The emphasis is on a broad curriculum that develops and nurtures talent. Most subjects follow a spiral curriculum, meaning that they keep coming back to similar ideas but that these are reinforced and increase in complexity as students move up through the school. There is a strong emphasis on what students are learning in the classroom, rather than what they are being taught, and students are encouraged to push their own boundaries and develop their own individual learning styles. In this way we hope to equip them with the skills needed to become lifelong learners.

Key Stage One and Two

PenangIn our Primary School we have the commitment to offer our pupils every chance for an exciting, varied and challenging learning experience. The programme is founded on the National Curriculum for England, primarily delivered through the International Primary Curriculum and core subject planning: considering the needs of the individual and the development of the whole child.

Our location, in the residential area of Tanjung Bungah, allows us to provide excellent facilities in a welcoming open setting with bright well-resourced teaching areas and specialist facilities. Tenby International Primary School shares its site with the well-established, successful and popular Tenby International Secondary School and Sri Tenby Secondary School (Malaysian Curriculum). From January 2014, we will also be welcoming our colleagues from Sri Tenby Primary School onto our site. 

Key Stage Three

Key Stage 3 is the first three years of Secondary School, Years 7/8/9 (age 11-14). At Tenby, we essentially follow the English National Curriculum in these year groups, allowing a child to experience a well- balanced and broad educational program which has the English Language at its heart. 

At the same time our units of work are adapted and customized to give the children an appreciation of the environment in which they live and study, so that they can develop an awareness of their role as citizens of South-East Asia. As residents of Malaysia, we expect our students to study the national language, and develop an awareness of the country’s role in the region and the world. 

As an international school, we also recognize the importance of global citizenship. We expect many of our students to study and work overseas at the end of their time with us. Consequently, we value the virtues of internationalism, and we seek to foster an appreciation of cultural, religious and historical differences. We seek to meet the needs of individual learners while encouraging the values of teamwork and building relationships. Our goal is to equip all pupils with the skills that allow them to become lifelong learners. 

Our PSE program at Key Stage 3 seeks to develop our students’ awareness of the community and world that they inhabit. There is a strong focus on developing interpersonal skills, working with others, and recognizing what citizenship entails. Students will experience a range of topics and activities that foster an awareness of their personal and social needs, allied to the needs of others in the community. There will be a focus on our role as members of a local and global community, incorporating issues such as environmentalism and the role of The United Nations.

The broad curriculum at Key Stage 3 allows students to try out a range of different subjects. All subjects are compulsory, although students do get to choose Chinese or French as a language option. The school week allows for a wide and varied co-curricular programme. In addition, there is English Language support available at all stages of the school for those requiring it.

Assessments take place throughout the year and are an integral part of the classroom experience.  It is a very important part of the system that students know what level they are working at and what they need to do to move forward to the next level. In this respect, personalised targets are set for every student. These are reported to parents approximately every ten weeks throughout the school year. All major assessments are levelled according to the age of the student. The levels reported to parents and students range typically from level 3 to level 8. Assessments may take the form of tests, but students are also assessed by a variety of other methods including investigations, essays, display posters and oral presentations. Cambridge Checkpoint Tests in English, Maths and Science are taken at the end of Year Nine. These act as indicators of progress towards Key Stage Four and the IGCSE exams.

Subjects followed at key stage 3:

Bahasa Malaysia (Language/Culture) 
Chinese or French
Design Technology
English (First Language)
Information & Communication Technology (ICT)
Physical and Health Studies (PHS)
Personal and Social Education (PSE). PSE includes Moral Education requirement for Malaysian students
Agama is offered to all Muslim students across TIS

Key Stage Four

Key Stage 4 is Years 10 and 11 (age 14-16), or the IGCSE year groups. The emphasis on students following a broad curriculum is maintained at this stage, although students can choose to specialize in certain areas where they feel stronger. Their choices, or options, are negotiated in consultation with parents and teachers to ensure smooth progress. All students continue to follow a curriculum primarily in English. The core curriculum is English (Language and Literature), Mathematics and PE / PSE. PE can also be selected as an examination subject. Students then choose a language option plus six further options to bring the total number of subjects taken to ten. 

The IGCSE programme has been designed specifically for 14 to 16 year olds and aims to prepare students for further academic success, including progression to A–Levels, and to equip students will the skills needed for future employment. IGCSE is equivalent in standard to the British GCSE and is recognised as evidence of ability by academic institutions and employers around the world.

IGCSE provides a broad study programme by drawing subjects from six areas: Languages, Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics and Creative, Technical and Vocational. Within the curriculum there is a balanced mix of practical experience and theoretical knowledge. All students take IGCSE exams at the end of Year 11 and can be entered for the International Certificate of Education (ICE), which is awarded if students attain at least a Grade C in these six key subject areas (plus one additional C grade from any of the areas). 

We recognize the needs of a growing and developing student, and seek to provide a classroom environment that challenges academically but also allows for exploration and questioning. Our program at this stage seeks to encourage problem solving and lateral thinking, and we seek to provide the students with the necessary skills to succeed and adapt at a higher level. Our awareness of the growing demands of colleges, universities and the workplace has led to a focus on sharpening the skills that will allow our students to prosper outside of the secondary classroom.

Our PSE program is comprehensive and compulsory.  It seeks to develop the student’s awareness of life skills and their role in the various communities they inhabit, be they family, school or on a national and international level. The changing face of the world, with regard to history, politics, the environment and the role of young people is at the forefront of what we study. Our goal is to give our pupils the confidence and knowledge required to adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing region. Our units and activities seek to promote team building and understanding of others, while encouraging individuality and flexibility. 

The IGCSE curriculum allows teaching to be placed in a localised context, making it relevant in different regions. It is also suitable for students whose first language may not be English and this is acknowledged throughout the examination progress. However, it is essential to note that English is the language of instruction at Tenby International School Penang and as such students do require a set level of competency in this area in order to achieve their potential and to be able to access the programmes of study with ease.

Grading is on an eight-point scale (A* – G) and grades A to E are equivalent to O Level Grades A to E. In some countries, IGCSE qualifications will satisfy the entry requirements for university. In others, they are widely used as a preparation for A Level, AS, International Baccalaureate and US Advanced Placement courses. Grade C in IGCSE English satisfies the English proficiency requirements of many universities in the UK and other Anglophone countries.

Click on any of the subjects listed below for more details
Core subjects

 Language Option
Students choose one from the following list

Options subjects
Students choose six options from the list below. All students must select at least one science subject. Bahasa Malaysia is compulsory for all Malaysians. For details of the subject combinations available each year, please download our Options Form.

Assessments take place throughout the year and are an integral part of the classroom. Students are assessed continually throughout the course and equivalent IGCSE grades are given in relation to a personalised target. Students should know at all times what they need to do to achieve thrier target in a specific subject. There are formal end of year exams in year 10, and  mock exams (which are sat in January of Year 11). Assessments may take the form of tests, but students are also assessed by a variety of other methods including investigations, essays, display posters and oral presentations. 

For information about our key stage 4 programme, please download our IGCSE Handbook.

Key Stage Five

Key Stage 5 is the new addition to our school curriculum.  Students who choose to return in Years 12 and 13 will be following the Cambridge International A-Level program, with a view to obtaining places at colleges and universities both nationally and internationally. The school provides a range of subjects that allow students to develop in those areas that they excel, while also offering a challenging and inclusive core program that offers opportunities for personal and social development. Students will follow a full and demanding timetable, although there will be times when they have time for thought and reflection.  An area of the school is set aside for Year 12 and 13 as a space for private study.

We expect our students at this stage of their education to be role models for the younger students, and to represent the best aspects of a Tenby student. We encourage students in these years to contribute fully to the life of the school, and offer many opportunities for personal and social development. Teachers will provide the necessary academic instruction but will also adopt a more guiding role, encouraging students to become independent, motivated learners as we seek to bridge the gap between school and college (or the workplace). Our core program, incorporating AS Global Perspectives, is designed to provide a continued breath of program which will enhance the life skills and character of all involved. A range of careers and college advice is provided by our college counselor, and each student will benefit from a small class environment, and close and customized tutoring.

Our CCA program remains open to students in Years 12 and 13. While there is no compulsory PE in the timetable, it is to be hoped that students will continue to make choices that acknowledge the importance of a healthy and sensible lifestyle, embracing sport and leisure activities. The International Award is designed to enhance opportunities for travel, interacting with the community, and furthering an awareness of different cultural, physical and social environments. The ultimate goal of our post-16 program is to turn out thoughtful, balanced and educated citizens of the future, who have the capacity to lead and to make change wherever they go. It is a new and challenging program, but one that will benefit whoever experiences it.

Subjects available at Key Stage 5

Students can choose between 4 and 6 subjects each year, to be chosen from the list below (subject to demand in any particular year). Information on the subjects offered in the upcoming academic year can be found here:

English Literature
Core programme (compulsory)
Further Maths
Art & Design
Business Studies
Applied ICT

For more information concerning the curriculum at Key Stage 5, please see our Sixth Form Prospectus.