Sorry Yes, she's English so looking for how best to proceed after taking her GCSEs (or maybe IGCEs?) Am deffo out of touch re. schools and even what the system is here i.e. do they do A Levels like in the UK or do they do the European Baccalaureah (sorry for misspelling - assume people will understand what I mean)?
The English School in Nicosia is widely regarded as the best school on the island. It is, as the name suggests, an English-medium school, established over 100 years ago. It is fee-paying and there is intense competition to get in at the age of 11/12. Many Cypriot parents pay a lot of money to get extra coaching for their children before taking the entrance examination. There are about 5 applications per place, with a yearly entry of about 120 – and there is a fee to pay to take the exam.
As with the other private English-medium schools in Nicosia, students take GCSEs and AS/A levels. As would be expected from such a highly selective school, the results are excellent and the great majority go on to universities in the UK (with a number gaining Oxbridge places). The English School is the only school whose facilities approach those of a comprehensive school in the UK, with a modern, purpose-built science block and sports hall. There is a social status amongst the wealthier professional classes in Nicosia associated with the attendance of their children at the English School.
There are a number of other English-medium schools, all private, all fee-paying. The Grammar School is also selective by entrance exam (apart from those attending the attached junior school, who are granted places as a matter of course). This school is regarded by many in the rivalry stakes as second only to the English School, but the school’s built facilities are limited in comparison with what you’d expect from a standard comprehensive (apart from its outdoor swimming pool). Other schools who accept a slightly wider ability range include the Senior School, the American Academy (Nicosia), the Falcon School, the GC School of Careers and Pascal English School.
You can find websites for each school, but remember that they are private and selling themselves – you don’t have independent HMI/Ofsted reports to present a more objective evaluation of a school’s strengths or weaknesses. In general, the schools put great emphasis on text-book learning and testing – although most offer a good programme of extra-curricular clubs after school. There is also generally a stronger emphasis on science and maths rather than the humanities and languages; more practical subjects like music, art and CDT don’t get much of a look-in within the curriculum (for example, to the best of my knowledge, the English School is the only school which offers CDT at GCSE or GCE level).
The students are predominantly Cypriot, with a sprinkling of other nationalities, including children of British parents. I’m not sure about each school’s policy on entrance at 16, but most would be looking for evidence that the student is likely to get a good set of GCE grades in the sixth form. Interestingly, whilst back in the UK the successes of students at GCSE and GCE invoke comments about ‘dumbing down’, in Cyprus, GCSEs and GCEs are still generally regarded as the educational ‘gold standard’ by Cypriot parents ambitious for their children.
As a rule of thumb, if a student is quite able and well-motivated, then they will do well in most of the Nicosia English-medium schools (but then again, such students would do well in almost any English-medium school). If, however, the student is of more modest ability, then don’t expect the same standard of support and range of teaching approaches that would be employed in a comprehensive school.
Thanks Keith for all that info. WOW! Really appreciate it. Will pass that on to our friends.
One little point - sorry if this is a stupid question.... Is the English School actually called 'The English School'? Can't find a listing for it in the telephone directory. There is 'The Grammar School' - might that be it?
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