At BISL, our approach is rooted in the best of the British and International education systems, providing a modern, relevant and appealing education in English for both expatriate and local students in Slovenia. Our students follow the English National Curriculum as a framework, with subjects and content enhanced and differentiated to meet our international needs.
The English National Curriculum is organised into blocks of years called “Key Stages”. At the end of each Key Stage, we formally assess your child’s performance. You will find more information about each specific Key Stage in the dropdowns below.
Being an international school with students arriving from all over the world, non-native students may need extra language support and may be advised to take part in our English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme to boost their English language development, supporting them in gaining full access to the curriculum. Our EAL programme operates across all Key Stages and at different levels to cater for a student´s individual needs and requirements.
As a parent, you always want the best for your child. Our daughter has been thriving since we joined BISL. Her confidence has grown visibly, she has made many friends and her English is already better than mine!Primary school parents
Early Years Foundation Stage
for children aged 2 to 5
BISL provides a caring, nurturing environment which allows children to thrive and enjoy their learning experience. Learning is based on the English National Curriculum's Early Years Foundation Stage framework with a topic-based approach, enhanced by free-flow learning.
We plan an exciting and challenging curriculum based on our observation of the children’s needs, interests and stages of development across seven areas of learning to enable the children to achieve and exceed the early learning goals.
All the seven areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
These three are the prime areas:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
Children are also supported through four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied.
These areas are:
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
Children are provided with a range of rich, meaningful first-hand experiences in which they explore, think creatively and are active. We aim to develop and foster positive attitudes towards learning, confidence, communication and physical development.
for students aged 5 to 11
Our Primary curriculum is comprehensive, thematic and creative, with clear learning processes and specific learning goals. It is based on the English National Curriculum and enhanced through a topic-based approach. This ensures a learning programme that is academically rigorous, but is also exciting, active and meaningful for children. It encourages personal learning - cooperation, communication, resilience, thoughtfulness and respect - and promotes international mindedness – a respect and understanding of other perspectives, cultures and languages.
5 or 6-week units cover a range of themes which are relevant and appropriate for different age groups. For example, learning in Years 1 and 2 may include topics such as ‘Holidays’ or ‘Toys’ which enable children to draw on their own direct experiences. Older children study more complex topics, such as learning about ‘Weather and Climate’ or finding out about ‘The Human Body’.
Key Stage 1
for students aged 5 to 7
Key Stage 1 (KS1) is taught with a special emphasis on developing the core subjects of literacy and numeracy, ensuring that the building blocks of children's learning in these core areas are fully developed and understood. Combined with activities to develop these core curriculum areas, specialist teachers introduce the students to French, Slovene, dance and music. Extra support is also given to non-native students through our English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme, to ensure they can have full access to the curriculum being taught as quickly as possible.
Each class has a low teacher to student ratio. This allows each student to get the attention they need to optimise their development.
Key Stage 2
for students aged 7 to 11
Key Stage 2 builds on the strong foundations laid in Key Stage 1 preparing the students for the next stage of their education. The subject content and approach to teaching guarantees continuity of learning and a smooth transition from Key Stage 1.
Throughout Key Stage 2, students continue to be given experience in, and the opportunity to learn and make progress in, linguistic, mathematical, scientific, human, social, physical, aesthetic and creative education. Subjects are brought to life through project work, assembly presentations and exhibitions focusing on science, mathematics and other areas of the curriculum.
Besides the core subjects (English, mathematics, science and information technology) Children also study the subjects below:
- Design technology
- Physical education, including swimming
- PSHE (Personal social and health education)
Your child will be regularly assessed using standardised material published in the UK, which measure a student’s attainment in English, mathematics and science against UK expectations for their age. At every step of your child’s development we monitor their areas of learning to identify any points where they may need additional support to ensure they are always challenged and progressing. Students with particular gifts and talents are also identified and provided with additional opportunities to enable them to flourish in their areas of strength. Extra support is also given to non-native students through our English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme, to ensure they can have full access to the curriculum being taught as quickly as possible.
for students aged 11 to 18
Our Secondary curriculum is a broad and academically rigorous learning programme that is based on the English National Curriculum and culminates in external IGCSE, AS and A Level examinations, provide graduating students with gold standard diplomas for entry into universities around the world.
Key Stage 3
for students aged 11 to 13
Key Stage 3, Years 7 - 9, covers the transition from the more structured environment of the Primary school and prepares students for the independent study required for IGCSE and A Levels.
The content of the English National Curriculum is modified slightly to take into account our international setting. It is inquiry based with an emphasis on developing basic skills and concepts and building a firm foundation for both IGCSE and A Level.
All students follow a course involving a wide range of subjects, providing everyone with the opportunity to discover and examine their own particular interests and talents.
The subjects currently offered include: English, mathematics, science, ICT, history, geography, art & design, music, physical education, Slovene and French (both offered at various levels). Extra support is given to non-native students through our English as an Additional Language (EAL) programme, to ensure they can have full access to the curriculum being taught as quickly as possible.
Students also have citizenship classes each week, and one lesson is dedicated to activities, when students can choose from a range of options, from debating to dance or from drama to caring for the community, in which they can join in with other members of the whole Secondary school.
Key Stage 4
for students aged 13 to 16
The Key Stage 4 curriculum, in Years 10 and 11, offers breadth and balance, with courses leading to IGCSE certification from CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education) - the world’s leading international British qualifications provider and AQA (Assessments and Qualifications Alliance) - the UK's largest examination board. These examinations are sat by students at schools in more than 160 countries around the world.
In order to develop their higher order thinking skills, all students are encouraged to be creative and demonstrate a higher level of independence through the curriculum and co-curricular activities; these are vital skills to enable students to succeed in the 21stcentury.
Students usually take nine subjects, leading to IGCSE examinations at the end of Year 11. The syllabus and assessment outline for each subject is available on CAIE's website.
All students study a core curriculum, which includes external examination courses in English as a first language (or as a second language if required), English literature, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and French.
Students can also choose to follow two further examination courses in history, geography, music, and art & design.
These subjects are selected by students in close consultation with parents and teachers. Students are encouraged to maintain a broad and balanced curriculum, bearing in mind their pathway after the completion of their IGCSE examinations.
All students study Slovene, either at a native speaker ‘Advanced’ level, similar to the curriculum in Slovenian state schools, or as an additional language ‘Foundation’.
Students also have lessons in citizenship, study skills and physical education which do not lead to IGCSE qualifications.
They also take part in cross-school activities, which give students the opportunities to challenge their skills beyond the curriculum, such as participation in the International Award for Young People - known in the Slovenia as MEPI and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the UK.
for students aged 16 to 18
For the final two years at school, and in preparation for our students’ entry to university, our Sixth Form students in Years 12 and 13 prepare for AS and A Level examinations from CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education) - the world’s leading international British qualifications provider and AQA (Assessments and Qualifications Alliance) - the UK's largest examination board. These examinations are sat by students at schools in more than 160 countries around the world.
A Levels remain the gold standard for students who aspire to access universities around the world. A Levels are taken over two years: the first year is called an AS, or Advanced Subsidiary level. This is equivalent to half an A Level. The second year is called an Advanced level.
BISL Sixth Form students have successfully gone on to study at universities across Europe (including the UK and Slovenia), the USA, the Middle East and South-East Asia.
Overall, the curriculum in the Sixth Form ensures that all of our students have the opportunity to maximise their potential, leaving BISL as confident, articulate, successful young people, ready to make their mark on the world.
A significant benefit of A Levels is that they do not prescribe which subjects must be studied (unlike the Slovenian Matura or the International Baccalaureate) and offer students the opportunity to specialise in a particular area (such as the sciences) or cover a broad range of subjects of their choosing. Students have the freedom to select the subjects that are right for them, with careful guidance from teachers.
AS and A Level subjects offered at BISL include English language, English literature, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, history, geography, business studies, economics, psychology, art & design and music.
Students typically study four AS subjects in Year 12 and take three of these subjects through to A Level in Year 13.
Additionally, specific lessons are dedicated to such matters as study skills, time management, relevant personal, social and current issues and, as time goes on, the process of applying for Higher Education, including career advice and course guidance, as well as interview techniques and CV writing.
We also expect our senior students to assume leadership roles within the school community. Many take part in community service activities both in and out of school, and some participate fully in the International Award for Young People - known in Slovenia as MEPI and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the UK.
What curriculum will my child study at the British International School of Ljubljana?
At BISL, our students follow the English National Curriculum, enhanced and differentiated to meet our international needs. Our older students prepare for IGCSE and A-Level examinations from Cambridge and AQA.
All subjects, except Slovene and French, are taught in English.
What subjects will my child study?
Core subjects of numeracy and literacy are taught all the way from Early Years through Primary school, enhanced through a topic-based approach where students cover areas of science, history, geography, art, languages and physical education.
In Secondary school, students cover a broad range of subjects and choose certain subjects in which they will sit external examinations at IGCSE and A Level. Subjects studied in Secondary school include English language, English literature, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, ICT, computer science, history, geography, business studies, economics, psychology, Slovene, French, art & design, music, physical education, citizenship and PSHE (personal, social and health education).
How will my child's progress be monitored?
Throughout the school year, student progress is consistently monitored against English National Curriculum standards through accepted benchmark testing methods and internal assessments.
Academic reports are issued three times per academic year and parents are invited to attend parent-teacher meetings each term.
My child speaks only basic English - how will they cope?
With students joining our school from all corners of the globe, speaking basic English when joining is not uncommon. Our teachers are all experienced in supporting students who require English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision. Our curriculum is differentiated to accommodate the diverse needs of EAL students - to find out more about our EAL programme, please click here.
Will my child have to do homework?
Homework is an important part of school life and is necessary to reinforce knowledge and skills. All students are expected to complete age appropriate homework assignments as assigned by their teacher. Younger students may also be given reading as a part of their weekly homework programme.
Does my child have to wear a school uniform?
Yes, at BISL we require all students to wear school uniform. You can find more information about our uniform policy here.
Does the Slovene Ministry of Education recognise BISL as a school?
Yes. In June 2016, a new law was passed which dispensed with the previous formalities for ‘home schooling’ of Slovenian children aged 6-15, who were, in fact, attending an international school. This law recognises international educational programmes (ZIMPVI– RS46/16) as being equivalent to the completion of education at a local Slovene school and requires international schools to incorporate some specific elements into their curricula, for example all students must study 140 hours of Slovene each year. This new law means that local children will be able to attend BISL, safe in the knowledge that this will be recognised as an acceptable and equal alternative to a local school.