Head of Secondary
School is so much more than just a place to attend lessons and go home. The International School of Bearn, is very special, we are a small school with a very big heart, and a truly diverse international student community with students from over 30 different nationalities. Studying at ISB means that students can experience many different cultures and through this, they learn respect and acceptance in diversity, and develop lifelong friendships around the world. Every single student can make a huge contribution to our community and beyond.
At ISB, our goal is to equip our students to become learners in an international world. As our students move from Grade 7 into Grade 8, and eventually through to Grade 13 they will have grown as individuals; they will have pushed boundaries and experimented with fashion, most likely, their hairstyles, their humour, friendships, taste in music and in general they will have learnt so much more about the world. At ISB, we value student opinions and free speech, and aim to provide a safe and caring in which our students can make their choices and grow.
Our students are encouraged to seek out opportunities to present their own views and ideas, through collaboration with their teachers and with each other. Students are encouraged to evaluate their contributions and develop awareness of society as a whole, whilst respecting the differences and similarities between cultures. Our aim is to ensure that our students are creative, open minded, resilient and confident.
Finally, is the academic success of our students where the iGCSE and A Level results at ISB reflect the hard work and resilience of both students and teachers. We take great pride in our students’ achievements as they continue their education at some of the world’s top universities. In 2020 our university destinations included: Cambridge University, Bristol University and Kings College London, as well as other Scottish and EU university destinations.
I arrived at ISB in August 2020, and not a single day goes by without our fantastic students making me realise what an exceptional school we are. If you are a prospective parent, why not visit us, and come and see for yourselves, and if you are a parent of students currently at ISB, I thank you wholeheartedly for your ongoing support of our ISB community.
Here at ISB our aim is to provide students with an outstanding school experience. We pride ourselves on our students’ excellent academic achievement, which comes through excellent learning and teaching, but this would not be possible if we did not place great importance on student wellbeing and one of the key ways that we achieve this through our enrichment programme.
We work on developing happy, balanced and resilient students through a range of systems.
Tutor Time and PSHCE Students are part of a tutor group lead by an experienced form tutor who is the first point of contact for student issues and concerns. We have a specialist Grade 7 tutor who is experienced in supporting students with the transition from Primary, and in general a tutor will stay with their tutor group for at least two years so that strong positive relationships between students, the tutor and parents are built.
Each day starts with a 15 minute tutor period which could a wide range of topics, through from study skills, current world news to personalised mentoring.
In addition, students have one period of PSHE (personal, social, and health education) each week. Students work on their personal development, and key issues that are relevant to their age. PSHE units are tailor made to meet the needs of our internationally diverse community, and currently include character strengths, human rights, diversity and equlity, mental health and healthy living.
Assemblies The PSHE provision is complemented by a rich programme of assemblies lead by senior leaders, classroom teachers and students. Assemblies raise awareness about important world events, international days and aspects that are specific to the individual Key Stages or Grades. Praise assemblies are also organsed to celebrate both the academic and non-academic success of our students.
Qualified Counsellor The Pastoral Team (the Wellbeing and PSHE Coordinator and Tutor Team) work with a qualified counsellor who is available at lunch times for ‘guidance sessions’. students can make an appointment with the counsellor to talk about anything from friendship issues to anxiety and exam related stress. All sessions are of course confidential.
Sports An important part of wellbeing is a healthy, active lifestyle, and ISB offers a rich, broad and inclusive programme of physical education (PE). Before the Covid restrictions, our students were participating in off-site specialist sports including:
· Indoor climbing
· Pelote Basque
However, due to the current Covid regulations, students are currently engaging in more traditional sports such as hockey, handball, touch rugby, volleyball and football on the school’s all-purpose sports pitch. These lessons take place twice each week.
After school clubs ISB offers after school clubs to encourage students to pursue their interests, extend their learning and widen their experiences. Clubs, for which parents will pay a small fee, take place from Monday to Friday from 15.45 to 16.45. We offer a wide range of clubs, which can vary from term to term. In the past, students have participated in the following clubs:
· Board games
· Homework support
PSHE / Wellbeing Coordinator
Form Tutors Coordinator
Business Studies Teacher
Maths & Computing Teacher
Grade 11 Form Teacher
Whole school iPad Resp.
Grade 13 Form Teacher
Grade 12 Form Teacher
Learning support & SEN Coord.
Grade 11 Form Teacher
English Literature Teacher
Daniel Vie Alvarez de Cienfuegos
Grade 10 Form Teacher
Grade 7 Form Teacher
ESL & Geography Teacher
Grade 8 Form Teacher
Art specialist (Secondary)
Grade 10 Form Teacher
Music & Drama
Our curriculum is divided into three Key Stages (KS):
|3||7, 8 and 9|
|4||10 and 11|
|5||12 and 13|
and the curriculum in each KS is adapted to the needs of our students.
In KS3, students will study a wide range of academic subjects taught by enthusiastic specialist teachers. Students will study the following subjects:
KS3 is a three-year programme covering Years 7 to 9. The objectives of this KS are to:
KS4 refers to the curriculum covered by students in Years 10 and 11. It is a two-year programme that prepares students for i/GCSE (International/General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations that are completed at the end of Year 11.
iGCSE/GCSEs are official qualifications. The examinations are set, marked and graded externally in the United Kingdom. The examination boards for our school are Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Edexcel.
The iGCSE grades are particularly important when students apply to university before their A Level grades are known in Year 13. These two year courses are therefore very important for the future of our students.
All students in Key Stage 4 study:
Students also choose four additional subjects from a range of options which include French, German, Spanish, Art, Computer Science, History, Geography, Business Studies, and Music. Many students also complete an additional GCSE examinations in their mother tongue, usually during Grade 10.
GCSE examinations are excellent preparation for the final two years of schooling and are required by many British universities as part of their application process. GCSE examinations pave the way for our A Level Programme.
KS5 refers to the curriculum covered by students in Years 12 and 13. It is a two-year programme that prepares students for entry to university, and includes AS examinations that are completed at the end of Year 12 and A Level Examinations taken at the end of Grade 13.
Students choose their A Level options from a wide range of subjects that includes:
Most students will select four subjects for study during Grade 12, and then dependent upon their AS exam results, the majority of students will reduce thier subjects to three out of the original four. This is because universities will base their offers on three subjects.
If you would like to learn more about our exciting academic programme for students at The International School of Bearn, please contact us by email or submit an admissions enquiry.
The overall aim at KS3 is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The course aims to enable students to:
The syllabus aims to enable students to:
The syllabus aims to develop learners who:
The aims are to enable students to:
The syllabus aims to enable students to:
History at key stage 3 offers students the opportunity to discover a wide range of exciting topics including Medieval Europe, the Russian Revolution, Religious conflict and the World Wars. These topics allow students to build on skills of analysis and argument; essential in the modern world. Students will learn how to challenge and scrutinize primary source material in order to ascertain which information they can trust and which needs to be treated with caution. We aim to deliver a broad, diverse curriculum which brings history alive for our students through a variety of different lessons; one day, students could be analyzing sources to figure out why Louis XVI lost his head, the next, they could be reenacting their very own French Revolution in the playground!
Students follow the Edexcel iGCSE history course with is graded using the 9 – 1 system, with 9 being slightly higher than the traditional A* and 1 being the lowest grade awarded. Grades 9 – 4 are considered ‘pass’ grades.
This syllabus is an up to date, challenging course which aims to:
Topics studied: Germany: development of dictatorship, 1918–45, A world divided: superpower relations, 1943–72, Changes in medicine, c1848–c1948, The Vietnam Conflict, 1945–75.
Again the students follow the Edexcel syllabus; at A Level the grades remain A* – G.
During this course, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of four very different topics, offering a broad understanding of history. This course will appeal to students who are interested in world politics, economics and sociology as well.
The Edexcel course is up to date, engaging and relevant to an international audience developing students’ understanding of the nature of historical studies. These qualifications’ approach focuses on depth, breadth and interpretation of event in history. In the first year, students will study Russia in Revolution; 1881-1917 as part of a depth study. Following this students will complete an exciting and very current depth study of South Africa; 1948-2014. In the second year of the course students will have the opportunity to do a breadth study in The British Experience of Warfare; 1803-1945, which will explore how warfare has changed from Napoleon to the Second World War. Our final module is Superpower relations; 1943-1990, which explores the geopolitics of the Cold War. Through this, students will develop:
Students will be focusing on developing awareness of different aspect of physical, human and environmental geography. They will practice a variety of geographical skills that will help:
Topics through Key Stage 3 include:
Successful Cambridge IGCSE Geography candidates develop lifelong skills, including:
Cambridge International AS and A Level Geography is accepted by universities and employers as proof of knowledge and understanding of Geography.
Successful candidates gain lifelong skills, including:
Business studies is introduced to students in Grade 9.
The Cambridge Syllabus code is 0450.
iGCSE Business Studies offers the chance for students to learn something different, current, challenging and fun. In Grade 10, students learn about the fundamental basis of business; this includes:
In Grade 11, students continue to explore additional business functions, such as finance, accounting, operations, different methods of production and human resource. The course is underpinned by looking at entrepreneurship and some basic economic analysis.
The Cambridge International syllabus code for A Level Business Studies is 9709.
AS and A Level Business Studies are accepted by universities and employers as proof of essential knowledge and ability. The Business Studies syllabus enables candidates to understand and appreciate the nature and scope of business, and the role business plays in the economy. The syllabus covers economic, environmental, ethical, governmental, legal, social and technological issues, and encourages a critical understanding of organisations, the markets they serve and the process of adding value. Candidates examine the management of organisations and, in particular, the process of strategic decision-making in the context of a dynamic external environment.
Learning science helps students to use the scientific method to understand the world around them. It allows them to start to see the amazing possibilities that science offers and teaches them how to ask questions and starts to give them the skills to find out the answers for themselves.
Their science education will provide them with the foundations of science introducing key concepts such as particles, forces, energy and the interdependence of living things. It shows them how to design investigations that give valid results.
In KS3, students in Grades 7 and 8 study a general science syllabus, and in Grade 9, the students study separate Biology, Chemistry and Physics courses delivered by subject specialists.
Biology is a fascinating and ever-changing field of study. It encapsulates the human body, evolution, the natural world, genetic modification and more.
For all we understand there is still so much to discover and it’s not uncommon for long held theories about evolution, genetics or even human migration to be challenged and disproved.
This makes it one of the most exciting industries to work in.
If biology has always been a subject that has interested you but you’ve never been sure where to start, a GCSE biology is ideal.
By studying a GCSE, you will gain a foundation of knowledge in some of the core principles. It will also give you a recognised qualification so if you want to learn more you have that option.
A GCSE biology will give you the option of studying at A Level and – potentially – at degree level beyond that. Moreover, because it’s a nationally recognised qualification it can help improve your job prospects too.
Studying biology offers you a diverse learning experience that will help you to develop keen analytical skills in addition to self-motivation and independent learning.
Chemical scientists concern themselves with the substances of which all matter is composed, how it interacts and how it can form new substances.
It is a diverse and interesting field in which you delve down to look at the very atoms, molecules and ions of all life.
Without chemistry we wouldn’t have the vaccine, insulin, plastic or – perhaps most importantly – caffeine. Chemistry has the potential to not only change the world but change our understanding of it too.
By studying GCSE chemistry, you will gain a foundational knowledge of the key principles of chemistry. Should you wish to further your studies with an A-level, the GCSEwill give you basis upon which to build your knowledge and prepare you for higher education.
Studying GCSE chemistry will not only give you a nationally recognised qualification but give you the opportunity to delve into a diverse area of study.
The course will help you develop sharp analytical skills that you can use both professionally and with any further studies.
Physics is an exciting field to work in as the constant discoveries mean the landscape is ever-changing. Through the fascinating work physicists do we are able to understand more than ever about the world we live in.
Studying GCSE Physics will give you a comprehensive understanding of the main components of physics. As well as giving you an internationally recognised qualification in a science subject.
With further studies you could find yourself working alongside some of the most promising intellectuals of our time.
As STEM subjects are valued by employers and higher education institutes alike, your studies could lead to some exciting opportunities. Whether that’s continuing to research subatomic particles or becoming an astronaut, physics will help you realise those ambitions.
We’ve all heard of the saying “It’s not rocket science.” Well perhaps, for you, it could be. And it all starts with GCSE Physics.
Biology is a fascinating subject, the study of which will see you learn about the natural world and all the living things within it. Gaining an A-level in this subject opens up a vast range of opportunities for both university degrees and career options, many of which can take you all around the world.
Students choose Biology for a number of reasons — perhaps they have a specific that requires a Biology qualification in mind, or maybe they are simply interested in the human body, or in the natural world around us. Biology covers a broad range of topics and has aspects to interest a wide range of students. Biology is a pre-requisite subject for many degrees in Biological Science and Medical related fields of study
During A level you will find out about topics such as molecules, cells, organisms and their environment, energy transfers, genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems.
Alongside in depth knowledge of the biological world, biologists also develop skills and understanding of scientific methods, data analysis, observation, correlations and causal relationships.
As with the other sciences, the study of Biology also helps students to build up skills in research, problem solving, organisation and analytical skills. Given the group project work that occurs throughout the course, students also develop good teamwork and communication skills.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘central science’, Chemistry helps to connect physical sciences, such as Maths and Physics, with applied sciences, such as Biology, Medicine and Engineering. In fact, Chemistry is all around us and an understanding of the subject can help to answer many simple questions about everyday life!
During the course you will study topics such as atomic structure, energetics, kinetics, oxidation, alkanes and alkenes, thermodynamics, polymers and amino acids, proteins and DNA.
As it is a science subject, the process of learning it helps a student to learn how to be objective, analytical, methodical, process and in turn solve problems. You can apply these skills outside academia, and the study of Chemistry can help understand current events including news about petrol, environmental issues, health and product scares and more.
With an ongoing shortage of people to fill STEM roles, pursuing subjects such as Physics can lead to excellent employment prospects after university. Even if you don’t go on to become a physicist, learning to think like one will equip you with excellent problem-solving skills in particular.
Physicists look for the hidden laws as to why all matter and energy exists, where it comes from and its behaviour. These laws can then be used to develop new materials and technologies to improve our lives and explore further into everything from the tiniest particles to stars and the universe.
If you are interested in the limits of space, the beginning of time and everything in between this is the subject for you.
During the course you will look at topics such as measurements and their errors, particles and radiation, waves, mechanics and materials, electricity, thermal physics, fields and their consequences, nuclear physics, astrophysics, medical physics and engineering physics.
Physics trains your brain to think beyond boundaries. The subject combines practical skills with theoretical ideas. Analytical, mathematical and problem – solving skills become highly developed through Physics A-level.
High quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to succeed in our increasingly technological world. Computing has strong links with mathematics, science. It provides insights into both natural and artificial systems.
Pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, students are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content.
Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.
This iGCSE syllabus will develop:
KS5 AS and A level Information Technology
In a world where Information Technology (IT) is constantly changing, individuals increasingly need technological and information literacy skills that include the ability to gather, process and manipulate data.
The impact of IT on society is enormous and as the percentage of businesses and households connected to communication networks such as the internet grows, so does the need for individuals who understand these new technologies.
This syllabus encourages learners to become effective and discerning users of IT. It helps them to develop a broad range of IT skills, knowledge and understanding. Learners study the structure and use of IT systems within a wide range of organisations, including the use of a variety of computer networks. As a result, learners gain an understanding of IT system life cycles, and how these affect the workplace. They also learn about the wider impact of IT on society in general. At A Level, learners also study simple programming for the web relevant to their own use of IT.
Mathematics are the stem of all other scientific subjects. Numerical and computational fluency is increasingly important in the digital era. The study of this subject is also a great opportunity for students to get a first approach of logic and to develop rigorous reasoning skills.
Students learn mainly about four areas of mathematics: numbers, geometry, algebra and probabilities & statistics. They will develop a core knowledge of these fields and start building basic tools to understand the world they live in.
This GCSE syllabus will reinforce and extend the topics approached in KS3. It covers:
The Edexcel GCSE is graded using the 9 – 1 system, where 9 is the highest grade and 1 the lowest. Grades 9 – 4 are considered ‘pass’ grades. At Foundation level, the highest grade that it is possible for a student to achieve is a 5.
This GCSE syllabus covers all the topics listed above under Foundation, in addition, it also covers in-depth:
KS5 A Level Mathematics
The KS5 mathematics syllabus covers a range of pure mathematics applied mathematics topics, allowing students to get a feel for the mathematics involved in different fields of engineering.
The pure mathematics syllabus allows students to achieve mastery of the GCSE most advanced algebra topics and take them to an extended study of calculus. Some of these mathematics are applied to the study of motion and forces and to advanced probabilities and statistical enquiries.
Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
We follow the UK national curriculum for art and design which aims to ensure that all pupils:
By the end of KS3, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the programme of study
As part of their studies at iGCSE, students will gain:
Following the Cambridge International A Level Art programme helps students develop abilities which universities value highly, including:
Cambridge International A Level Art & Design provides opportunities for learners to develop their personal practice, enrich their understanding of key concepts and improve their practical skills in a wide range of traditional and contemporary techniques. It allows learners to explore and build on their interests. The syllabus encourages independent expression and the development of a critical, reflective practice.
Cambridge International AS & A Level Art & Design encourages learners to be:
confident, experimenting with media and materials in two- and three-dimensional processes, taking risks and improving technical skills to develop a personal artistic style
responsible, taking charge of their own development as practitioners, with an independent approach to the creative process
reflective, recording ideas and critically evaluating their work as they continually review, refine and adapt innovative, combining approaches and techniques and developing the skills to solve problems creatively
engaged, enriching their work by exploring different artists, movements and concepts