Curriculum Overview

Students joining the British International School of Timisoara will be studying a British-based curriculum within an international environment. We are committed to offering our children a strong, balanced, stimulating and flexible academic curriculum which will provide them with rich opportunities to explore and develop skills, competences and abilities that will help them achieve internationally recognized qualifications offered by Cambridge Assessment International Education and the International Baccalaureate exam boards.

British education has achieved a worldwide reputation for quality and is recognised and respected around the world. British Education is renowned for the concern and importance given to the development of the whole personality of a child. The academic development is important, but not enough in itself. Children need to develop their potential to explore and discover the world around them, to think for themselves, to relate to others, to develop their bodies through sport and physical education, and to gain experience in taking responsibility.

Key Stage

Year Group
Age in Sept


Primary School

Early Years

Reception (4 years old)

The National Curriculum of England – organized and monitored by the Department for Education in England (DFE), enriched with elements from the Cambridge Assessment International Education in English and Mathematics.

In addition, students will study Romanian Language.

Key Stage 1

Year 1 (5 years old)

Year 2 (6 years old)

Key Stage 2

Year 3 (7 years old)

Year 4 (8 years old)

Year 5 (9 years old)

Year 6 (10 years old)

Secondary School

Key Stage 3

Year 7 (11 years old)

National Curriculum in England in all subjects with the exception of English, Mathematics and Science which will be based on the Cambridge Assessment International Education curriculum.

In addition, students will study Romanian Language

Year 8 (12 years old)

Year 9 (13 years old)

Key Stage 4

Year 10 (14 years old)

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) from Cambridge Assessment International Education.

Year 11 (15 years old)

Key Stage 5

Year 12 (16 years old)

The International Baccalaureate Diploma or the Career Programme Diploma from the International Baccalaureate examination board.

Year 13 (17 years old)

Primary School

Reception Stage (4 years old)


The Reception stage sets the standards that a school offering a British based curriculum must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It gives the children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.

The seven areas of learning and development at Reception stage: 

  • Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations
  • Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food
  • Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities
  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest
  • Mathematics involves providing children with opportunities to develop and improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems; and to describe shapes, spaces, and measure
  • Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment
  • Expressive arts and design involves enabling children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play, and design and technology

Sample of themes studied during the year:

  • Light and dark

  • In the garden

  • At the farm

  • Weather and seasons

  • People who help us

  • My family

  • Food and drink

  • At the zoo

  • Transport and travel

  • Our body

These themes are developed during the course of the year in various projects and fun activities, incorporating all seven areas of learning above.

In addition, students will start the reading programme based on the Oxford Reading tree scheme and will gradually improve their vocabulary and reading skills.

In numeracy they will learn the basic skills: counting, recognizing numbers, working with numbers (simple addition and subtraction), comparing numbers and quantities.

Year 1 and 2 (5 and 6 years old) – Key Stage 1


Key stage 1 (Year 1 and 2) consists of the following subjects:

  • Two core subjects Mathematics and English
  • Cross Curricular component which combines: Sciences, Geography, History, Drama and Art
  • Specialist subjects: Computer Science, Art, Music, Physical Education and Romanian Language 

We encourage children to take control of their learning and development at early age. We want them to take pride in their achievements and adopt an independent and self-reliant approach to school. Particular attention is given to the social and emotional development of all children.

The cross-curricular approach adopted in our school will provide a meaningful way in which students can use knowledge learned in one context as a knowledge base in other contexts in and out of school. It will increase students’ motivation for learning and their level of engagement.

Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2) / 8.30 – 16.00 (Monday to Friday)

Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 (7 – 10 years old) – Key Stage 2


Deepening the curriculum components and extending the learning on specific subject areas

Key stage 2 (Year 3 – 6) consists of the following subjects:

  • Two core subjects Mathematics and English
  • Cross Curricular component which combines: Sciences, Geography, History, Drama and Art
  • Specialist subjects: Computer Science, Art, Music, Physical Education, Modern Foreign Languages (French, German or Spanish) and Romanian Language 

A greater degree of autonomy is expected of the children as they move up to Key Stage 2, when they are gradually encouraged to accept new levels of responsibility and demonstrate leadership skills. Subject teaching becomes more defined especially in the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Computer Science. As students enter Year 6 they are prepared for the subject-oriented approach of the Secondary School.

The cross-curricular approach adopted in our school will provide a meaningful way in which students can use knowledge learned in one context as a knowledge base in other contexts in and out of school. It will increase students’ motivation for learning and their level of engagement.

Key Stage 2 (Year 3 – Year 6) / 8.30 – 16.00 (Monday to Friday)

Secondary School

Year 7, 8 and 9 (11, 12 and 13 years old) – Key Stage 3


Working towards academic excellence, discovering and developing skills and passions

The academic programme at the Secondary School Key Stage 3 level is based on the National Curriculum in England in all subjects, with the exception of: Romanian Language, English, Mathematics and Science. The school is using the Cambridge Assessment International Education programme for English, Mathematics and Science. This is called the Cambridge Lower Secondary 1 programme and it provides the perfect bridge towards the Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11) academic programme.

The purpose of the Key Stage 3 curriculum is to provide students with a wide variety of experiences and opportunities which will allow them to discover and develop skills and passions, but also to provide them with a solid academic base for their two-year IGCSE programme starting in Year 10.

In Key Stage 3 the lessons are taught by different specialist teachers and all students study the same curriculum except for the Modern Foreign Language where students have a choice between French, German or Spanish. In addition, the curriculum is enriched with several extracurricular activities that are happening in various ways during the school year.

Key Stage 3 (Year 7, 8 and 9) / 8.30 – 16.00 (Monday to Friday)

Year 10 and 11 (14 – 16 years old) – Key Stage 4


Working towards academic excellence, developing and making informed choices

The academic programme at the Secondary School Key Stage 4 level is based on the Cambridge Assessment International Education curriculum for Key Stage 4 in all subjects, with the exception of Romanian Language. By the end of Year 11 (age 16), students will sit the Internationally General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams in all their subjects (except for Romanian Language). The IGCSE is the equivalent of the qualification achieved by students in the schools in England at the same stage.

In Year 10 and 11, there are three compulsory subjects (English, Mathematics and Science) and four optional subjects out of the following: Computer Science, History, Geography, Economics, Business Studies, French, German, Spanish, Romanian, Music, Art and Drama. PSHEE and Physical Education are also on the timetable, are compulsory for all students but are not examinable subjects.

Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11) / 8.30 – 16.00 (Monday to Friday)

Year 12 and 13 (17 – 18 years old) – Key Stage 5


Personalised learning based on skills, aptitudes, and passions in preparation for higher education

The academic programme at Key Stage 5 (Year 12 and 13) is based on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Students completing the Cambridge iGCSE programme are eligible to start the IB Diploma Programme in Year 12, under certain established criteria.  Students not meeting the requirements for the IB Diploma Programme, will be given the option to improve their iGCSE portfolio by retaking certain iGCSE exams or start alternatives programs offered by the school.

The IB Diploma Programme successfully completed, together with the Cambridge iGCSE portfolio will allow our students to apply to any university in the world, including Romania.


Children of our generation develop skills in technology better than many adults. The IT world in its many forms has become an integral part of our day to day life and has brought a lot of benefits and challenges in our world and more specifically in education. Having access to technology in the classroom gives students different ways to learn and helps them develop various skills. Teachers use technology to come up with creative ways to keep children engaged and support the learning process. Used appropriately with teacher’s guidance as a mean to support progress and understanding, technology in the classroom can make the teaching and learning experience more meaningful and fun.

At BIST technology will be part of the curriculum and will be used to support the learning process. We will ensure to provide top quality IT resources (laptops, tablets, interactive whiteboards, etc…) in order to give our students the best possible opportunities to learn and develop skills, but also to support those who wish to study Computer Science at advanced level and possibly build a career in the IT world. In addition, we intend to offer various enrichment clubs (robotics, web design, young engineers, etc..) meant to show children how computers and technology can be used in various industries and can help us build a better future for our world.

PSHEE Programme (personal development)

Personal Social Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) provides a vital foundation for the personal development of our pupils in preparing them for adult life. The PSHEE curriculum follows the DFE framework which allows pupils to develop skills, knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  • Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities
  • Developing a healthy, safer lifestyle
  • Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people

The aim for PHSEE education is to provide students with:

  • Accurate and relevant knowledge
  • Opportunities to turn that knowledge into understanding
  • Opportunities to explore, clarify and if necessary challenge their own and others’ values, attitudes, beliefs, rights and responsibilities
  • The skills and strategies they need in order to live healthy, safe, fulfilling, responsible and balanced lives

PSHEE curriculum is a spiral programme that is progressive, year on year. The programme is delivered to every year in the Primary School and Secondary school through a weekly timetabled lesson. However, componnets of the PSHEE education and approach are part of all other lessons and delivered as and when necesary.

PSHEE is about teaching children the skills for life

Invisible Curriculum (SMSC)

SMSC stands for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. An international school with a British based curriculum must prove that the SMSC component is imbedded in the school routine, in and outside the lessons. Teachers must promote the SMSC development in their lessons and the school will put in place a number of programs and activities meant to address this fundamentally important aspect.

SMSC development is crucial for individual pupils and for society as a whole. Academic growth, progress and successful performance can only happen if the child feels safe (emotionally and physically) and develops socially, morally, culturally and spiritually. We at BIST believe that the heart of education is helping students grow and develop as people.


Explore beliefs and experiences; respect faiths, feelings and values; enjoy learning about oneself, others and the surrounding world; use imagination and creativity; reflect.


Recognise right and wrong; respect the law; understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues; offer reasoned views.


Use a range of social skills; participate in the local community; appreciate diverse viewpoints; participate, volunteer and cooperate; resolve conflict; engage with the international and school values


Appreciate cultural influences; participate in culture opportunities; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity

We are committed to supporting the
SMSC development of our children

Creative Arts

Creative arts play an important role in the development of a child. Children at early age express feelings and emotions so much better through drawing, singing or acting a role play in a story. Art, Music and Drama are vital components in our curriculum and we are aiming to ensure that all our children are taking an active role in this area.

Our children will be given rich opportunities to discover and display their talents through the curriculum and through various projects and activities organised during the school year.

Extra-Curricular Programme

Life at our school will be so much more than the academic curriculum and classroom activities. Our wide range of clubs, events and activities – both during and after school – offer students the chance to extend and enrich their interests, as well as providing opportunities for personal development.

Students mix and form new friendships, in some cases outside their own year group or campus as they learn new skills or improve existing ones.  The lessons learnt through collaboration on after school projects, hours of dance rehearsal or dedicated sporting practice are invaluable. It is through a full range of clubs, activities and sports that we help students find their true passions and excel in what they love to do.

Students, staff and parents are actively encouraged to get involved in the extra-curricular activities at the school coaching, advising and passing on their own expertise wherever possible. See below a list of possible activities that will gradually be implemented in the school programs:

  • School trips
  • Enrichment clubs
  • After school clubs
  • Drama productions
  • School multicultural events
  • Talent show
  • Public Speaking competitions
  • Debates
  • Sport competitions
  • Music, Art and Dance competitions
  • Career days
  • Guest speakers
  • School magazine
  • School council
  • Theme days
  • Houses and House Games
  • Sports Day
  • School assemblies
  • Prefect body
  • School band
  • School choir
  • Charity projects
  • Work Experience


Our policy on homework is based on the guidelines and standards developed by the Department of Education (DFE) in England, which are based on good practice observed in successful schools.

Homework is an important part of our school programme and it is meant to be meaningful and support the students with consolidating concepts studied in the classroom, exploring, practising and gaining new knowledge and skills.

Completing homework to a good standard should lead to enhanced learning and support progress overall. The school will have in place a homework policy which will clearly specify the expectations in terms of homework required at different levels and the time allocation for every Key Stage. All children are expected to complete their homework as required by the teacher or ask for support when they struggle with the work.

Short guidelines (content):

  • Reception group: reading practice based on Oxford reading tree scheme
  • Year 1: Reading practice, spelling and mental maths
  • Year 2: As above + one piece of Maths and English assignment a week
  • Year 3, 4 & 5: As Year 2 + one more item of homework each week
  • Year 6: As Year 2 + two items of homework each week
  • Year 7 – 9: Homework will be set in every subject studied every week (the quantity depends on the number of lessons per week in a particular subject)

Short guidelines (time):

  • Reception: 20 min a week
  • Year 1 & 2: 10 – 15 min a day
  • Year 3, 4 & 5: 20 – 30 min a day
  • Year 6: 30 – 40 min a day
  • Year 7 & 8: 45 – 60 min a day
  • Year 9: 60 – 75 min a day
  • Year 10: 90 – 120 min a day

Internal Evaluation

BIST will promote and implement a feedback and assessment policy meant to motivate and encourage children to continuously look for ways to: develop, express opinions and contribute to activities without the fear of making mistakes and to support them with their learning and progress.

Teachers at BIST will use a wide range of assessment strategies and will provide meaningful and constructive feedback, meant to give students valuable information about their abilities, attitude towards work and effort, targets for improvement, potential and predictions for future formal examinations. The internal evaluation system will be based on teachers’ ongoing feedback on children’s performance in the class, the quality of their homework, their effort and attitude towards work and development.

Primary School assessment system
Periodical assessments established by the school, depending on the age of the child, will be recorded and used to track progress and support the children with their development. Termly reports will be written and will give parents valuable information about the child’s development in the school at all levels.

Secondary School assessment system
Half-term assessment will take place in all the subjects students will be studying. The information gathered will be recorded and used to track students progress and support them with their learning. Progress reports will be issued at the end of every term and will give parents valuable information about their child’s development in the school at all levels.

Ongoing, constructive and meaningful feedback is an essential component of learning.

Examination System

Baseline assessment
Baseline evaluations will take place at the beginning of the year through GL Education UK provider. This set of assessments is not depended on prior learning or level of English, offering a fair assessment of students’ abilities and potential. It will help the school and the parents understand the child’s strengths, and areas of development and set realistic challenging targets.

Formal external examinations
Formal examinations will be based on Cambridge Assessment International Education examination board for Primary School and Key Stage 3 and 4 in the Secondary School. As the school will become a Cambridge Examination Centre, all the students will sit Cambridge exams at certain stages:

  • End of Year 6 – evaluation in English and Mathematics (Cambridge Checkpoint Primary exams)
  • End of Year 9 – evaluation in English, Mathematics and Science – (Cambridge Checkpoint Lower Secondary exams)
  • Year 10 and end of Year 11 – Cambridge IGCSE exams in all subjects studied except for Romanian, PSHEE and PE. The passing of these exams will result in students achieving the International General Certificate of Secondary Education qualifications.
  • End of Year 13 exams – International Baccalaureate Diploma, as the school aims to become an IB accredited centre

The qualifications offered at the British International School of Timisoara will lead to university entrance worldwide, including Romania.

English Language Support

BIST will provide additional support in English Language within the curriculum and the normal school timetable to help students integrate and access the full curriculum. The support will be offered based on the child’s level which will be determined on assessment before entry to the school, or at the beginning of the school year.

This means that the respective children will be taken off timetable from some lessons (lessons where we believe students may not benefit due to their level of English) and will be offered extra lessons of English in small groups. The number of EAL lessons in a week can vary from 2 to 10, depending on the English level your child has.

Students on an EAL programme will be evaluated on regular basis and will be taken off the programme as soon as the EAL coordinator determines that the student has a level of English that will allow him/her to fully access the curriculum with no real difficulties because the student has achieved the required level of English to do so.

Support and Challenge

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

BIST is committed to support all children regardless of their passions, skills, and academic level. Where specific educational needs are identified, the school SEN coordinator (Student Counsellor) will put together an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) together with the parents and the class teacher. This will contain all the necessary information about your child, objectives and strategies to be used by the teachers in the classroom in order to support the child and ensure learning is supported. The IEP will be regularly reviewed and adjusted as needed.

Differentiation (support and challenge)

BIST is committed to providing an educational system that will meet the needs of all the children, as best as possible. We acknowledge the fact that children will come to us with different backgrounds, different prior experiences and will have different abilities and learning styles. For these reasons we will put in place policies and procedures to ensure the best possible support for students who may need additional help, but at the same time will offer continuous challenge to the more able students. In addition, the school will implement various programs (including taking part in interschool competitions) meant to challenge most able students and offer opportunities to all students to discover and develop a wide range of abilities, talents and passions.