The British Education System
International schools following the British system often use the English National Curriculum as a basis for their educational programmes. These are sometimes modified to reflect independent (i.e. Private) school traditions. Schools are generally organised into a number of developmental Key Stages:
• The Foundation Stage covers pre-kindergarten: Reception covers children 2+ to 5+ years of age.
• Key State 1: 5+ to 7+ years of age. Years 1 and 2
• Key State 2: 7+ to 11+ years of age. Year 3 to 6
• Key State 3: 11+ to 14+ years of age. Years 7 to 9
• Key State 4: 14+ to 16+ years of age. Years 10 and 11
• Senior Students: Years 12 and 13
A broad and balanced curriculum is taught across the four post-kindergarten Key Stages, with English, Mathematics, Science and Information Technology being regarded as core subjects. The Humanities, Creative and Performing Arts, Modern Languages and Physical Education are also provided as foundation subjects.
Many international schools use the UK government End of Key Stage tests in English, mathematics and science as benchmarks to assess student performance at various ages, though their use by schools is voluntary.
On completion of Key Stage 4, most students sit the General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examination or the equivalent international exams (IGCSE) in the core and a selection of other curriculum subjects. These examinations are regarded as good preparation for the pre-university qualification courses offered by British international schools: the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the Advanced (A) level, in Years 12 and 13.
Although organizational details may differ the characteristics of British schools in an international context include emphasis on academic rigour, the provision of effective pastoral care for all students and the commitment to comprehensive and stimulating sports, performing arts, extra-curricular activities, and day and residential visit programmes.