About the British Curriculum

About the British Curriculum

British education has achieved a worldwide reputation for quality, and is recognised and respected around the world. One of the huge benefits is how transferable it is – students can move seamlessly from country to country.

Structured curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of all students, stretching brighter children and supporting those who need it through differentiated teaching and learning activities. The curriculum extends and excites all students, whatever their interests or ability. Through it, teachers are able to identify, celebrate and nurture the talents and intelligences of students.

British education is renowned for concerning itself with the development of the whole personality. Learning is important, but not enough in itself. Young people need to develop their potential to explore and discover the world around them, to think for themselves and form opinions, to relate to others, to develop their bodies through sport and physical education, and to gain experience in taking responsibility.

In the British education system, students are taught to learn by questioning, problem-solving and creative thinking rather than by the mere retention of facts, hence giving them analytical and creative thinking skills that they will need in the working world. A variety of teaching and assessment methods designed to develop independent thought as well as a mastery of the subject matter is used. Parents also want the wide range of extra-curricular activities that the British education system provides.

Benefits of the British Curriculum

  • The British curriculum ensures that students receive a broad and balanced education, with a focus on core subjects such as English, Math, and Science that are crucial to your child’s development
  • The system promotes regular testing, enabling teachers to gauge a student’s progress throughout their schooling, and address any gaps in their knowledge
  • The British curriculum is respected around the world and provides access to the world’s top universities
  • The curriculum is also standardized, which means it is easier to adjust when transferring schools, and its scope of learning is largely consistent from place to place
  • At Post-16 level, courses such as the IB Programme allow the student to pursue in-depth subjects in which they excel, and which focus on the knowledge that will be required in their chosen career

Overall Structure

The curriculum is divided into ‘Early Years Foundation’ and five ‘Key Stages.’ At the end of each Key Stage, students are tested on their progress.

Key Stages Ages Year Groups US Grade Equivalents
Foundation Stage 3 – 5 Nursery – Reception Pre-School
Key Stage 1 5 – 7 1 – 2 Kindergarten – 1st
Key Stage 2 7 – 11 3 – 6 2nd – 5th
Key Stage 3 11 – 14 7 – 9 6th – 8th
Key Stage 4 14 – 16 10 – 11 9th – 10th
Key Stage 5 16 – 18 12 – 13 11th – 12th

The National Curriculum of England has a clearly defined series of academic and other objectives at every level. The education system is divided into Foundation Stage (ages 3 to 5), primary education (ages 5 to 11) and secondary education (ages 11 to 18) leading most typically to an A Level qualification.

At the end of Key Stage 1, 2, 3, progress is examined via individual teacher assessment against the National Curriculum Attainment Targets for all subjects.

Many international  students follow the General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) programme in Key Stage 4 – most of them taking the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) Board or Edexcel Examinations Board exams. During the IGCSE programme, students typically take courses in the core subject groups of mathematics, science, English language, English literature and modern foreign language, but can choose other subjects from the options choices. They are awarded certificates from the examination boards for the subjects that they successfully complete.

Students then take the A Level exams at the end of Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13 or grade 11 and 12 ).

What is IGCSE?

IGCSE stands for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education

IGCSE (the International General Certificate of Secondary Education)
IGCSE (the International General Certificate of Secondary Education)
  • The IGCSE was developed by University of Cambridge Assessment International Examination.  (CAIE).The examination board Edexcel offers its own version, the Edexcel International GCSE .
  • The IGCSE is an international alternative to many popular national curricula.
  • IGCSE has a worldwide currency and most countries recognize this qualification but it is important for each student to be following courses that are appropriate for their own goals and expectations.
  • Students who move between countries as a result of the their expatriate life style will find that the knowledge and skills they acquire from studying the IGCSE curriculum will be readily transferable

Positive Achievement

  • The important principle of this examination is that students are rewarded for positive achievement – what they know, understand and can do – rather than being penalised for an accumulation of errors.
  • Cambridge IGCSE is the world’s most popular international curriculum for 14-16 year olds, leading to globally recognised and valued Cambridge IGCSE qualifications. It is part of the Cambridge Secondary 2 stage.
  •  IGCSE is an academically rigorous, internationally used, and specialized English language curriculum which is offered to students to prepare them for A level or related qualifications like  International Baccalaureate or  Advanced Placement (AP) is a program in the United States and Canada, created by the College Board
  • It provides excellent preparation for the Cambridge Advanced stage including Cambridge International AS and A Levels and Cambridge Pre-U, as well as other progression routes.
  • It incorporates the best in international education for learners at this level. It develops in line with changing needs, and is regularly updated and extended.
  • Cambridge IGCSE teachers can draw on excellent resources, training and advice from subject experts.
  • Cambridge IGCSE encourages learner-centred and enquiry-based approaches to learning.
  • It develops learners’ skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving, giving learners excellent preparation for the next stage in their education.
  • It has well defined learning outcomes and content, and Cambridge IGCSE is compatible with other curricula and is internationally relevant and sensitive to different needs and cultures.
  • Cambridge IGCSE develops learner knowledge, understanding and skills in:

Subject content

  • Applying knowledge and understanding to familiar and new situations
  • Intellectual enquiry
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to change
  • Working and communicating in English
  • Influencing outcomes
  • Cultural awareness
  • Cambridge International Examinations holding Professional Development Courses, for teachers of all subjects annually.Teachers from Al-Rowad attend theses courses every year.

What is the duration of the course?

  • IGCSE is a two-year programme starting in Grade 9 .A student who has completed his/ her early schooling from any other school can join the IGCSE programme in Grade 9 level


  • Assessment for Cambridge IGCSE includes written and oral tests, coursework and practical assessment. We have the option of assessing learners using only external examinations or, in most subjects, combining examinations with coursework. Coursework is set and marked by the teacher and externally moderated by Cambridge.

As well as testing whether students can recall information and present it in an orderly manner, the curriculum encourages

the development of oral and practical skills;

an investigative approach;

the use of initiative to solve problems;

the application of skills, knowledge and understanding;

the ability to undertake individual projects and to work as part of a team

course work

  • Teachers who have received training from Cambridge, or who possess suitable experience of marking coursework may carry out this assessment. In most subjects there is a choice between core and extended curricula, making IGCSE suitable for a wide range of abilities.
  • Each learner’s performance is benchmarked using eight internationally recognised grades. There are clear guidelines which explain the standard of achievement for different grades.
  • Cambridge IGCSE examination sessions occur twice a year, in May/June and October/November. Results are issued in August and January respectively


  • Usually from 25th December to 20th January. Note that this date is subject to change.


  • Usually from 25th May to 10th June. Note that this date is subject to change

How to register?

  • All the required formations along with application forms and sample form will be available in the school website just before the registration begins.


  • The grades that can be achieved at each level are shown in the table.The passing grade is E and above for extended level is G and above form core level. U is unclassified for extended level.
Extended level Core level


  • Most subjects offer a choice between core curriculum and extended curriculum. 
  • Depending on the ability of students, there is a choice between Core and Extended curriculum papers in many subjects. This allows teachers to decide on the most appropriate level of papers for their students.
  • The core curriculum is an overview of the subject and within the ability range of a large majority of students and is suitable for students who are expected to achieve grades C to G.
  • The Extended curriculum, which comprises the Core curriculum and the Supplement, has been designed for the more academically able and leads naturally into higher education or professional training. The extended curriculum covers each topic in depth in that subject. It is more challenging and designed for students who are expected t o score grades A* to C. The Supplement describes the extra topics or depth which must be added to the Core to produce the Extended curriculum.

Subjects Being Offered by CIE for IGCSE exams

More than 100 subjects are available including:

  • Mathematics,
  • English,
  • Biology.
  • Chemistry
  • Physics.
  • Arabic or Accounting.
  • Business or Economics
  • Computer Science/ICT

After the completion of IGCSE

  • A student who has passed IGCSE is eligible for sixth form educational qualifications, like any international pre-university programme, like the IB Diploma, Advanced Placement Diploma (US), and A/AS Level & AICE (UK).
  • If the results not satisfactory to continue A-level the student has a choice of either resetting or can enter the college with a foundation programme.

             Key Stage5:  Grade 11 and 12 or year 12 and 13 in UK (age 17 and 18)

  • A-Level: AS-Level & A2-Level – These are the courses most students undertake between the ages of 16 and 18. If students complete both an AS and an A2-Level in the same subject they get a full A-Level qualification.
  • A -Levels are generally worked towards over two years and split into two parts, with one part studied in each year. The first part is known as the Advanced Subsidiary Level, or AS Level (and was previously known as the Advanced Supplementary Level). The second part is known as the A2 Level. The AS Level is a qualification in its own right, and the AS Level combined with the A2 Level forms the complete A Level qualification.


  • AS and A2 level examination sessions occur thrice a year, in May/June, October/November and January. Results are issued in August, January and March respectively.


  • Usually from 25th December to25th January. Note that this date is subject to change.


  • Usually from 1st week of September to 3rd week of September. Note that this date is subject to change


  • The grades that can be achieved at each level are shown in the table. The passing grade is E and above
A2 level Grade (12) AS level (Grade 11)
A* A

Examination Result and Collection of Certificates

  • Online Provisional Results will be available on the CIE and the edexcel website on the day of results release. Students can access them using user name and password given to them.
  • Hard Copy of Statements of Results are usually available after two weeks from the date of release of results. It can be collected from the school.
  • Final original Certificates will be available usually available after two months from the date of release of results


Al-Rowad International Schools