The Academic Faculties of the BSM Senior School echo the structure of the IB subject groups.
We have six Academic Faculties and a Physical Education Department.
Our Faculty structure comprises:
The English Faculty at BSM incorporates two Departments: English, and English as an Additional Language.
Together, we aim to foster in each of our students an appreciation of the depth and complexity of spoken and written English, and encourage confident, meaningful self-expression.
English involves the acquisition and appreciation of language and literature. At BSM, we passionately believe the study of English is not only a gateway to the rest of the curriculum, but also a platform from which to actively communicate with the world around us. In our classrooms, students learn to self-express, reason, justify, interpret, question, critique, explore and empathize: skills that are vital as learners, and even more valuable beyond our walls.
Six enthusiastic and experienced English teachers work closely to deliver the courses outlined below.
Key Stage 3: National Curriculum in England
Our KS3 curriculum is grounded in the English National Curriculum course, then thoughtfully tailored to the needs of our international school community.
Love Poetry Through Time
War Poetry Across Cultures
Reading Media Messages
Stone Cold by Robert Swindells
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Introduction to Shakespeare
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Pre-1900 Short Stories
Media (Gender bias)
Key Stage 4: Edexcel IGCSEs in English Language (Specification A) and English Literature
KS4 English students sit two IGCSE exams: English Language, and English Literature. The syllabuses include a range of both fiction and non-fiction texts.
Prose: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Drama: An Inspector Calls by J B Priestley
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Unseen Literary appreciation
Sixth Form: International Baccalaureate
Sixth Form studies of English offer a choice to study Language and Literature, or Literature. Both options comprise the study of complex works from diverse periods, cultures and genres, and their relationship to the human condition.
We are proud to enjoy a 100% student participation and pass rate at IB.
Language and Literature students learn to:
- Experience a range of non-literary and literary texts of different periods, genres, styles and contexts.
- Explore how language works to create meanings in a culture.
- Become more aware of the wider contexts of spoken and written language.
- Engage in independent literary criticism and reveal a personal response to any form of literature.
- Learn more about the relationship between language and society.
- Understand and comment on the effectiveness of techniques and styles employed by writers.
Literature students learn to:
- Experience a range of literary works of different periods, genres, styles and contexts.
- Broaden their perspectives through the study of works from other cultures and languages.
- Engage in independent literary criticism and reveal a personal response to any form of literature.
- Establish a thorough knowledge of individual works and relationships between groups of works.
- Understand structure, technique and style employed by writers.
Text Types for Literature and Language & Literature(*only for this course):
|Novels||Plays||Poetry||Short Stories||Texts in Translation|
Activities Beyond the Classroom
- Year 7 cultural trip to Venice
- Year 8 cultural trip to Verona
- Year 12 cultural trip to London
- KS3 live theatre excursions
- Poetry on the Lake excursion
- Opportunities to write for the school magazine
- After school creative writing and poetry clubs
- Promotion of local literary festivals
English as an Additional Language Department (EAL/ESL)
English is the medium of communication and learning at BSM, therefore the mission of the EAL Department is to enable all students learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) to acquire the language skills required for day-to-day participation and academic success in all aspects of the curriculum. We are proud to offer courses that are unique, tailored specifically for our pupils, but even prouder of the fantastic achievements made by our pupils.
Two specialised teachers work closely to develop and deliver the personalised programmes outlined below.
- to provide personalised programmes for all EAL students to enable them to access mainstream subjects and integrate successfully into the BSM community
- to provide a learning environment where students feel confident in expressing themselves in English
- to enable students to reach their full academic and personal potential through the use of English
Key Stage 3: English as an Additional Language
In Key Stage 3, our second language programmes are divided into two specific learning opportunities: EAL Literacy and EAL Topic.
Literacy courses develop reading, writing, listening and speaking, with emphasis on analysing genres commonly encountered at school, and writing for a range of purposes.
EAL Topic focuses specifically on the language and skills required to access mainstream subject areas (History, Geography, Science and English Literature).
In addition to the intensive withdrawal programmes, whenever possible, students are supported in the mainstream classroom by EAL staff. This support is provided in language-rich subject areas such as Geography and History.
Key Stage 4: Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (0510/0511)
The IGCSE ESL course provides a fitting option for students who are capable communicators in some aspects of English and who wish to develop their grammatical awareness and accuracy. This course prepares pupils for three components of the exam: reading and writing, listening and speaking.
Sixth Form: Academic Writing Programme
The Academic Writing course offers pupils an intensive, high-level language package that includes analysis of various academic texts, and a focus on sophisticated structure and grammar. Together, these strands provide students with the tools to develop a confident, objective academic writing style. Students work in small groups and are also offered one-to-one drop-in sessions. This is especially helpful in preparing for the Extended Essay and the TOK Essay.
Languages contribute to the cultural and linguistic richness of our society, to personal fulfillment, mutual understanding, commercial success, international trade and global citizenship. Language learning is a lifelong skill. Thus it is the aim of the Languages Faculty to provide our students with outstanding teaching and learning opportunities which will enhance their potential and enthusiasm.
Our students will study at least 2 languages (including English) from the day they join BSM until the day they receive their IB Diploma in Year 13. Therefore, Languages are a core part of the whole-school curriculum at all Key Stages.
At BSM, students can study:
- Italian Language A (Native students)
- Italian Language B (Foreign language students)
- Other languages - as an international community, we value our cultural and linguistic diversity and try to give students the possibility to take a further qualification in their mother tongue.
- to develop positive attitudes towards learning and speaking foreign languages
- to develop a cultural awareness that can prepare students for a life as global citizens
- to develop empathy towards others and understand the skills required to communicate effectively in a different language
- to become confident with language and communication
Key Stage 3
Developing our Languages skills:
From the outset, all our students are challenged and encouraged to communicate in the target language inside and outside the classroom and become confident and enthusiastic linguists. Students are given the opportunity to learn and develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in French and Italian.
In Year 9, students start an advanced course in French and Italian Language B which give them the opportunity to take their IGCSE French and Italian as a Foreign Language a year early, at the end of Year 10.
Why learn a language at IGCSE level?
- Languages give you choices.
- In most careers nowadays language abilities are highly valued and there is a particular shortage of people with languages in Engineering and Finance. An IGCSE in a language will make you more employable.
- An IGCSE in a language will help you get into university. Some universities now require a language GCSE for degree courses in English, History and Law.
What’s on offer at BSM?
- IGCSE French
- IGCSE Italian as a Foreign Language
- IGCSE Spanish
- AS French (Y11)
- AS Spanish (Y11)
- CILS (Y11)
Sixth Form (International Baccalaureate)
Courses on offer:
IB Language B, SL/HL/Ab Initio in French, Italian and Spanish
Studying a Language at IB level will not only prepare you for Higher Education but will also offer you many opportunities over the two year course to interact with native speakers. For instance, thanks to our link with the French School of Milan, our students have the chance to go to Lycée Stendhal and attend lessons taught entirely in French and to take part in a Debate Day.
Activities Beyond the Classroom
At all stages, to further develop their exposure to the language, students are offered the opportunity to take part in various extra-curricular activities. These include:
- theatre performances in the target language
- cultural and language trips abroad
- visits to the French and Spanish Institutes in Milan
- lectures followed by discussions with Italian writers
- taster sessions in various languages delivered by our own students and staff during “Languages Week”
- projects with the French School of Milan
- Skype projects
- pen-pal correspondence
- Cinema Club
Studying a humanities subject encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them. It equips them with the necessary skills to enquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, philosophical, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments.
The use of real-world examples, research and analysis are essential elements of the humanities subjects in all year groups. Learners are encouraged to consider local and global contexts.
The study of Business and Economics allows students to understand how different individuals and groups interact in an ever-changing business environment and in a complex economic world.
These dynamic subjects bring the real world into the classroom. They develop students’ insights into how business failure can lead to future success and how countries can move from recession to growth.
Typical lessons include the use of case studies, debates, research, videos, up-to-date news and role play. These subjects are chosen by students who want to understand how different individuals and groups interact in an ever-changing business environment and in a complex economic world.
Both Business and Economics are taught as much from current events in the world as from textbooks and either is a suitable subject for students who are interested in current events from the local level to the global. Either subject can be an exciting and a fresh start for students at IB level.
Sixth Form: IB Business Management
IB Business Management gives the opportunity for students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and critical thinking in the world of marketing, profits and ethics.
This course encourages students to:
- have a holistic view of the world of business
- empower students to think critically and strategically about individual and organizational behaviour
- promote the importance of exploring business issues from different cultural perspectives
- enable the students to appreciate the nature and significance of change in a local, regional and global context
- promote awareness of the importance of environmental, social and ethical factors in the actions of individuals and organizations
- develop an understanding of the importance of innovation in a business environment.
All of the topics studied have undercurrent themes that affect the theory. These themes are: Change, Culture, Ethics, Globalisation, Innovation, Strategy.
SL/HL Core topics: Business organisation and environment; Human resource management; Accounts and finance; Marketing; Operations management
Sixth Form: IB Economics
All students learn the basic micro-economic and macro-economic models, how the market system can fail, how governments can manage their economies in the global context and how poorer countries can develop. Higher level students also study the ‘theory of the firm’.
This course gives all students the opportunity to develop their quantitative and qualitative skills, as well as foster a concern for global issues looking at diverse international perspectives in this interdependent world. It also gives the opportunity to students to develop their entrepreneurial skills and critical thinking in the world of marketing, profits and ethics
All students study the Core material, which is common to both Higher and Standard Level. In brief, the topics in the Core are as follows:
The Market System – how consumers and firms reach decisions
Market Failure – how markets do not always allocate resources efficiently
Macroeconomics – how national economies work and are managed
International Economics – trade, financial flows and global issues
Development – how to raise human wellbeing alongside economic growth
Higher Level students also study:
One major additional Unit: The Theory of the Firm
Extension topics in all the SL areas:
Quantitative techniques of analysis
Theories in International Trade
Activities Beyond the Classroom
Students can participate in the annual Royal Economic Society essay competition to apply their knowledge further.
Activities and trips
For IB Business Management primary research is conducted based on real businesses which is then used in their coursework and examinations. Activities and an excursion are organised to study the businesses successes and failures. In 2019 students visited and studied the Manchester United Football Club business model that focuses on merchandise and sponsorships to make profit.
Dragons' Den style presentation
Students create a new business idea/product and pitch it to ‘Dragons’ (teachers) to gain investment. Random everyday items are picked from a bag to be used as inspiration.
Brand Taste Test
Students put their senses to the test when they are asked to identify which chocolates and soft drinks are the famous brands and which are the supermarket brands.
Geography is a dynamic subject that links the past, present and future enabling us to further understand the ever-changing world in which we live. By studying Geography at BSM, students have the opportunity to extend their locational/place knowledge, deepen their spatial awareness and develop their geographical and fieldwork skills.
There are three specialist Geography teachers within the Department who are experienced, enthusiastic, well-travelled and passionate about the subject. Geography is compulsory from Years 7 - 9 and it is offered at IGCSE level in Years 10 and 11 and at IB diploma level in Years 12 and 13.
Overall, the Geography Department aims to develop students’:
- knowledge and understanding of where they live,
- consideration of other people, cultures and places by encouraging open mindedness,
- understanding of how people and places interrelate and interconnect,
- ability to foster people-environmental relationships
- fieldwork and enquiry skills.
Key Stage 3
The topics studied give a foundation which instils a love of Geography and prepares the students to study the subject further. Assessments throughout KS3 take the form of ICT projects, presentations, video creation, mini-coursework, clay modelling, news reports, examinations and other assessed tasks throughout the year. In Year 9 many students opt to study Geography further at IGCSE level.
- Students study Map Skills (Making Connections), Plate Tectonics (Our Restless Planet), Settlement and Shopping and the Geography of Sport.
- The Year 7 fieldtrip is to Piacenza (a small town south east of Milan) where the students carry out an urban environment study and complete a project about their findings.
- Student study Coasts, Glaciation, Weather and Climate and Geography of Food.
Piani d'Erna, Lecco is visited for a day trip where students have the opportunity to see and study a glaciated landscape.
- Students study Rivers and Flooding; Development and Disease and Geography of Crime and Conflict.
- A fieldtrip to the River Lambro is organised where data is collected at different points of the river and a project is completed about the findings.
- A greater competence is developed in using geographical concepts as students begin to look at geographical models and if they are always applicable to ‘real world’ situations.
Key Stage 4
Years 10 and 11
- Students study the Cambridge (CIE) IGCSE in Geography. Topics include Population Dynamics and Settlement; Plate Tectonics; Rivers; Coasts; Weather; Climate and Natural Vegetation; Development; Food Production; Industry; Tourism; Energy; Water; and Environmental Risks of Economic Development. A fieldtrip to Elba is organised for five days in June of Year 10 and students begin their coursework on Tourism.
- KS3 skills are developed, including teamwork, enquiry skills, presenting, interpreting and data analysis.
Years 12 and 13
- All IB Diploma Geography students in Year 12 study Freshwater, Changing Population and Global Climate. In Year 13 all students study Global Resource Composition and Security, Leisure, Sport and Tourism. The HL students also study Global Perspectives and Urban Environments.
- The independent learning, enquiry and self-reflection skills which the students have developed throughout their Geography studies at BSM are built upon in the sixth form as well as all elements of the IB learner profile. Debating, essay writing, synthesising, evaluating and decision making skills are also practised and enhanced. This enables the students to be further prepared for university life and beyond. A fieldtrip is organised where students have to collect primary data for their Internal Assessment (IA).
ACTIVITES BEYOND THE CLASSROOM:
Fieldtrips are an important part of Geography at BSM. All students have the opportunity to go on organised, educational geographical excursions every year to bring what we study in the classroom into ‘real life’ situations.
Projects are completed relevant to the investigative tasks set from the fieldwork and students become proficient in skills such as working together, data recording and handling, questioning techniques, analytical techniques, and organisational skills all of which are transferable into different areas of the curriculum and ultimately into the world of work.
Geography Awareness Week (GAW)
GAW takes place in November and numerous Geography related activities occur across the school, such as Senior School students delivering assemblies to the Primary School and helping out in Geography lessons.
The department is a member of the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society.
Through the study of History, pupils acquire and apply knowledge, skills and understanding. History encourages children to discover their past, and use it to better orientate themselves in the present and future. Students develop the ability to recognize the major themes associated with human development and the continued relevance of these across vast periods of time.
History students learn to:
- Recall, select and organise knowledge
- Construct a historical argument
- Understand, interpret, evaluate and use a range of sources as evidence, in their historical context
History Through the Senior School
We aim to inspire students to engage with History by utilizing a variety of learning styles, such as debate, role play, presentation work, group and individual work. We share assessment criteria with students, encouraging them to take responsibility for their own progress and inspiring a culture of independent learning.
William the Conqueror, Medieval Life, The Tudors
The English Civil War, Stuart Life, Revolutions, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, The Civil Rights Movement
Pre-War Britain, World War I, Interwar Years, World War II
Nazi Germany, Post World War I Peace Treaties, The Cold War, The Gulf 1970-1991
IB Standard and Higher
World War I, World War II, Spanish Civil War, Chinese Civil War, The Gulf War, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Rights and Protests
IB Higher Only
European Rivalry and German Foreign Policy 1871-1914, The Impact of World War I on Britain and Russia, Inter-war years , Weimar Germany and the rise of Hitler, German Foreign Policy 1914-1941,Mussolini, The impact of World War II on Italy and Britain
Activities Beyond the Classroom
- Debate Club
- History Competition Club
- London Cultural Trip
Philosophy involves a critical and creative exploration into some of the most enduring questions facing humanity: What does it mean to be human? Is free will an illusion? What do we mean when we say something is right or wrong?
Studying Philosophy enables students to engage with some of the world’s most interesting and influential thinkers. It challenges students to question these perspectives and formulate and defend their own philosophical arguments. Philosophy develops not only extensive knowledge of a broad range of philosophical positions but also a wealth of transferable analytical skills. Highly regarded for its academic rigour, it empowers students to think and argue with supreme clarity and precision.
The benefits of Philosophy extend beyond curriculum confines. Studying Philosophy also becomes an enriching personal experience which often cultivates in students a lifelong enjoyment of the subject.
Philosophy is taught at Key Stage 5 by the Head of Department, as a Group 3 option on the IB Diploma Programme.
The Philosophy Department at the British School of Milan honours the aims of the IB Diploma Programme. We strive to engage students in philosophical activity, enabling them to:
- develop an inquiring and intellectually curious way of thinking
- formulate arguments in a sound and purposeful way
- examine critically their own experiences and their ideological and cultural perspectives
- appreciate the diversity of approaches within philosophical thinking
- apply their philosophical knowledge and skills to the world around them.
IB DIPLOMA PROGRAMME
The IB Philosophy Curriculum is a dynamic programme which involves the analysis of primary philosophical texts and an exploration of classic philosophical issues from diverse world perspectives. All students are required to undertake their own philosophical investigation for coursework and Higher Level students also engage in an exploration of the nature of Philosophy itself.
Standard and Higher Level students undertake the following modules:
- The Core Theme: What does it mean to be human? Explores issues such as the self, the mind-body problem, identity, human nature and personhood
- Ethics: Normative ethics, meta-ethics and applied topics such as biomedical ethics and the distribution of wealth
- Prescribed Philosophical text: On Liberty by J.S.Mill
- Internal Assessment: Philosophical analysis of a non-philosophical stimulus
Higher Level students also undertake the following additional modules:
- Political Philosophy
- Higher Level Extension - Exploring Philosophical Activity.
Philosophy learning at the British School of Milan fully embraces the IB spirit of ‘doing Philosophy’. Students are active and independent learners, stimulated in each lesson to sharpen their cognitive skills. Philosophy students prove themselves to be thinkers and active enquirers, who open-mindedly engage with a range of philosophical issues and concepts. They are able to formulate arguments clearly and make reasoned judgements. They show intellectual curiosity which extends to their learning as a whole.
Beyond the Classroom
Students are encouraged to participate in related activities such as debating, Philosophy essay-writing competitions and attend relevant political events such as the annual Science for Peace Conference in Milan.
Welcome to the Science Faculty! Underpinning all of our courses is an aim to help students become responsible citizens who are scientifically and technologically literate in the modern and changing world.
Science and computing are taught at the British School of Milan by seven enthusiastic subject specialist teachers supported by resourceful technicians who endeavour to make all the subjects interesting, exciting, challenging and relevant to all students. Students are given the opportunity to explore scientific concepts through experimental investigation.
Resources and Facilities
- The science faculty works in five purpose-built and well-equipped science laboratories and one dedicated computer room designed to modern standards and decorated with eye-catching displays.
- Safe experimental and investigative work is at the core of all science teaching at the school.
- Information technology is also widely used with computers in every room plus data-logging equipment, data projectors and an interactive whiteboard.
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”
Key Stage 3
Science: The core philosophy of KS3 science is that students should learn through discovery in a fun and engaging environment.
Lessons are designed to enable inquisitive minds to flourish; students are given the freedom to investigate their own questions. This sometimes has a competitive edge as during the Year 9 Science Fair.
Collaboration is an integral part of how scientists work and so forms the basis of how our students learn.
Teamwork and leadership are some of the skills we foster through group work along with equipping our students with the science-specific expertise required to excel in the subject. Students take part in a wide range of activities from building models of satellites to making their own cosmetics. Real word situations are used to spark debate about current controversial scientific issues like genetically modified food or the economic impact of the space programme.
Topics covered include:
- Cells, Reproduction, Life Support, Keeping Healthy, People and Environment, Shaping Life;
- Classification, Acid reactions, Particles, Elements and Compounds, Chemical Reactions, The Periodic Table, Inside Materials, Metal Reactions;
- Heating and Cooling, Light, Sound, Electricity and Magnetism, Energy, Forces and Space.
ICT: Students will take this subject in years 7, 8 & 9 for one double period a week. Further details can be found on the ICT and Computer Science page.
Key Stage 4
Science: In Years 10 and 11 all students follow IGCSE separate science courses – Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students must follow at least one science IGCSE although it is recommended that at least two be chosen. Indeed, most students take two or even three science subjects. Each science is taught over two double lessons per week.
Computing and ICT: Students are able to continue with IGCSE Computer Science, studying two double periods a week.
Sixth Form Science
The Sixth Form students in the school follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. All students are required to study a science in group 4 and will have the option of studying a second science in group 6. The science subjects offered are Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
The chosen sciences may be studied at either Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL). We aim to make the sciences stimulating, relevant, enjoyable and accessible for all our students so that they may progress to further study at whatever level they chose.
Activities Beyond the Classroom
To enrich and support our taught courses, we offer a variety of activities and extension opportunities including a Science Club and Year 9 Science Fair.
The school has been very successful entering the COBIS Young Scientist Competition. In 2014, a group of Year 10 students won the Best Biology Film Award, in 2015 a group of Year 11 students won the Best Biology Film Award and in 2016 a group of Year 9 students won the Best KS3 Film Award.
The Faculty organises a number of field trips to various locations, including the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva.
Life flourishes on Earth, and a curiosity about life is a major reason why people study Biology. Biologists seek to explain the nature of living things and to understand where and how life is evolving, how evolution links life processes and ecology, and the impact that humans have on all forms of life.
Biology is the study of life in all its forms and understanding biology is fundamental to modern society, whether it be choosing to vaccinate children or choosing to buy organic food. Biology is one of the most dynamic fields of study with breakthroughs being made on a daily basis. IB Biology consolidates these ideas in a modern international context.
Our students develop an understanding and enjoyment of the study of living organisms. We encourage this by teaching through discovery, using investigative and practical work. This also allows students to develop the essential skill set needed to become a proficient biologist.
Through the Biology IGCSE course students study all aspects of the living world ranging from microbiology to ecology.
- better understand the technological world, with an informed interest in scientific matters
- recognise the usefulness (and limitations) of the scientific method, and how to apply this to other disciplines and in everyday life
- develop an awareness of the importance of accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity, enquiry, initiative and inventiveness
- better understand the influence and limitations placed on scientific study by society, the economy, technology, ethics, the community and the environment
The IB Biology course explores the relationships between structure and function at all levels of life. Students learn about cell theory, the chemistry of living things, plant science and genetics, among other topics to further their understanding of Biology.
Mirroring scientists in real life, our students are encouraged to work collaboratively and often with scientists from other disciplines to design and carry out independent investigative work. Emphasis is on the development of investigative skills throughout the course. Students have opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings.
Chemistry plays a big role in our lives. We cannot live without chemistry; everything that we can touch, smell, feel is made up of chemicals. Even humans are made up of chemicals because we are composed of atoms.
Chemistry enables pupils to develop a range of practical skills which contribute to their overall life skills. Lessons stimulate curiosity and develop skills of enquiry, methodology and evaluation.
The Chemistry laboratories are newly refurbished, and benefit from excellent resources and an extremely well equipped Preparation Room. This allows students to plan and carry out a range of experiments, considering and evaluating critically their own data and that obtained from other sources, and using ICT where appropriate.
The Cambridge IGCSE Chemistry syllabus enables learners to understand the technological world in which they live, and take an informed interest in science and scientific developments. Learners gain an understanding of the basic principles of Chemistry through a mix of theoretical and practical studies. They also develop an understanding of the scientific skills essential for further study at IB Level, skills which are also useful in everyday life.
IB Chemistry looks at the composition and properties of matter. It seeks to describe and explain how substances undergo chemical reactions and change from one substance to another. Chemistry holds a central position between Physics and Biology and has a very wide range of real life applications. Topics range from the highly conceptual, like the structure of the atom, through to the very pragmatic, like the study of medicine and drugs, and the use of Chemistry in everyday life.
The course uses students' natural enjoyment of practical work to develop logical skills in the designing of investigations, systematic methods of collecting data and analysing their results. Students learn to use models to explain chemical phenomena, analyse patterns and develop expertise and confidence in predicting what will happen in new situations.
It is an exciting time to be studying Physics in the 21st century: it is an enabling science that expands our knowledge of the universe and underpins new technologies that benefit our society.
Physics is behind the technology that put man on the Moon, made the internet possible and revolutionised surgery, and also the technology that will shape tomorrow’s world: quantum computers, nuclear fusion or perhaps the means to colonise the solar system.
Physicists perform experiments on mountaintops, underwater, underground in mines and in orbit around the Earth. They are good at solving all kinds of problems from the esoteric to the mundane:
How does a mirror reflect light?
What holds an atom together?
How fast does a rocket have to go to escape the Earth?
How can a worldwide team share data in real time? Solving this problem led physicists to invent the World Wide Web.
Physics opens the door to many careers. There are many opportunities in physics-based industry and research, as well as a wide range of more general careers where the physicist's way of thinking is highly desirable.
You will encounter the following topics whilst studying the course: Forces and Motion, Electricity and Electrostatics, Waves, Energy, Matter, Electromagnetism, Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics. Nearly all lessons include an experimental element – demonstrations, practical investigations or computer modelling, enabling you to learn Physics in an engaging and fun way.
The Physics course is assessed completely externally with three examinations.
IB Physics caters for those who enjoy theoretical-based studies and those who relish the challenge of undertaking practical and experimental work.
The subject allows you to develop, consolidate and possess valuable key skills which are not confined just to the subject itself (eg problem-solving, reasoning, research, analysis, presentation - both oral and written). The more we learn about Physics, the better it will help us understand our place in the universe.
Our work encourages students to understand why things happen and fosters interest in new applications and scientific breakthroughs, as well as a critical analysis of the reporting of science issues.
The topics covered include mechanics; thermal physics; wave phenomena; electricity, magnetism and electromagnetic induction; circular motion and gravitation; atomic, quantum and nuclear physics; energy production and astrophysics.
Physics provides a route into many careers including food, medicine, finance, marketing, business and management. The valuable skills of analysis and problem-solving that a Physics qualification fosters enables you to contribute effectively to not only your chosen vocation, but to society as a whole.
Mathematics is a creative and inter-connected subject that provides solutions to some of the world’s most intriguing problems. Whether you are a nuclear scientist or are looking to find the best value items in your local supermarket, Mathematics is essential to everyday life whichever pathway you choose.
- A Department of 5 enthusiastic and creative teachers create positive learning environments where students feel confident in their mathematical abilities, comfortable to discuss mathematics and motivated to make progress.
- In Key Stage 3 students follow the British National Curriculum tailored towards an international perspective.
- In Key Stage 4 all students study the Cambridge IGCSE (0580), with the aim for students to complete the ‘Extended’ option. For the very strongest students who require the extra challenge, we offer the Accelerated Pathway (AP) in which students complete the Cambridge IGCSE (0580) in Year 10, and go on to complete the Edexcel Further Pure Mathematics IGCSE in Year 11.
- In the Sixth Form we offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme which provides 3 different options to cater for all students: Higher Level, Standard Level and Mathematical Studies.
Aims of the Department
To be a department where all students
- learn to love mathematics
- experience an interesting variety of learning opportunities
- make outstanding progress
Key Stage 3
The first three years of Upper School are a time to equip students with powerful ways of describing and analysing the world. Mathematics lessons in Key Stage 3 offer the chance to experience pleasure and wonder at solving problems, discovering more elegant solutions, or noticing hidden connections.
Year 7 is a year where students become fluent in mental and written Mathematics. Students learn the importance of presenting their work clearly and logically. In Year 8, students discover key concepts, are able to generalise algebraically and can use technical vocabulary to articulate reasons and processes. By the end of Year 9, students are able to link together previous knowledge, are confident to express their views and are thoroughly prepared for the beginning of Key Stage 4.
Key Stage 4 (IGCSE)
The study of Mathematics at IGCSE covers 6 core strands: Number, Algebra, Proportion, Geometry, Probability and Statistics. In addition to this, key skills that cut across these categories will be developed, including those of reasoning, problem solving and communicating mathematically.
The CIE IGCSE (0580) is a challenging course which prepares students thoroughly for future studies. We aim for all students to sit the ‘Extended’ option, which is assessed by two terminal examinations.
For the very strongest students who require the extra challenge, we offer the Accelerated Pathway (AP) in which students complete the Cambridge IGCSE in Year 10, and go on to complete the Edexcel Further Pure Mathematics IGCSE in Year 11. This pathway is designed to prepare students to excel at the Higher Level Mathematics course in IB.
Sixth Form (International Baccalaureate)
We offer 4 International Baccalaureate Diploma pathways to cater for all students: Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations at Higher and Standard Levels.
|Course Name||IGCSE Grade||Ambition|
|Analysis & Approaches HL||A*||want to study course at university with substantial Mathematics content e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Engineering|
|Analysis & Approaches SL||At least B||prefer abstract problem-solving type of Mathematics|
|Applications & Interpretations HL||A*/A||prefer solving practical problems and want to study university course in e.g. Economics, Engineering, or Psychology|
|Applications & Interpretations SL||At least C||want to study a course at university which may have an element of Mathematics but it is not essential to the course.|
The Creative Arts Faculty comprises both Expressive Arts (visual art) and Performing Arts (Drama and Music). At the BSM, we place great emphasis on student creativity both through the curriculum and through the co-curriculum, including after-school clubs.
Creativity is a skill that equips students with the ability to solve problems imaginatively while enriching a student’s inner life, and is a vital part of a rounded education.
Art at the BSM is focused on the development of the individual and how students perceive the world around them. It is about making decisions and justifying choices, discovering new materials and, whilst polishing established skills, developing new ones. It is a lot of fun! The structured Key Stage 3 course has provided our students with the ability to excel on both the GCSE Art & Design course and on the IB Visual Arts course and beyond.
Students develop their own visual language in a personal and increasingly sophisticated way. They may work with a range of media, both two and three dimensional, including printmaking, painting in a variety of media, and using digital media.
Emphasis is placed on process as well as the final outcome, and students are encouraged to develop a high degree of personal involvement in their artwork. Visual Arts as a subject is taken by all students up to Year 9, and is available at GCSE and IB.
Students of Art at the BSM have gone on to study art-related courses in cities throughout the world. Past alumni have gained success in the fields of Fine Art, Fashion, Transport Design, Photography, Scenery, Product Design, Ceramics, Special Effects [ Film], Jewellery, Architecture, Illustration, Graphics, Industrial Design and Art Education.
Are you full of energy? Is your head filled with creative ideas? Do you like impersonating people? Have you already written your own play?
At The British School of Milan we embrace energetic, creative and enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about theatre and performance. Every student immediately becomes an essential part of their class team from day one, learning to support one another through close group work, class discussions and effective feedback.
Drama lessons allow students to learn about new and diverse theatre practices from around the world as well as practically exploring these with your peers. Together we discover ways of creating original pieces of theatre using play texts, drama techniques and improvisational skills.
A fantastic piece of Theatre can only be created when a range of professionals not just those upon stage work effectively as part of a team. Therefore, students not only learn how to perform but also experience the role of director, designer, writer and technician whilst studying at The British School of Milan.
As individual drama students and performers, students progress and grow throughout the Key Stages, learning within an environment that is challenging and stimulating. Most importantly experience within the classroom should be one of fun and enjoyment whilst students should also feel comfortable in sharing their feelings, ideas and personal performance work.
At The British School of Milan, students get the freedom to let their imaginations come alive. As students grow in both confidence and knowledge they will have the opportunity to see their ideas become reality, as they come to life upon the stage.
Students explore all aspects of theatre through academic study, practical work, active involvement in productions, theatre visits, participation in workshops, watching film, and visiting theatres. Students develop their own dramatic and presentation skills as well as developing skills in the sourcing of costumes, props and in the technical areas of lighting and sound production. Drama as a subject is taken by all students up to Year 9, and is available at IGCSE and IB.
The fundamental aim of the Music Department is enable each student to fulfil his or her musical potential to the fullest. In helping to achieve this we offer:
- the widest possible musical education both in and out of the classroom
- a dynamic, in-class programme of study with a logical progression from Year 7 to Year 13
- a rich and active peripatetic instrumental lesson programme
- a very full extra-curricular programme which includes a vast range of concerts, shows, tours and activities (see below).
- a very full range of performance opportunities for students at all levels
- instrumental and vocal exams with the ABRSM/Trinity
- access to concerts within Milan (La Scala, Auditorium Verdi etc) and to competitions for the more advanced performers
Course contents and skills
At Key Stage 3 we offer:
- Selected periods of Western music: listening, studying and composing in a range of western styles including popular music and jazz.
- Listening, performing and studying world music from various continents
- Composing and performing (both individually and in groups) in a wide range of styles
- Full technical competence for all with the Grade 1 theory course in Year 7. This musical ‘literacy’ opens the doors for any future activity and development
At Key Stage 4 we offer the IGCSE course. This develops the skills and knowledge of previous years and additionally focuses on:
- In-depth study on one work from the Western tradition and one World Music topic
- Broad-based study of Western traditional music and World Music topics.
- Study towards the creation of two contrasting compositions
- Solo and ensemble performances
- Grade 5 ABRSM theory course is incorporated.
At Key Stage 5 the IB courses (both HL and SL) continue to develop the three main strands from preceding years:
- Historical and geographical awareness through the study of music from a wide range of periods and cultures, including the in-depth study of two set works.
- Refinement of composing skills in a range of styles (traditional, modern, ethnic etc.)
- Performance skills both solo and in ensemble
- The writing of a ‘Musical Links Investigation’ (max 2000 words) which takes music from two distinct musical cultures and investigates links between them.
Activities Beyond the Classroom
Students are offered as full a range of performing groups as possible:
- Junior Choir (Years 7/8) and Senior Choir (Years 9-13)
- Chamber Choir (through audition). This choir has toured to important destinations both within Italy and abroad. In recent years the Chamber Choir has performed in St. Peter’s Rome, St Mark’s Venice and the cathedral of Madrid.
- Parents' choir
- Senior Orchestra
- Jazz Band
Concerts and performances
In addition to numerous smaller concerts there are four main performances every year and a musical is produced every second year:
- The Autumn concert in “All Saints” Anglican church featuring primarily the instrumental groups
- The enormous Carol Concert in Santa Maria del Carmine (Brera) involving about 200 singers, orchestra and candlelit procession. This is a major tradition in Milan.
- The April Choral Concert with all the choirs singing together in one main work in a high profile venue in central Milan (Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Windband Mass in recent years)
- The May Concert at school with all the groups in a relaxed, lighter programme.
- The musical: recent productions have been “Guys and Dolls”, “Les Miserables”, “Evita” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”
- Monthly instrumental Wednesday concerts and individual teachers’ concerts twice a year
- ABRSM/Trinity exams (The BSM is the ABRSM’s main operational centre for Italy)
Physical Education at the British School of Milan is an integral part of school life from Nursery to the Sixth Form. Our students undertake a varied and progressive learning journey that caters for both their identified needs in the subject and their long term hopes and desires. This is achieved through the delivery of a modern, innovative curriculum that is unique to Italy and offers not only variety and challenge, but also gives a real sense of ownership to our students.
As the students progress along their learning journey, they will experience a wide variety of sports and physical activities, many of which, such as rugby, are unique to the BSM in the Milanese International school community. In the course of covering these activities, students will access a number of high quality, community facilities that provide an effective environment in which they can progress and develop. This environment is further supported by a department of caring, dedicated and supportive professionals, who take pride in ensuring that every students’ experience of PE at BSM is both positive and memorable.
In 2018 the school was awarded the afPE Quality Mark for excellence in the delivery of Physical Education.
- Personal achievement for all students across the age and ability range.
- Excellent access to many high quality community facilities in Milan.
- Approachable, enthusiastic and supportive, specialist teachers.
- Talent nurtured through the departments Gifted and Talented programme.
- British focussed curriculum with an unrivalled activity offer.
- Student-centred lessons where you take ownership of your learning.
- Major part of BSM school life.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 the students' learning journey builds on the basic skills and abilities developed in the Primary School and begins to focus more on how they relate to specific sports.
Towards the end of the Key Stage students begin to take real ownership of their learning, where they will have the opportunity to follow a pathway of learning that allows them to move in the direction of their long-term goals and aspirations.
Key Stage 4
In Key Stage 4 students have greater ownership of their learning than at any other point on their learning journey. Students follow a pathway of learning created specifically to allow them to achieve their long term goals and aspirations. In short, students’ goals drive the content of the curriculum, leading to a highly motivating learning environment.