Curriculum

We feel a coherent and challenging curriculum is the key to alignment of mission, learning targets, pedagogy and assessment. As such, we are committed to a process of continually reviewing the curriculum to ensure its relevance.

Whilst the Senior School (ages 11-16 years) curriculum encompasses most of the elements of the English National Curriculum, we have developed the curriculum to reflect the needs and circumstances of our students and our international context.

The key elements of the curriculum are as follows:

  • Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) - the curriculum encompasses core, foundation and additional subjects such as Drama, Classics and PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education)
  • Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11) more than ten (I)GCSE subject areas are offered.

Art and Design

Our well-resourced department creates a rich learning environment in which our students thrive as young artists. Our eight studios, including a dedicated Sixth Form Studio, are on the fifth floor of a well-lit building. Centrally there is an open gallery/studio space designed as a ‘forum’ - an exceptional environment in which to learn, teach and be inspired.

The Art & Design teachers at Tanglin have a wide range of specialist skills and are supported by technicians. Students will learn a plethora of techniques during Years 7 to 9, before becoming more assured of their strengths in Key Stage 4.

The value placed on creativity and the process of making Art is at the heart of the department’s ethos. Students are taught to be independent and take risks. Resilience, open mindedness and integrity are encouraged in our desire to see students develop a curious approach to Art, and other aspects of life. We have a strong reputation in Singapore’s artistic community for robust artworks, exciting uses of media, whilst maintaining a skilful control of techniques.

We foster a community spirit within the Arts, supporting many school initiatives as well as participating in exhibitions in school, Singapore and International Arts festivals.

Biology

Biology is the science of life and in recent years has become the subject of choice for any student who wants to be at the cutting edge of 21st Century technological advances. The study of life and living processes is now very wide ranging, including topics that span from the ecological surveys of tropical rainforests to the genetic manipulation of microscopic artificial bacteria.

In Biology, we focus first on developing a secure scientific understanding of the core life processes such as respiration, reproduction and photosynthesis. Practical work is a key feature of our lessons, and we encourage students to appreciate and respect the tropical natural environment that surrounds our school. Students continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of living organisms, and are expected to apply biological principles to increasingly complex situations.

On our fragile and increasingly crowded planet, we are looking for intelligent and sustainable solutions to modern problems such as food, water and energy supply. It is the biologists of tomorrow who will be providing the answers.

Business

"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."

Peter Drucker

The Business and Business Management courses at Tanglin aim to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge required for entering the world of work. Through learning about and practising entrepreneurial skills such as risk-taking, problem solving, innovation and leadership, as well as through the study of management theories and marketing techniques, students develop a clear picture of the commercial environment. In addition, the courses provide an opportunity to foster those skills that make students more employable in any field, such as effective communication and presentation skills.

The subject covers a wide range of interesting and dynamic topics from business ownership, human resources, marketing, operations and finance. Teachers within the department come from a variety of backgrounds, with all having had experience in business prior to teaching. Business courses at Tanglin are delivered in a variety of teaching styles from self-directed research, audio visual presentations, discussions and simulations. Find out more on twitter @BusEco_TTS.

Chemistry

Chemistry is the science of matter and its interactions. It encompasses everything from anticancer drugs to baking cakes. At Tanglin, we cover both the theory and the application of Chemistry to the world around us.

Chemistry is a practical science so many of the lessons are hands on. Students learn to assemble and manipulate equipment and reagents, both individually as well as in small groups and to devise and direct their own investigations. The Year 13 chemists have an annual visit to the National University of Singapore facilities to see the actual research instruments that are covered in lessons.

Chemistry is essential for further study in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry and many other science and engineering degrees. Because of its grounding in empirical evidence, observation, analysis and measurement, Chemistry opens up a wealth of possible career opportunities.

Classics

Classics is a rich academic discipline which introduces students to the beauty and diversity of the great civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome; and is the foundation of western civilisation.

In Years 7 and 8, all students study Latin, the language of the Romans. This fascinating and diverse subject underpins their learning of English and European languages and establishes links through vocabulary. It also helps develop understanding of complex grammatical structures and fosters highly prized thinking skills of precision, accuracy, analysis, logic and problem solving. Their text book follows the adventures of Caecilius, a banker living in Pompeii with his family, and through the stories and historical sections at the end of each stage, the students learn about different aspects of Roman life, including gladiators, theatre and the eruption of Vesuvius. Further up the school, they can continue with their study of the Latin language or choose Classical Civilisation to explore universal concepts of war, empire, slavery and love and relationships, through the study of society and literature.

The study of Classics kindles students’ imaginations and fosters both rigour and creativity. The transferable skills gained from studying such a broad and rewarding subject are highly regarded by both universities and employers.

Computer Science

Computer Science helps our students not only think about how technology is created but also introduces them to the language of the future. It allows them to understand how people work together with computers to develop world changing programmes like Facebook, Spotify and eBay.

Throughout their time in Computer Science students develop the problem solving skills that universities and employers are looking for. Computer Science dovetails well with a variety of other subjects, especially the Sciences, Mathematics and Art & Design.

At Tanglin, we focus upon enabling students to understand the principles behind the technology they use so that they are not only confident end users and consumers of computer systems but are digital authors of software and systems. By the end of KS3 all students will have experienced a variety of visual and written programming languages to enable them to make the decision regarding further study at GCSE, A Level and IB.

Drama

"Drama and theatre are not mutually exclusive. If Drama is about meaning, it is the art form of theatre which encompasses and contains that meaning. If theatre is about expression, then it is the dramatic exploration of the meaning which fuels that expression."

Juliana Saxton

At Tanglin, we recognise that Drama is a collaborative art form that brings together a wide range of experiences and skills, drawing strength from both rich tradition and stimulating innovation. In the world of education, Drama has an important role to play in the personal development of our students and the skills and qualities developed, such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and risk-taking.

At the core of the Drama curriculum is the focus on the ensemble, which provides students with experiences and opportunities that develop communication skills that are so important in our technologically connected society today. Drama promotes self-esteem and provides students with a sense of achievement; it stimulates the imagination and allows students to explore issues and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. The stimulus for our work allows students to take risks and enter new worlds, generating a curiosity, passion and enthusiasm to view the world from a different, and more informed, perspective.

Economics

"If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has." John Maynard Keynes

The Economics courses at Tanglin aim to equip students with the capacity to analyse the world using the framework of economic theories and to develop reasoned and balanced responses to complex situations. As well as addressing many issues that society currently faces, economics can equally be applied to questions such as, “What makes a luxury item such as a diamond more expensive than a necessity like water?” or “Should health care be provided to all free of charge?”

Students study both macroeconomics and microeconomics and they also have the opportunity to study international and business economics. The subject has a strong uptake and students arrange guest speakers, trips and debates on topical content. Economics is delivered in a variety of teaching styles from self-directed research, audio visual presentations, discussions and simulations. Find out more on twitter @BusEco_TTS.

English

Students enter the English classroom full of anticipation and exit exhilarated by their learning experience. Our desire to stimulate our students’ academic curiosity underpins our teaching and our programme of study. We aim to foster a culture where learning is fun and students are both active and reflective in their approaches to reading, writing and speaking.

Communication is at the core of our curriculum, whether it be in debating, public speaking or in purposeful and accurate written responses. We want our students to be confident participants in the world around them through the sensitivity and understanding they bring to their writing, speaking and literary studies. We believe in the transformative power of literature and want every student to love reading. Students are actively encouraged to read widely and thoughtfully through bespoke library sessions and the engaging, provocative and challenging texts studied throughout the Senior School.

Film and Media Studies

Film and Media Studies are creative subjects that are dependent upon technology. We encourage our students to explore and utilise the wealth of media creation tools available to them in our custom built Media Technology area where they can plan and film their practical assignments.

Our teaching classrooms are equipped with a full complement of iMac computers loaded with a range of software packages to support video editing, animation, sound design, compositing and graphic design.

Filmmaking is a collaborative process that promotes student-centred learning, a spirit of creative freedom and a capacity to engage in logistical problem-solving.

We offer courses at GCSE, A Level and IB, with many of our students choosing to study film at university. There are also numerous co-curricular opportunities available to help students develop their practical production skills. The moving image is the dominant media form of the 21st Century and our students recognise its importance. They are passionate about the films they watch and the films they make.

Geography

"Simply put, geography is our future. When we look at any issue with the balance and scrutiny that geographical study offers, we move beyond the media hype or political spin. Geography allows us to see the world more clearly." Tom Biebrach

Tanglin offers courses which balance human and physical topics, building from the local scale to the international stage. This equips students with knowledge and understanding of the processes that shape our lives and the world around us and aims to promote intellectual curiosity through enquiry based learning.

Students find the topics chosen relevant and exciting. They are challenged to develop their independent research skills and to recognise Geography’s strong links with the world beyond the classroom. Keen to promote learning outside the classroom, students participate in fieldwork at all levels.

History

"What we call history is the mess we call life reduced to some order, pattern, and possibly purpose."
G R Elton

The world around us is going through unparalleled change and yet for all the evolution, development and technology, very little we see is without precedent.

At Tanglin, History is all about life past, life present and life future. A lesson is as likely to start with a source derived from the day’s news as it is from the Middle Ages. We use the historian’s processes and skills to unpick the past and look for the ‘order and pattern’, we speculate about the ‘purpose’ and we are creative about the future. We develop a variety of concepts from chronology, through cause and consequence to significance and interpretation. We want our students to be independent researchers and communicators who can work with others and think creatively. Skills such as these are necessary for the study of History, but also equip our students for their world.

We encourage empathy and curiosity as we believe that History has an intrinsic value linking us to human lives in a different time period. We therefore utilise a wide range of sources, often through the most modern technology. We choose topics that foster interest, allow for a variety of activities and provide challenge and relevance.

Life Skills

Lifeskills is about focusing on skills that students will need in their future lives that may not always come under any of the curriculum umbrellas.

At KS4 students follow a two year Lifeskills programme which is non-exam and where the focus is practical with an emphasis on skills. The course includes cookery, car maintenance, first aid, self defence, financial awareness, sewing, washing and ironing, and many other practical skills. The programme also encompasses PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education), including Sex and Relationships Education and Drug Awareness. A careers module is also taught in Year 10 to prepare students for a work experience placement and a comprehensive study skills unit is delivered by an external provider with support from Lifeskills staff.

We are very lucky at Tanglin to have a dedicated and enthusiastic Lifeskills Department with teachers who are keen to deliver the very best skills and content to Year 10 and Year 11 students.

Mathematics

The teaching of Mathematics at Tanglin is geared towards enabling each student to develop to their full potential; not only acquiring the mathematical skills and understanding required for later life, but also an enthusiasm and fascination for Maths itself. We aim for students to increase in mathematical confidence, so that they can express themselves and their ideas clearly using the language and logic of maths. Students take pride in their mathematical knowledge and achievements and that pride contributes visibly to their enjoyment of the subject. We give students opportunities to apply their learning to problems in real-life and unfamiliar situations.

Students become confident and creative mathematicians and problem-solvers with an appreciation of the breadth and beauty of mathematics. They are willing to positively engage with unfamiliar problems and use their knowledge and understanding to progress towards a solution both independently and collaboratively. Students are used to questioning assumptions and are well placed to lead arguments that will change our world for the better.

Modern Foreign Languages

At Tanglin we strive to prepare our students for the linguistic challenges of the 21st Century by offering a dynamic and rigorous curriculum which supports the philosophy and the aims of our Learner Profile in each modern foreign language that we offer.

We aim to deliver lessons which are stimulating and dynamic and strive to use a wide range of teaching strategies and engaging activities, so that our students make outstanding progress and achieve to the very best of their ability. We equip our students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to apply language in different contexts so that they become more spontaneous and creative in their use of the foreign language.

As a key part of our provision, we are committed to providing opportunities for students to develop awareness about the customs and traditions of other countries. Hence, we offer a wide variety of cultural and linguistic events in order to arouse the curiosity of our students. We believe that students’ involvement with the language goes beyond the classroom. Our aim is to provide opportunities for students to adapt classroom-based language to more practical situations, whilst encouraging them to be receptive to other cultures.

Music

"We have to establish in school children the belief that music belongs to everyone and is, with a little effort, available to everyone."

Zoltan Kodaly

The aim of the Music Department is to foster a love and appreciation of music in all students. Our curriculum provides opportunities for students of all ages and ability levels to fulfil their musical potential through challenging and engaging activities. There is an emphasis on practical work which allows students to grow in confidence as they develop their vocal and instrumental skills as well as their communication and collaboration skills. We embrace technology wherever it supports learning; the department boasts a suite of iMac computers and a fully equipped recording studio as well as specialist classrooms and rehearsal areas.

Our Co-Curricular Music programme offers a rich variety of ensembles with an emphasis on inclusion rather than exclusivity. There are ensembles available to every student who wishes to participate, regardless of their instrument or level of experience. Standards are consistently outstanding throughout all our ensembles, and members have numerous opportunities to perform in assemblies and concerts throughout the year.

The Music Department prides itself on being a thriving and dynamic community of staff and students working towards a common goal of excellence in all that we do.

Religious Studies

Religious Studies aims to examine the philosophical and ethical beliefs central to Christianity and Islam, promoting a more charitable, though still critical, understanding of both. This course refines students’ abilities to construct arguments, debate confidently and communicate clearly.

We welcome students who enjoy lively debate, a good argument and relish the opportunity to challenge their teachers at every juncture!

Politics

"Everybody knows politics is a contact sport."
Barack Obama

"A week is a long time in politics." Prime Minister Harold Wilson's words from the past seem even more apt today. It is impossible to escape recent events and we are all challenged by the rise in populism that has manifested itself in particular in the election of Donald Trump, Brexit and the growth of religious fundamentalism. As we continue to respond to the challenges of climate change and globalisation, politics has never been more relevant. We cover concepts, processes, structures, institutions and ideologies resulting in a much better understanding of our world. We employ a range of teaching strategies, always seeking to challenge students to think, to question, to reflect and then to know. To enrich the course we don't have to go further than the fascination and excitement of current affairs, but the school is also lucky to have hosted two former UK Prime Ministers and politics students have attended live questioning with the Foreign Minister as well.

We believe Barack Obama's above quotation is apt. We encourage students to engage with the subject so that they don't just feel the impact of politics, they can also explain it.

Psychology

Psychology is the study of human behaviour and mental processes. Within each of our courses, students examine the interaction of biological, cognitive and social influences on behaviour and develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied to real world contexts. Our highly qualified and experienced teaching team share a passion for Psychology and through a variety of engaging, interactive and dynamic teaching strategies, aim to engender this enthusiasm for the subject in our learners.

Students are often drawn to Psychology in order to explain facets of their own and others’ behaviour: Why are some people more aggressive than others? Is intelligence innate? Why do we conform? How does memory work? What do dreams mean? How are disorders such as anorexia and schizophrenia treated? Are criminals born or made?

Through an examination of theories, studies and practical investigations, drawing upon a variety of research methodologies, we explore these, and many more issues. Psychology students love the fact that the discipline is relevant to so many aspects of life. It provides many explanations of human behaviour and helps develop critical thinking skills which can be applied across all subjects and in learning beyond school.

Science

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
Isaac Newton

In the Science faculty we aim to achieve two things. Firstly, we want all our students to be scientifically-literate citizens, who will move through life equipped to make informed judgments on the many social, ethical, environmental and health-related issues that they will encounter. Secondly, many of our students will wish to pursue science as a field of study and a career; for these students we aim to provide a challenging programme, to equip them for a life in the scientific community.

The curriculum is largely practical-based, and students learn to develop and answer their own questions as well as look at world issues and find out how science can help them interact with (and maybe ultimately solve) these issues. However, we also believe that Science is worthwhile for its own sake, and a rigorous grounding in Scientific theories will develop thinking and problem-solving skills that are transferable to many careers, in the Sciences and elsewhere.

Environmental Systems and Societies

The prime intent of the Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) course is to provide students with a coherent perspective of the interrelationships between environmental systems and the societies within them; one that enables them to adopt an informed personal response to the wide range of pressing environmental issues that they will inevitably come to face.

A rigorous and scientific course, it involves practical investigations and fieldwork but also develops an understanding of how socio-economic, cultural and political factors play an increasingly important role in shaping environmental phenomena. There is a focus on natural processes and feedback mechanisms in the natural world and how these interact with human behaviour. The course recognises that to understand the environmental issues of the 21st century, both the human and scientific aspects must be studied. It is therefore a dynamic subject which enables students to engage with the controversies surrounding a variety of issues and create innovative solutions to the environmental problems we face.

Physics

"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."
Stephen Hawking

To want to understand the workings of the universe is a uniquely human desire. Why is the sky blue? Is time travel possible? What is antimatter and dark energy? How do fundamental particles interact to form atoms, the building blocks of all we sense around us?

Physics opens up this world of understanding, allowing students to answer questions about the interactions of matter and energy, from the very small to the very large; from quarks and neutrinos to the origins and scale of the universe itself.

There are also many opportunities to get ‘hands on’ with Physics, from building and testing air cannons in mechanics, to trying indoor skydiving as part of the fluid dynamics unit. Students get the chance to see the subject in context through visits to aerospace engineering complexes and medical imaging facilities.

Physics education at Tanglin provides an ideal gateway to many university courses including Engineering, Medicine, Technology or Computer Studies as well as being a highly regarded subject choice for a host of other courses.

Physical Education

At Tanglin, we have world class sports facilities and a dedicated team of well-qualified, experienced PE specialists. We deliver a broad and balanced curriculum that offers students a wide range of traditional games in addition to swimming, gymnastics and track and field. Emphasis is placed on the learning of transferable skills such as decision making, team work and self-management, giving students the tools to apply their developing skills across different sporting activities.

Our choice of curriculum is designed to support and complement our extensive CCA programme. With over 100 Senior School teams in 14 different sports, there is extensive provision for our students to pursue excellence in their chosen field or simply enjoy participating in sports teams with their friends, regardless of their experience or ability.

Popular and successful examination courses are offered as options at Key Stage 4 (GCSE), in which pupils are able to study a variety of topics underpinning sport, performance and health as well as performing in their chosen activities.

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)

Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE) is at the heart of any school which takes seriously the notion that every child should be ‘known’ and that every child matters.

The PSHCE curriculum taught at Key Stage 3 has been designed to equip young people with the knowledge and skills to live positive, happy, well informed, healthy and responsible lives. Students are afforded time to reflect on their own values and their role and responsibilities within the communities that they belong to, as well as to society at large. They engage with their emotional and mental wellbeing and explore strategies they can employ to ensure that they maintain these areas of health. Students examine relationships and how to deal effectively with the changing nature of these as they grow. Future pathways, career choices and developing a financial awareness are also explored through the PSHCE curriculum.

At Tanglin, the Key Stage 3 PSHCE programme is delivered by our dedicated pastoral team. This team recognises the importance they play in delivering a curriculum which allows our students to develop independence and ultimately the ability to take responsibility for themselves.

Our curriculum is developed to reflect our international context.