“Year 7, 8 and 9 form the crucial preparation years for IGCSE and is a time for growth and development in all aspects: academic, personal and social. Students study a wide variety of subjects which challenge and stretch them to be the best they can be”.
Stephanie Beauvais, Teacher of Secondary,
North Zealand International School.
In Lower Secondary (years 7, 8 and 9) our students can study English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Global Perspectives, French or Spanish, Danish, Art, Music, Drama and Physical Education (P.E.).
The focus during the Lower Secondary years is on development of specific subject knowledge and skills. These are achieved using clear learning goals with progress towards deeper understanding. We keep motivation high through a wide range of engaging learning experiences including theme days and project work. It is a rigorous and comprehensive programme that prepares students well for the next stage in their education. Our broad curriculum enables learning and exploration of areas of interest before making IGCSE option choices for Years 10 and 11.
In Maths, we seek to develop a ‘mathematical intuition’ among our students. Problems are presented which can be answered in many ways so students learn to look at each question in a variety of ways. This analysis allows our students to approach more complex problems with greater confidence.
English in Lower Secondary becomes more analytical. By reading different texts, students can start to see how writers create different effects. For example, how do horror writers create suspense? How do nonfiction texts like adverts seek to persuade an audience? We build the skills which become vital for the IGCSE syllabi.
International case studies and global perspectives are examined at every opportunity as our aim is to develop a global outlook in our learners, equipping them for success in the fast-changing modern world.
Students entering years 7, 8, and 9 each have a class teacher and spend time each day with them in addition to a weekly lesson. Our teachers provide pastoral care during this time to support their learning journey. To keep parents engaged and involved with their child’s learning, we regularly communicate in a variety of ways. Firstly, through a regular communications from the subject and class teachers. Secondly through reports and consultations in October, January and June. These reports and consultations cover all subject areas.
Year 7 is the first year of secondary and our students become more independent and responsible. Students will organise their own time and manage their home learning to meet deadlines. This might include checking online about home work and finishing it by themselves. Our progressive tests in year 7 and 8 are provided by Cambridge and marked by NIS teachers so we can benchmark with schools internationally.
Year 8 is a year of furthering the student’s skills in all areas especially developing their ability to analyse. Knowledge and skills build into understanding which prepares them for year 9.
In year 9, our students sit for the externally assessed Cambridge checkpoint in the core subjects of English or English as a Second Language, Mathematics and Science in the spring time. This exam allows us, the students and parents to discover where the student excels or needs support and assists all parties in making crucial decisions about which subjects to study after the age of 14. This assessment benchmarks their progress against students studying for Cambridge curriculum internationally and is marked in the UK. To mark this achievement, our students are provided with a statement of achievement and detailed feedback on their strengths and areas to target.
Throughout Lower Secondary, students undertake progress tests twice a year in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. These diagnostic tests allow teachers to understand individual strengths and weaknesses and provide support where necessary.
After the Checkpoint, our students then start working with the IGCSE curriculum material straight away. This early start keeps the pace going and allows our students to see the level of challenge ahead so they are prepared.
In Danish, our students are grouped according to their proficiency in Danish, as well as by age. All courses teach the four skill areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Students in Lower Secondary (year 7 and 8) participate in annual trips to locations such as Bornholm, Berlin or London. Year 9 students join with year 10 to visit Prague or Edinburgh. Learning is central to these trips and curriculum links are made to enhance learning. This could be a theatre visit and workshop at The Globe in London, or a history link at the museums in Berlin.
Our teachers use the online learning tool, IXL, to give the students practice at home on the maths learned in class. Students also receive regular home learning activities from the subject teachers to develop skills at home.