Experience a British Curriculum

Marlborough College Malaysia’s curriculum broadly follows and extends the British National Curriculum to allow for a proper combination of breadth and specialisation. It has been designed to stimulate, challenge and support all pupils.

The curriculum is supported by a wide range of academic extension and enrichment activities through societies, lectures, theatre trips, museum and gallery visits, debates, poetry readings, conference and concerts creating a full co-curriculum which recognises that qualifications alone do not produce a well-balanced educated person.

Time is allowed in the curriculum for co-curricular activities, and on occasions the timetable is suspended or modified to allow activities to occur, such as subject-specific day trips and events and sports fixtures.

The Marlborough College Malaysia curriculum is designed to ensure that every individual maximises their potential. There is a clear focus placed upon success in public examinations, but the College also takes seriously its responsibility in preparing pupils to succeed beyond the College, at University, and in their subsequent career wherever that might be in the world.

Subjects are taught in departmental areas to give all pupils the advantage of specialist facilities such as laboratories, art studios, computer suites, design technology workshops and modern language spaces. The Library is located in the heart of the College and holds a stock of fiction from which pupils may borrow. The curricular provision is regularly reviewed to ensure that it best serves the interests of all pupils, and departments are responsible for the development of their particular subject area.

Schemes of work are reviewed annually and designed to ensure that lessons are correctly focused and that all pupils, regardless of their particular needs, are able to make progress through the school.

Preparatory School

Marlborough College Malaysia offers pupils an educational experience that exposes them to a broad range of experiences; both academic and non-academic. Our aim is to identify strengths, provide tools and strategies to enhance learning, and celebrate personal achievement in each and every pupil. We endeavour to develop the personal qualities – such as curiosity, communication and resilience – that children need to be good citizens and to respond to the changing contexts of their future lives.   Pupils are facilitated in achieving excellent academic standards, in a stimulating and supportive environment.  In both Pre-Prep and Prep we follow the English National Curriculum, but this is enriched and influenced by the international nature of our school, our pupils, and our physical and cultural surroundings to include lessons such as Forest School, Ballet, Swimming, Mandarin and Drama.

In both EYFS and Key Stage 1, Form Tutors provide the bulk of lessons and maintain the essential pastoral oversight over their pupils, whilst specialist teachers are introduced for a number of key lessons, including Mandarin, Music and PE. 

Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery & Reception )

The Early Years are a critical stage of development for every young child. During this time children develop rapidly; physically, socially, intellectually and emotionally. The Early Years form the foundations of knowledge, giving them the 

best possible start on their educational journey and learning key skills such as listening, speaking, concentration, perseverance and learning to cooperate with other children. In the Early Years, we are committed to offering all pupils equitable access to the curriculum and exposing them to a breadth of subject areas; including languages, the Arts and sports.


The Early Years framework is made up of seven areas of learning and development.

Three areas are particularly important for building a foundation for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, forming relationships and thriving.

  1. Communication and language
  2. Physical development
  3. Personal, social and emotional development

Children are also supported in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. The specific areas are:



Understanding the world

Expressive arts and design 

Key Stage 1 (Year 1 – age 5/6 and Year 2 – age 6/7)

Our KS1 curriculum is designed to progress smoothly from the Foundation Stage. It extends the pupils academically, whilst ensuring breadth and balance in the activities on offer. Cross-curricular themes are devised to make connections between different subjects enabling the children to make more sense of their learning. We aim to use creative methods to give children opportunities to use and develop their basic skills, whilst retaining the integrity of each National Curriculum subject. We aim, through our curriculum, to instil in our pupils a sense of challenge, independence and creativity.


During Year Two the children are encouraged to become much more independent in both work and individual personal responsibility. As they continue to learn through the provision of a rich and varied curriculum, there is a growing range of activities provided by fully qualified staff. Timetables are structured and planned to enable each child to reach his or her full potential; with exposure to academic, physical, personal and social opportunities within the school day that keep pupils engaged and motivated.


Core: English, Mathematics, Science

Humanities: History, Geography, Religious Studies

Arts: Art, Drama, Music, Singing, Design and Technology

Outdoor: Physical Education (PE), Swimming, Forest School

Languages: Mandarin, choice of Bahasa Malay or Spanish.

Computer Science, Wellbeing

Key Stage 2  (Year 3 – age 7/8, Year 4 – age 8/9, Year 5 – age 9/10 and Year 6 – age 10/11)

In Key Stage 2, pupils move towards further independence and develop the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding required to achieve well across a broad range of subjects. Academic subjects are taught in more depth whilst our focus character strengths – such as grit, responsibility and teamwork –  are nurtured through exposure to a growing range of public and competitive events: sports fixtures, inter-house competitions and drama or musical performances.

In Y3 & Y4 the Form Tutor is still central to the everyday education of pupils; however, they benefit from additional specialist teaching for subjects such as Drama and DT. Pupils in the Lower Prep begin Games lessons and are given the opportunity to compete in sports matches against other schools and in inter-house competitions. 


In Upper KS2 (Y5 & Y6) pupils are taught by subject specialists and are becoming very much more responsible for their own organisation, with pastoral support offered by their Form Tutors. At this point, we begin to introduce ability-based setting in some subjects (i.e. Mathematics) and begin to use subject-specific classrooms when necessary.  

Core: English,  Mathematics, Science

Humanities: History, Geography, Religious Studies

Arts: Art, Drama, Music, Singing, Design and Technology

Sport: Games, Physical Education (PE), Swimming 

Languages: Mandarin, choice of Bahasa Malay, Spanish; French introduced as an option in Y4.

Computer Science & Wellbeing

Key Stage 3 (Year 7 – 11/12 and Year 8 – age 12/13)

Pupils continue to be taught by subject specialists, including a number of Senior School beaks who add their subject expertise to the curriculum, ensuring a smooth transition to Shell. Pupils are grouped in a variety of ways according to the needs of the subject although many teaching groups remain mixed-ability in character.  The use of technology becomes more deeply embedded across the curriculum; enabling pupils to start making independent and informed choices about how to use technological tools efficiently, responsibly and safely in a variety of contexts. 

Core: English,  Mathematics, Science

Humanities: History, Geography, Religious Studies

Arts: Art, Drama, Music, Singing, Design and Technology

Sport: Games, Physical Education (PE), Swimming (in rotation) 

Languages: Mandarin, choice of Bahasa Malay, Spanish, French 

Computer Science & Wellbeing

Senior School

In the Senior School subject specialists teach all lessons and pupils move to their classes through the day. All students require an Apple MacBook laptop. There are eight academic lessons per day, each lasting 45 minutes. The timetable is a ‘two-week timetable’ meaning we plan for 80 academic lessons over two weeks, including one assembly, three activity and four games periods per week.  Sixth Form pupils also have lessons on Saturday mornings to ensure that they have sufficient teaching time to meet the demands of the IB curriculum.

Shell (Year 9, age 13-14)

In Shell, we start the preparatory work to ensure that pupils are ready to begin their IGCSE studies in Remove.  We adapt and enrich our pupils’ studies according to the context of their education in an international school in Malaysia. For example, in humanities and English, we include relevant local subject material.  Pupils in the top set in Mathematics begin their IGCSE study with the aim of sitting the examination at the end of Remove.  Pupils also start their IGCSE course in the three sciences.  Shell pupils also get an opportunity to take control of their own studies for the first time as they have a choice of some courses to study.

Compulsory Core

English, Maths, Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Humanities (Geography, History, Economics & Business Studies, Comparative Religious Studies, and Wellbeing. 

Language Option (Choose one)

Mandarin, Bahasa Malay, French or Spanish.

Options (Choose four)

Another Language, Art, Computer Science, Design & Technology, Drama, EAL, Music, Classic Civilisations, and Sports Science.


Key Stage 4 (Remove and Hundred, Years 10 and 11, ages 14-16)

During these years pupils study towards externally assessed examinations known as International General Certificates of Education (IGCSEs).  At the end of the course, each IGCSE is graded on a scale from A* to G or 9-1 depending on the examination board. 

All pupils follow the core curriculum: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, and the three Sciences. Some pupils may be offered the opportunity to study the Additional Mathematics curriculum.  

Four further subjects may be chosen from within the lists below (within various option groups):


Business Studies

Computer Science

Design & Technology Graphic Products

Design & Technology Resistant Materials






Malay First Language

Malay Foreign Language

Mandarin First Language

Mandarin Second Language

Mandarin Foreign Language


Physical Education

Religious Studies



International Baccalaureate (Sixth Form, Years 12 and 13, ages 16-18)

In August 2014 MCM began the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme with our first cohort of pupils. This is a coherent and balanced programme of study that maintains breadth but allows for specialisation.

The IB Diploma requires pupils to study one subject from each of five groups and one other, plus completing the core aspects of Creativity, Action and Service, the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.  Three of these subjects must be taken at Higher Level and the other three at Standard Level.  At the conclusion of the courses, each subject is given a points score, with 7 being the best down to 1.  Extra points, to a maximum of 3 will be awarded for performance in the core aspects.  This gives a maximum possible score of 45 points.