At GCSE level, girls whose first language is not English will be tested at the beginning of Year 10 to determine whether they will take the standard GCSE English Courses in English Language and English Literature, or whether they will study the IGCSE in English as a Second Language.
Most girls who have EFL lessons will study the IGCSE option; only those who are classified as “near native” speakers will take the standard GCSE route.
IGCSE English as a Second Language (ESL) is a language acquisition and development course. It is designed for learners whose first language is not English, but who already have a working knowledge of the language and who want to consolidate their understanding in order to progress in their academic studies.
During the IGCSE ESL course, students practise and develop their English language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), whilst expanding their knowledge of a variety of contemporary topics. They develop grammatical understanding and communicative competence and extend their vocabulary.
The course is particularly well suited to students who would like to acquire the English language and literacy skills which are essential for accessing the full curriculum at Cobham Hall. The programme of study supports and enhances student performance in the different academic subjects taken in Years 10 and 11, particularly those which require a well-developed standard of literacy for successful outcomes at GCSE level. The qualification is also an excellent preparation for the next steps in a student’s education, especially the International Baccalaureate. The IGCSE in ESL at grade C or above is accepted by universities both in the UK and abroad as suitable proof of competency in the English language for the purposes of undergraduate study.
In some circumstances, students may also be offered the option of taking the Cambridge First Certificate English for Schools at the end of Year 10.