country. We held an initial meeting last year, when there was discussion on the goals of our project, what elements were necessary to state explicitly and embed into the curriculum, and some key questions that would need to be answered. Many of us put ideas down on paper, which Conor Ross ably synthesised and reformulated as a set of guiding principles, from which I now draw some significant quotes:

This curriculum provides a comprehensive classical alternative to mainstream curriculums and offers engaging relevancy for contemporary students within an Australian context. In essence, it is unapologetically reactionary in the face of the excesses and missteps of modernistic education…

Classical education draws its vitality from the living history of the richest and most fruitful tradition of this perennial pursuit, Western civilisation. And yet the West is nothing without its balanced foundation in reason and revelation. As such, our educational and anthropological framework is explicitly Christian, aiming not to merely create detached purveyors of a dead tradition but to create living stewards and benefactors. It is with this in mind that our curriculum emphasises the holistic development of students academically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually…

Our pedagogy and sequencing are based on the sequencing found within the liberal arts tradition… Furthermore, the pedagogy which undergirds this curriculum also dictates the best disposition of students, namely one characterised by wonder, humility, and rigour.

Reflecting on these statements gives one a sense of what we are aiming to achieve through this project, succinctly: a classical curriculum that fits an Australian context but is nevertheless built upon Western tradition and the liberal arts from a Christian perspective, to grow young people academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually, and engage them in awe-filled wonder at the world, themselves and God.

Our second meeting took place only last month. After further discussion of our guiding principles, we decided the best approach would be to begin developing a junior level curriculum and, as an entire working body, progressively move up year by year. There was a fruitful conversation regarding the level of integration our curriculum would take, in what way it would be overtly Christian, resources we would require, and other such matters. We particularly identified an issue around the trivium: some were unclear on how precisely it should be articulated in 21st century schooling, others questioned the need for the trivium at all, and still others asked how it could be effectively implemented as the basis of a classical curriculum. To this end, we resolved to invite a representative from Beautiful Teaching to our next meeting to educate us on how the trivium is being used in classical schools in the US and provide some guidance.

This is an exciting venture and, as you can well imagine, a lot of work. Small steps are being taken and we hope and pray that within a few years we will have completed an Australian curriculum package to help schools transition to teaching in a truly classical way.

If you are interested in learning more about this project or would like to be involved, please email ACES: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Jonathan Hili

ACES Secretary