Cambridge Checkpoint

Checkpoint tests, and the curricula developed for them, are specially designed for students who will take courses later which lead to IGCSE examinations in English, Mathematics and Science.

The tests are provided by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). CIE qualifications are taken in over 150 countries and are recognised around the world. The main aim of Checkpoint is to help students learn which parts of the subject they are good at and in which parts they need to make extra effort, in addition to providing the school with detailed information about their strengths and weaknesses.

The Cambridge Curriculum is founded on the values of the University of Cambridge and best practice in schools. The curriculum is dedicated to developing learners who are confident, responsible, innovative and engaged.

It should be noted that Checkpoint has been developed as a diagnostic tool: it is NOT an examination which features ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ grades.


The teaching of English should develop students’ abilities to use language effectively, to communicate in speech and writing and to respond with understanding and insight to a wide range of texts. Whilst speaking and listening are not tested at this level, their importance in language development is such that they play a major part in the curriculum alongside reading and writing. Our integrated curriculum incorporates speaking and listening supporting learning.

The Cambridge Secondary 1 English curriculum promotes an enquiry based approach to learning to develop thinking skills and encourage intellectual engagement. The curriculum is presented in five content areas. Phonics, spelling and vocabulary and Grammar and punctuation related to use of English. Grammar and punctuation is further divided into Reading and Writing to reflect the different ways in which grammar and punctuation are applied in each of these skills. Reading, Writing, and Speaking and listening are about developing thinking skills and encouraging intellectual engagement. The learning objectives span knowledge and understanding and other qualities.

This curriculum encourages learners who are confident, creative and intellectually engaged, capable of applying their skills to respond to a range of information, media and texts with enjoyment and understanding.

The Cambridge Secondary 1 English curriculum framework provides a solid foundation upon which the later stages of education can be built.



Mathematics should develop students’ abilities to manipulate numbers and solve a range of numerical problems. It should allow students to interpret charts and tables and to understand the concepts of numbers and shapes. Although mental arithmetic strategies are key skills in Mathematics, they are not assessed in the Checkpoint tests, although they play an important role in developing students’ skills in Mathematics and are, therefore, included in the curriculum.

As most examinations consist of a paper which allows the use of a calculator, and another which does not, it is important that students are able to solve problems in both situations.

The Cambridge Secondary 1 mathematics curriculum is presented in six content areas: Number, Algebra, Geometry, Measure, Handling data and Problem solving. The first five content areas are all underpinned by Problem solving, which provides a structure for the application of mathematical skills.

Mental strategies are also a key part of the Number content. Together, these two areas form a progressive step preparing students for entry onto IGCSE level courses. This curriculum focuses on principles, patterns, systems, functions and relationships so that learners can apply their mathematical knowledge and develop a holistic understanding of the subject. The Cambridge Secondary 1 Mathematics curriculum framework provides a solid foundation upon which the later stages of education can be built.



Science should develop the skills and processes necessary for the understanding of scientific concepts in the world around us. Our framework of study describes the topics which will be assessed in the areas of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Where possible, these topics are approached through practical work and are related to everyday experience.

The Cambridge Secondary 1 Science curriculum is presented in four content areas: Scientific enquiry, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Scientific enquiry is about considering ideas, evaluating evidence, planning investigative work and recording and analysing data. The Scientific enquiry objectives underpin Biology, Chemistry and Physics, which are focused on developing confidence and interest in scientific knowledge. Environmental awareness and some history of science are also incorporated. The Cambridge Secondary 1 Science curriculum framework provides a solid foundation upon which the later stages of education can be built.

Useful Links:

BBC Bitesize : A very good site for quickly reminding you of the basics. Gives a short description of each topic with a quick test to reinforce understanding.