Seniors school comprises Year 7 to 13

The Seniors & Juniors have separate classrooms and specialist rooms, but share some facilities, including a library and multimedia centre, a food technology workshop, a cafeteria, a large multi-purpose sport hall, an astroturf football pitch, tennis courts, basketball courts and sparkling indoor swimming pools. Year 12 and 13 have their own attractive and well-appointed Sixth Form centre and quiet private study area.

The British School Bahrain is well placed and resourced to help students make the most of these reforms. British School staff are working closely with exam boards on the introduction of new specifications and we are confident in the quality of the provision and individual advice available. We continue to work closely with universities to ensure the qualifications we offer prepare students for higher education and meet entry requirements.

We look forward to discussing these details further with students and parents at our regional parent meetings.

The reforms to GCSE include updated syllabus content, reduced coursework, and a new grading structure of 9 (highest) to 1 (lowest) which will replace the current A* – G system.

At A level, the main changes relate to the structure and timing of public exams. Currently, some  A levels are ‘modular’ with students sitting AS exams in the summer of Year 12 and A2 exams in the summer of Year 13. The results of the AS and A2 exams are then combined to give an overall A level grade. The new reformed A level will be linear with all public exams at the end of the two-year course in the summer of Year 13. Students will still be able to sit reformed AS exams but these will be stand-alone (decoupled) qualifications that will not contribute to the final A Level grade.

A Level result

Both reforms are being staggered, with some subjects moving to the new reformed exam system when first teaching began in September 2015, and nearly all remaining subjects followed a year later in September 2016. Because of the staggered introduction of the new GCSEs and A levels there hasbe a transition period when old and new systems have run side by side.

The School will focus lesson time on the delivery of the linear course to ensure students gain the educational benefit intended by the reform. Students wishing to sit AS exams in reformed subjects would need to take advice from teachers before doing so and revise thoroughly in independent study. The sixth form Heads of Year and Careers and University support teams will provide personalised advice to all Year 12 students.

How will this affect university applications?

Schools are asked to give full indication of Year 12 subject progress in students’ university references, regardless of whether or not they have sat an AS qualification or whether they have dropped the subject at the start of Year 13. As such, Year 12 students will sit internal (i.e. British School) exams in all subjects, the results of which will be used as the basis for university reference statements and predicted grades. Parents will be regularly informed about their son or daughter’s progress in Year 12. GCSE grades, school references, A level predicted grades and personal statements, alongside university admissions tests where appropriate, will form the basis of admission offers as universities adjust to the absence of AS grades.


As part of the UK government’s education reforms, GCSE courses changed from September 2015. In the first year, only English and maths GCSE changed. In subsequent years a majority of subjects were reformed.

The main principles of the reform

‘New’ GCSEs will follow a linear structure – all exams will be taken in the summer of Year 11. Resits will not be available (apart from in November for students in Y12 or above).

Coursework will be removed from almost all subjects, including English in the first year of reform. Assessment will be conducted by external examiners as much as possible (Some subjects in later phases of reform, such as geography and the sciences will retain a fieldwork or practical element).

‘New’ GCSEs will be graded using numbers rather than letters.

Tiered examinations (i.e. availability of foundation and higher level) will not generally be available. In the first phase of reform tiers have been removed from English, but kept in Math’s (where the foundation tier will offer the opportunity for students to achieve grades 1-4, and the higher tier will access grades 5 –9).

There will also be content changes in many subjects, for example the requirement that all students study a nineteenth century novel in English, and other assessment changes such as a greater focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar in the awarding of marks. Further details of changes in individual subjects are included in our Options Guide as soon as they are available.


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