British international school grade levels are divided into four main categories: Foundation Stage, Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form, which all play a pivotal role in ensuring students graduate as well-rounded adults. 

Specifically, at Alice Smith, we use the key stages of education to inspire our students to experience the excitement of discovering they are capable of achieving more than they thought possible. 

quote mark 1 We encourage students to embrace new opportunities and challenge and support them in developing resilience and determination. We celebrate a musical performance and community service as warmly as top A Level grades and a beautiful painting as enthusiastically as gaining a place at a prestigious university. quote mark
Our Secondary Principal, Dr. Sarah Howling 

To ensure our Tier 1, British international school provides an equal balance of support and challenge, each stage has a specific commitment and role in our student’s education.  

Before you can understand the British school system as a whole, let’s first take a look at each key stage within the international school grade levels 

Foundation Stage Primary Secondary

International School Grade Levels

Foundation Stage

Inspiring your children to engage in activities that stimulate brain activity through play, exploration and human interactionis at the root of our Foundation Stage 

Rather than put limits on what our students can do, we move with them fluidly. The children’s ideas and interests drive our interactions with them, the provision we provide and the challenges that we are able to offer. 

The Foundation Stage is where your children learn new skills, acquire valuable knowledge and demonstrate their understanding through seven areas of learning and development, areas which are further broken into three prime and four specific. 

Three Prime Areas 

  1. Communication and Language 
  2. Physical Development  
  3. Personal, Social and Emotional Development  

Four Specific Areas 

  1. Literacy  
  2. Mathematics 
  3. Understanding the World
  4. Expressive Arts and Design  

At Alice Smith, we follow the English National Curriculum and divide our Foundation Stage into Pre-School and Reception which includes children ages three to five.  

Would you like some help with understanding international school grade levels and what year your children will enter? Click the button below to use our international student age-grade conversion calculator.

Use Our Age Calculator


At Alice Smith, Primary encompasses Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) and Key Stage 2 (Year 3 to Year 6), which is for ages 5 to 11 years. 

Our Primary Curriculum has been developed specifically for our student body. It challenges the thinking of our able learners, preparing them for jobs requiring high level problem solving capabilities, creativity and communication skills. It aids the transition to and from other schools all over the world 

At Alice Smith, Primary encompasses Year 1 to Year 6, which is for ages 5 to 11.  

Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) 

In Year 1 and Year 2, your children will experience free flow classrooms enabling them to select the activities planned by our teachers that interest and stimulate them the most. 

Through this type of learning environment, your children will develop skills more quickly than in a formal class setting.  

Key Stage 2 (Year 3 to Year 6) 

Once your children move from Year 2 to Year 3, learning moves from free flow to well-planned, cross-curricular units. This type of environment will encourage your children to make sense of their learning by creating links between subjects and the real world.  

Teachers encourage, celebrate and track learning as this creates more of a connected and authentic experience.  


Our broad and balanced Secondary Curriculum is designed to stimulate your child’s capacity to learn whilst providing the opportunity to develop higher-level thinking skills including creativity, problem solving and highly effective communication.  

The Secondary campus provides a safe space for your children to thrive and find their unique identity and spirit.  

At Alice Smith, Secondary encompasses Key Stage 3 (Year 7 to Year 9) and Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and Year 11), which is for ages 14 to 16.  

Key Stage 3  (Year 7 to Year 9) 

Your children will build upon the knowledge and understanding gained in Primary whilst furthering their proficiency in a wide range of subjects. They will have the opportunity to study 14 different subjects, including English, maths, science and two modern foreign languages.  

In Year 9 your children get to select two elective subjects to explore and begin to tailor their curriculum to their own interests and aspirations before they start their (I)GCSE courses in Year 10. 

Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and Year 11) 

In Key Stage 4, your children will continue to learn English, mathematics, science and a modern foreign language whilst also specialising in subject areas which reflect their interests, strengths and aspirations. This stage culminates in (I)GCSE examinations. 

Students will study between nine and 11 (I)GCSEs depending on their learning preferences and interests.  

Sixth Form or Key Stage 5 (Year 12 and Year 13)  

Our Sixth Form students are integral to the overall makeup of the Alice Smith School.  

Your children will have the opportunity to achieve their academic potential with a choice of over 20 A Level subjects and the option to complete the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). They will receive personalised Higher Education guidance to maximise their potential and find the university that best suits their aspirations and have the chance to participate in a large range of extra-curricular activities to develop existing skills and acquire new ones.  

At Alice Smith School, we offer a broad range of experiences in Key Stage 5 of which linear (2-year) A Levels are the main academic element. 

Your children can tailor their curriculum to suit their interests, strengths, needs and aspirations and follow personalised pathways which include:   

  • Enrichment activities (for example, leadership, service and physical activity) 
  • The Extended Project Qualification; an individual research project on a topic of the student’s choice. This is equivalent to half of an A Level and prepares students for university through the development of key skills.  

Click the button below to use our international student age-grade conversion calculator and find out more about your child's Key Stage.

Use Our Age-Grade Calculator

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