Primary School

Academics
ISSA – Primary School

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME

The International School of South Africa subscribes to the prestigious Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) – the gold standard in international education. This curriculum ensures that the Primary School academic programme is effective and provides a sound foundation for our learners.

As an independent school, The International School of South Africa has the ability to be flexible with learning programmes and can offer a curriculum that is both inclusive and internationally relevant. Learners are prepared and excel in the high school environment – with many of our students performing in the top percentile at the end of their A levels, internationally.

Small classes across the entire Primary School, highly experienced teachers and the provision of teaching assistants and interns are central features of these formative years of our children.

The introduction of Setswana, in a conversational capacity from grade 2, is incredibly exciting, as we endeavour to be locally and culturally inclusive.

ISSA – Primary

Academic Programme

ISSA Primary has adopted Cambridge Primary as of 2013. This gives our school a curriculum framework to develop English, Mathematics and Science skills, knowledge and understanding in younger children. Cambridge provides guidance for curriculum development and classroom teaching and learning. It enables teachers to assess children’s learning as they progress with two assessments i.e. Cambridge Primary Progression Tests(Grades 3 – 6) and Cambridge Primary Checkpoint (Grade 6).

Cambridge Primary is a flexible curriculum that is used in conjunction with other subjects, contemporary trends and methodology which have been in place at our school. It allows our children to be fully prepared for the Cambridge Secondary curriculum, continued at our High School. Cambridge Primary develops learners who are confident, responsible, innovative and intellectually and socially engaged. The blending of Cambridge Primary and our existing model enhances our holistic approach and caters for all children.

Primary

Curriculum

At the International School of South Africa we are very proud to be part of the Cambridge International family of schools. With over 10 000 Cambridge schools in over 160 countries we glean an international perspective for our students and our teachers. We hold a strong platform on the international and national stage with our results taking top place, annually.

Our aligned curriculum allows for students to transition swiftly between the Primary, Secondary and Advanced curricular. University registrars indicate that 100% of our Cambridge A-Level students are superbly prepared for university. They also state that our students are able to think critically, analyse logically and communicate effectively.

Our International School community is really a global village of students from a variety of countries around the world. Our teachers adopt current research in lesson planning and preparation to ensure that our millennials students get the best possible educational journey, in a real-life context. We are proud of our success and continue to strive for academic excellence.

Words simply cannot articulate our diverse heritage and curriculum; please visit us to experience it yourself.

    The subjects offered at the International School of South Africa, in the Junior and Senior Primary are:

    • English (CIE)
    • Mathematics (CIE)
    • Natural Science (CIE)
    • Social Science
    • Afrikaans
    • Setswana
    • Art
    • Music
    • Computers
    • Life Orientation
    • Physical Education
    Students in Form 1 will be expected to take the following compulsory subjects:

    • Mathematics
    • First Language English
    • Second Language (chosen from French, Afrikaans or Setswana)
    • History
    • Geography
    • Design and Technology
    • Music
    • Art and Design
    • Drama
    • Information Technology
    • Physical Education
    Students in Form 1 will be expected to take the following compulsory subjects:

    • Mathematics
    • First Language English
    • Second Language (chosen from French, Afrikaans or Setswana)
    • History
    • Geography
    • Design and Technology
    • Music
    • Art and Design
    • Drama
    • Information Technology
    • Physical Education
    In Form 3 students will be expected to study the following compulsory subjects:

    • Mathematics
    • First Language English
    • Second Language (chosen from French, Afrikaans or Setswana)
    • History
    • Geography
    • Design and Technology
    • Music
    • Art and Design
    • Drama
    • Information Technology
    • Physical Education

    In the third term of Form 3, around September or October, students in Form 3 are asked to make a selection for their IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects. This is a total of 9 subjects with four being compulsory:

    • English Language – first subject
    • English Literature – second subject
    • Second language – fourth subject – either Afrikaans or French.
    • Mathematics – third subject – this subject has two different tiers:

    The students are then expected to choose four subjects from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Geography
    • History
    • Business Studies
    • Economics
    • Accounting
    • Drama
    • Art and Design
    • Computer Studies
    • Design and Technology
    • Physical Education
    • Music
    The subjects chosen at the end of Form 3 are now studies for a full two years. During October / November of the Form 5 year, the student will write the external IGCSE examinations. In the past few years, results have been made available between 17th – 20th January.

    A student must obtain a minimum of 5 ‘C’ symbols of which three of the subjects passed must be mathematics, English Language and a Second Language, in the IGCSE examination to be accepted into AS – Level.

    The student is then required to choose four subjects at AS-Level and three subjects at A – Level These subjects must have been passed at IGCSE at extended level with a minimum of a ‘C’ symbol.

    The AS and A – Level courses are demanding and requires very good work ethic and commitment to the subjects that students have chosen. The important aspects to remember for the best preparation and maximum benefit for these examinations are:

    Requirements of the course:

    • Material covered is in depth
    • The course in all subjects is designed to encourage and demand critical and analytical thinking
    • The responses that are given by students throughout the year in both the preparation and revision of the subject matter demands that there is a systematic flow of information, combining facts with analysis of why the facts are what they are and critically analysing the conclusions of the information given
    • The manner in which a student prepares an answer is consistently and critically marked for factual interpretation and style throughout the AS and A – Level course
    • Past papers and the expected answers are thoroughly analysed and practiced by students during the revision periods.

    The AS and A – Level examinations are written in October / November. In the past few years, results have been made available between 9th – 11th January.

    Junior Primary

    The presented curriculum, combined with the integrated use of technology seeks to holistically develop, emotionally intelligent individuals who are confident and suitably equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. At the International School we aspire to develop solid values together with thinking skills within the different learning areas as early as Grade 1, enabling learners to become active, caring and empowered citizens of South Africa.
    Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills are the focal learning areas within the Junior Primary phase.

    Literacy

    The Literacy curriculum is directed towards equipping learners to develop the skills required to express themselves articulately, confidently and to communicate effectively with others.  Literary Skills that are developed and focussed on include:  Phonics/Spelling, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Grammar.

    Numeracy

    Learners are encouraged to develop their numerical conceptual knowledge and logical mathematical problem solving skills through verbal, experiential and play activities. Learners apply mathematical knowledge, logical reasoning and develop their conceptual knowledge from Grade 1-3 in areas such as: numbers, measurement, time, money, shapes and data handling.

    Life Skills

    Learners are provided with knowledge about the world and allowed to develop their understanding of the world through inquiry based learning and investigation. A range of valuable resources is used to develop on existing knowledge. Our annual Junior Primary Science Fair showcases the scientific skills and creative minds of the learners.

    Senior  Primary

    We also use prescribed Cambridge textbooks in our classes. Although it is not a part of the Cambridge curriculum, Life Orientation is also offered as a subject in our school.

    English is the language of learning and teaching and Afrikaans is offered as a second additional language. We have also added Setswana as a third additional language in our school this year. Our children do specialist subjects such as Computers, Physical Education, Art, Music and Library.

    We do continuous assessment throughout the academic year where every formal assessment done, forms part of the children’s overall academic performance for that year. Our children write standardised formal tests every Friday; one subject each week on a rotational basis.
    Grade 5 and 6 classes write two formal examinations during the year in July and November respectively. The Grade 4 classes only write a formal examination at the end of the academic year.
    As the Cambridge Curriculum is an internationally recognised curriculum, our Grade 6 classes are required to write an external benchmark examination in October every year. This is called the Cambridge Checkpoint Examination and includes English, Mathematics and Natural Sciences only. The aim of the examination is to gauge if our teachers and learners are coping well with the curriculum.

    Each term we have parent consultations to ensure ongoing communication between the school and parents regarding our children’s progress. We also have regular cross-grade and cross-phase alignment meetings to ensure an easy transition for our learners as they move from one year to another.

    Cambridge Curriculum

    We follow the Cambridge Curriculum in our school and this includes the following subjects:

    • Mathematics,
    • English,
    • Afrikaans.
    • Natural Sciences,
    • Social Sciences.

    ISSA Primary School.

    The Senior Primary Phase in the school starts at Grade 4 level and ends with Grade 6 which is the exit point in our primary school. 

    LEARNING SUPPORT PROGRAMME

    The International School of South Africa recognises the need to enable, empower and allow all students to grow and develop to their full potential in all aspects of their school life. The school offers a dynamic, inclusive and progressive whole school support structure for all students whereby they have numerous opportunities to experience success – whatever the extent of their academic, emotional and developmental needs are.

    The Learning Support Programme is an intervention programme that aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop the necessary academic and social skills to ensure a positive school experience. Students on the Programme are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning; they must know their strengths and weaknesses and work to accomplish success. These are the following we focus on:

    FOCUS

    • Academic support, tailored to suit the needs of the individual student;
    • Subject-specific learning, i.e. catch-up learning;
    • Improving the understanding of key topics and concepts;
    • Subject specific exam preparation and revision;
    • Constructive examination feedback – analysis of exam results, exam papers, student answer papers;
    • Compilation of statistical data to manage individual student progress;
    • Development of planning and organisational skills;

    FOCUS

    • Building self-esteem, enjoyment of learning and pride in academic achievement;
    • Support to students with diagnosed learning difficulties and / or physical disabilities
    • Concessions;
    • Engaging the “disengaged and unplugged” students through motivation, perseverance and goal setting;
    • Assistance and remediation where learners  have lost their way  in an academic gap;
    • English for Speakers of Other / Foreign Languages (ESOL / EFL) Programme

    Students who require assistance appear on the Learning Support register and are expected to attend weekly group or individual sessions with the Learning Support team. Parents are also involved in the process by meeting twice a term with the team to discuss student’s academic performance and update Individual Educational Plans.

    Personal 

    Social Development

    The Personal Social Development (PSD) programme at the International School of South Africa is a school subject through which students develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepare for life and work in modern world. Evidence shows that well-delivered PSD programmes have an impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for students, particularly the most vulnerable students in communities.

    The skills and attributes developed through PSD education are also shown to increase academic attainment and attendance rates.

    PSD is not formally assessed at the school; however, to be successful independent learners, students need regular opportunities to reflect on and identify what they have learned, what needs to be learned next and what they need to do to continue their learning. Teachers also need to be clear about the progress and achievements of the students they teach, and how their learning might be improved.

     

    The aims of our programme are to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, team work, critical thinking and Approaches to Learning. This is in the context of learning being grouped into four core themes:

    • Health and wellbeing
    • Relationships
    • Life Skills (including economic wellbeing and aspects of careers education).

    PSD is a subject which is pivotal to the holistic development of each student. We are keenly aware and support the evidence which indicates that PSD education can address large topical issues which are a scourge on our society today:

     

    • Cyber bullying
    • Teenage pregnancy
    • Substance misuse
    • Unhealthy eating
    • Extremism
    • Emotional health

    Individual Educational Plan (IEP)

    IEP is a personalised plan and record of action undertaken to ensure that students with additional needs to those of their peers are fully included in the life of our learning community and have equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.

    In line with the SEN Code of Practice and contemporary research, IEPs at the school are written and implemented according to the following principles:

     

    • IEPs should be working documents with a practical value in the present moment – they should not be a ‘paper exercise’.
    • IEPs should act as a profile outlining a student’s particular strengths and difficulties.
    • IEPs should actively involve the student, parents / carers, colleagues and where necessary, external agent Cambridge Assessment International Educations.
    • IEPs should work towards the outcome of ‘every teacher is a teacher of special needs’ as well as specific outcomes for Learning Support staff.
    • IEPs should outline action additional and different to everyday classroom practice, taking into account what the student can already do independently.
    • IEPs should be accessible to all involved – using ‘Plain English’, avoiding jargon and ‘information overload’.

    Who is entitled to an IEP?

    We operate a policy whereby only those students placed on the Special Educational Needs / Learning Support register or students who have been allowed to proceed (ATPd) or an in the danger zone with multiple additional needs and clearly identified as currently underachieving or having underachieved within the past 12 months are assigned an IEP.

    How is an IEP created and maintained?

    The following process is adhered to in the creation and maintenance of IEPs:

    E Visser and / or DoS identify the additional needs of the student through distribution of a monitoring form to all teachers, screening / standardised assessments, referral to external agents, Cambridge Assessment International Educations and liaison with Primary / previous schools. The Educational Psychologists report will also be used to establish concessions for students.

    IEP review

    Each Individual Educational Plan begins by outlining the intended outcomes of the action undertaken.
    Fulfilment of intended outcomes will be measured through consultation with colleagues, Monitoring Forms, screening / standardised assessments, IEP Meetings and for students with a Statement of SEN, through the Termly Review process. Once meetings have been completed and a noticeable difference documented, students then no longer have to be part of the Programme.

    Assessments

    At the International School of South Africa rigorous, benchmarked assessments take place throughout the academic year. Summative and formative assessments form the basis of all assessments. We simply do not just merely focus on examinations, as is the case with other programmes. Individual needs of students are identified, nurtured and met through the assessment process. Formative assessments are continuous and informal. Assignments are designed to provide effective future learning by identifying difficulties, errors, misunderstandings and offering guidance to improve. Examples of formative assessments are: question-and-answer sessions, observations, worksheets, journals and / or homework. Formative assessments determine how much students have learned and how much they still have to learn.

    Summative assessments encompass all the knowledge students should have learned in a specific subject or unit, and they are more formal, such as tests, quizzes, essays or projects. These assessments are periodic assessments, designed to identify the standard of attainment at a particular time.

    Academics

    Approaches to Learning

    At the International School of South Africa these are our expectations for Approaches to Learning skills and attitudes at the school. They show a profile of a student who would be recognised as ‘excellent’ in each category. These will be reported to parents three times each year in all subjects.

    Effort: tries hard, stays on task

    The student consistently shows interest by asking pertinent and sensible questions at appropriate times and keeps up with the note taking as required. The student does as much as s / he can and shows a willingness to try in all areas (this also applies to homework). S / he is always ready to answer questions, and shows good listening skills and concentration. Teacher comments are taken note of and an effort is made to improve on past work. S / he is on task for the whole lesson, avoiding distractions such as chatting or time wasting.

    Punctual, equipped and ready for work

    The student will always have the necessary materials: texts, files, paper, pen, diary, pencil, eraser, sharpener, ruler, and for Mathematics and Science, compasses, protractor, and scientific or graphical calculator. For Physical Education (PE) the student will have the necessary kit and be changed in good time. The student will always be on time to class, and will settle down quickly and quietly ready to start the lesson. There is no need to go to lockers or visit other teachers between lessons. The student always makes sure any missed class work or homework is caught up at the earliest opportunity.

    Effort: tries hard, stays on task

    The student consistently shows interest by asking pertinent and sensible questions at appropriate times and keeps up with the note taking as required. The student does as much as s / he can and shows a willingness to try in all areas (this also applies to homework). S / he is always ready to answer questions, and shows good listening skills and concentration. Teacher comments are taken note of and an effort is made to improve on past work. S / he is on task for the whole lesson, avoiding distractions such as chatting or time wasting.

    Thinks critically and creatively

    The student shows evidence of thinking critically and can evaluate both his / her own performance and that of others. By understanding a problem, the student can suggest creative solutions. The student is able to analyse and synthesise situations. S / he asks pertinent and incisive questions.

    Ability to organise work effectively

    The student always hands work in on the due date. His / her work shows evidence of thought and planning, with all parts neatly attempted, showing that the student has tried his/her best. If the student has difficulty with the work or deadline or is unsure about any aspect of a task, s/he will see the teacher in advance – at least the day before. Notes and diary entries are well-organised. The student always proofreads all written work before handing in.

    School work presented appropriately

    If working on file paper the student always put his / her name and tutor group on the top left of the page, with the date on the top right. The title is underlined neatly with a ruler. His/her writing is clear. S/he proofreads work before submitting it to the teacher. Any errors are neatly crossed out. Correction fluid is not used. If the work is word processed, s / he uses the spell checker. The student takes pride in the presentation of his / her work.

    Participates appropriately by showing co-operation and respect

    This is about respect for peers and the teacher. S / he always listens to the teacher and other students. S/he stays on task and actively takes part in the lesson / activity / group work and never makes inappropriate comments or uses inappropriate language. The student always pays full attention in class and does not disrupt the lesson in any way. The student raises a hand to make a point. His/her chair and desk is straight, tidy and clean before leaving the room.

    School Terms

    The school follows a three term calendar. The school timetable runs on a weekly basis. The school day begins at 07:20 and ends at 13:35 every day for all forms. There is compulsory Inter-house on a Monday afternoon from 15:30 to 17:00 and compulsory Cultural Enrichment activities once a week on a Thursday from 14:30 to 15:30.

    Students are expected to involve themselves in sport and / or cultural activities from Tuesday – Friday, 15:30 – 17:00.

    Homework Timetable

    Homework is an integral part of the academic programme. It provides students with an opportunity to reinforce their learning at school and establish appropriate attitudes, habits and commitment to learning. In some cases students will be required to consolidate work completed in class or to prepare for the following day. Homework exercises of this kind require prompt attention, diligence and focus if they are to be effective. On other occasions, students have considerable freedom to plan their own programme of work and to organise their own time.

    Homework activities are an important means for the teacher to check a student’s understanding and application of knowledge and skills. Part of the purpose of homework is to encourage organisation, planning and self-discipline; it also allows students to demonstrate their commitment to academic work.

    There will be occasions when homework tasks will be used to provide important assessment data, but due to the ease of gaining support and assistance, which are both valuable in their own ways, they will more often be used for the development of relevant approaches to learning. Homework should not become a burden to families, nor result in a reduction in leisure time and motivation to learn, or lead to an increase in stress and anxiety regarding homework.

    It is important that each student keeps a record of homework set and planned.  To this end, students must carry their diaries with them to every lesson. In Forms 1 to 5 there is a homework timetable which teachers will use when setting homework on a specific day. Timetabled homework tasks as indicated below will help establish the importance of routine in students’ minds. These tasks will be feedback and recorded to students. Over and above the schedule indicated below, please expect additional homework to be allocated by subject teachers.

    The allocation of Science homework in Form 4 – 5 will compromise Biology, Chemistry and Physics homework.

    The time allowance is allocated as follows:

    Form 1 – 3: 20 minutes per subject. This amounts to approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes per day.

    Form 4 – 5: 30 minutes per subject. This amounts to approximately 2 – 3 hours per day.

    Lower 6 – Upper 6: 1 hour per subject per day.

    Vacation Work

    We operate a policy whereby only those students placed on the Special Educational Needs / Learning Support register or students who have been allowed to proceed (ATPd) or an in the danger zone with multiple additional needs and clearly identified as currently underachieving or having underachieved within the past 12 months are assigned an IEP.

    The School Timetable

    The timetable consists of all subject areas with each period consisting of 35 minute periods. Subjects are timetabled either as single or double periods as per the requirements of the Subject Departments. The first period on a Monday is Assembly, which is formal event which sets the tone for the week.

    GRADE 0                                                                                                                                        CURRICULUM THEMES 2018                                                                                                                                                                                                             

    DATES

    THEMES

    LETTERS

    DATES

    THEMES

    LETTERS

    DATES

    THEMES

    LETTERS

    TERM 1

    17/01/2018 – 19/01/2018

    ORIENTATION

    TM

     

    TERM 2

    2/05/2018 – 4/05/2018

    AUTUMN

    TM

    Pp

    TERM 3

    04/09/2018 – 7/09/2018

    SPRING

    TM

    Xx

    22/01/2018 -26/01/2018

    THIS IS ME

    TM

    Tt

    7/05/2018 – 11/05/2018

    CLOTHES/ COLOUR/SHAPES

    DS

    Bb

    10/09/2018 – 14/09/2018

    I LISTEN TO MY WORLD

    DS

    Zz

    29/01/2018 – 2/02/2018

    THIS IS MY BODY

    DS

    Aa

    14/05/2018 – 18/05/2018

    CLOTHES/ COLOUR/SHAPES(cont)

    DS

    Ff

    17/09/2018 – 21/09/2018

    I LOOK AT MY WORLD

    TM

     

    5/02/2018 – 9/02/2018

    SUMMER

    TM

    Dd

    21/05/2018 –

    25/05/2018

    WONDERFUL WEATHER

    DS

    Cc

    25/09/2018 – 28/09/2018

    I SMELL MY WORLD

    DS

     

    12/02/2018 -16/02/2018

    I LIVE HEALTHILY

    DS

    Ee

    28/05/2018 – 1/06/2018

    WATER

    TM

    Ll

    1/10/2018 – 5/10/2018

    I TASTE MY WORLD

    TM

     

    19/02/2018 – 23/02/2018

    I AM A CAREFUL CHILD

    TM

    Nn

    4/06/2018 – 8/06/2018

    A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT

    DS

    Rr

    8/10/2018 -12/10/2018

    I FEEL MY WORLD

    DS

     

    26/02/2018 – 2/03/2018

    I SKIP THROUGH THE DAY

    DS

    Ll

    11/06/2018 – 13/06/2018

    TRANSPORT (AIR)

    TM

    Vv

    15/10/2018 – 17/10/2018

    INSECTS

    TM

     

    5/03/2018 – 9/03/2018

     

    THIS IS MY HOME AND FAMILY

    TM

    Mm

    19/06/2018 –

    22/06/2018

    TRANSPORT (WATER)

    DS

    Gg

    23/10/2018 –

    26/10/2018

    CONCERT PRACTICE

    DS

     

    12/03/2018 – 16/03/2018

    THIS IS MY HOME AND FAMILY

    DS

    Oo

    25/06/2018 –

    29/06/2018

    TRANSPORT

    (LAND)

    TM

    Hh

    29/10/2018 – 2/11/2018

    CONCERT PRACTICE

    DS

     

    19/03 2018 – 23/03/2018

    HAPPY AT SCHOOL

    TM

    Ss

    2/07/2018 – 6/07/2018

    WINTER

    DS

    Ww

    5/11/2018 – 9/11/2018

    CONCERT PRACTICE

    DS

     

    26/03/2018 – 29/03/2018

    HAPPY IN MY CLASS

    DS

    Uu

    9/07/2018 –

    13/07/2018

    OCCUPATIONS

    TM

    Kk

    12/11/2018 – 16/11/2018

    WILD ANIMALS

    TM

     

     

     

     

    16/07/2018 – 20/07/2018

    FRUIT

    DS

    Ii

    19/11/2018 – 23/11/2018

    REPTILES/DINOSAURS

    DS

     

     

     

     

    23/07/2018 – 27/07/2018

    VEGETABLES

    TM

    Yy

    26/11/2018 – 29/11/2018

    FARE WELL PARTY

     

     

     

     

    30/07/2018 – 3/08/2018

    THE FARM

    DS

    Qq