Curriculum

The Secondary School Curriculum delivered at HeadStart is the Cambridge International Examinations Curriculum for Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and IGCSE. This curriculum offers quality, complexity, diversity and an internationally renowned standard of high attainment. Each subject is taught by highly qualified and experienced subject specialists who are not only experts in their chosen fields but are also knowledgeable and skilled educators and are able to reflect and adapt to the differing needs of each developing individual under our care.

Cambridge Curriculum Facts

95% of Cambridge International A Level students who apply to UK universities receive offers, according to new research by UCAS, the UK Universities and Colleges Admissions Service From 2014-2017, research showed:

95% of Cambridge International A Level students who applied to UK higher education institutions were offered places. This equates to over 67,700 offers.

Of the 95%, sixty-two percent (62%) of Cambridge International A Level applicants were accepted into ‘higher tariff’ universities, the 24 most sought-after and reputable universities in the UK (including the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Durham and the London School of Economics, and all of the ‘Russell Group’ universities). A further 25% were accepted at medium tariff universities, and 13% at lower tariff institutions. This breakdown shows that students who have taken Cambridge International A Levels are better placed than most other students to get top places.

When we look at the total figures of all students who applied to study at UK institutions, only 28% of all applicants get into the Russell Group universities – less than half the figure for Cambridge learners.

The figures also show that over the same three-year period 2014-2017, the number of Cambridge International A Level students applying to study in the UK almost doubled, as did the number of students who were offered places.

The data shows that engineering and business studies were the most popular subjects for applicants with Cambridge International A Levels. These were followed by Social Studies, Biological Sciences, Law, Medicine, Maths, Computer Science and Creative Arts.

While this data is providing a rich resource for further research, it shows very positive trends for students with Cambridge International qualifications who wish to study at the UK’s top universities.


Key Stages

The UK national curriculum is organised into blocks called ‘key stages’ (KS) as follows:

Key Stage Classes Typical Ages
Foundation Stage Comprises of Preschool, Early Years and Reception Between the age of 2-5 years old
Key Stage 1 Comprises of Year 1 and 2 Between the age of 5-7 years old
Key Stage 2 Comprises of Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 Between the age of 7 to 11 years old
Key Stage 3 Comprises of Years 7, 8 and 9 Between the age of 11 and 14 years old
Key Stage 4 Comprises of Years 10 and 11 Between the age of 14 and 16 years old
Sixth Form Comprises of Years 12 and 13 Between the age of 17 and 18 years old

Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme

The Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme is a framework for increasing educational success for students in Years 7 to 9 (Key Stage 3). It has been adopted at HeadStart International School since 2010.

This programme builds on the primary key stages, and develops student’s knowledge and skills in Mathematics, English and Science. The Lower Secondary Programme also provides us with a means of tracking student progress through the lower Secondary phase, with an integrated package of teaching, learning and assessment materials.

At the end of Years 7 and 8, students take the Progression Tests in Mathematics, English and Science. These are designed to allow teachers and parents to follow the progress of their students over time and analyse performance within their classes and against an external benchmark. These Progression Tests lead on from the CIPP tests for Years 3, 4, 5, and 6.

At the end of Lower Secondary (Year 9), students sit Cambridge Checkpoint tests which provide detailed feedback on students’ strengths and weaknesses in the Core Subjects of English, Maths and Science before they move into the Key Stage 4 and start their IGCSEs. It also provides a fair assessment of how well an individual student will do in the IGCSE examinations for the stated subjects.

The subjects offered and taught throughout Key Stage 3 are:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • History
  • Geography
  • ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
  • Design Technology
  • PE (Physical Education)
  • RE (Religious Education)
  • Art
  • Music
  • Thai
  • Mandarin
  • French
  • PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education)

International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)

The Secondary school curriculum at HeadStart International School is anchored by the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), an external examination programme designed for 14 to 16 year olds (Years 10 & 11) and based upon the National Curriculum of England.

The IGCSE at HeadStart provides a broad programme of study in areas such as languages, social studies, science, mathematics and vocational subjects. In each subject there is a balance between practical and theoretical knowledge but the emphasis in almost all subjects is skills related to that subject.

The curriculum is designed so that students can use examples related to their own experiences and residence. The nature of the programme is such that students of different abilities can follow it. Furthermore it is designed for students whose first language may not be English.

Students sit examinations at the end of the IGCSE course, usually in year 11. These examinations are marked by experienced external examiners appointed by CIE (Cambridge International Examinations).

IGCSE is recognised internationally and it is evidence of ability to academics and employers throughout the world. The programme prepares students for further academic courses which would be followed in years 12 and 13 at school. CIE is a division of the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate which in turn is part of the University of Cambridge. UCLES has developed and promoted qualifications at a variety of levels for at least 150 years.

The subjects taught and offered throughout Key Stage 4 up to IGCSE are:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • History
  • Geography
  • ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
  • Design Technology
  • Business Studies
  • PE (Physical Education)
  • Art
  • Music
  • Thai
  • Mandarin
  • French

As a fully licensed and accredited Cambridge centre any Cambridge IGCSE examinations can be sat here at HeadStart including subjects that are not offered in our curriculum.


Textbooks

If you would like to know what textbooks your child will be using throughout the year then please refer to the website posted below for a comprehensive book list for each year group. If you wish to purchase any of these textbooks then please use the title and ISBN code to purchase from any book store. GCE-Ultimate Resource for Cambridge International Examinations


Sixth Form

Cambridge International A Levels typically take two years to complete and offer a flexible course of study. At HeadStart we currently have over 12 subjects to choose from with many combinations available. Cambridge International AS Levels have half the content of the corresponding Cambridge International A Level and may be completed in one year. Students can complete Cambridge International AS Level as a qualification in its own right, or as a stage on the way to a full Cambridge International A Level. Students can study Cambridge International AS Level alongside other Cambridge International A Level subjects to increase breadth in the curriculum and build further knowledge and understanding. Cambridge International AS & A Levels are recognised by UCAS and universities in the UK and overseas as equivalent, grade for grade, with UK AS and A Levels. Passing grades for Cambridge International A Levels are A–E, with A being the highest. There is no A* grade awarded at Cambridge International AS Level. For more information, download the Sixth Form Prospectus shown below.

‘The quality of the curriculum is good. It is very successful in offering wider opportunities for students to develop their particular talents and develop key skills such as teamwork, effective communication, independence, resilience and self-confidence.’ Education Development Trust (EDT) Accreditation Report, June 2017

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