Rationale for Community and Family Studies in the Stage 6
curriculum

Contemporary society is characterised by rapid social and technological change, cultural diversity, conflicting values and competitive pressures. Developing understanding about society and living in society requires a comprehensive knowledge of its complex nature. Consequently, Community and Family Studies is an interdisciplinary course drawing upon selected components of family studies, sociology, developmental psychology and students’ general life experiences. This course focuses on skills in resource management that enable people to function effectively in their everyday lives, in families and communities.

As students develop into young adults they are faced by challenges of increasing complexity and there is a range of strong influences on the decisions they make. Schools complement the role of families and other social groups by helping students to make informed decisions and to take responsible action in all aspects of their lives. This includes preparing students for vocational options and acting to enhance the wellbeing of themselves and others. To this end, Community and Family Studies develops students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes relevant to effective decision-making leading to confidence and competence in solving practical problems in the management of everyday living.

The way in which individuals relate to others is a key factor determining their capacity to lead responsible and productive lives both now and in the future. Community and Family Studies provides opportunities for students to explore and form positive attitudes about themselves and others; to develop an understanding of their relationships within their families and other groups; to learn to work cooperatively and to appreciate the importance of effective communication.

Community and Family Studies utilises an ecological framework to investigate the interactions among the individual, family, community and society. Recognition of the interdependence of the individual and other groups is central to the framework. Consequently, this syllabus focuses the Preliminary course on the individual and their interactions with personal groups, family and community. The HSC course builds upon this by examining how the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities is affected by broader societal influences including sociocultural, economic and political factors.

Community and Family Studies can have a direct and positive influence on the quality of students’ lives both now and in the future. During the school years, students are confronted with an awareness of their emerging identity as young women and young men. Community and Family Studies investigates the unique contributions of individuals, groups, families and communities in the development of effective social structures. It encourages opportunities for students to become proactive members of society as they examine both their potential to adopt a range of roles and the responsibilities they have in contributing to society.

The dynamic nature of this area of study places particular importance on the skills of inquiry and investigation. Research is an integral component of this subject. Students are required to develop and utilise research skills in planning, collecting, recording, interpreting, analysing and presenting as they employ various research methodologies to complete an Independent Research Project (IRP).

Community and Family Studies explores life issues that are important to all young people and of equal relevance to female and male students. The topics investigated and the emphasis on research ensures a course that is attractive to many students, with the capacity to challenge and extend all students’ ability levels.