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The English National Curriculum

The English National Curriculum begins at the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for children aged three to five. There are five´key stages´ in this curriculum and it culminates with the highly respected GCSE or IGCSE qualifications in Year 11 and A-levels in Year 13.  This curriculum offers a British-style education, building skills and knowledge through a wide range of subjects. 

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (Ages 3 to 5)

The EYFS is an important stage for children as it helps to bridge the learning needed for the move from home or nursery to school, as well as providing a foundation for future learning, motivation and success.

Our British International schools have pre-schools that create stimulating learning and play environments to allow the youngest children to become familiar with school life in a secure environment, with plenty of outdoor play. The EYFS framework has seven key curriculum areas:

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Primary: Key Stages 1 and 2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Students in Key Stages 1 and 2 study compulsory subjects including:
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Design and technology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and Design
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Computing
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)
Secondary: Key Stages 3 and 4 (Ages 11 to 16)

A typical but not exhaustive range of subjects is:

  • Art and design
  • Business
  • Design and Technology
  • English (Literature and Language, including Drama)
  • Geography
  • History
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Music
  • Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
  • Physical Education
  • Science (Physics, Chemistry and Biology)

At the end of Key Stage 3, students typically decide which optional subjects they would like to study for their GCSEs/IGCSEs to complement core subjects such as English, mathematics and science.

Progressing to Key Stage 5

Students take examinations in their (I)GCSE subjects at the end of Key Stage 4, following two years of study. GCSE and IGCSEs have two grading systems: 9 to 1, or A+ to G.  A Grade 9 is considered to be higher than A* and 4 is broadly equivalent to a C.  

Post-16 Study / Sixth Form  (Ages 16 – 18)

The Advanced Level courses, more popularly known as A-levels, are demanding courses that offer a higher level of complexity to the GCSE/IGCSEs. Because of the depth of study, most students choose to take three or four subjects at this level.  Depending on the examination board, Cambridge or Edexcel, A-levels can be either modular or linear two-year courses assessed by individual modules as students complete them or are followed by end-of-programme examinations in each subject. Advanced Subsidiary or AS-level qualifications, may be awarded at the end of the first or second year of study, and are normally considered to be worth half an A-level. Students typically bear in mind higher education aspirations and potential future career pathways when making their choices for AS and A-level subjects.