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St. George´s British International School

British curriculum works at secondary

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This is how the British curriculum works at secondary/IGCSE level, 100% accredited.

The most important stage for pupils between the ages of 14 and 16 is getting close. Today we are going to explain how the British National Curriculum works at secondary level, which ends with the IGCSE examinations, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education.

The British education system has several advantages compared to the Spanish system, including the fact that it is based on the teaching of a variety of subjects, whereas the Spanish system focuses on a limited set of subjects. In the British education system, independence and critical thinking are encouraged, while the Spanish system emphasises memorisation and repetition. The British education system has greater autonomy and flexibility in the choice of subjects and curricula, while the Spanish system is more rigid. The British education system emphasises the development of skills such as leadership, creativity and problem solving, while the Spanish system focuses on learning technical knowledge. However, it is important to mention that these are generalisations and may vary according to the institution and level of education.

The school stages of the British curriculum

In order to understand the British curriculum we outline what stages make up the school life of a pupil in a British school. Infant education begins at the age of 3 and is divided into two stages: nursery and reception. This stage focuses on children's social, emotional and cognitive development through play and games.

Primary education begins at the age of 5 and lasts until the age of 11. This stage focuses on the development of basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics, as well as the development of social and emotional skills.

On paper, so far it may seem similar to the Spanish system, but there is no doubt that British secondary education, which starts at age 11 and lasts until age 16, will make a big difference between pupils in a British school and those in a Spanish school. This stage is divided into two phases: lower secondary education (Key Stage 3) and upper secondary education (Key Stage 4). During this stage, students specialise in specific subjects and prepare for GCSE examinations, challenging them to achieve independence and autonomy, and elevating them towards their future.

Higher education begins at the age of 16 and can include A-levels. During this stage, students specialise in a specific field and they achieve almost a pre-university degree.

British education during Secondary, the preparation for IGCSEs

Today we are also going to look at the details of secondary education, this stage begins in Year 7 (6th of Primary in the Spanish system) and ends in Year 11 (4th of ESO). In our British schools, pupils follow the National Curriculum in England, a broad and balanced curriculum which ends with examinations in Year 11, known as the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), although in our case they will take the international version of this curriculum, the recognised International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), which is 100% recognised by the Spanish education system.

The IGCSE is a secondary education programme offered by the Cambridge Board of Education. Students must complete a series of tests in various subjects to obtain the certificate. These tests are focused on practical and self-directed learning, the key to our students' future: to be independent and autonomous in their knowledge. The IGCSE is an excellent choice for students who are looking for a rigorous and challenging secondary education programme and who plan to continue their studies at a prestigious university.

To achieve this challenging goal, from Year 9 students begin to choose the subjects they will continue on to IGCSE with a common set of subjects for all students: English as a first language, Mathematics, Science, Spanish as a first language, and French. Foreign languages are compulsory for IGCSE. Most students also choose English Literature. After these common subjects, pupils have the option to choose between two of the following options: computer science, art and design, geography, history and music.

Validation of studies, 100% accredited

Finally, one of the biggest doubts of students and parents from British schools is how to validate the IGCSE. The validation of studies in the Spanish system is automatic up to Year 11 (4th ESO), although our students have received even more subjects and are prepared for the threats of the future. It is important to highlight that at the end of this course, the Technical Management of our schools process the homologation to the ESO diploma, and at the end of Year 13 the homologation to the Spanish Bachillerato diploma is processed, helping with any administrative work needed for the parents. From Year 11 onwards, pupils are advised which subjects to choose depending on their academic progress and their plans for the future after this stage of education.

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