Secondary School

Zona Sul Unit

The Secondary School caters for pupils from ages 11 to 18 from Classes 5 to 11.
Classes 6 to 11 are based at the Urca site while Class 5 is at Botafogo and are collectively known as the ‘Senior School’.

Barra Unit

The Secondary School caters for pupils from ages 11 to 18 from Classes 5 to 11. At the Barra Unit, all Classes are together in the same campus.

Pastoral Care and Guidance

At Urca and at Barra Senior Schools, a Year System is the main focus for Pastoral Care and Guidance in the Senior School. Each year group is composed of a team of Class Tutors and a Head of Year. Students are allocated a Class group (Classes 6-9) or House group (IB) within their year group.

The Year System helps to foster a sense of identity in the school and allows both tutor and tutee to establish a firm relationship. The students spend an extended tutor period of 45 minutes a week with their tutor, during which they follow the school‘s pastoral curriculum. Students receive careers guidance, discuss a variety of topical issues and debate matters for the Student Council, amongst other things.

Secondary Curriculum

The emphasis in the Secondary School is on providing a quality education which prepares all students for entrance to, and success at, university, whether it be in Brazil, the UK, USA or another country abroad. Students who transfer out of the school are well-prepared for other systems of schooling, having been taught how to work independently, think creatively for themselves and to use information effectively in unfamiliar situations.

The curriculum prepares students for the University of Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) examinations that are taken in November, at the end of Class 9. The final two years are directed towards the International Baccalaureate, a demanding course leading to a highly respected and widely recognised university entrance qualification.

The school is developing a tradition for academic success, establishing a very good record in the demanding IGCSE examinations and in the International Baccalaureate programme.

This table shows a comparison of The British School year groups with the British, American and Brazilian systems.

Classes 5 & 6 & 7

Emphasis in the first two years of the Secondary School is on personal organisation and the acquisition of basic skills and concepts.
The Sciences are taught together as General Science. Social Studies in Class 5 splits into History and Geography in Class 6. Art, Music and Drama are taken by all students in Classes 5 and 6. PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education is taught in Class 5. French begins in Class 5, and Spanish in Class 6, allowing informed choices to be made for Class 7. Information and Communication Technology is taught in Class 6 and 7 and then integrated into the work of other subjects.

Students who have received learning support in the Primary School and who continue to have linguistic or other learning difficulties are encouraged to continue with learning support.

Classes 5, 6 & 7 (National Curriculum Key Stage 3): English, Portuguese, Mathematics, General Science, Geography, History, French, Spanish (Class 6), Physical Education, Music, Drama, Art, Personal, Social and Health Education, Information Technology.

Classes 8 & 9

The curriculum in these two years carries the breadth, depth and balance inherent to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) programme. All courses, except PE, are based on the syllabuses of the IGCSE (or GCSE in some cases), administrated and examined by the University of Cambridge, UK. Nearly all our exams are Cambridge IGCSE with the exception of Music and Drama which are EdExcel GCSE.

Students have the opportunity to choose options in these year groups, selecting one subject from Art, Music, Drama, French and Spanish. Option choices are carried through to the end of Class 9 as are the other compulsory subjects, which are English (Language and Literature), Portuguese, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, ICT and Global Perspectives.

All our pupils are entered for 10 to 11 subjects and the average achievement for the past ten years has been of 7.8 A* to C grades per student. The overall percentage of A* to C grades during this period has been 73% of all subject entries.

In 2013, at Urca, Class 9 students had outstanding performances with 15 pupils achieving 10 or more A* and A grades meaning they are really competitive on the World stage. At Barra, the Class 9 IGCSE Results were very good, with a 95% A*-C pass rate. Also very encouragingly, the students achieved a 53% A*-A pass rate. The results achieved by Class 9 students in 2013 are comparable with the very best in the world and some individual students achieved truly excellent results in all the examinations they took.

Note: IGCSE grades range from A* (highest) to G. The number of A* to C grades is a common benchmark used in the UK.

Classes 8 & 9 (IGCSE – International General Certificate of Secondary Education): English, Portuguese, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, Physical Education plus two optional choices from – French, Spanish, ICT, Music, Drama or Art. At least one option must be a creative arts subject.

About the IGCSE

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) aims to prepare students for further academic success and is considered a very good preparation for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.

The IGCSE provides a broad study programme by drawing subjects from five areas: Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Creative, Technical and Vocational. Within the curriculum there is a balanced mix of practical experience and theoretical knowledge. Differing abilities are accounted for with a choice of Core and Extended papers in most subjects, making IGCSE suitable for all students.

The curriculum is designed to allow teaching to be placed in a localized context, making it relevant in different regions. It is also suitable for students whose first language may not be English as this is acknowledged throughout the examination assessment.
The IGCSE is equivalent in standard to the British GCSE and is recognised as evidence of ability by academic institutions and employers around the world. A Grade C in IGCSE English, for example, satisfies the English proficiency requirements of universities in the UK and other Anglophone countries. UK universities also consider IGCSE results as a selection criteria, especially if the student has not taken a specific course at IB level.

About the IB

Classes 10 & 11 (IB – International Baccalaureate): Choice of six to seven subjects in six areas of study: Language, Second Language, Humanities, Sciences, Mathematics and Arts. Diploma students must also take a course on the Theory of Knowledge and complete an extended essay. All students are required to participate in the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) programme. All students are required to fulfil the Brazilian curriculum by taking Sociology and Philosophy, as well as, the other subjects not chosen for the IB Diploma.

For more detailed information, please check I.B. & BEC