The Primary Honours program is an enrichment and extension program primarily designed for students who are already excelling in their normal work. It provides wonderful opportunities for them to take their study to a much higher level, while pursuing an area of personal interest. The program is available in many subjects across Years 5-6, and all students may apply to participate.


  • Boys who complete their Primary Honours assignment in both semesters at a high standard and maintain their normal class work at an average of 8 or above will qualify for Primary Honours I. Those who complete only one semester or who have  a lower standard of achievement in Primary Honours or in class work (a C or lower) will qualify for Primary Honours II.
  • Primary Honours I will be recognised in the boys’ school reports and in the awarding of a certificate and prize at the end-of-year presentation night.
  • Primary Honours II will be recognised in the boys’ school reports and in the awarding of a certificate.
  • Unless otherwise organised by a particular subject mentor, the due dates for the Primary Honours assignments will be:

Semester One: Term 2, Week 8
Semester Two: Term 4, Week 8

  • If you are interested in participating in a Primary Honours course, please complete the attached application form and submit to your class teacher or to me.

David Breen 
Primary Director of Studies


The English Primary Honours Program is aimed at students who have a love of English and have a significant proficiency in it.  Between two to four students per year group will be eligible for the Primary Honours Program with preference given to those who have achieved an average of 8 or greater in the previous semester. The final decision as to who is accepted in the program rests with the Primary Director of Studies. Students involved may be given some class time to work on their projects and to consult with their English teacher). 

This year there are three suggested options: a short story, a suite (collection) of poems, and an extended analytical essay. Students also have the option of devising their own project, in consultation with their English teacher. 

What are the details?

Short story
  • On a topic of your choice.
  • Minimum length: 1500 words; 
  • Other requirements: 
    • submit a rough draft during the course 
    • submit a reflection statement of 500 words, describing the process you went through to write your story and what you learnt about writing along the way. 

A suite of poems
  • On a topic or series of related topics of your choice.
  • Length: 300 -400 words; 
  • Other requirements: 
    • submit a rough draft during the course 
    • submit a reflection statement of 500 words, describing the process you went through to write your poems and what you learnt about writing along the way.

Extended Analytical Essay- genre study
  • Choose a literary genre that you love to read, such as fantasy or historical fiction.
  • Read two novels in this genre.
  • Write an essay in which you show how these novels follow or perhaps even subvert (deliberately not follow) the normal pattern of this genre.
  • Length: 1000 words

Yes, this is challenging, but I really want to prepare our best writers for the challenges that lie ahead, both in school and in life. 


Primary Honours in Mathematics is offered each semester (run during Terms 2 and 3) for students in Years 5-6. 
Any student, from Years 5-6, may apply for Mathematics Primary Honours. However, by its very nature, a liking for Mathematics as well as an aptitude for this subject will help greatly. 
Students selected to participate in Mathematics Primary Honours must have achieved the following standards during Term 1:  ‘A’ for Application, Behaviour, and Homework. Achievement must be at an 8/10 average.

The Primary Honours class sets out to foster an interest in and an awareness of the power of Mathematics. A desire to succeed in solving mathematics problems enables boys to reach their own levels of excellence. 
Topics are deliberately chosen from areas of mathematics which are distinct from the mainstream coursework. By the very nature of Mathematics, however, the work dealt with can only enhance boys’ prospects in Mathematics classes.  Above all else, Mathematics Primary Honours is a subject aimed at having fun and gaining enjoyment in the discipline of Mathematics.

On successful completion of their semester in Mathematics Primary Honours, students should, optimally be able to satisfy the following outcomes:
  • Select efficient strategies and use them accurately to solve unfamiliar multi-step problems
  • Use and interpret formal definitions and generalizations when explaining solutions
  • Use deductive reasoning in presenting clear and concise mathematical arguments and formal proofs
  • Synthesise Mathematical techniques, results and ideas from their mainstream course and apply them appropriately to unfamiliar contexts as required in the Primary Honours course
  • Develop and use sophisticated processes for exploring relationships, checking solutions and giving reasons to support conclusions
    • ~ Reflect on experiences and critical understanding to make connections with, and generalizations about, existing knowledge and understanding
    • ~ Make connection with the use of Mathematics in the real world by identifying where, and how, particular ideas and concepts are used

Students in Years 5-6 who participate in the Mathematics Primary Honours program will engage in a short course designed by the University of Canberra that focuses on the influence Sir Isaac Newton has had on the world of Mathematics.

Sir Isaac Newton (1642 -1727) was a physicist and Professor of Mathematics Mathematics at Cambridge. As a physicist, he discovered the composition of white light. He explored the mechanics of planetary motion and proposed the three fundamental laws of mechanics, the law of gravitation and the inverse square law.

The Newton series is designed for interested and talented students in Years 5 and 6. The topics considered in this Primary Honours Stage are:

  • The Castle of Problems
  • Polyominoes
  • Arithmetricks
  • In the Gauss Room
  • Polyhedra
  • Patterns
  • In the Fibonacci Room
  • Divisibility

Students will receive a notebook and a question book that contains 8 challenging problems. Each Student’s Notebook provides advice to students on how to approach the topics covered in that particular book.


  1. Before attempting the problems in this booklet, work through the appropriate sections of the Student Notes. (First read the “Advice to Students” page at the beginning of the Student Notes in each Series.)
  2. Solutions to the problems must be completely your own work. You may use resources such as text books or library books but not seek help from other people. A calculator or a computer may be used, but be sure that any programs used are fully and carefully explained.
  3. Submit careful solutions to these problems according to the schedule provided by your Maths Primary Honours Teacher.
  4. Each problem will be scored out of four marks. Marks will be awarded for clearly expressed arguments and careful reasoning. It is important to submit partial solutions to problems you have not completed as these may be worth some marks.

If there are circumstances when students cannot proceed, perhaps because of language or terminology, then teachers may give some guidance. Further general problem solving strategies may be discussed.