One of the reasons we exist...

Perhaps the easiest way to explain what Kooralbyn Masteries are, is to go over some of the more common questions that enquiring parents ask...

But before we do, a quick explanation: We ask our high school students to work really hard in their normal academic classes Monday to Thursday and then the pay-off is, that they get to do something really awesome that they're passionate about ALL-DAY-FRIDAY: THAT's their Mastery. The school offers a wide range of Mastery Programs covering many sporting, artistic, academic and even vocational disciplines and pathways. So when a young golfer in Sydney (for example) learns that they can play golf all day Friday at a school up in Queensland, or a young artist or musician learns that they can pursue their passion all day Friday at Kooralbyn, they start to gravitate towards our small school. The next thing we know, we have LOTS of great young golfers or artists or musicians at the school...inspiring and motivating each other to 'be the best that they can be'.

Starting to see, why our little school has produced so many successful graduates over the years?

In less than forty years, the tiny school that has defied statistics by producing TWO Young Australians of the Year, TWO World Top 5 PGA golfers, ONE Australian of The Year, the youngest university undergraduate in the country and an ongoing list of outstanding young men and women addressing the world stage as they pursue their personal dreams.

Olympian, OAM, Australian of the Year

World Class Golfer

World Class Golfer

Engineer • National Athletics

Frequently Asked Questions...

Masteries: Engaging our older students and exciting our younger students


  • What is the purpose of the school's Mastery Program? :: The purpose of a Mastery Program is to provide an opportunity for students to pursue their specific passions beyond what can be offered within normal school. When you collect a group of students all sharing a common objective to achieve excellence in a particular field, you create one of those 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts' kind of outcomes that can be life-changing for young people. Our Mastery Programs strive to provide friendly competition, dedicated and professional support and a structured program of development and improvement that helps each student attain personal goals within their chosen field of specialisation.
  • What kind of outcomes do students achieve from the school's Mastery Programs? :: Suffice it to say, the list of State and National representatives the school's Mastery Programs have produced (and continue to produce) is staggering. Individual outcomes vary for every child however, depending upon a number of variables... their personal goals, their level of dedication, determination and commitment and obviously to some extent, their natural talent.
  • What Mastery Programs are offered? :: Though there are some Masteries that have continued since the original school opened in the mid-80's, the list of available Mastery programs changes every few years. Mastery Programs are sometimes suspended or temporarily postponed from time to time, ocassionally they flip between being School-based or Private Masteries depending on popularity, and sometimes Masteries reach their maximum capacity and have temporarily suspended new parents should check with the school to ensure course and place availability, but currently the school is offering Mastery Programs in... • Art • Athletics • Health & Fitness • Dance • Drama • Film & Television • Music • Digital Design • Tennis • SUPr (Specialised University Preparation which includes LOTE) • School-based Traineeships and Apprenticeships as well as a small number of Private Masteries (see elsewhere in this FAQ) in • Equestrian, • Aviation and • Swimming.
  • Who is able to participate in a Mastery Program? :: All Kooralbyn high school students.
  • Why can't Kooralbyn primary students participate in Mastery Programs too? :: One of the school's core philosophies is that primary students should be focused on building their foundational strengths in literacy, numeracy and other core academic areas. Of course we still introduce our primary students to sports, athletics, music, art, languages and other 'fun' subjects, but through trial and error we have concluded that young children don't yet possess the maturity required to sustain concentration and engagement for an entire school day. (It's the same reason we don't employ Block Timetables in Primary School.)
  • WHEN are Mastery programs conducted? :: Though the timetables can change from time to time, the Masteries normally operate every Friday during term from 9:00AM to 3:00PM with the usual breaks for Morning Tea and Lunch. Occassionally, Masteries may be involved in external competitions or Eisteddfods or inter-school challenges which would involve other days of the week.
  • What do the Mastery Programs cost? :: For the last couple of years, the School-Based Masteries are included as compulsory elements of our high school, so they no longer entail a specific charge or fee. Having said that, occassionally a Mastery may have related costs...for example, our famous Golf Mastery Program requires the student to be a member of a PGA affiliated club, which would entail an external cost. Our Dance Mastery students usually compete in Eisteddfods and though the competition and transport costs themselves are covered by the school, certain optional costumes may have to be purchased (or contributed to) by the parents of the student. Of course, students in Private Masteries cover all their own external costs. (See separate information about the different types of masteries.)
  • What happens to the school work that our high school students miss out on during Fridays? :: Mastery Students are not disadvantaged academically as the school timetables suitable classroom contact time for all other subjects. (QCAA recommends a minimum of 55 Hours per semester of contact time for each of the core subjects studies in Senior. At Kooralbyn, our students are offered between 60 and 65 hours contact time per semester.) One way that the school achieves this, is that Senior students (Grades 10 to 12) are only required to undertake FIVE academic subjects (instead of the usual six), with their Mastery consitituting their sixth subject. (See next question.)
  • What formal qualifications do the Mastery Programs offer? :: Formal Vocational Qualifications are not necessarily the objective of the school's Mastery Programs. Having said that, the new Queensland Senior Curriculum (referred to as the ATAR system) facilitates the opportunity for our Grade 12 students to graduate with a full or partial Applied Subject in a related discipline...e.g. Sport & Recreation, Arts in Practice, etc. Students of the Film & Television Mastery program can complete the General Subject: Film, Television & New Media. Students in the SUPr program can study for a LOTE qualification (usually Japanese, German or Chinese). A Cert II in IDMT is available through the school's own RTO for students in the Digital Design Mastery and of course, students who undertake a School-based Traineeship or Apprenticeship as their Mastery, will achieve the relevant Cert III qualifications provided within that program.
  • What are the Entry Requirements for each Mastery? :: Standards can alter from year to year. Generally speaking however, if a student is entering the Mastery in a lower grade (Grade 7 or 8 for example), then the expectations for the Mastery will not be particularly high (i.e. they could be beginner or novice level). Conversely, a student seeking to enter the SUPr (Specialised University Preparation) program in Grade 11 for example, will need to have passed a foreign language subject at least up to Grade 10 standard and be performing well in their other academic subjects. Parents and students should speak directly to the school to answer any specific questions in relation to entry requirements.
  • Can a student participate in TWO Masteries at the same time? :: No. It IS possible to switch regularly between one mastery and another (say a term or semester with each). This is NOT encouraged, but it IS possible. It is also possible, when a student first enters Kooralbyn, to trial a few mastery programs over a few weeks. WIthin those few weeks however, the student would be expected to make a decision and choose. Most masteries require dedication and commitment, so switching between masteries is NOT something that is likely to lead to success.
  • Can a high school student NOT attend school on Fridays if they're not interested in any of the masteries offered by the school? :: No. Other than being fully involved in either a School-Based Traineeship or Apprenticeship (in Grades 9 to 12) or an approved Private Mastery (in Grades 7 to 10), students who don't attend school on Fridays, are marked absent and risk disqualifiying themselves for their Qld Certificate of Education due to a poor overall attendance rate. Masteries are such an integral component of the Kooralbyn experience, the suggestion could be made, that if a student is not interested at all, in any of the Masteries the school offers, then perhaps Kooralbyn is not the most appropriate school for that student?