Learning Philosophy

The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum designed to enable students to access a range of disciplines but also to experience learning through transferable skills, a strong emphasis on experiential learning and access to creativity, activity and service. The school has a focus on personalisation and offers over 33 courses in the Pre 16 phase.

Transferable skills of Communication skills; Social skills; Thinking skills; Research skills and Self-regulated learning skills are strands which run through all the lessons and curriculum at the school.

Pre 16 (Years 7 to 11) Learning: The Middle Years Diploma; A Broad and Balanced Curriculum

The Middle Years Diploma is a unique diploma created by West Island School which embraces the philosophy of inquiry alongside the rigour of external qualifications in Year 11.

Students are taught in mainly mixed ability groups with some broad setting in a few specialisms. In Years 7 and 8 students are introduced to a range of subjects giving them the opportunity tMYD FRAMEWORKo experience all the domains of learning.  In Year 9 students streamline some of these subject specialisms in a mini options process leading to a deepening of experience within one or two of the Creative Arts, Individuals and Societies, Technology and Languages. During Years 10 and 11 students opt for IGCSE subjects within these domains in addition to the compulsory subjects of English Literature and Language, a foreign or heritage language, an Individuals and Societies choice, Global Perspectives, Mathematics and Science (single, double or triple). Students typically emerge with between 8 and 11 qualifications readying them for the Post 16 phase.

The school believes strongly in personalisation of choice and providing breadth of opportunity to enable students’ talents to flourish. Students therefore also choose from a range of courses including BTEC (British Technology Education Council) vocational courses, and IGCSEs such as CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) in subjects such as Creative Arts, PE, a further language or another humanities subject. The school  also offers a unique ‘Electives’ option in Years 10 and 11 providing enrichment courses and practical skills courses lasting 1 term to 2 years with accreditations from a variety of institutions.

All students experience core PE, Critical Thinking and a unique curriculum in Learning for Life  lessons which focus on developing inquiry in a Personal Project as well as life skills and study skills to enable students to understand ethical and personal issues as well as to learn how to learn.

To pass the Middle Years Diploma students must have passed the Personal Project, a range of externally accredited courses and completed our expectations within the Pre 16 CAS programme. The diploma is awarded at pass, merit and distinction.

For more comprehensive information read our brochure MYD 2015 – 2016

Post 16 (Years 12 and 13) Learning; the International Baccalaureate (IB) and The WIS International Diploma (ID)

The school believes in offering a wide range of courses for students through both solely academic and vocational options.

Students in Years 12 and 13 continue their education by choosing the IB or the ID. In the IB programme students choose 3 higher level and 3 standard level subjects. Students also must complete the core areas of TOK, Extended Essay and Creativity, Activity and Service to pass the Diploma. The IB is the most widely recognised international qualification which enables students to access universities worldwide. The International Diploma created by WIS combines some IB certificate subjects with BTEC qualifications. Students typically choose one subject to study in great depth as a ‘major’ and one subject as a ‘minor’ from a range of vocational options. Students then marry these with IB certificates which complement their choices. ID students also complete CAS, an extended research project, work skills and work placements. The course enables students excellent opportunities to access Applied Learning pathways to colleges and universities worldwide.

For more comprehensive information read Post 16 Handbook of Studies