The first stage of secondary education.

The GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) certificate is the standard qualification marking the end of the first stage of high school. In the UK it is normally taken by students at the age of 16, after 11 years of schooling. GCSE level examinations are taken by all students, and are usually required in order to progress onto AS/A Level and University Foundation programmes.

IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) courses are usually recommended for international students. This qualification is the same standard as the GCSE, and has the same value to universities and employers, yet the English language used in the course is more suited to international students.

Abbey College focuses on small class sizes – the average is 7 with a maximum of 15 – so we can get students fully settled and prepared for the challenges of university preparation ahead. We can offer 3 main ways of studying this course:

Standard GCSE / IGCSE

Age
14 – 15 (sometimes 16)
Number of subjects
Minimum 5. Maximum normally 8. Plus English Language support as needed. The number and type of subjects taken depends on the student’s ability, background and future ambitions, and on how much English Language support they need.
Start date
September. January for suitable students. Other times by arrangement.
Duration
2 academic years/18 months
Suitable for
Students needing a full profile of GCSE subjects, with English Language development where needed, in order to progress on to A Levels or University Foundation Programmes.

GCSE/IGCSE 1 year- English Language focus

GCSE English Language focus

Age
15 – 16 (sometimes 17)
Number of subjects
Normally 5-6. Plus a little English Language support.
Start date
September. Later start dates not normally allowed.
Duration
1 academic year
Suitable for
Students that have a good level of English (B2 level), and have studies to a GCSE level equivalent in their own country, but who do not have the equivalent formal qualification.

GCSE / IGCSE 1 year- Academic focus

Age
15 – 16 (sometimes 17)
Number of subjects
Normally 2-4. Plus a strong focus (more than 50%) on English Language.
Start date
September and January. Other times by arrangement.
Duration
1 academic year/6 months
Suitable for
Students that have already achieved the equivalent of GCSE qualifications in their own country but who cannot yet progress onto A Levels or Foundation Programmes due to weak English. This is mainly and English Language and Study Skills preparation course, but allows students to also study some GCSEs, so they gain extra qualifications and become familiar with the British style of teaching and learning.