In 2013 Regional Development Australia Hunter’s ME Program in collaboration with local industry and STEM teachers at Maitland Grossmann High School developed the iSTEM curriculum. iSTEM is a student centred subject for students in Years 9 and 10 that delivers Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in an integrated way.

iSTEM is a School Developed Board Endorsed Course (SDBEC) which has been approved by the NSW Education Standards Authority and forms part of a student’s academic record in NSW. Incorporating mechatronics, aerodynamics, engineering, 3D CAD/CAM, aerospace and motion modules, iSTEM presents maths and sciences to students in ways that challenge not only their understanding of these key subjects but also their ability to manage projects and work in teams. iSTEM was created in the hunter region in direct response to industry’s urgent demand for young people qualified in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Initially taught in seven leading hunter region high schools, the ME Program’s iSTEM course has been so successful that in 2017 it has been rolled out to over 135 schools across NSW. Since its inception in 2013 the number of schools endorsed has doubled each year and the number of female students enrolled continues to be greater than other traditional male dominated elective subjects offered in NSW schools.

BAE Systems, Ampcontrol and Varley Group are among 50 ME Program industry partners who were integral to the formation and implementation of the iSTEM syllabus. This elective subject provides students with curriculum to support the most up to date technologies including 3D printers, virtual reality, drones, robotics and a range of intelligent systems. It engages students in problem based learning and involves them in real ‘on-the-job’ situations.

How to Implement iSTEM at Your School

Step 1: Read the iSTEM course document and negotiate with your Principal if you have the resources and structures available for the course to run at your school.

Step 2: Have your Principal email Dr Scott Sleap at the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence (CASE)  requesting that your school to be added to the list of schools endorsed to run the iSTEM. Email:

Your email will be forwarded to NESA in order for it to be endorsed.

Note: When there are multiple schools asking for endorsement, NESA has requested that we send them as an amalgamated list. This means there is sometimes a slight delay in the endorsement process.

Step 3: NESA will then process the request and send your Principal a notification letter to let you know that iSTEM has been endorsed for your school.

Note: You do not need to request for endorsement each year.

If you have any queries related to the endorsement process, please do not hesitate to contact  Dr Scott Sleap 0409366504.

What is iSTEM

Key Elements of iSTEM

  • Integrated approach to teaching previous silos of STEM;
  • Use of project and problem based learning as well as enquiry based learning strategies;
  • Emphasis on enterprise skills such as; complex problem solving, teamwork, communication, negotiation, and creativity;
  • More connected real-world learning, including industry contextualisation;
  • Team teaching and flipped classroom approaches to teaching and learning

iSTEM Resources


Version 3

iSTEM Syllabus Document V3
iSTEM Sample Year 9 Program 2018 (New Year 9 Sample Program pdf)
iSTEM Sample Year 9 Program 2018 (Reformatted by David Ellis)
iSTEM_Starlab_Program_V2.2 (Sample Program)
How to Gain NESA Endorsement for iSTEM CASE (How to gain NESA Endorsement for iSTEM)
iSTEM Endorsed Schools List
Sample Elective Book Information
Sample Invitation Letter
iSTEM Module Resources
STEM Toolkit
STEM Careers

Old Programs

Sample Program Year 9
Sample Program Year 10

iSTEM Promotion Video