SACE Information


Students who successfully complete Years 11 and 12 are awarded the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). All current Year 11 students will be among the first students who will graduate from secondary education in 2012 with the New SACE, their passport to the future.

The SACE is an internationally recognised qualification that helps pave the way for young people to move from school to work, training or further study. The new SACE was introduced from 2009.

Under the new SACE students will gain credit for their work both in and outside of school. Academic studies, vocational training, skilled work and community learning, such as Country Fire Service training, can all count as credits towards the SACE. Young people will be able to combine study and part-time work. If circumstances change and they leave school before completing the SACE, they can return later to achieve the certificate. The SACE will continue to cater for students with special needs.

The board overseeing the SACE will consider subject options for students with disabilities so these students get recognition for their skills and abilities as part of the SACE.

There are two stages to the SACE:

  • Stage 1, which most students do in Year 11
  • Stage 2, which most students do in Year 12

To gain the SACE students must complete about two years of full-time study. Every completed subject earns credits towards the SACE. Students must complete enough subjects to earn a minimum of 200 credits to gain the SACE. One semester or six months’ study in a subject is worth 10 credits. Students must successfully pass all compulsory subjects with a minimum C grade.

At Stage 1 students must complete at least 40 credits from these compulsory subjects:

  • Personal Learning Plan (10 credits)
  • Literacy – (C grade or better) at least 20 credits from a range of English subjects
  • Numeracy – (C grade or better) at least 10 credits from a range of mathematics subjects

At Stage 2 students must complete at least 70 credits from these subjects:

  • Research Project (compulsory C- grade or better) – a major project or in-depth study of a topic of particular interest designed to give students the research, presentation and practical skills needed in the workforce, TAFE or at university (10 credits)
  • Other Stage 2 subjects (totalling at least 60 additional compulsory credits) Students must also gain at least 90 credits by completing enough additional subjects at either Stage 1 or Stage 2 level.

Students can also gain recognition for learning outside of school. This can include:

  • vocational education and training (VET)
  • TAFE and university courses
  • Community developed programs (for example, CFS training, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award)
  • Self directed Community learning (coaching a Sports team, being a primary carer of a family member)

The SACE Board of South Australia is the statutory authority which awards the new certificate. The Board approves the subjects to be studied in Years 11 and 12, sets and marks exams, and issues the certificate to successful students.


Young people who have a sense of purpose and ‘know where they want to go’ are more likely to engage in learning and be successful. The Personal Learning Plan (PLP) will be compulsory at Stage 1 and normally be undertaken in Year 10. Students will need to achieve an A, B or C or equivalent in their Stage 1 PLP to successfully complete the SACE. The PLP will give students and teachers time to work together to:

  • review and assess student skills
  • support each student to plan their own SACE learning program
  • enable students to develop knowledge and skills so they can participate successfully
  • give students and teachers time to consider and access the range of learning choices available both inside and beyond the school.


At Stage 2, students will undertake a Research Project. The Stage 2 Research Project will be compulsory and students will need to achieve a C or better to successfully complete the new SACE.

The Research Project is designed to give students time to do a rigorous and detailed study of an area that attracts their interest. The ideas for this study might come from:

  • subjects or topics in which they have an interest or passion
  • involvement with community organisations
  • the workplace.

The Research Project will test the capacity of students to research, work independently and demonstrate skills in a range of areas. There are two kinds, Research Project A and Research Project B. The main difference between the two is that Research project B can count towards a student's ATAR.

What happens about deadlines for summative work?

Deadlines are set by teachers for all assignments and work requirements. Students must submit work on or before the due date. Failure to do so may result in a score of (‘0’) zero.

If a student is absent on the due date the school should be notified and work must be submitted on the next day the student attends school, with a note from parent/caregiver verifying an acceptable reason for absence.

Extensions for Summative Work must be negotiated prior to the deadline day and will only be given in exceptional circumstances.


To enter University students must qualify for the SACE and in doing so must achieve the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) required for each course of study at University.

To be eligible for selection to most University courses, a student is required to do a minimum of four Stage 2 subjects, which equals 80 credits. Of the 80 credits, at least 60 must be from the Tertiary Admission Subjects (TAS), and the other 20 either from TAS subjects, Recognized Studies (eg completed Cert III) or a mix of the two.


The South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) manages the student selection process for further study in South Australia based on Stage 2 courses. SATAC produces an annual guide to assist with determining the ATAR necessary for particular courses at each University. Students apply to SATAC (through school) in August or September for their ATAR rank for the following year. Details are provided through the SACE coordinator.


For tertiary entrance students must apply to South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) to receive an ATAR. To do this, students need to achieve scores in at least 4 scalable subjects (80 credits) (not Community Studies) (TAS Subjects).

STAGE I AND II (Usually Year 11 and 12)

Year 11 and 12 are the years of completion of high school, marked by the awarding of the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) by the SACE Board.

The SACE involves studies at Stage 1 (usually year 11) and Stage 2 (usually year 12/13) levels. Students may take more than two years to gain the SACE - there is no time limit; however, students must have successfully completed their SACE before going onto tertiary studies.

The choice of subjects for the SACE is a very important one with important implications for the student's post-school choices. Subject counselling and selection is a careful and complex process, carried out through home groups and in consultation with parents. A wide range of SACE accredited subjects is offered. These create a balance to allow students to qualify for entry to university, other further education (such as TAFE) and directly into the work force.


At Salisbury East High, the year 11 and 12 subjects are organised into a number of "Pathways". These are groupings of subjects intended to make subject selection easier for students who have decided upon, or who have some general idea, of what they want to do on leaving school. These "Pathways" are divided into three broad groups.

The Tertiary Pathway is intended for students who have chosen post-school options that involve tertiary study. To qualify for University study and an ATAR students must:

  • complete the SACE
  • complete at least 80 credits of SACE Stage 2, of which 60 credits must be from 20-credit Tertiary Admission Subjects (TAS)
  • complete the prerequisite requirements for some university courses
  • obtain a Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

The Vocational Pathways, intended for students who have entry to a particular industry or apprenticeship course in mind. These VET pathways usually involve some form of structured workplace learning or study at a TAFE or regional institute as well as the more general school studies. Students who complete these pathways have the opportunity to complete both the SACE and gain some vocationally specific industry qualifications.

Please note: students enrolling on a VET pathway will be required to take a two unit Workplace Practices course at Stage 2 level.

The Civic Pathway is designed for students who have a goal of completing their SACE and securing secure employment once they have left school. Students doing this pathway will need to complete Workplace practices.