The curriculum at The International School of Penang (Uplands) is designed to offer an international education. Qualities and characteristics are drawn from various national curricula, supported and promoted through the experience and motivation of highly-qualified staff.

The Secondary Years Programme

The School exists in order to develop the confidence and self-esteem of students by encouraging them to achieve in an extensive range of arenas. Throughout their time at Uplands, students are offered an opportunity to learn a lot; much of it is academic, but lessons for life are there as well.

Pastoral Care

The pastoral system is one we are very proud of. At Uplands, we feel children learn best in a secure and pleasant environment. Every child is placed in a tutor group with Form Tutors. The Form Tutors will look after your children in a variety of ways. Not only will they check the progress of your child, but they will care for your childs welfare throughout the year.

There are also pastoral Heads of Year to oversee the different year groups. All of these people will be happy to discuss problems or anxieties with both students and parents or guardians. In addition Uplands has a School Guidance Counsellor

Academic Study

The secondary school academic programme is a rigorous and interconnected programme of study, designed to prepare students for tertiary study and the new and emerging complex world that they will enter as young adults. In Years 7, 8 and 9 students follow a broad base of studies intended to extend upon previously acquired knowledge and to provide a foundation for their future schooling. When students commence study at Year 10, they are able to build flexibility and choice into their academic program. All students are encouraged to commence a pattern of study so that they are able to graduate in Year 13 with an accredited High School Diploma. The High School Diploma typically consists of subjects drawn directly from the IGCSE and IB Diploma programs, but can also cater for students seeking greater flexibility within their program.

Courses for Year 10 and 11 students generally culminate in the University of Cambridge’s International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). Students typically take 10-13 external exams as part of this pathway.

A majority of students entering Years 12 and 13 will study for the full International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Students may also elect to follow the High School Diploma pathway to create different and flexible study plans.

  • External IGCSE and the IB examinations are held from May-June each year.

Throughout the secondary school, students are given a degree of choice in the selection of their subjects. These options become more varied as they progress through the School and work in increasingly specialised fields.

Click on the following to find out more on each individual subjects in the academic year groups:

Years 7, 8, 9

Years 10 & 11 (IGCSE)

Years 12 & 13 (IB Diploma Programme)

Years 10-13 (HS Diploma)

Malaysian citizens are required by law to study Bahasa Malaysia (the national language) up to Year 11. Bahasa Malaysia is a compulsory subject for all Year 7 to 9 students regardless of nationality.

Students who need strong English support will be required to take English as an Additional Language (EAL) until they are competent.

Support and advice is offered to all students throughout their time at Uplands. For children who are exceptionally high achievers or those with additional learning needs, some specialist support is available.

Support and advice is offered to all students throughout their time at Uplands. For children who are exceptionally high achievers or those with learning difficulties, specialist support
is available


Homework supports the curriculum in a variety of ways, enabling students to develop their skills and understanding by providing opportunities which include:

  • follow up and research topics of particular interest and aspects of the work covered in class;
  • working at their own speed and level;
  • developing independence, organisation and responsibility;
  • preparing for future activities;
  • demonstrating how well they have understood a concept taught in class

Updated on 20 February 2019