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January 2012 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
CityFocus
Market Analysis
Grapevine

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One-year GCSE

More and more UK independent schools are adding the one-year GCSE to their academic provision. Preparing international students for entry onto further education, according to providers it produces consistently high results. Nicola Hancox reports.

Taken in the last two years of UK secondary school (ages 14-to-16), GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) are UK academic qualifications awarded in specific subjects and education to this level is often needed should students, whether domestic or international, wish to progress onto GCE Advanced Level (A-levels) or the International Baccalaureate.

While international students can opt to enter a standard two-year GCSE course, some UK independent schools now offer the more flexible, one-year intensive version that prepares students for the rigours of further studies within a shorter timeframe.

“We have been offering the one-year GCSE option for more than five years,” relates Hazel Ormrod, Admissions and Marketing Manager at Padworth College, Reading. She adds that it has been of great benefit to international students who need a pre A-level year to improve their English.

Steve Jandrell, Principal at Queen Ethelburga’s in York, meanwhile, advises that the college introduced the intensive programme three years ago after they noticed a gap in their academic provision. “We had students who were too old for two-year GCSE but not strong enough academically for A-level,” he observes. “The pace is quick and makes very good preparation for A-level,” he adds.

Wellington School, an independent day and boarding school in Somerset, also picks up on this concept of “bridging the gap”. School Registrar, Carol Loftus Owen, relates that the intensity of the course has seen students transition into Sixth Form far more seamlessly. “Students’ English is so much better,” she affirms. In fact, 94 per cent of students enrolled on the one-year GCSE course in the 2009/10 academic year achieved grades A* to C. All were offered a place in their Sixth Form college, she adds.

Taught intensively over three terms, students who already have a good grasp of the English language – most schools require students possess Ielts 5.0 or above before enrolling on the course – can sit up to eight or nine different subjects at a time. And while Maths, English (as a first or second language depending on ability) and core sciences are compulsory – students can also elect to take an array of different subjects including Art, Business Studies, Economics and even Astronomy. Students can also take a GCSE in their own language if available.

Classes typically comprise fellow international students, although Ormrod points out that the programme is open to UK domestic students too – usually those who have transferred from another UK-based school. There are plenty of opportunities for overseas pupils to integrate with their domestic counterparts, however, whether that be during school organised activities, educational trips or in boarding houses.

Class sizes are kept to a minimum. At Wellington, for example, these are capped at 15 students per class, so teaching staff can provide each student with adequate individual attention. Additional language support may be required, but Ormrod notes that this has already been factored into the programme itself. “The one-year GCSE may differ from other programmes in that English language support is built into every student’s programme at no extra cost as we believe this to be an essential element of every non-native speaker’s timetable,” she says.

At Rochester Independent College in Kent, students can enrol on a preparatory summer English course to help get them up to speed prior to course commencement. Co Principal, Alistair Brownlow, adds that it is common that international students join their one-year GCSE course directly from international schools, including those where they have been following iGCSEs or the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme in Year 10 (ages 14-to-15).

According to Loftus Owen this course has been very popular with German students. She expounds that recent changes to the German high school system, whereby the length of secondary schooling was shortened by a year, has led to students now applying to UK schools for Year 11 rather than the Sixth Form. She explains, “The problem with Year 11 is that it is the second year of the GCSE course and is an examination year – hence not really suitable for anyone to join, let alone an international student. So we were left with the decision of whether to place these German students in the Lower Sixth when they are really too young or admit them into Year 10 where they will be older than the rest of that year group. The one-year GCSE course in Year 11 provides the ideal solution.” Aside from Germans, the school also welcomed students from China, Russia and the Ukraine last year.

What is clear is that demand appears to be on the rise. “Enquiries have increased as the course has become established,” relates Jandrell, while Loftus Owen informs that they had to turn down applications last year after reaching their quota.


Advisor viewpoint Dagmar Kobbe, Petr Heinemann Internationale Schulberatung, Germany

“One-year GCSE courses are requested by our clients, especially those who plan to stay for two more years for the IB. It’s a good alternative for students who have to pass some iGCSE’s because German schools might request these. To stay at a British school that does not offer such a course, it is quite hard to stay for three terms in Year 11, because British students will take their GCSE exams in term three and German students might feel left alone with their individual needs. They are not really prepared for the study or study leave. That’s the reason why many boarding schools don’t offer a three-term stay in Year 11, although the German education system requires them to send students abroad in this grade. But we see one disadvantage as well. As most one-year GCSE courses are designed for IB programmes, you will find a huge number of German students on these courses – so there are still quite a number of German families who prefer a traditional A-level school with less Germans. We also feel that one-year courses are ideal for strong students who really aren’t afraid of taking exams.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/ GROUPS
Feltom Malta  
Groupement FLE  
International House World Organisation  
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  

AUSTRALIA
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  

CANADA
Braemar College  
Greater Victoria School District  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  

ENGLAND
Alexanders International School  
Cambridge Education Group - HO  
Camp Beaumont  
EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  
ELC  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
LAL London  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House College London  
Mont Rose College of Management & Sciences  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
SKOLA  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
Sussex Coast College Hastings  
University of Essex - International Academy  

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences  
SR Events  
International Educational Forum  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
Alliance Française Lyon  
CAREL  
CAVILAM  
CIECE - Groupe ESCE, School of International Busin  
CLE  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
French in Normandy  
Groupement FLE  
International House Nice  
ILCF Institut Catholique de Paris  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  
Universite d'été de Boulogne-sur- Mer  
Université de Perpignan  
INSURANCE
Dr. Walter GmbH  

IRELAND
MEI Ireland  
Clare Language Centre  

KAZAKHSTAN
Capital Education  

NEW ZEALAND
Otago Polytechnic  

SERVICES
STM Star Awards  

SPAIN
Colegio de Espana  
Inturjoven Spanish Courses  

SWITZERLAND
EF International Language Centers  
Eurocentres International  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  

USA
Educatius  
Open Hearts International College  
California State University San Marcos  
Columbia University  
ELS Language Centers  
Global Language Institute  
New York Language Center  
Rennert  
Ross School (The)  
Saint John's University  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  
UC Berkeley Extension  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  





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