The Secondary Curriculum covers Years 7 to 13. This is divided into three ‘cycles’ or stages, called Key Stages in the English National Curriculum. Years 7 to 9 make up Key Stage 3, with end of Key Stage assessments in English, Maths and Science, taken at the end of each Year. In Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4) pupils study a number of compulsory and optional subjects, preparing for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations taken at the end of Year 11, although English as a First Language and Spanish as a First Language are taken in Year 10, and some pupils take French in Y9 and 10. Pupils then choose a number of options for Year 12, taking the Advanced Subsidiary Courses (AS) of Cambridge International Examinations. In Year 13 pupils normally continue studying the higher level A2 syllabus of the same subjects studied and passed at AS level. As is explained below, Spanish studies are also part of our provision at ISM, thus helping our students to be fully prepared for entrance to Spanish universities, in addition to their preparation for British universities through UCAS, and other universities around the world, such as the USA, Holland and India.
Subjects in Years 7, 8 and 9 (Key Stage 3)
Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, Spanish, French, Art, Computer Science, Drama (Y7 and 8), Music, PE and Sports, Religion or Citizenship.
In addition many Year 7 pupils take the Cambridge English as a Second Language (ESOL) PET examination and Year 9 pupils the First Certificate English (FCE) examination. In addition the French department prepares pupils for the Alliance Francaise CAF tests, achieving some outstanding results. As pupils at ISM start French in Year 5, a high level of French can be reached, pupils having the possibility of being proficient in three languages, English, Spanish and French. Other languages such as Italian or German may be offered after school, depending on demand.
Subjects in Years 10 and 11 (Key Stage 4)
Pupils are prepared for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) offered by Cambridge International Examinations in a number of subjects shown below.
Compulsory subjects : Mathematics, Co-ordinated Sciences (double award), English (as a First Language, taken in Year 10), and English Literature and Spanish Literature, Spanish as a First Language (also in Year 10). Physical Education and Sports.
Optional Subjects. Pupils choose three: History or Computer Science; Art or Economics; Geography or French (taken by some students in Years 9 or 10).
Religion or Citizenship is taken one lesson per week. Many pupils in Year 11 are prepared for Confirmation each year.
Pupils are entered for the Core (maximum C grade) or Extended (all grades) examination in some IGCSE subjects at the discretion of their subject teachers. Some subjects do not have the two levels. Spanish pupils need to obtain a minimum of four IGCSE passes (C or higher) to validate Year 11 (4º de E.S.O) and one more for Y12 validation. At least two passes must be in Spanish, Sciences, English or Mathematics. Minimum requirements for entry into Year 12 are five IGCSE passes, which do not include Spanish, and must include IGCSE English. Most pupils achieve between seven and eleven pass grades. The school aims for the highest academic standards, but does not discriminate by ability, aiming to help all pupils reach their maximum level of achievement. Other IGCSEs offered by Cambridge such as Chinese, Portuguese, German, Italian or Arabic can also be taken on an individual basis. Tuition for these is arranged privately.
Full details of Cambridge IGCSEs can be found here.
Studies in Years 12 and 13
The Advanced Level studies are equivalent to the Spanish 1º and 2º Bachillerato, and take place in the last two years of school. For this reason subject choices, made at the end of Year 11, after the IGCSE exams, and at the beginning of Year 12, are very important, determining to a great extent the pattern of further education and career options which will become available to pupils. Subject choices are made bearing in mind views of parents, teachers and the pupil concerned, and IGCSE results are an important guideline. Teachers responsible for Further Education and Careers guide pupils throughout the year to discover strengths and weaknesses, and personal characteristics, and possible further education and career paths.
With the present uncertainty of the requirements for access to Spanish universities, students can be assured that the ISM designed curriculum prepares them well for any changes that might take place.
All studies at ISM are validated with the Spanish Ministry. if pupils wish to enter Spanish universities, at present they take the ‘Selectividad para Extranjeros’ exams and may also apply directly to these universities, if private, with their Advanced Levels. Some universities may want them to do a test.
Since 1999, when our first pupils went to universities, ISM pupils have achieved places at universities all over the world, such as the UK, the US, India, Spain and many other countries. For recent lists please see the ‘Exam results 2016’ document from the office.
UK: Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College (London), King’s College (London), The University of Surrey, The Royal Holloway College (London University), London Metropolitan University, the University of Bath and Kingston University (London),Surrey School of Art and Design, The University of Kent;
US and Canadian universities: the American University of Paris, Savannah College of Art and Design (USA), Chicago, Ohio, Montreal amongst a number of other US and Canadian colleges and universities;
Spain: the state Autónoma, Complutense, Carlos III and Politécnica universities; Comillas, ICADE (E2, E4, etc.), Instituto de Empresa (I.E.) , I.C.A.I., CEU, CUNEF, and Villanueva are some examples in Madrid. Some American Universities have a campus in Madrid, such as St. Louis, Schiller and Suffolk.
Other Spanish universities include the Universities of Navarra and Alcalá de Henares. St. Louis and Suffolk are examples of US universities in Madrid where some of our students have attended.