Introduction The British International School of Kuala Lumpur (BSKL) serves a diverse group of families representing over 50 different nationalities. The majority are from overseas, some of whom are long established in Malaysia whilst others are in Kuala Lumpur for a few years on an overseas posting. We also serve a growing number of Malaysian families with international links and a strong belief in the value of an international education. They all share high aspirations for their children; aspirations that become more clearly defined and increasingly shaped by pupils themselves as they progress through the Secondary School and approach higher education. At the heart of our work is helping our pupils develop and accomplish these aspirations. Robust academic results are essential to success beyond BSKL, and our academic programme provides pupils with every opportunity to excel, and secure their university of choice. Success in life however requires much more than good grades. It requires confidence, independence, presence, the ability to lead and the discipline to apply oneself. Our commitment to helping pupils develop these attributes is enshrined in our School Charter and relies on a rich and varied educational programme developed over many years. We hope that this guide gives you a flavour of the experience at the Secondary School at BSKL.
Guide to Secondary Year Groups at BSKL: AGE
Age as of September 1st
STAGE Key Stage 3
Key Stage 4 (IGCSE) Sixth Form (A Level)
Pastoral Care and Social Development Our pupilsâ€™ welfare is of paramount importance. While they are striving for academic success at secondary school, we do not stop caring. Providing proper guidance and support for pupils during their time with us is a critical part of our mission. Understanding the needs of each pupil and working with them on those needs is a crucial element of what we do. At BSKL we understand how talented our pupils are and we aim to provide them with the skills and opportunities to succeed in life. Every pupil is assigned a tutor who provides overall academic and personal guidance. Pupils meet regularly with their tutor both as a group and individually to discuss progress and any problems or concerns. The Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme is delivered in tutor groups throughout the school year. Tutors are also the first point of contact for parents. Every pupil is also a member of a School House. Many of the Schoolâ€™s social activities, music events and sports competitions take place within the context of the House. Pupils are given the opportunity to engage in formal and informal leadership roles, work as a team and contribute to House and School Communities. We consult pupils on the way the school community is shaped and how it should change over time. Pupils from Year 7 may take on leadership roles on the Student Council or as House Representatives. Older pupils may be elected as House Captains or School Prefects.
Key Stage 3 The Key Stage 3 programme runs from Year 7 to Year 9. The academic programme is based on the English National Curriculum but is not bound by its constraints. Instead, we apply the most appropriate elements and enhance the curriculum where necessary to provide an innovative, challenging and creative programme that is crucial in laying the foundation of core knowledge, skills, and understanding required to embark on the Key Stage 4 IGCSE programme. Pupils study English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, History, Drama, Music, Art, Graphic Design, Digital Technology and PE. In addition, they choose to study two Modern Foreign Languages from a choice of three. Where appropriate, instruction is enquiry based and geared towards problem solving. Each subject is taught by a subject specialist. The opportunities for independent learning increase throughout Key Stage 3. Pupils are encouraged to assess their own work and to formulate their own next learning steps. Pupils are encouraged to think critically and take risks in the classroom in order to develop problem-solving skills, for we believe that making mistakes is a vital part of the learning process. Project work is an essential component both individually and in groups. There is also a range of opportunities for pupils to pursue their areas of interest in greater depth both in school and through relevant enrichment experiences beyond the classroom. All pupils in Key Stage 3 participate in our Confident Speakers Programme and will speak ‘publicly’ at least once per year: this could be an assembly, a presentation to school visitors, or at a Parents’ Forum Learning is supported by up-to-date technology. Every pupil is provided with a MacBook and internet access is available throughout the campus. Lessons incorporate technology where appropriate, and rely on more traditional media where technology does not provide a clear benefit.
Key Stage 4 (IGCSE) In Years 10 and 11, pupils work towards obtaining IGCSE qualifications offered by the Cambridge, Edexcel and AQA examination boards. The two-year IGCSE programme is academically rigorous and recognised to be amongst the best in the world for this age group. Many of the subjects have specific international elements and content, developed by specialists to make the subject matter relevant to pupils worldwide. BSKL pupils take IGCSE exams in English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Science, either as a combined Science course or as separate subjects (Physics, Chemistry and Biology). Pupils are free to choose four subjects from a range of options including: Geography, History, PE, ICT, Computing, Business Studies, Economics, French, Spanish, Chinese, Bahasa, Music, Drama, Art, and Graphic Design. The choice of subjects is an important one, both in order to build on pupilsâ€™ strengths and interests and with a view to a future career. The School provides pupils (and parents) with plenty of information in advance about options to ensure choices are well informed. Pupils at BSKL will typically earn IGCSEs in nine or 10 subjects, a number that allows them to be well prepared for the next stage of education whilst leaving time to continue to develop other interests. Whilst the programmes of study are structured around the IGCSE curriculum, teaching and learning continues to emphasise the development of pupilsâ€™ general academic and intellectual skills. Learning remains enquiry based and focuses on problem solving. Pupils learn to become more independent and start to develop a more clearly defined sense of direction for the future. Information and guidance about A Level options and careers becomes a key focus both academically and pastorally.
Sixth Form (A Level) Entering the Sixth Form at BSKL will mark an important educational milestone: Sixth Form comprises the final two years of school (Years 12 and 13). Pupils work towards obtaining AS and A Level qualifications. A Level is one of the worldâ€™s most widespread and highly regarded university entrance qualifications. It is recognised by universities around the world including all universities in the UK, USA, Europe and Australia. The A Level programme allows specialisation and adapts to pupilsâ€™ strengths and interests. Pupils are free to choose up to four subjects from a list of options that includes Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English Literature, Geography, History, Business Studies, Economics, French, Spanish, Chinese, Music, Drama, Performing Arts, Media Studies, Psychology and Physical Education. Pupils typically sit AS Level examinations in their chosen subjects at the end of Year 12 and A Level exams at the end of Year 13. The specialised nature of the A Level course prepares pupils thoroughly for the academic rigour of university. By passing the course, pupils demonstrate a level of intellectual accomplishment that universities recognise and value highly. The Sixth Form is very much geared towards preparing pupils for university. However, as is the case at every stage in BSKL, the study of academic subjects is only one part of the educational experience. Sixth Form pupils are encouraged to build on their academic knowledge by pursuing experiences in their field of interest. As the most senior pupils they are also expected to assume a greater role in the leadership of the student body, leading sports teams, social clubs and community initiatives and act as ambassadors for BSKL. It is our ambition that by the time pupils complete their education with us they are not only well prepared for university but are equipped with the skills, confidence and character to succeed in life.
University Entrance and Careers The majority of pupils at BSKL will be aiming for entrance to top universities around the world. The School is committed to ensuring that our pupils make the right choices and are thoroughly prepared for the application process. We have close links with top universities, and a dedicated Head of Sixth Form is able to respond quickly to the constantly shifting higher education landscape. Each Sixth Form pupil is assigned a tutor, usually a specialist in a pupil’s field of interest, who provides ongoing support and guidance. BSKL enjoys a close and fruitful relationship with universities and higher education providers. From Year 10, pupils are encouraged to consider future choices in higher education, and career opportunities post sixth form, though it is crucial they keep their options open at this stage. The School organises information sessions for pupils and parents aimed at guiding them through the university application process. The vast majority of our pupils aspire to study at Russell Group universities in the UK, including Oxford and Cambridge, while the USA is also a popular university destination. Our Careers Office is dedicated to providing pupils with the appropriate information they need to apply, as well as assisting with mock interviews and writing personal statements. Pupils attend university and careers fairs locally, and the School hosts Admissions Officers from universities in the UK, USA, Malaysia and Australia. Post-GCSE, our Year 12 pupils will attend a two-week Higher Education Conference abroad - a perfect opportunity to visit a range of top universities, meet admissions tutors, and begin to refine their degree aspirations ahead of final A Level exams. Once pupils have chosen a university path they will be supported in and out of school by a team of external “Experts in Residence”, leading academics and experienced individuals working in a wide range of sectors.
Subject Enrichment Opportunities and activities beyond the classroom are an important and exciting feature of school life. The enrichment programme contributes enormously to the academic, cultural, physical, spiritual and social life that all pupils experience during their time at BSKL. All pupils in the school are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of clubs and to learn new skills. From cooking to public speaking, chess to gymnastics, there is something for everyone. Model United Nations (MUN), the International Award and Scholarsâ€™ Cup enable senior pupils to develop their confidence and leadership skills. A number of field trips take place throughout the year to destinations across Malaysia, Asia and further afield, with the aim of supplementing what is learned in the classroom. BSKL pupils have also enjoyed the privilege of hosting many successful and famous guests to talk to them about their wide scope of experiences in their specialist field. Our sports enthusiasts were thrilled to benefit from a coaching and Q&A session with former England and Lions rugby international player, Nigel Redman. Other guest speakers include primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Dr Jane Goodall, and environmentalist John Francis. Opportunities to help others are another feature of BSKL, and pupils take part in numerous fundraising activities and other events to support charities. Each House has links with a designated local charity, and the School supports larger projects such as Children in Need or raising funds for the victims of the Nepal Earthquake. We believe that education goes beyond the classroom, and we strive to provide the opportunities for our pupils to develop a number of key skills and competencies.
Sport Sport plays an integral part in Secondary School life, within the core curriculum and in the extra-curricular programme. Pupils enjoy taking part in PE lessons, and playing sport on a regular basis promotes many of the qualities in which we believe: Learning to lead and be led, to push oneself to ones limits, to win with humility and accept defeat graciously, to put in the time and effort to master and excel at a skill are all lessons learned through participation in sport. In Key Stage 3, pupils have three one-hour PE lessons each week, one of which is swimming. As they progress through secondary school, pupils are able to choose PE as part of their IGCSE, AS and A Level programme. Competitive teams are fielded across a number of different sports including football, swimming and athletics. Alongside representation in BSKL teams, inter-House tournaments allow a large proportion of students to compete for and represent their House. Each year, secondary school pupils participate in the Swimming Gala and Sports Day, while inter-House competitions are also held for football, rounders, basketball and badminton. A highlight for many of our pupils is the chance to represent the School in sports tournaments in Malaysia and across the Asian region. BSKL teams have achieved some excellent results over the years at the FOBISIA games against other international schools in Asia. In 2015, our pupils excelled in their teams and as individuals at competitions in Bangkok and Penang, winning medals across a range of sports. In addition to our sports tours and competitions, the annual ski trip in December is a highlight for many pupils. For those looking to improve and perfect their skills even further in their chosen sport, specialist coaches at BSKL run paid sports academies at weekends and after school. Sports academies include badminton, basketball, football, gymnastics, swimming, table tennis and trampolining.
The Arts Music and Drama are intrinsic and highly valued aspects of education at BSKL. The state-of-the-art theatre and music rooms at the School provide the perfect environment for pupils to thrive when it comes to the Arts programmes. In addition, the Music Department is staffed by graduates of some of the most prestigious music and performing arts schools in the UK, allowing pupils to benefit from the experience and expertise of professional musicians. Choir, Drama and Orchestra are all popular and successful, and every pupil, from Year 7 to Sixth Form is encouraged to take part. The philosophy of BSKL is that Music and Drama not only enhance pupilsâ€™ academic studies and develop their team skills, but also encourage their personal and cultural development. A unique aspect of the Music curriculum at BSKL is the Secondary Instrumental Programme (SIP). Pupils from Year 7 to Year 9 receive one hour a week of instrumental tuition in small groups covering the whole range of orchestral and brass brand instruments. Many develop into accomplished musicians, with some performing on the national stage. In Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form, pupils are able to choose Music and Drama as part of their IGCSE, AS and A Level programme. Pupils are encouraged to experience both on-stage and off-stage roles in productions and have plenty of opportunity to showcase their talents at a number of events ranging from classical productions to variety shows and orchestral performances. Our School Choir are frequent performers at school events, charity balls and embassies. To further enrich their education in Music and Drama, BSKL frequently host visits from professional actors, writers and musicians. We also organise visits to productions and performances outside the school. Recent highlights include a performance by the Watoto Choir, a group of children from Uganda who travel the world to raise awareness about the plight of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa, and a trip to experience the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsing. A printed handbook can only go so far in conveying the ethos and spirit of a school but we hope this brochure has given you some insight into what makes BSKL secondary school so special and unique. Please contact our admissions team to arrange a tour of the campus. We look forward to welcoming you to BSKL.
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