The Bishopstrow College Senior IGCSE Programme

Posted: 21st May 2024

At Bishopstrow College, our mission is to provide international students with a supportive and inspiring pathway into the British education system. We are experts in international education, and over the years we have developed a variety of pathway programmes designed specifically for international students to gain the curriculum knowledge, academic skills and cultural awareness to succeed in the best schools in Britian.

The Senior IGCSE Programme is the most advanced of all of our programmes, and is an ideal choice for students aged 14 – 17 who require preparation for entry into the British senior school system and beyond.

The programme follows the globally renowned Cambridge Assessment International Education syllabi, and can lead to students gaining internationally recognised IGCSE qualifications.

Course Duration

Following Bishopstrow College’s innovative four term structure, students can join the programme at the start of any of our entry points across the year; in September, January, March or June.

Incorporating 30 hours per week of classroom study, the Senior IGCSE Programme delivers integrated content learning and skills training across each term as both a stand alone unit and as part of a larger development of learning. As such, students can join the course for as little as a term, or for as long as two years.

Students who are preparing to enter a British school or college and are looking for a preparation course that will help them develop the subject knowledge and language skills to help them succeed, may wish to join the programme for one or two terms, depending on how much preparation they need. Students who plan to sit the IGCSE exams in June, would generally plan to stay longer, possibly for the entire two year programme.

Bishopstrow College is always available to offer advice on how long a student may need to spend on the programme.

Scaffolded Learning for International Students

The Senior IGCSE Programme follows a unique and innovative design, incorporating an individually tailored plan of support for our international students as they study the Cambridge IGCSE syllabi across five subjects;

  • Mathematics
  • Combined Sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Biology)
  • History
  • Business Studies
  • English Language

At the same time, Bishopstrow College’s bespoke supporting modules are integrated into the students’ programme of learning to deliver the academic language and skills required of each subject. Our language support modules compliment the learning students are receiving in their subject lessons week by week. This means that students are being prepared with the receptive English language skills to engage with the lessons from their subject teacher, and then given the productive English language skills to produce work to show what they have learned.

We call this kind of support ‘scaffolding’, as it can be built up or taken down depending on the English language ability of the learner. Students who arrive at the college at around A2 CEFR level will require a lot of English language scaffolding to ensure they understand the content of the syllabus, but will also need to develop the language skills to accurately and effectively show what they have learned in their lessons. On the other hand, students who join the course with a stronger understanding of the language will require less English language scaffolding, and so spend more curriculum hours on deepening their study of the IGCSE subjects. The Bishopstrow College Senior IGCSE Programme offers scaffolded learning across all abilities on the CEFR, tailored specifically to student requirements.

British Schools and Academic Culture

Bishopstrow College is a British boarding school and we follow the rules and routines of every other British boarding school across the country. The main difference is that our rules and routines, as well as our academic and boarding staff, are geared towards supporting international students adapt to the British academic system.

The Senior IGCSE Programme is no exception to this. Not only are our students supported in developing the content knowledge and academic skills required for success in the most demanding of British schools, we also provide them with the guidance and training to become well balanced, independent and creative learners.

Our IGCSE Global Perspectives module provides students with training in research using traditional tools as well as modern technology so they can support the arguments they make in the classroom with well established, well communicated facts. We provide training in the use of IT to produce extended pieces of writing, presentations and visual representations of information and data. We also work with students to develop the skills of logical argument and the synthesis of research to ensure that the cultural differences that exist between Eastern and Western models of thought are addressed and adapted.

At Bishopstrow, we promote the quality of learner independence through our use of virtual learning environments. Across the key subjects on our Senior IGCSE Programme, students are directed to work independently on targets for progress as identified by their teachers using a range of VLE software, including the well known Pearson Grammar Labs. Our students work closely with their teachers to identify areas of required improvement, select and independently complete appropriate virtual activities and exercises that would promote learning in this area, and use this new knowledge to improve the work they are doing in classes and assessments.

Student Outcomes

Bishopstrow College students are easily recognisable, whether their pathway leads them to the a programme of education a leading British school or to complete A-Level study in one of the world’s best sixth form colleges. The Senior IGCSE Programme ensures that our students are prepared for the academic rigour of the best of British schools.

They have developed the language skills to not only function in a British speaking environment, but have also learned the grammar, text types and vocabulary to understand complex syllabus topics and produce high level responses. They are familiar with the structure and rules of a boarding school in the UK and have developed the skills to flourish in such an environment. They are creative and independent learners, able to analyse their own work, identify their need for improvement and work on the skills they need for success in British education.

For further details on the Senior IGCSE Programme or to place an enquiry, please contact

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