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    Secondary years

    Grade 6-10

    (Ages 12-15)

    Secondary years

Forming students into creative and critical thinkers

Secondary Years is a unique time in your child’s development. This is a period of tremendous intellectual, physical and emotional growth when young people begin to wrestle with questions in more profound ways – questions about themselves, the world and their place in it.

GEMS (Singapore) offers a caring and academically rich environment in which all students are inspired to pursue their passions and excel in the modern world. Our aim is that they become sophisticated, independent thinkers equipped and determined to realise their ambitions and aspirations. 

Broad and balanced curriculum

We offer a well-rounded education to inspire our students with the love of learning and spark intellectual curiosity that will prepare them both for the challenges they will face at school and beyond. 

Our Secondary Years curriculum is designed to be broad and balanced, and to widen students’ knowledge, understanding and experiences. It promotes academic rigour, develops intellectual curiosity and fosters the ability to learn independently. It also ensures that academic excellence flourishes alongside arts, music and sport. Our students pursue knowledge and conceptual understanding in a wide variety of subjects and are encouraged at all times to make links between their learning and the world in which they live.




Building on strong foundations

In the first five years of Secondary Years (Grades 6 to 10) students follow the IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP).

The MYP builds upon the strengths of the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) and prepares students for future education. Our MYP students in Grades 9 and 10 have a choice of completing IGCSE examinations. Consistently driving learning through inquiry, we prepare students to become creative problem-solvers and lifelong independent thinkers, equipped to succeed in a rapidly changing and increasingly global society.

In the last two years of Secondary Years (Grades 11 & 12) students embark on their IB Diploma Programme (IB DP)IB Career-related Programme (IB CP) or High School Diploma journey to prepare for a successful life beyond school.


Key facts about the Middle Years Programme 


The IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP), a five-year programme for students aged 11 to 16, is designed as an inclusive, whole-school programme by the International Baccalaureate (IB)

The programme provides a framework and assessment model for connecting pedagogical practices and content to the world beyond the classroom through the contextualisation of subject content and the development of individual traits. The MYP develops a lifelong love of learning and fosters responsible attitudes that help students discover how to use what they learn to take principled action.

The MYP’s focus on independent learning makes it the ideal preparation for the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP) and the IB Career-related Programme (IB CP). Through the implementation of the Middle Years Programme, we are working to deliver units of study that provide a well-rounded framework for our students to develop the 21st-century skills needed to be college and career ready. The focus of our instruction includes:

Holistic Learning: the MYP at GEMS (Singapore) exposes students to a balanced curriculum where many different subjects, skills and experiences allow our students to see knowledge as an integrated whole. Our students develop the ability to make links between and beyond subjects and nurture transferable skills.

Student inquiry: Our curriculum seeks to shift the emphasis from teacher-led instruction to student-led learning where students develop an innate awareness of their own learning process and the skills required to foster life-long learning.

Student collaboration: The ability to work effectively with others, whether face-to-face or through the multitude of technological platforms is a skill vital for our students. Students will engage with a wide range of formats to develop skills of effective collaboration.

Real-world application: In a complex and rapidly changing world, we are faced with an expansive and often bewildering array of choices. Curriculum content is framed in contexts which give our students the opportunity to explore real-world issues and develop a growing awareness of their place in the world. A focus on higher-order thinking skills engages students in critical analysis and evaluation to develop a deeper appreciation of the opportunities and challenges of the present and future.

Intercultural awareness: Within an international setting, an essential aspect of our curriculum is that it is responsive to the differing perspectives and backgrounds of each of our individual students. Through an appreciation and empathy towards others, our students also form their own international outlook and understanding of the world around them.

Communication: Our curriculum engages students in a wide variety of activities to develop effective communication skills. From effective public speaking and debating to written and visual communication, students develop the communication skills vital for their continuing success now and into the future.


Framework of study


The Secondary Years curriculum goes beyond simply transmitting a specific body of knowledge. There is a concurrent focus placed on understanding concepts, building skills and developing student attitudes. It also helps students develop both subject-specific and interdisciplinary understanding. This is essential to encourage higher thinking, which is invaluable to generate new ideas, conclusions and connections.

Teaching and learning in the MYP is underpinned by the following concepts:

Concept and content-driven curriculum: Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. The MYP prescribes sixteen key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each discipline. The MYP is organised around six themes or perspectives called Global Contexts which are designed to encourage students to make connections between the real world and classroom learning. The Global Contexts inspire explorations of our common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet and they invite reflection on local, national and global communities that are relevant to our students.

Approaches to learning: Approaches to learning (ATL), helping students learn how to learn by developing skills for research, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and self-management. A unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, approaches to learning (ATL) provide the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self-management skills helps students learn how to learn. 

Service as action, through community service: Action and service have always been shared values of the IB community. Students take action when they apply what they are learning in the classroom and beyond. IB learners strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a commitment to service - making a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment. GEMS (Singapore) provides opportunities to be involved in a range of service activities both within and outside of the school, but students are also encouraged to initiate their own Service as Action opportunities to develop their individual interests.

Personal Project: The MYP Personal Project is a student-driven, independent piece of work completed over an extended period of time by every student in Grade 10. Project topics should reflect a student’s personal interests and use a Global Context to direct the investigation. Students work to complete the Personal project through the making of a ‘product’, (for example a model, demonstration, or website) and also complete a report in which they detail how they engaged with the task of completing the project and reflect on the process, the outcome, and themselves as learners.

In Grades 9 and 10, our curriculum content is provided by the Cambridge International Examinations' IGCSE syllabi. The content is delivered within the IB MYP framework

At the end of Grade 10, students have the opportunity to sit for the internationally recognised IGCSE examinations, should they wish to gain an IGCSE certification in the subjects that they have studied over the two years:

  • Combined Sciences (0653)
  • Cambridge International Mathematics (0607)
  • History (0470)
  • Literature in English (0475)
  • First Language English (0500) or English as a Second Language (0511)

The MYP organises teaching and learning through eight subject groups. The programme promotes interdisciplinary study that helps students make important connections between academic subjects. Integrated teaching and learning helps students analyze complex issues and develop the habits of mind they need to participate in our increasingly interconnected world.

Grade LevelSubjectsMethod of delivery Max student:teacher ratioCourse duration

Grades 6-10

Language and Literature (English)
Language Acquisition (Spanish, Mandarin, French or EAL)
Individuals and Societies
Arts (Drama, Visual Art, Music)
Physical and Health Education

8:45 am - 3:30 pm


9.3 months

As part of the Homeroom Programme, your child will participate in specific learning experiences aimed to develop them intellectually, emotionally and socially. Through this programme, your child will acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

A Pastoral Leader is assigned to each grade level to support our teachers in the delivery of the Homeroom Programme. Each Pastoral Leader will oversee grade-specific Health Education Programme development and support grade-level transitions, including assistance/support of new enrolments and student departures.

To ensure your child continues to reach their full potential as they progress through the Secondary Years, we regularly assess their work and provide constructive feedback. Click here to learn about assessment in the Secondary Years.

A typical day at GEMS (Singapore) is filled with engaging, hands-on, experiential learning, developing students’ academic outcomes, nurturing core human values and building real-life skills.

Students are active participants in their own learning and they are inspired to question, experiment and engage with global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection. Click here to review a sample timetable and daily activities. 


How to find out more