AGES 14–16

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)

As a British international high school, BISW follows the IGCSE, a two-year program of Years 10–11 (Upper Secondary School) that culminates in externally marked and certificated examinations from the University of Cambridge. The IGCSE is a qualification recognized globally, and it is an ideal foundation for higher-level courses, including The IB Diploma Programme. Our program is just like the UK's General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), but with more of an international theme.


Our Upper Secondary School curriculum at BISW aims to provide students with a range of opportunities to develop their academic and personal interests while equipping them with the qualifications and experiences needed to be successful in their IB years and beyond. Our curriculum includes theory, investigation, and practical elements. Additionally, our students will make significant personal progress through their involvement in the community and their commitment to social responsibility, international competence, and teamwork.

We believe that the IGCSE courses delivered at BISW are excellent preparation for the academic demands of The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the combination of these two programs offers an excellent well-rounded educational platform for entry into competitive colleges and universities worldwide. IGCSE qualifications are part of a student’s qualifications portfolio when applying for university entrance. In other cases, they are widely used as preparation for International Baccalaureate, A-levels in the UK, and Advanced Placement courses in the US.

In some subjects, we believe that the IGCSE course does not offer sufficient rigor or engagement for students. In these cases, we have developed our own curriculum, often integrating skills beyond those offered in the IGCSE course, to challenge and engage students while also ensuring that they are prepared to study these subjects at a higher level. These comprise our Performing Arts and ITEM courses.


Compulsory subjects



Students must also choose one of the following languages:

Please note: French is not available for beginners. To take French, students must have prior experience of learning the language.



We offer electives in the humanities and social sciences.

Students must choose two of the following:


Creative, Digital and Technical Electives

Students must choose one of the following:


At BISW, we offer a truly global experience with outstanding teachers and exceptional educational opportunities. Here, our youngest students get the best possible start to their educational journey.

British International High School Washington | BIS Washington - 09 - Promo With Collage