English Education System and Exams - Sherborne International

English Education and Exams

The English schooling system is different from that in your home country. Find information about the English school year and the exams students take.

The English school year

The English educational year starts near the beginning of September and finishes in late June or early July. It is divided into three terms:

Term nameStart and end date of each term
Term 1 (autumn)September - mid-December
(with one week half-term holiday)
Term 2 (spring)Early January - mid-March
(with one week half-term holiday)
Term 3 (summer)Mid-April - end June / early July
(with one week half-term holiday)

All students on our main courses at Sherborne International study English and are entered for examinations according to age and ability.


Most English students study to take GCSE exams at the age of 16. The IGCSE is the international version of the GCSE.

After GCSEs or IGCSEs, students study for two years for A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB), where three subjects are taken as major subjects and three as minor. British Univertities accept either A-levels or IB qualifications as their entry exams.

Our IGCSE / GCSE exam results 2017

Our Year 11 students achieved a higher-grade (A*-C / 4+) pass rate of 76.6%. This is much better than the UK average of 66.3% at GCSE, which is a particularly great achievement as our student don’t have English as a first language. Moreover, on our one-year programme, our students compete against others who have had two years to prepare.

Number of entriesA* / 9 A*-A / 9-7% A*-B / 9-6 % A*-C / 9-4
66111.2% 28.9%51%76.6%

Our IELTS and EAL exam results 2016-17

View our latest IELTS and EAL exam results

The senior leadership team provides strong direction that is reflected in the students’ significant achievements in their public examination performance, the outstanding care of the students and the successful fulfilment of the School’s aims and ethos.
ISI Inspection 2016

Students shine with outstanding exam results ...