About Years 12-13

Senior Phase

IB Careers

IB Diploma

Phase Team


Justine Oliver Vice Principal

About Senior Phase Learning

Life and education at Island School is so much more than just their academic lessons. Academic success is obviously very important, and we challenge students to achieve the best that they possibly can, through a rich and broad range of experiences.

Our students take on all sorts of roles in and out of school. They lead in proposing, organising and managing events that range from the humanitarian and the environmental to the artistic and the sporting. The opportunity and the responsibility is for students in these two years to set the agenda for the whole school. These chances come from taking on established roles; in Wanbo – the environmental group, joining ISSU – our student union, being a house or school prefect, participating within our Student Learning Advisory team or being a part of a fair, cultural evening or fashion show committees. They also come from student innovations that lead to new events and opportunities. Senior students are the leaders of our school, looked up to as role models by the younger students and relied upon for their independence and responsibility by staff.

Justine Oliver
Vice Principal

Students choose to come here and they also choose the best curriculum for their particular needs, whether that is the Applied Learning Pathways or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.

Our students will have to make daily choices too – choices that match the school’s philosophy of excellence, responsibility and individuality. In other words, our senior students know how important it is to choose to be their best, to choose to do the right thing and to make the choices that help them stand out for all the right reasons.

All our students are encouraged to make choices that have a positive effect on those around them and on the wider local and global community, now and into the future.

Our key aims are strongly linked to the mission statement of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO):

  • The development of all talents: intellectual, academic, imaginative, physical, moral and social.
  • To develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
  • To encourage students – across the world – to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Curriculum Philosophy
Being a senior student at Island School should:

      • enable you to further develop your understanding of internationalism.
      • enable you to further develop inter-cultural competency.
      • enable you to build a healthy self-esteem, personal confidence, empathy and verbal oracy.
      • enable you to take responsibility for your own learning and develop life-learning skills
      • enable you to develop your critical thinking skills.
      • allow you to enjoy participating in the life of the Island School community.
      • give you positive and assured progression to Higher Education.

Curriculum Entitlement

      • All students will participate in a full programme of creativity, action and service (CAS).
      • All pathways will provide opportunity for ongoing development.
      • All students should have an opportunity to maintain their mother tongue within ESF provision.

Learning Support
The Individual Needs Department supports students when necessary in a range of ways whether it be by helping with academic writing or language skills.

Induction Week
Island School is extremely proud of our new approach to Induction Week. Our senior students benefit from a week filled with different activities, such as the  Auberge Hotel, Student Leadership Day, Michelle Hughes Cup, G4 Project for Science and listening to renowned speakers, that ensure their smooth transition into their senior years.

IB Career Programme

The CP offers a specialised pathway for students who would benefit from a more focused educational pathway compared to the broad pathway offered by the IB Diploma Programme (DP).

Students on the globally expanding IBCP choose a mixture of IB Diploma Courses and BTEC subjects. The 3 BTEC Courses they choose are as ‘applied’ as possible, this means that when studying the Business course they will be running a business and the TV and Film course sees students doing a lot of filming and editing. They are vocational and all are not only recognized as university entrance but Island School has an exceptional record of placing students globally from this pathway.

Students are also encouraged to pick 2 IB courses from columns IB1, IB2 & IB3. This allows for specialization of knowledge and skills in their favorite subject area. Examples of this would be taking sport BTEC with IB Biology, allowing for progression to Sports Science courses at university. Students requiring more portfolio time in drama or art can double up the BTEC and Diploma Programme courses. Hospitality students could also acquire a new language, vital for a global hospitality career.

All students have two periods per week dedicated to the Personal and Professional Skills course looking at Personal Development, Intercultural Understanding issues,  Thinking Processes and Communication skills. As IB students they will also be carrying out Service Learning and studying a self initiated Language course.  Finally they will also be researching and producing an academic piece of extended writing as a Reflective Project. Click on the links below to see course descriptions.


BTEC 1  BTEC 2 BTEC 3 IB 1 IB 2 IB 3
 Business single   Business single  Hospitality
English Language & Literature SL  Biology SL

Physics SL

Sports Exercise and Health

Design Tech

Computer Science

Food Science

Chinese A

Chinese B

Ab Initio Spanish

Ab Initio

Environmental Systems and Societies


Chemistry SL

Biology SL

Physics SL

Psychology SL

Visual Art SL

Film SL



Business and Management


Art and Design (Fashion and Textiles)  Sport  Business double English Literature & Performance SL 
Performing art   TV and Film    English B SL

Mathematical analysis & approaches 

Mathematical applications & interpretations


What Type of Student Would Thrive by Choosing the IBCP? 

    • “I need to have some more space and support to experience successful learning and to build up my self confidence before taking on future studies.”
    • “I am particularly skilled in one of the subjects offered in the IBCP.”
    • “I do well when I am working on something I love, but struggle when asked to learn something I do not enjoy or see the point of.”
    • “I am more practical. I enjoy doing projects and creating things.”
    • “I am creative but do not like exams.”
    • “I am really good with people and enjoy working with others.”

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is an DP-Engacademically challenging and balanced curriculum that prepares students for success at university and beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme has gained extensive recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.Students have to choose six subjects for the full IB Diploma. This must include at least one from each Group 1-5. Students then opt to take up a Group 6 Subject or choose an additional elective subject from Group 1-5. Students must choose 3 subjects at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level.All IB Diploma students have to complete the IB Core. This includes the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service). Click here to read more about Core.

 Group 1 – Studies in Language and Literature (A) Literature Higher Standard
Language & Literature (English or Chinese) Higher Standard
Literature & Performance Standard
Chinese Language Higher Standard
Self Taught Language Standard
Group 2 Language Acquisition Chinese Higher Standard
English Higher Standard
French Higher Standard Ab Initio
Japanese Higher Standard
Spanish Higher Standard Ab Initio
Group 3 Individuals and Societies Business & Management Higher Standard
Economics Higher Standard
Environmental Systems Standard
Geography Higher Standard
History Higher Standard
Philosophy Higher Standard
Global Politics Higher Standard
Psychology Higher Standard
Group 4 Sciences Computer Science Higher Standard
Biology Higher Standard
Chemistry Higher Standard
Physics Higher Standard
Environmental Systems Standard
Design & Technology Higher Standard
Food Science Standard
Sports Science Standard
Group 5 Maths Mathematics applications and interpretations Higher Standard
‘Mathematical analyses and approaches Higher Standard
Group 6 The Arts Theatre Higher Standard
Visual Arts Higher Standard
Music Higher Standard
Film Higher Standard
Literature and Performance Standard

Senior Phase Team

Vice Principal
Justine Oliver
Senior Head of
Rutherford House
Year 12 Leader
Pak Chan
Paul Harries
Year 13 Leader
Paul Harries
Colin Spanos WILKINSON, Roger
Colin Spanos
Head of Careers, HE
Guidance/ IBCP
Roger Wilkinson

Choosing Courses for Years 12 and 13 at Island School  

What are the broad aims for all students in these two years?

We aim for students to have a balance of depth, in subjects they choose to study intensively, and breadth, of understanding a wide range of learning areas. During these two years students should discover their strengths and build on them. They should find out what their passions and interests are and find paths to pursue them. They should be able to take some subjects through to a significant level of understanding. They should be able to try a wide range of different areas of study. By the end of the middle school, students should be well placed to make informed choices for the next phase of their education based on their strengths, skills, interests, passions and learning styles. We aim for students to enjoy the experience of school for its own sake and because students perform better in a climate of enjoyment.

How and when are choices made?

Final choices for Year 11 are made in January of Year 11. There is a careers-based pastoral programme in Years 10 and 11 that includes Naviance self-assessments carried out in conjunction with the Higher Education Department, which helps to guide and support students.  In the winter term of Year 11 there is a dedicated Options Afternoon for students and parents.  As well as providing an overview of the Options process, there is a chance to speak to subject teachers about individual subject choices.

Preliminary Round options are made in December of Year 11 and are the basis of further consultation with the student, parents, tutors, HE councilors and subject teachers. Each student will have an individual appointment with the Higher Education department as well as a Tutor for Learning session before the Final Round of options takes place.

Please note:  Preliminary round options are not final.  They do inform timetabling and staffing therefore a lack of interest in a certain course could lead to it not running.  Any change requests made after the final round in January will be subject to availability.

What is the difference between the IB Diploma and the Applied Learning Pathway?

Students following the IB Diploma must choose 6 subjects.  Those following the Applied Learning Pathway chose the equivalent of three BTEC qualifications as well as one or two IB subjects.   It is possible to study different combinations of BTEC and IB subjects but these will need to be discussed on an individual basis.

Both the IB Diploma and the ALP have a compulsory core element to them.  The IB students complete an Extended Essay, study the Theory of Knowledge and complete CAS commitments (Creativity, Activity, Service).  ALP students complete an Extended Project, Work Experience as well as the same CAS as all other Year 12 and 13 students.

The IB Diploma and the Applied Learning Pathway both have clear routes into Higher Education.  The key is choosing the pathway that is most appropriate for the individual student.  It is important to research carefully during the Options process to ensure students have full knowledge of the options available to them.

How will the choices made impact upon the future choices at Higher Education?

The IB Diploma has gained extensive recognition and respect from leading universities across the world.  The BTEC courses on the ALP are also widely recognized and accepted across the world.  If you follow our pages on the IB and ALP as well as the Higher Education website you will find detailed information on where IB and ALP students are progressing.

Different universities in different countries will have a range of requirements in terms.  For ALP students BTEC subjects are a UK based qualification so naturally routes into UK universities are more established.  We are however finding students increasingly progressing from the ALP to universities in a range of different countries.  Some of the highest performing universities may also be unwilling to offer students taking BTEC courses.  It is however worth noting that those universities are also likely to only offer places to IB students with significantly high predicted grades.

In terms of IB subject choices there may well be certain requirements to access specific courses at certain universities.  For example, typically to study medicine students should be taking two sciences at IB and at least one of them at Higher Level.  The Island School Higher Education department will provide further advice and information on this area.

Curriculum choices for languages other than English

  • In Year 12-13 students must study a foreign language as part of their IB Diploma or may do so as an optional IB Certificate if they are following the Applied Learning Pathway. The following courses are offered:
    • Chinese Language A Literature and Language Higher/Standard level (for native speakers, leading to the award of a Bilingual IB Diploma, which may be advantageous for entry into further studies or employment in Hong Kong and China)
    • Chinese Language B (foreign language) Higher/Standard Level
    • French/Spanish/Japanese Language B (foreign language) Higher/Standard Level and Ab Initio (for beginner/near-beginners)
    • School-Supported Self-Taught Language is offered as part of the IB Diploma.  This is run by the EAL department in conjunction with the ESF Languages Centre and private tutors. All Literature A standard level languages can be catered for with advance notice. These courses will lead to the award of a Bilingual IB Diploma, which may be advantageous for entry into further studies or employment in the country.