At a systems level, NSW has been moving towards the provision of a diverse and balanced curriculum by seeing the Key Learning Areas as the basis for overall curriculum provision. Courses recognising the needs, interests and abilities of the new clientele of schools are being devised by subject syllabus committees. One such course is the 2 Unit Contemporary English Syllabus which was developed by a syllabus committee of the state board of education specifically to cater for a wider range of needs, interests and abilities than the senior English courses previously on offer. A research team comprising lecturers from Charles Sturt University - Mitchell, together with teachers from the NSW Department of School Education has conducted a study of the first 2 years of implementation of the 2 Unit Contemporary English Syllabus. Findings from the research project indicate that 2 Unit Contemporary is providing students with skills and abilities which they see as relevant and useful to their lives. The most common outcomes are the positive effect on students' self-esteem and their improved perceptions of themselves as writers, readers, listeners and speakers.