Essential English or General English?


To do or not to do Essential English… that is the question.

  • Year 11 student: “Miss Lean I want to change to Essential English.”
  • Miss Lean: “Can you tell me what you want to do after school?”
  • Year 11 student: “Not really, but I think I want to go to uni.”

That is a question I get asked regularly and it is understandable that a Year 11 student may be unsure about whether they will go to university or the exact course they want to study. Almost all university courses require a pass in General English, so if a student has any intention of gaining direct entry to university from Year 12, it is important that they pass General English. 

What's the Difference Between Essential and General English?

Essential English is an excellent subject that equips students with valuable literacy skills for navigating life outside of school - skills that are needed on a daily basis. If a student has no desire to attend university or struggles to pass General English, then this course is worth consideration. Essential English can equip students with the entry requirements for other post-schooling vocations such as work, traineeships or trade. If a student undertakes Essential English but then decides to go to university, this will take them longer and may require an English bridging course after Year 12.

General English is a rigorous course designed to ensure a student is ready for higher education studies. It has been designed to develop a deeper appreciation of both literary texts and non-literary texts and requires strong English competency. It also relies on the effort students have put in during their Middle School years, and build on their confidence in reading, comprehension, grammar and writing skills, understanding and use of genre etc. A student taking this more challenging General English course will only receive their Queensland Certificate of Education points for this course if they pass the full course as points are not given per unit of work. This means that for some students, passing all units of Essential English might be a better option.

Venessa Lean | Dean of Academic Development

[Please contact the High School Reception if you would like to discuss this further]