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Address: 63-67 Conway Street Lismore, NSW, Australia
e: office@living.school
p: (02) 5632 1218

Living Academy is a progressive independent Year13 program, with a three-year personal pathway of choice. Students can gain a tertiary entry; develop a business startup; find vocational apprenticeships; or simply inculcate an authentic love of learning.

Living Academy opening in 2022.

Living Academy engineers a unique and progressive developmental pathway to engage senior high school students, expanding the traditional two-year academic pathway into a three-year, holistic program. Our aim is to allow for an individual’s inner focus to be coupled inclusively with social connection, a community and an increased maturity.

Living School holds true to the belief schooling should adapt and evolve to meet the students’ needs.  The cookie-cutter model of traditional schools should be challenged.  We believe we can program to offer more personal scope – and we believe we can implement a program that allows a teenager to thrive, forming solid foundations for future growth.

To this end, we program around three-years of final schooling.  We firmly believe three-years is the optimum period of time for our progressive program – and we trust that once enrolled in our program students will thrive, realising learning is a life-long process.

A Year 13 enables the space and time to fully develop academic, vocational, emotional and societal capabilities.

Stretching the HSC study across three years, using the third senior year to pursue alternative pathways, allows for more meaningful, contemporary and less pressured and stressful completion of school life.

We want our students to begin to embrace lifelong learning, while recognising the changing options of our time can allow for personal ownership.

Our program is based on FIVE streams:

1. Academe:

an HSC pathway that will pathway to an HSC examination with a focus on English, Maths, Science, PDHPE, Business and Creative Arts

2. Horizon:

a university entry pathway that does not rely on one final examination and will commence in Year 12, offering access to transition into leading universities via bridging courses, such as UniStart at SCU, or Open Universities online.  We will also offer online programs from leading institutions, such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge.

3. Enterprise:

an entrepreneurial program with a focus on a three-year project, called CornerStone, based on Service, Sustainability, Environment, and Social Good.

4. Artisan:

a unique program accessing creative specialists, and tapping into certification courses around a learning passport.

5. Vocational:

a blended option of apprenticeship programs with businesses every Wednesday with a personalised school support program for the other days.

Not just an ATAR to gain entry to University!

At Living Academy, students can complete the HSC with an ATAR or complete an HSC without an ATAR. All students are required to complete a Major Project with portfolio and presentation each year.

  • NESA developed or endorsed subjects
  • TAFE or Distance Education courses – adding units to HSC Online MOOCs
  • Open Universities online, enabling students to begin their tertiary study in a nurturing environment, leading straight into acceptance into University without an HSC pathway
  • University bridging courses such as UniStart at Southern Cross University


Living Academy's Year 13 program grows deeper connections and offers more space.

Having a three-year focus for learning, expands rather than contracts the learning opportunities, offering more scope for personal pathways and deeper learning experiences.

There are lots of iterations.  A student could tackle four subjects in Year 1, then commence their major work units in Year 2 (or commence an advanced subject after a year of tuition).  The student. can then sit the HSC in four subjects at the end of Year 2.
The third year allows a focus on the major work subjects. At the end of the Year 13, the students can sit the HSC  for their major works subjects.

Or… the student can choose to focus on a trade apprenticeship as a vocational offering – linking in with TAFE opportunities.

Or… there is also the choice of committing to Open University courses and/or a bridging course into tertiary learning.

LivingAcademy is a planned and supported personal pathway program.

How our academic year is planned

Year 2 of Academic Program (starts at the end of the first calendar year)

The current mainstream two-year HSC program...

The normal Higher School Certificate program places increased pressure on learners to compact their subject areas into two years.  This creates stress, negative reflections on the final years of school, and each subject has an examination in the final phase. 

To undertake the NESA accredited HSC in just Year 11 and 12, students are required:

  • to study 6 subjects in Year 11 and 5 subjects (continuing on from Yr 11) in Year 12 (can be TAFE and TVET)
  • each subject needs to be delivered as 4 hours a week in Yr 11 and 3 hours a week in Yr 12
  • students need to sit all the set assessment tasks internally and then sit the HSC exams at the end of their study
  • students would be expected to complete approximately 15 hours of homework/tasks after school hours each week.

Our Progressive Pathway Programs

As a not-for-profit independent progressive school, we like to open our gaze on our current ‘schooling system’ and turn things on their head – for the better!
HOLO lens

CornerStone: create your future with a unique Enterprise Project

Living Academy CornerStone

Living Academy’s major project, called CornerStone, is an individual creative task which requires students to research, develop, produce and present an original work incorporating theoretical, artistic, entrepreneurial and practical components. The focus of a social, environmental, entrepreneurial “good” drives the idea and the scope of the project.

The student captures and reflects on their learning and creative processes throughout the project’s evolution in the Portfolio comprising a substantial academic paper related to their project, and a process journal. Students must engage a mentor in the community and report regularly to the school appointed teacher mentor.

Projects can be one year long or extended to following years. Students present their finished works with reference to their written paper and their process journal documenting the journey. The presentation is made to a gathering of the school community and a panel of investors akin to a SharkTank scenario. The highest standards are expected.

TAFE VET Courses

External VET studies can help students gain work related skills and experience that is recognised and valued by employers.  TVET courses can count towards your HSC and ATAR. TVET courses are an extra cost to your normal school fees.  Wollongbar and Lismore TAFE deliver a variety of courses and students need to attend the TAFE colleges.

Some examples of TVET courses are:

  • Animal Studies, Beauty Studies, Electrotechnology Electrician, Design
  • Fundamentals, Business Studies, Health Services, Community
  • Pharmacy, IT Media, Aviation (crew), Aviation (remote pilot), Baking,
  • Early Childhood, Plumbing Introduction, Tourism Travel and Events,
  • Engineering etc.

Open University Courses Online

Open University offers online first year university courses from a large variety of universities. Students can undertake subjects while still at school without completion of HSC or the attainment of an ATAR. This is a good option for students looking for experience studying at a high academic level in an area of specific interest. This pathway opens up access to universities of choice.

FEE HELP is available for domestic students, and after successful completion of 2 units, students may be offered a Commonwealth Supported Place, guaranteeing them a place in the university with whom they are studying. They are granted entry into the undergraduate degree (eg. Bachelor degree) and gain credits for all courses completed while at school.

SBATs-School Based Apprenticeships/Traineeships

School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships combine paid work, school and TAFE NSW training to help students gain valuable work skills and experience while students are studying for the HSC. There is no extra cost. Most industries are available, but it does depend on the area.Apprenticeships go for more than 2 years and Traineeships are 2 years only. Living Academy and the student work together to find an employer to begin process.

Examples of Apprenticeships:

  • Certificate III in Automotive Body Repair Technology
  • Certificate III in Baking
  • Certificate III in Cabinet Making
  • Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
  • Certificate III in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Certificate III in Barbering
  • Certificate III in Plumbing
  • Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy
School Based Trades