The purpose of Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) is to provide students with a firm foundation to understand and critically analyse the world around them, so they are able to become active citizens who participate in and contribute responsibly to Australian society. At Swan View Senior High School, HASS is a compulsory learning area in lower school and it is taught through immersing students in discrete units that cover History, Geography, Economics/Business and Civics/Citizenship. In upper school, students have the option of developing their deep thinking and research skills, through studies of either Philosophy and Ethics or Modern History.

In year 7, students develop their historical understanding through key concepts, including evidence, continuity and change, and cause and effect. These concepts are investigated within the historical context of Ancient Egypt. Geography focuses on the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability and change. These concepts continue to be developed as a way of thinking and provide students with the opportunity to inquire into the nature of water as a natural resource and the livability of places.

An understanding of the economic concepts of ‘making choices’ and ‘allocation’ is developed through a focus on the interdependence of consumers and producers in the market. Work and work futures are also introduced, as students consider why people work. Students also continue to build on their understanding of the concepts of democracy by examining the key features of Australia’s democracy, and how it is shaped through the Australian Constitution and constitutional change.

Year 8 sees students continue studies of civics and citizenship, building on their understanding of the concepts of the Westminster system, democracy and participation. They investigate the types of law in Australia and how they are made. The concept of markets is introduced to further develop students understanding of the concepts of interdependence, making choices and allocation. They consider how markets work and the rights, responsibilities and opportunities that arise for businesses, consumers and governments.

Historical concepts that were introduced in year 7 are investigated within the historical context of the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern period, c. 650 AD (CE) – 1750. They consider how societies changed, what key beliefs and values emerged, and the causes and effects of contact between societies in this period. In Geography, students inquire into the significance of landscapes to people and the spatial change in the distribution of populations. They apply this understanding to a wide range of places and environments at the full range of scales, from local to global.

In Year 9, students expand on their knowledge of historical concepts through an investigation of the making of the modern world from 1750 to 1918. They consider how new ideas and technological developments contributed to change in this period, and the significance of World War I. In Geography, students have the opportunity to inquire into the production of food and fibre, the role of the biotic environment and to explore how people, through their choices and actions, are connected to places in a variety of ways.

In Economics, students will examine the connections between consumers, businesses and government, both within Australia and with other countries, through the flow of goods, services and resources in a global economy. In Civics and Citizenship, they examine the role of key players in the political system, the way citizens’ decisions are shaped during an election campaign and how a government is formed. Students will also investigate how Australia’s court system works in support of a democratic and just society.

Year 10 sees students prepare to make Upper School choices as well as extended to think on a global scale through the examination of: the historical context of the modern world and Australia from 1918 to the present, with an emphasis on Australia in its global context. In Geography, students focus on the management of environmental resources and the geography of human wellbeing at the full range of scales, from local to global and in a range of locations.

In their studies of Civics and Citizenship, Students examine Australia’s roles and responsibilities at a global level and its international legal obligations. They inquire in to the values and practices that enable a resilient democracy to be sustained. In Economics they explore the nature of externalities and investigate the role of governments in managing economic performance to improve living standards. They also inquire into the ways businesses can manage their workforces to improve productivity.

In year 11, students have the option to study Philosophy and Ethics. Philosophical thought shapes what people think, what they value, what they consider to be true, and how they engage with others and the world around them. It is one of the foundations of all academic disciplines. It seeks to shed light on questions, such as: what is real; what and how do we understand; how should we live; what is it to be human; and who am I? It deals with issues and problems that cannot be addressed adequately by appealing to experience and experiment alone. Students have the option to continue this course in year 12.

Alternatively, students may also choose to continue upper school history studies in either a general or ATAR pathway. Modern History General offers students the opportunity to enhance their research, hypothesis testing and analysis of information skills as they engage with investigations. Year 11 Unit 1 focuses on Nicholas II and the decline of Tsarism; Year 11 Unit 2 focuses on the Authoritarian state: Communist Russia/USSR 1917–1953.

Modern History ATAR enhances students’ curiosity and imagination and their appreciation of larger themes, individuals, movements, events and ideas that have shaped the contemporary world. Year 11 Unit 1 focuses on Capitalism – the American Experience 1907–1941. Year 11 Unit 2 focuses on Nazism in Germany.