ICHK believes that the secondary school experience should deliver both character and academic achievement in the same child. Our philosophy is grounded in the conviction that young people should be supported in developing their all-round characters, including but not confined to the academic dimension, so that they experience themselves as strong, confident, impassioned learners.
We have developed a unique curriculum for students: one that combines the best features from programmes around the world with elements of our own design and blends them into a stimulating, challenging learning journey.
The keystone of our educational approach is Human Technologies, and as a lens for thought and action, this informs all aspects of the educational experience.
Students’ experience of school is configured around the notion of an ‘epistemic apprenticeship’, which underscores the ways in which school provides guidance and role modelling for every aspect of students’ performance – including the academic, social, emotional and values-driven dimensions of their lives.
The Epistemic Apprenticeship
we do at ICHK – work hard and be nice.
With these words, all students understand, and are encouraged to work hard at being who they want to be.
This is a critical part of the ‘epistemic apprenticeship’ which is built into the fabric of our school.
The term, coined by the Professor of Psychology and Education Guy Claxton, underscores the ways in which school provides guidance and role modelling for every aspect of students’ performance.
This includes not just academic work but the social, emotional and values-driven dimensions of students’ lives.
Essentially it is about creating an environment and opportunities to serve an apprenticeship in being the best you can be.
This is an approach we have been developing and refining for a number of years at ICHK, through our innovative Human Technologies and Outdoor Learning programmes. All learning and teaching is framed through the HT lens, offering students a toolkit for becoming better human beings in an ever-changing world.
“ In a few years, when the rest of this part of the world better understands and appreciates the value proposition that you are offering, you will be in the position of being among the first adaptors. You will be seen as having been cutting edge and in touch with the importance of this approach, helping students to be in the best possible position to meet the challenges they face in the future. ” ⏤ Joe Rosenthal, Executive Director of Harker School
Our goal is to create and sustain a mental and physical environment in which it makes sense and is possible for students to want to be and to build towards being the best people they can be.
We understand that the point of an apprenticeship is not the immediate performance, so much as the cumulative development that is going on behind the specific tasks.
Therefore we are proud to offer regular occasions for our students to rehearse being happy, confident, intelligent, collaborative, dependable, considerate, gracious, self-motivating, ethical, proactive warriors.
A school’s curriculum includes all those student activities — academic and non-academic — for which the school takes responsibility, as they all have a significant impact on student learning.
The secondary school years are vital in terms of all-round character development. In this bridging period between childhood reliance and adult responsibility, students take further steps in their journey to self-realisation, which include adopting approaches and attitudes to challenge which will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Our unique and innovative Year 7-9 curriculum offers students a stimulating and challenging learning journey. Key to this journey is ensuring that they develop resilience and the attitudes and mindsets that will underpin ongoing enjoyment of life, performance and success. All students, not just a minority, participate in the full range of school activities – sports teams, drama productions, outdoor expeditions, service projects – which stretch and stimulate them as fully rounded young learners.
All Year 7 students follow the ICHK Transitions course, which is an innovative programme specially designed to support them with their move to secondary school.
Our programme features a combination of established subjects including English, Mathematics and Science, along with courses of our own design like Human Technologies. These are steeped in educational research and help to ensure that students develop the skills to meet the challenges of a globalized and technology-centred economy. The programme includes:
For more information please see our brochure, below:
In Years 10 and 11 we follow IGCSEs. We ensure progression and continuity by building on the achievements of the earlier years and by preparing students for the rigours of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) offered in Years 12 and 13.
All students take the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Second Language, Human Technologies, Enrichment and Flow and PE. Students also select two options from subjects including Art, Drama, Media Studies, Environmental Management, Economics, History, Expressive Arts, Global Perspectives and Enrichment and Flow.
Human Technologies helps students discover and develop skills for learning including self-management, collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, inquiry and ICT skills, whilst practicing self-reflection and self awareness. Enrichment and Flow offers students the opportunity to dig deeper into areas of personal interest and passion and to take more control over their own learning.
For more information please see our IGCSE Curriculum Brochure below:
In Years 12-13 students follow the IB Diploma Programme. This is a challenging and increasingly celebrated two-year course of study leading to a qualification that is recognised by the world’s leading universities.
Students can also complete their journey to Mastery, and complete the Mastery Transcript, in addition to the IB.
ICHK celebrates strong results every year, and our graduating students have taken up prestigious universities around the world, studying Medicine, Economics, Theatre, Marine Engineering, Chemistry, Psychology, History, Biomedical Science and other courses.
For much more detailed information on the IB Diploma, please see our IB Curriculum Brochure below and visit the IBO website.
Beyond the Curriculum
Approaches to Learning
Attaining academic results is a significant part of this, but so too is promoting the personal qualities that underpin good learning – and living – habits. Harvard University’s website asks the following of would-be applicants:
“… what choices have you made for yourself and why, what about your maturity, warmth, sense of humour, energy, concern for others, grace under pressure, will you stand up to the pressures and freedoms of college life, would other students want to share a room with you, share a meal, be in a seminar together, be teammates, collaborate on a tightly knit project?”
The answers to these questions do not really concern exam results or “grade point averages”. Rather they point to the habits of mind, and the actions and behaviours to which these lead, that make someone a success in life, a joy to be around and a pleasure to work with.
The ICHK Approaches to Learning, on which we report specifically twice a year, give students feedback in respect to some of these habits of mind: their attitude to challenge, resilience and motivation, attitude to feedback and advice, organization, initiative and decision-making, ability to work independently and with others, self-regulation and contribution to class.
In assessing Approaches to Learning, we always remind ourselves that students’ performances are closely tied to their sense of confidence and energy, which is why ongoing, honest conversations about personal welfare and motivation are central to individual success. The link between emotional wellbeing and academic achievement is becoming increasingly clear, which is why it guides so much of what we do as a school.