Secondary Introductory English Centre (SIEC)

Secondary Introductory English Centre (SIEC)

Phone: + 61 2 6142 0148 or  + 61 2 6142 0149

The SIEC is the only intensive English language learning centre in Canberra. Students in year 7 - 12 who have limited English language skills participate in a 30 week program of study that gives them the necessary language skills to participate in education.

Entry to the SIEC is managed through the SIEC Executive Teacher who can be contacted on (02) 6142 0140.


The Secondary Introductory English Centre provides newly arrived overseas students with minimal or no English, with an intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) course so that they can participate with equal access in educational and social settings.

Students are given the opportunity to develop their English language and social skills to a level that will enable them to function confidently in the secondary school environment and to live in and contribute to Australia's multicultural society.

The SIEC provides students with the opportunity for:

Course Content

The aim of the ESL course at the SIEC is to prepare secondary school-aged students for the English language demands of the secondary classroom. The course consists of Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate and Advanced courses.

The Pre-Intermediate course (10 weeks) is organised around nine themes, including school, food and shopping, orientation to Canberra and animals. Each theme incorporates a wide range of activities covering the four macro-skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The Pre-Intermediate course includes grammatical structures and focuses on the functional and communicative demands of secondary schooling.

The Intermediate and Advanced courses (20 weeks) combine work on English structures and the features of different text types. The course incorporates the language and skills of content areas such as mathematics, science and studies of society and environment. The courses also include the use of the library for research and individual study and computers for word processing and keyboard skills. Teachers choose from a wide range of work units according to the needs, interests and language levels of their students.

Accreditation of the SIEC Post Beginners Course

Advanced level students who are in Years 11 and 12 are able to gain academic credit towards their Year 12 Certificate by successfully completing the requirements of advanced level units in the SIEC Advanced course.


At enrolment, students are tested with comprehension and writing tests and an oral interview to ensure appropriate placement in a Pre-intermediate, Intermediate or Advanced class. Additional factors, which may be taken into consideration in placement, are literacy in their first language, educational background, learning ability and age.

Each student's progress through the Pre-Intermediate course is monitored in the four macro-skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing through class assignments and tests and teacher observation and other assessment tasks. In the Intermediate and Advanced courses, teachers use a variety of strategies such as paragraph writing, essays, grammar tests, research assignments, comprehensions, dictations, interviews and listening exercises to assess the student's progress.

Three reports are written during the student's course of study. These are Progress Reports (at the end of the Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate level) and a Student Report (at the completion of Advanced level). These reports are sent to parents/guardians and the Student Report is also sent to the student's new high school or college.

Students graduate from the SIEC when they have completed their course of study. There is no formal exit examination.

Eligibility Criteria

Any newly arrived Non English Speaking Background (NESB) student, who intends to enrol at an ACT government high school or secondary college and whose English is inadequate for study in these schools, is eligible to enrol at the ACT Department of Education's Secondary Introductory English Centre.

Temporary resident NESB students from embassies and consulates and children of university or government exchange families are eligible to apply for enrolment.

Students aged between 12 and 18 years of age are eligible to enrol at the SIEC.

Private NESB students are also eligible to attend the SIEC after completing the necessary application and payment procedures with the International Education Section of the ACT Department of Education.

Note: It is necessary to provide the passports or travel documents of all students prior to enrolment to verify residency status.