Academic Approach

St Cyprian’s School’s High School offering comprises two rigorous academic streams for senior students. The Independent Examination Board (IEB) and Cambridge A Levels are positioned synergistically, carrying equal importance and value in how teaching is structured, timetabled and delivered.

Individual, student-centric academic counselling and nurturing is ongoing to support students in their personal choice of which stream to pursue in the senior phase. By offering two distinct streams, our offering considers students’ circumstances and intentions around post-school academic selection, in South Africa or internationally, at foreign universities.

The junior phase, grades 8 & 9, is referred to as the General Education and Training (GET) Phase and grades 10-12 comprise the Further Education and Training (FET) Phase. If pursuing the IEB stream, the final matriculation examinations culminate in the IEB National Senior Certificate being written at the end of Grade 12. Final Cambridge-exit level examination results in A level certification at the end of Grade 12.

The IEB Programme



Grades 7-9

The GET Phase is generalist and broad in its scope. Our offering at this level includes an integrated, project-based, real-world approach that encourages and facilitates experiential, independent and collaborative learning. Our approach incorporates and solidifies the proven foundational knowledge and skills students have developed and attained in their learning journey.


  • Home Language: English
  • 1st Additional Language: Afrikaans, OR
  • 1st Additional Language: isiXhosa
  • 2nd Additional Language: isiXhosa
  • Mathematics
  • Life Orientation
  • Natural Sciences (Life Science and Physical Science)
  • Social Sciences (History and Geography)
  • Coding
  • Social Justice
All Grade 8s and 9s are introduced to the concept of subject choice in the GET phase and can elect one subject from each of the groups below:
  • Group 1: French, Entrepreneurship, Design, Drama
  • Group 2: Art, Design, Drama, Music, Programming


Grades 10-12

The FET academic offering is in line with current national requirements for matriculation. Four compulsory subjects – Home Language, First Additional Language, Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy and Life Orientation – comprise the mandatory aspect.

Choice is extended to include a further three subjects, across three ‘line’ options. Subject choice falls into the categories of Humanities, Sciences, Commerce and the Arts and students can elect to explore either a generalist or to pursue a specialist focus through their combinations.

Students have the further opportunity to take up the IEB Further Studies Programmes in Mathematics, English and Physics as an eighth subject option. Students who write final Grade 12 examinations in the Further Studies subjects will receive an International Secondary Certificate (ISC). This certificate is comparable to the A level standard.


  • Home Language: English
  • First Additional Language: Afrikaans, OR
  • First Additional Language: isiXhosa
  • Business Studies for students with immigrant status
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
  • Life Orientation
THREE CHOICE SUBJECTS OFFER (across three lines to facilitate combinations):
  • Sciences: Life Science, Physical Science
  • Commerce: Business Studies, Consumer Studies, Accounting
  • Humanities: Geography, History
  • Languages: French (Second Additional Language)
  • Arts: Dramatic Arts, Visual Arts, Design, Music (selection process applies)
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

The Cambridge AS and A levels programme


At the end of Grade 10, students can choose to move from IEB to the Cambridge International Curriculum, culminating in the final A level exit examinations in Grade 12.



Mandatory subjects include:
  • English Language and Literature AS level
  • Mathematics AS Level
  • Afrikaans IGCSE
Choice subjects (minimum of two, maximum of three at AS level)
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Art and Design
  • Drama
  • History
  • Geography
  • French (A level only, two-year course)
  • Music


Students may pursue any three of their Grade 11 AS level subjects to complete at A level and meet the requirements of A level certification.

Post-School Opportunities Rhodes Scholarship

St Cyprian’s School is one of a handful of partner schools eligible for the historical Diocesan College Rhodes Scholarship. The Rhodes Scholarships to Oxford University were founded by the will of Cecil John Rhodes and have been operating since 1903 but was only extended to St Cyprian’s School in 2014. The advantage here is that the pool of eligible students is smaller than that of the South African Rhodes Scholarship proposal. Effectively, this means that our girls have a double opportunity to be selected. This highly prestigious scholarship for full-time postgraduate study, covers the costs of tuition fees and provides a living and travel allowance for successful candidates.

Ashley Pople, Matric 2010, was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship for 2015.

Ashley was the first female recipient of the Diocesan College Rhodes Scholarship and the first student from St Cyprian’s School. Ashley has always been interested in the intrinsic links between social development and economics, resulting in her decision to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Cape Town, before specialising in Economics. In 2016, she completed a MSc in Economics for Development at Oxford University. Thereafter she was invited to continue with a PhD in Economics at Oxford through the Rhodes Scholarship –an amazing achievement from an extraordinary alumna.

Reflections on St Cyprian’s High School

My learning experience was by no means conventional throughout my five years at St Cyprian’s School. Being taught by strong, independently minded teachers encouraged me to think differently about the world. For instance, I will never forget our passionate Science teacher who taught us the basic principles of physics and chemistry with such rigour and enthusiasm, yet who was deeply rooted in her faith. We read novels drawn from the broadest spectrum of genres, which continue to serve as reference points today. History was brought alive through videos and songs, while we lived the languages we were taught by embracing its associated food and culture. In addition to being inspired by teachers, I was nurtured by warm and loving friendships throughout my schooling at St Cyps. These women continue to ground me to this day. St Cyprian’s School enables its students to develop self-awareness through its emphasis on life outside academics and its multitude of opportunities, be it in sport or community involvement. Beyond the classroom, my learning also took place in a three-month student exchange is the USA and through a Round Square residential service project in India. Perhaps more importantly, my involvements with initiatives that served our communities close to home bred a sense of purpose to engage with both local and global injustices today.


We know the worth of water. Be water wise.

Gorge Road, Oranjezicht, Cape Town 8001
Tel: +27 21 300 6500 | Fax: +27 21 461 8473

Photography by Chad Henning Photography

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