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Subjects and Curriculum


In Secondary School, students follow the IB Diploma Programme. This offers a broad and demanding international curriculum for the last two years of school. It is designed to prepare students for further education at college or university, but is also a very valuable qualification in its own right.

Chart of the structure of the IB diploma programme

Option 1. The Full Diploma

The full IB Diploma is a rigorous and challenging course of study that requires dedication, commitment and hard work. Like most worthwhile things, it is not easily won. As such, students will need to have demonstrated a genuine desire and ambition to succeed before they are allowed to enroll in this programme.

Students study six subjects - three at higher level (HL) and three at standard level (SL), from six separate groups. In addition, students must participate in a programme of Creativity, Action and Service (CAS), a course called Theory of Knowledge, and write a 4,000 word Extended Essay based on independent research in one subject area.

Option 2. IB Certificates

In some cases, students may choose to study a number of IB subjects at any level to gain individual certificates, rather than completing the full diploma. Students complete all elements of the courses including the coursework and examinations, but will not do Theory of Knowledge, CAS or the Extended Essay. Good scores in the certificates will gain student entry into most North American universities, although competitive European universities will usually require the full IB Diploma for entrance. 

Choosing your subjects

If you are a student at GESS already we have an extensive programme designed to encourage each student to take ownership of his or her subject choices for the Diploma. We begin with some introductory talks with the Diploma Coordinator and the University Guidance Counsellor before moving on to:

  • A Diploma programme options fair
  • Two rounds of options choices
  • A Teacher Recommendation Report
  • The Letter of Admission

Also at any time during this process students may meet on a one-to-one basis with the Diploma Coordinator, the University Guidance Counsellor or a subject teacher to discuss a particular option pathway.

If you are coming to GESS to join our Diploma programme then you will need to first read over our Handbook of Studies. Then, email the Diploma Coordinator with ideas about a possible programme of study, which should be guided by a combination of your academic strengths, interests and potential university applications.


The IB Diploma programme demands high academic standards and therefore requires a good academic competence in the majority of subjects studied, which clearly involves a range of disciplines. However, most importantly, the programme demands high levels of self-discipline, organisational skills and personal motivation.

In addition to externally assessed examinations, each subject also requires the completion of internally assessed work, which will be created independently and allows students to demonstrate considerable initiative and personal management.

Pick wisely and listen carefully to advice.


GESS Head of Secondary School ES David Morgan

David Morgan

Head of Secondary School
European Section

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CPE registration number: S72SS0010G
Registration period: 22 June, 2017 – 21 June, 2023

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IB Curriculum

The English speaking European Section of GESS is a fully fledged International Baccalaureate World School, and one of the few in the world who are authorised to deliver the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (IBDP).

Since opening in 2005, the European Section has grown rapidly to become a school with a reputation for quality education with a strong community feel. We now have over 600 students. The vast majority of our students are European passport holders, for whom GESS represents a vital connection with home. Students are thus provided with a safe, friendly and familiar environment in which they are challenged to thrive as they grow into independent and responsible global citizens.

Our academic and pastoral programmes are designed to support this demographic and ultimately to prepare our students for returning to Europe or for entry into European universities. To this end we endeavor to support mother tongue language acquisition so that our students do not lose this vital connection with their home culture. Fortunately, given the high entry requirements into European schools and colleges, this also means that our students are especially well prepared for study all over the world, particularly North America, the UK and Australia.

The Pre-School department provides education from 18 month to 6 years in either English or German. Children are placed in groups according to their age.


German Curriculum

Since the school was founded in 1971, the school has evolved into a school with two sections. As an accredited “Excellent German School Abroad”, the German Section of the German European School Singapore (GESS) offers all major German school leaving certificates. The European Section is an authorized IB World School offering education in English across all three IB programmes.

The German Section supports the students to develop their German roots. We give them wings for the linguistic demands of a globalized world through our differentiated English programme from grade 1 onwards. In secondary school some subjects are taught in English. Our students are benefitting from numerous bonding activities and have additional space to enjoy the internationality of the school.

Our Pre-School department provides education from 18 month to 6 years in either English or German. Children are placed in groups according to their age. 

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