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What is the Cambridge Curriculum?

The Cambridge Curriculum prepares students  to sit the international examinations administered by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The CIE, in turn, is an examination board which operates under the auspices of Cambridge Assessment which was founded in 1858 as a department of the University of Cambridge.

Cambridge qualifications include international A-level, AS-level, O-level and IGCSE.  Examinations are open to students internationally at registered CIE centres.

CIE is the largest provider of international secondary (aged 14 to18 years) examinations in the world. Cambridge International Examinations operates in 160 countries around the world including the UK and Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America, Central and South America and Africa. In some countries such as Singapore, Cambridge examinations are the state qualification for students in secondary school.

In South Africa, CIE works closely with our local Matriculation Board because CIE students not only qualify for matriculation exemption but regularly gain entry into some of the toughest selection courses at university.

 Why have we chosen this curriculum at Reddam House Durbanville?

We recognise our obligation to offer our students a reputable curriculum which our parents can trust. Furthermore, we know that CIE prepares students well for university and life.

Students learn important skills, taking information and interpreting it in an analytical and in-depth manner. Students learn the very important attributes of writing answers coherently, ensuring a logical flow. They learn that facts become appropriately woven into analysis, critical opinion and thought. These are essential skills in life which develop higher order thinking.
The curriculum ensures that students learn the invaluable advantage of a good work ethic that ensures adequate preparation. The delivery of this curriculum in the classroom ensures discussion, application and an environment that encourages problem solving.
This ensures a sound understanding of the higher academic demands made by tertiary institutions both in South Africa and abroad.

 The advantages summarised:

  • Students derive great benefit from their education.
  • They can function well in the workplace.
  • There is a high chance of academic success when they enrol at university.
  • They have the information and educational ability to plan their tertiary studies or to use a more informed approach when selecting a career.

 How do the results in the Cambridge International Examinations compare to others when applying for university?

Our academic staff have conducted much research into the acceptance of this curriculum by South African universities. Where university faculties still require a certain number of points from aspirant students, the following table applies.

The NSC Rating Table Achievement Rating University entrance points
A+ 90% or better 8
A 80% or better 7
B 6
C 5
D 4
E 3
F 0
G below 30% 0


The CIE Rating Table
AS Level IGCSE Level
A = 8 points A = 6 points
B = 7 points B = 5 points
C = 6 points C = 4 points
D = 5 points
E = 4 points


In the third term of the Grade 8 year, around September, students are asked to choose their IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects. They have to select a total of 7 subjects with four being compulsory:

  • English Language and Literature (First Language)
  • Second language – either Afrikaans or French.
  • Mathematics

The remaining four subjects are chosen from a list of four groups.

  • Accounting
  • Art
  • Biology
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Drama
  • Geography
  • History
  • Music
  • Physics

Grade 9 and 10

The IGCSE course as per the student’s chosen subjects starts in Grade 9 and lasts for a period of approximately two years.  The IGCSE examinations are written in October/November of the Grade 10 year.

Grade 11

Students may choose 4 or 5 AS Level subjects, most selecting 4 subjects.

The only compulsory subject for the AS Level course is English.

The remaining 3 or 4 subjects are chosen from the same list of subjects as IGCSE, but they are often grouped differently.

Grade 12

The AS Level course is a demanding one that requires a good work ethic and commitment to the subjects that students have chosen.

The AS Level examinations are written in October/ November of the Grade 12 year. As with the marking of the scripts for the IGCSE exams, the AS Level papers are marked at accredited centres and results are usually available internationally mid-January the following year.

At Reddam House Durbanville we spend time with each student, regularly scrutinising their results and supporting them to fulfil their personal goals.

What does a student need to get a Matric Exemption?

If the student wishes to apply to university, they must offer:

  • 4 AS Level subjects in which they have attained a Grade D (50%) or better and 1 IGCSE subject which they have passed with at least a Grade C. There are specific grouping requirements that also have to be met.
  • The Statement of Results is presented to the University of choice which then calculates the total number of university entrance points achieved.
  • Each university in South Africa, along with their different faculties and residences, determines their entrance points requirements. These requirements may change year on year.  Students are encouraged to check admission requirements in their Grade 11 year and to make their individual application to universities timeously. The school assists them where possible.

What CIE grades qualify as a National Senior Certificate?

If a student does not wish to go to university, a diploma course requires a pass in 3 subjects at AS Level (grade E minimum) plus, either 3 at IGCSE (graded A – C) or 5 at IGCSE (graded A – E). Should he/she wish to study a certificate course, a total of 2 AS subjects passed with at least an E is required, together with the same IGCSE requirements as for a diploma course.

Should the student complete their full IGCSE course, they will have the equivalent of a Grade 11 certificate.

Catriona Olsen
Head of Academics


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