IGCSE and A Levels

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IGCSE and A Levels

IGCSE and A Levels provide an excellent preparation route for university. The courses are globally recognised for their high academic standard, and are well regarded by top universities across the world. A Levels give girls depth and specialisation in their chosen subjects, preparing them well for specific academic disciplines at University.


The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the world’s most popular international curriculum for students aged 14 to 16. It provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to embark on more advanced study including AS and Advanced Levels, as well as other pathways to university. It incorporates the best in international education for learners at this level. It develops in line with changing needs, and is regularly updated and extended. We are delighted to have been awarded the status of a Cambridge school, and offer the examinations provided by this prestigious organisation, as well as by Edexcel where appropriate. IGCSE is normally a 2-year course, but some subjects can be taken in a single year if girls are particularly gifted and on track for the highest grade.

Advanced Level

After IGCSE, students move into the Sixth Form at age 16 to 18, to study for AS and Advanced Levels. Successful A Level exam results are essential for students who wish to gain access to top universities in the UK, and it is also now the preferred choice by many top universities in other English speaking countries such as USA, Canada and Australia. A Levels encourage a depth of specialisation which prepares girls well for rigorous study in a chosen subject discipline at University. Small classes and much individual attention help to ensure successful results, and also prepare girls for the tutorial systems and learning experiences at University.

IGCSE Course Details

IGCSE encourages learner-centred and enquiry-based approaches to learning. It develops learners’ skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving, giving them excellent preparation for the next stage in their education. IGCSE is normally a two year course but can sometimes be taken in a single year.

Each subject is certificated separately. A wide range of subjects is available, and as a small school we can offer additional subjects according to individual choice of the girls who join us.

IGCSE develops learner knowledge, understanding and skills in:

  • Applying knowledge and understanding to familiar and new situations
  • Intellectual enquiry
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to change
  • Working and communicating in English
  • Influencing outcomes
  • Cultural awareness

Assessment includes written and oral tests, coursework and practical assessment. We can assess students using only external examinations or, in most subjects, combining examinations with coursework. Coursework is set and marked by the teacher and externally moderated.

All girls taking the full IGCSE programme will study English Language, Mathematics, French, other languages of choice including mother tongue, history, biology, chemistry and physics, either as separate sciences or coordinated sciences: other subjects such as English Literature, geography, business, or psychology, may be offered according to demand and may vary from year to year. International relations art, etiquette (culture and customs) are all options but not examined at IGCSE.

The course will also include Personal Social and Health Education, presented through tutor periods; sport; and a wide range of enrichment activities, as well as etiquette (customs and cultures) and Surval Culinary Arts (cookery and pastry). 

IGCSE Subjects 

All subjects are subject to demand and may change from time to time. Please check with the school. 

English: English (First Language), English (Second Language), English Literature
Sciences: Combined or Co-ordinated (Double Science)
Single sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Biology
Modern Foreign Languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian
First language: Chinese, Portuguese, Russian; may be offered subject to staffing and demand
Humanities: Geography, History
Art/Art and design: Not offered as an exam subject. Girls applying for Art Colleges world-wide prepare portfolios to present at interview
Business Studies
Psychology: May be offered in Grade 10 as preparation for A Level

A Level Course Details

In the Lower Sixth, (British Y12, American 11th grade) students choose four subjects to study in depth. This gives them flexibility, and as a small school we are able to offer girls the courses they want to take further. They continue into the Upper Sixth, (Y13 British, American 12th Grade) with three, sometimes four of these subjects, or they can choose to start another AS Level.  

However the traditional AS/A Level courses are only part of the picture for our Sixth Formers. They will also have a programme of sport, and a comprehensive and exciting enrichment programme. As for all stages, Surval Culinary Arts (cookery and pastry) and etiquette (culture and customs) are also offered.

We recruit Sixth Form students from a wide range of countries, and want to ensure that they have strong support for their English in order to access A Level. We encourage them to spend a month in the holiday before they join us in an English college. This involves an intensive English course designed specifically for ambitious students whose command of English may prevent them from getting to grips quickly with the linguistic demands of the curriculum. All girls will be assessed for their English language level and will receive support as required throughout their time at Surval. 

A Level Subjects

The following Advanced Level subjects are offered. We try to accommodate all requests, so there are no formal ‘option blocks’. Girls normally take 4 subjects in Lower Sixth (Grade 11) and move to 3 in Upper Sixth (Grade 12).  Applicants should make a direct request to the school to discuss choices.

English Literature
Languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish (other languages by request)
Further Mathematics


Non-examined subjects:
Art and Design: Students applying for Art Colleges world-wide prepare a varied and substantial portfolio to take to interview
International Relations: A very useful course for girls studying this, or related subjects such as History, Politics or Law at University


May be offered subject to numbers and staffing:
Geography, Introduction to Business, and Critical Thinking 

Academic Programmes

Programme Details


Who the programme is for: Students aged 14 to 16 who wish to progress to an A Level programme or other pathways to university

Programme length: One or two years of study in different subject areas to prepare students for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education

Qualification: Upon successful completion students gain the IGCSE certificate in individual subjects.

​A Levels

Who the programme is for: Students aged 16 to 18 who have gained a minimum of 6 IGCSE certificates or equivalent secondary school education

Programme length: Two years of study which prepare students for A Levels and university entrance.

Qualification: Upon completion students gain A Level examination results in their choice of academic subjects. Depending on grades, these will enable students to enter Universities and Colleges world-wide.

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