Welcome to the Director of Studies page of the TBS website.
As Director of Studies, I am responsible for a wide and varied number of issues at the school. Principally these are related to managing the curriculum, the progress the children make in different lessons and subjects and throughout the year groups and the assessment of this progress. In addition, I am also responsible for Health and Safety and Crisis Management, the continued professional development of staff and the procurement of educational resources. I have been Director of Studies at TBS since 2004 and very much enjoy my interesting roles within the school. I am very fortunate to be able to work with and alongside classes and colleagues from Nursery to the Sixth Form.
The following information will hopefully explain a little about the curriculum and assessment procedures at TBS.
If you have any questions regarding any aspect of the curriculum, assessment or any of my other roles, please do not hesitate to contact me on
or by telephone.
The British School Curriculum Policy
The British School Structure
At TBS we use the English school system model of naming year groups. There are fifteen year groups at TBS and each year group fits in to one of six Key Stages. The structure is as follows:
- Early Years and Foundation Stage – Nursery and Foundation classes
- Key Stage One – Years 1 and 2
- Key Stage Two – Years 3 to 6
- Key Stage Three – Years 7 to 9
- Key Stage Four – Years 10 and 11
- Key Stage Five – Years 12 and 13
The National Curriculum, IGCSEs and A Levels
TBS follows, where appropriate to the international and Nepali context, the English and Welsh National Curriculum (NC). The NC outlines what subjects and topics within those subjects pupils should follow and outlines the assessment that should be carried out. After Year 9, the NC gives way to the GCSEs and A Levels in the UK and we follow the international variants of these courses from Cambridge International Examinations and Edexcel.
Assessment at TBS
The children at TBS are assessed in one way or another throughout all the Key Stages. This may be an informal measurement of progress, strengths and weaknesses that can inform teachers on how to help the children meet and exceed their potential or the more formal assessments such as public examinations like the A Level. Below you can find how the children are assessed at each Key Stage.
In EYFS the children are assessed using the Early Years Foundation Stage Profiles. These assess the progress made in EYFS covering 6 key areas both academic and social:
- Personal Social and emotional development
- Communication, language and literacy
- Problem Solving Reasoning and Number
- Knowledge and Understanding of the world
- Physical Development
- Creative Development
Assessment is carried out throughout the Foundation Year by the class teacher and teaching assistants. The assessments are done through observation and the children will not know that they are being assessed. It is a very helpful assessment tool and helps guide the teachers in Year 1 when more formal education begins.
Key Stage One
Towards the end of Year 2, children take the End of Key Stage One NCTs. These are in Literacy and Numeracy and the children do not know they are being formally tested. The testing and marking is done by the class teacher using the same tests and mark schemes that are used in the UK. The results are then used to assess progress and inform the teachers. By the end of Key Stage One the average pupil should be at level 2 and could be at level 3. Levels are measured formally twice a year throughout Year 1 and 2 and through ongoing teacher assessment to see how the pupils are progressing
Key Stage Two
At the end of Year 6 pupils take the End of Key Stage 2 NCTs. These are in English and Mathematics (the Science test was withdrawn after the 2009 session). The tests are the same as those sat in the UK and are sent away to the UK to be marked and assess the work done in Years 3 to 6. In Years 3 to 6 the children are assessed during the year to judge progress. In subjects other than English and Maths, the teacher assesses the level that pupils are at on the same scale, but no tests are available for other subjects. The teacher assessed levels are recorded for the use of teachers in judging progress. At the end of Year 6, the average student is expected to be at Level 4, but some will be at the maximum level for KS2, that being level 5.
Key Stage Three
At the end of Year 9 pupils sit End of Key Stage 3 assessments in all which are to assess the work done in Years 7 to 9. In English, Mathematics and Science the tests are those available from QCDA in the UK, but are marked here as there is no external marking service. In other subjects at Year 9 and during Years 7 and 8 pupils are assessed in class during the academic year and in a more formal exam week in early June. The tests and teacher assessed levels are recorded for the use of teachers in judging progress and appear on the termly assessment sheets and final reports.
National Curriculum Levels
Instead of a letter grade the children in Year 2 to Year 9 are assessed using National Curriculum levels which run from 1c to 7a (except Maths which has a level 8). Each level is broken down into a sublevel a, b, c. The expected level of an average student for each key stage is:
- KS1 – Level 2
- KS2 – Level 4
- KS3 – Level 5/6 (depends on the subject)
The IGCSE is the international version of the English and Welsh GCSE. At TBS we use Cambridge International Examinations and Edexcel exam boards. The exams for these are sat at the end of Year 11 after 2 years of study and the students normally sit for 9 IGCSE subjects. They are graded A* to G (however A* to C is what is generally accepted as a ‘pass’) and allow students of all abilities to achieve. The assessment is either exam only or exam and coursework and the marking is done by the exam board. During the two-year course a grade is given each term that reflects what the students are likely to achieve if they continue to progress at the current rate. Currently students in Year 10 sit First Language English IGCSE followed by the Literature course in Year 11 and those in the accelerated Maths programme also sit IGCSE Mathematics followed by the Statistics course in Year 11. Students with specific linguistic abilities can also independently sit a variety of First and Second Language IGCSE where available and appropriate.
AS and A Levels
The AS and A Levels we use at TBS are produced by Cambridge International Examinations or Edexcel exam boards and the students usually sit 3 or 4 subjects. The AS Level exams are sat after one year of study at the end of Year 12. The final A Level is a combination of the AS Level scores and the A2 exams at the end of Year 13. A Levels are graded A to E and for those students with good A grades for all their AS and A2 papers a new A* grade was made available from June 2010. During the course a grade is given each term that reflects what the students are likely to achieve if they continue to progress at the current rate. At TBS we also offer a vocational diploma in Business from Cambridge International Examinations, the completed advanced diploma is the equivalent of an A Level at different grades dependent on whether the student achieved a Distinction, Merit or Pass. (The latter is unfortunately being passed out by 2014 by the board).
New Government in UK
At present we at TBS are committed to continuing to follow and develop the curriculum we have in place which is based on the National Curriculum. Changes by the UK government which took office in 2010 may affect assessment and the National Curriculum and we will keep up to date with those changes and how they may affect us. It is highly unlikely that any changes will impact the IGCSEs or A Levels
CAT and ALIS tests
In August of Years 4 to 11 all the children sit a Cognitive Abilities Test. Those in Year 12 sit the Advanced Level Information System test. This is an assessment of their skills in three areas – verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. The test is used by teachers and mentors to set targets for the children and to assess areas of strengths and weaknesses that can be addressed over the year.
Children at TBS receive written reports during and at the end of the academic year.
In Primary, Topic Talks are held for parents at the start of each term. Class teachers highlight the topics and the key curriculum information that is being taught that term. Near the end of each term parents are invited to meet with teachers at parent teacher interviews to discuss their child’s progress. Each child receives an annual report at the end of the summer term which gives a detailed overview of the child’s progress for that academic year. Should a child leave before the end of the academic year, then a leaver’s report is compiled highlighting progress since the last school report.
In Secondary School the students receive two types of report. At the end of terms one, two and three the students in Years 7 to 10, the students receive a Termly Assessment Sheet (TAS) which has an attainment grade or NC level, an effort grade and a progress grade for each subject and a comment from the student’s mentor and the Head of Secondary. In term four, the students in Years 7 to 10 receive a full written report from all subject teachers which also includes grades like in the TAS.
In Years 11 to 13, the students receive a TAS in terms one and two and a full written report in term 3 before they go on study leave to prepare for their examinations (study leave starts early in term four).
All children except Nursery age children have an entry level assessment appropriate to their age which determines their baseline levels of literacy and numeracy. Nursery children and parents are invited to meet with the Head of Primary before places are confirmed. For children in year 4 and above the CAT test (see above) is used as an admissions test. For students wishing to join examination classes further assessments using exam-style papers are sat. Children who are not first language English speakers are also assessed on their level of English.
A wide variety of subjects are taught at TBS.
In the Early Years setting, in our Nursery and Foundation classes the children’s learning falls under six key areas, in accordance with the Early Learning Goals and the Foundation Stage Profile.
These key areas are:
The EAL Department has a dynamic team of specialist EAL teachers who support EAL learners throughout the school. Students whose first language is not English are assessed on entering the school to ascertain the level of language support required; each student is set individualized language targets which are reviewed regularly. They then have targeted assistance in class, but may also be withdrawn for one or two lessons a week to work on specific language skills in small groups. We aim to ensure that all students have equal access to learning in the classroom and that our EAL learners are supported until they can confidently take on the full range of classroom activities.
The Special Educational Needs team is responsible for ensuring support is in place for those students who require additional support with their learning. Our aim is that SEN students fully access the curriculum and make the best possible progress they can. SEN students are supported in class and may be withdrawn from lessons on a small group basis or for individual support programmes. Individual education plans (IEPs) are in place for students with special needs and regular targets are set over the year establishing areas to focus on and specialist support requirements. However, unfortunately, the school has no system of supporting students with major learning difficulties as Kathmandu lacks the specialised resources and expertise necessary to develop and implement effective support programmes for such pupils.