How does the British
National Curriculum work?

The National Curriculum is constructed in five Key Stages:

Key Stage 1 – Foundation & Years 1 to 2 – for pupils aged 5 to 6 years

Key Stage 2 – Years 3 to 6 – for pupils aged 7 to 10 years

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 to 9 – for pupils aged 11 to 13 years

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 to 11 – for pupils aged 14 to 15 years

Key Stage 5 – Years 12 to 13 – for pupils aged 16 to 17 years

Most British pupils begin their secondary education at the age of 11 (Year 7).  At the age of 16 (the end of Key stage 4 and Year 11), students take a series of exams called the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), usually in about eight to ten subjects, which must include English and Mathematics.  International students are not expected to study the same number of GCSE subjects.  At King’s College Saint Michaels students study the compulsory subjects of English and Mathematics plus a further five subjects.

Key Stage 5 is for pupils aged 16-18 (sometimes 19) and most schools take Advanced Level (A Level) examinations after a two-year linear course.  For A Level programmes, nearly all students study three or, exceptionally, four subjects for two years and take examinations in these only at the end of the second year. Universities use Advanced Levels as entry qualifications.

Why learn English?


of the top universities in the world are in English speaking countries

1/4 of the world's population speaks English


increase in earning power for those who can speak English in developing countries.

We live in a world that depends on communication and collaboration.  At King’s College Saint Michaels every student is supported with specialist English language tuition for both subject specific and additional language purposes.

English language learning is embedded in student timetables and delivered through either Cambridge English Assessment or iELTS examination criteria.  Students study up to ten periods of English per week, with timetables developed to reflect individual learning requirements and maximum class sizes of 15 pupils.  Classes are taught by specialist English language teachers who ensure students make rapid progress even if they start with a lower level of English.

Our dedicated support network within the school nurtures students to gain the confidence they need to succeed in their language learning.  This support aims to ensure students are readily able to access course content and progress to their potential, growing to become more technically able in the English language, not only in terms of grammatical accuracy but also the more complex aspects of understanding English, such as inference and the ability to summarise.  

Student progress is measured through regular assessment and senior students prepared for iELTS examination in preparation for their transition to higher education programmes of learning.  The vast majority of our students come from international backgrounds where English is their second language yet, despite this, many of our alumni move on to study at world-class British universities such as Cardiff, Manchester, Imperial College London and Oxford Brookes, as well as prestigious international institutions such as Harvard University, USA.