About Years 12-13

Senior Phase

Applied Learning

IB Diploma

Student Leadership

Phase Team



Monica Gilbert Saez, Vice Principal monica.gilbertsaez@online.island.edu.hk

About Senior Phase Learning

Life and education at Island School is so much more than just their academic lessons. Academic success is obviously very important, and we challenge students to achieve the best that they possibly can, through a rich and broad range of experiences.

Our students take on all sorts of roles in and out of school. They lead in proposing, organising and managing events that range from the humanitarian and the environmental to the artistic and the sporting. The opportunity and the responsibility is for students in these two years to set the agenda for the whole school. These chances come from taking on established roles; in Wanbo – the environmental group, joining ISSU – our student union, being a house or school prefect, participating within our Student Learning Advisory team or being a part of a fair, cultural evening or fashion show committees. They also come from student innovations that lead to new events and opportunities. Senior students are the leaders of our school, looked up to as role models by the younger students and relied upon for their independence and responsibility by staff.

Monica Gilbert-Saez
Vice Principal

Students choose to come here and they also choose the best curriculum for their particular needs, whether that is the Applied Learning Pathways or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.

Our students will have to make daily choices too – choices that match the school’s philosophy of excellence, responsibility and individuality. In other words, our senior students know how important it is to choose to be their best, to choose to do the right thing and to make the choices that help them stand out for all the right reasons.

All our students are encouraged to make choices that have a positive effect on those around them and on the wider local and global community, now and into the future.

Our key aims are strongly linked to the mission statement of the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO):

The development of all talents: intellectual, academic, imaginative, physical, moral and social.
-To develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
-To encourage students – across the world – to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Curriculum Philosophy
Being a senior student at Island School should:

      • enable you to further develop your understanding of internationalism.
      • enable you to further develop inter-cultural competency.
      • enable you to build a healthy self-esteem, personal confidence, empathy and verbal oracy.
      • enable you to take responsibility for your own learning and develop life-learning skills
      • enable you to develop your critical thinking skills.
      • allow you to enjoy participating in the life of the Island School community.
      • give you positive and assured progression to Higher Education.

Curriculum Entitlement

      • All students will participate in a full programme of creativity, action and service (CAS).
      • All pathways will provide opportunity for ongoing development.
      • All students should have an opportunity to maintain their mother tongue within ESF provision.

Learning Support
The Individual Needs Department supports students when necessary in a range of ways whether it be by helping with academic writing or language skills.

Induction Week
Island School is extremely proud of our new approach to Induction Week. Our senior students benefit from a week filled with different activities, such as the  Auberge Hotel, Student Leadership Day, Michelle Hugues Cup, G4 Project for Science and listening to renowned speakers, that ensure their smooth transition into their senior years.

IMG_3717edit IMG_3720edit IMG_3721edit IMG_3713edit

Applied Learning Pathway

Students on the Applied Learning Pathway choose a mixture of IB and BTEC subjects. The BTEC courses are as ‘applied’ as possible, this means that when studying the Business course they will be running a business and the TV and Film course sees students doing a lot of filming and editing.

Students are also encouraged to pick 2 IB subjects from columns IB 1, IB 2 & IB3. This allows for continuation of development in the key areas such as Mathematics and English. The subjects offered in IB 3 are subject to availability.

All students have one period per week dedicated to the GCE AS Level Extended Project and one period per week where they work closely with the Higher Education Department focusing on their higher educational needs.



BTEC 2 BTEC 3 IB 1 IB 2 IB 3
Business (SD) Business (SD) Business (D*)


English Language & Literature SL


Mathematical Studies SL


Chemistry SL

Biology SL

Physics SL

Psychology SL

Theatre Arts SL

Visual Art SL

Music SL

Film SL

Art and Design (Fashion and Textiles) (SD)


Sport (SD)


Hospitality (SD) English Literature & Performance SL


Performing art (SD)


TV and Film (SD)   English B SL


What Type of Student Would Thrive by Choosing the ALP? 

    • “I need to have some more space and support to experience successful learning and to build up my self confidence before taking on future studies.”
    • “I am particularly skilled in one of the subjects offered in the ALP.”
    • “I do well when I am working on something I love, but struggle when asked to learn something I do not enjoy or see the point of.”
    • “I am more practical. I enjoy doing projects and creating things.”
    • “I am creative but do not like exams.“
    • “I am really good with people and enjoy working with others.”

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is an DP-Engacademically challenging and balanced curriculum that prepares students for success at university and beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme has gained extensive recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

Students have to choose six subjects for the full IB Diploma. This must include at least one from each Group 1-5. Students then opt to take up a Group 6 Subject or choose an additional elective subject from Group 1-5. Students must choose 3 subjects at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level.

All IB Diploma students have to complete the IB Core. This includes the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service). Click here to read more about Core.

Group 1 – Studies in Language and Literature (A) Literature High Standard
Language & Literature (English or Chinese) High Standard
Literature & Performance Standard
Chinese Language High Standard
Self Taught Language Standard
Group 2 Language Acquisition Chinese High Standard
English High Standard
French High Standard Ab Initio
Japanese High, Standard 
Ab Initio
Spanish High, Standard Ab Initio
Group 3 Individuals and Societies Business & Management High
Economics High Standard
Environmental Systems Standard
Geography High Standard
History High Standard
Philosophy High Standard
Psychology High Standard
Group 4 Sciences Computer Science Standard
Biology High Standard
Chemistry High Standard
Physics High Standard
Environmental Systems Standard
Design & Technology High Standard
Food Science Standard
Sports Science Standard
Group 5 Mathematics Further Mathematics High
Mathematics High Standard
‘Mathematical Studies Standard
Group 6 The Arts Theatre High Standard
Visual Arts High Standard
Music High Standard
Film High Standard
Literature and Performance Standard



This page is updated in October each year.

Student Union
Groups of Year 12 students campaign for a week in October to be voted Student Union leaders. The different groups create manifesto videos which helps the voters (all students) decide on their preferred party. The groups campaign for changes like new items of uniform, or the creation of different social events.

Click here to see the current student unions manifesto video.

Student Learning Advisors
The Student Learning Advisors are students from each year who act as the voice of the student body. They aim to improve learning methods by listening to students and reporting their comments to the senior leadership team both anecdotally and in written reports. Their feedback is used to plan the revision and exams timetables and the Induction Week.

Senior Prefects
Prefects are divided into groups; Camp, House and School with responsibilities for each.During Quest Week (when students are not on their normal timetable) the Year 7 and 8 camps are almost entirely led by the Camp Prefects. Instead of being authoritative figures, prefects are role models and develop close bonds with the lower year groups.
The House Prefects work with the younger years to promote leadership and communication across the year groups. Whether this be through inter-year sporting events or through a system of mentoring, every house’s prefects are responsible for working with younger students to create a strong house spirit and sense of place within the school community.

School prefects are involved in a variety of school-wide activities ranging from the set-up of the annual school fair to helping visiting Y6’s. As ambassadors to the school, they are given the responsibility of providing tours to visitors.

The school spirit is maintained through the work of the prefects, and interaction between the year groups results in a more unified student body. For the sixth-formers, it is an education in leadership that provides an additional dimension to their academic studies, and shapes them to become more mature members of society.

Senior Phase Team

Monica GILBERT SAEZ RAPPEL, Matthew Chan_Pak120.150 Lester, Kevin
Vice Principal
Monica Gilbert-Saez
Vice Principal
Matt Rappel

Senior Head of
Rutherford House
Year 12 Leader
Pak Chan

Senior Head of
Da Vinci House
Year 13 Leader
Kevin Lester
Colin Spanos WILKINSON, Roger
Colin Spanos
Head of Careers, HE
Learning Pathway
Roger Wilkinson

Choosing Courses for Years 12 and 13 at Island School  

What are the broad aims for all students in these two years?

We aim for students to have a balance of depth, in subjects they choose to study intensively, and breadth, of understanding a wide range of learning areas. During these two years students should discover their strengths and build on them. They should find out what their passions and interests are and find paths to pursue them. Students should develop the skills they have begun to acquire in all subjects in the early years. They should be able to take some subjects through to a significant level of depth of understanding. They should be able to try a wide range of different areas of study. By the end of the middle school, students should be well placed to make informed choices for the next phase of their education based on their strengths, skills, interests, passions and learning styles. We aim for students to enjoy the experience of school for its own sake and because students perform better in a climate of enjoyment. We also aim to blend the academic curriculum with co-curricular life.

How and when are choices made?

Final choices for Year 11 are made in January of Year 11.  Students however will be immersed in an established programme of guidance and support throughout their Year 11.  The student is at the centre of the process which is overseen by the tutor/house staff.  There is a careers based pastoral programme in Year’s 10 and 11 that includes Naviance self-assessments carried out in conjunction with the Higher Education Department.  In the winter term of Year 11 there is a dedicated Options Afternoon for students and parents.  As well as providing an overview of the Options process there is a chance to speak to subject teachers about individual subject choices.  The Higher Education department also provide a general talk to the students before the Preliminary Round choices are made in December of Year 11.

Preliminary Round options are the basis of further consultation with the student, parents, tutors, HE councilors and subject teachers. Each student will have an individual appointment with the Higher Education department as well as a Tutor for Learning session before the Final Round of options takes place.

Please note:  Preliminary round options are not final.  They do inform timetabling and staffing therefore a lack of interest in a certain course could lead to it not running.  Any change requests made after the final round in January will be subject to availability.

What is the difference between the IB Diploma and the Applied Learning Pathway?

Students following the IB Diploma must choose 6 subjects.  Those following the Applied Learning Pathway chose the equivalent of three BTEC qualifications as well as one or two IB subjects.   It is possible to study different combinations of BTEC and IB subjects but these will need to be discussed on an individual basis.

Both the IB Diploma and the ALP have a compulsory core element to them.  The IB students complete an Extended Essay, study the Theory of Knowledge and complete CAS commitments (Creativity, Activity, Service).  ALP students complete an Extended Project, Work Experience as well as the same CAS as all other Year 12 and 13 students.

The IB Diploma and the Applied Learning Pathway both have clear routes into Higher Education.  The key is choosing the pathway that is most appropriate for the individual student.  It is important to research carefully during the Options process to ensure students have full knowledge of the options available to them.

How will the choices made impact upon the future choices at Higher Education?

The IB Diploma has gained extensive recognition and respect from leading universities across the world.  The BTEC courses on the ALP are also widely recognized and accepted across the world.  If you follow our pages on the IB and ALP as well as the Higher Education website you will find detailed information on where IB and ALP students are progressing.

Different universities in different countries will have a range of requirements in terms.  For ALP students BTEC subjects are a UK based qualification so naturally routes into UK universities are more established.  We are however finding students increasingly progressing from the ALP to universities in a range of different countries.  Some of the highest performing universities may also be unwilling to offer students taking BTEC courses.  It is however worth noting that those universities are also likely to only offer places to IB students with significantly high predicted grades.

In terms of IB subject choices there may well be certain requirements to access specific courses at certain universities.  For example, typically to study medicine students should be taking two sciences at IB and at least one of them at Higher Level.  The Island School Higher Education department will provide further advice and information on this area.