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Curriculum overview

CLIP - The Oporto International School offers an international school curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England, with certain modifications to suit both the school's philosophical and pedagogical objectives, and the local circumstances of CLIP, as an international school in Porto, Portugal. The school has equivalence with the Portuguese educational system, and all local students study the official curriculum in the subjects of Portuguese language and Portuguese History (Forms 5 to 9), thereby enabling students to transfer to a state or private school in Portugal, at any level, should they so desire.



The whole school curriculum is designed around three connected areas of learning called strands.


These are:

Physical, Personal & Social Development: Students learn about themselves and their place in society. They learn how to stay healthy and active. Students develop skills in building social relationships and working with others. They take responsibility for their learning, and learn about their rights and responsibilities as global citizens.

Discipline-based Learning: Students acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviours in the Arts, Languages, Humanities, Mathematics and Sciences.

Interdisciplinary Learning: Students explore different ways of thinking, solving problems and communicating. They learn to use a range of technologies to plan, analyse, evaluate and present their work. Students learn about creativity, design principles and processes.

Standards & Benchmarks

Each of the three strands contains learning areas called domains. In each domain there are standards and benchmarks that outline the essential knowledge, skills and behaviours students are expected to demonstrate. At CLIP we believe that coherence of both teaching and learning benefits from a framework of standards. The frameworks for student learning, the development of units of study and the assessment of student performance are informed by these standards which, in one form or another, articulate across all sectors of the school from Pre-K – Form 12.

Curriculum Articulation

At CLIP, teaching and learning are guided by a curriculum that reflects articulation as a means of providing students with meaningful connections among and between disciplines and continuity within disciplines.

  • Learning Stages Pre-K- Form 12

    The whole school curriculum is given coherence through the articulation of learning standards. The standards take into account research on the developmental stages of learning. This research recognises that while student learning is a continuum from Pre-Kindergarten to Form 12, and different students develop at different rates, students broadly progress through three stages of learning:

  • Lower School Pre-K – Form 4: LAYING THE FOUNDATIONS

    The curriculum aims to promote pupils’ moral, social and cultural development and prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life. By providing rich and varied contexts for pupils to acquire, develop and apply a broad range of knowledge, understanding and skills, the curriculum enables pupils to think creatively and critically, to solve problems and to make a difference for the better.

  • Middle School Form 5 – Form 8: BUILDING BREADTH

    Students build on the foundations laid in the Lower School (LS). An expanded curriculum programme provides the basis for in-depth learning within and across all domains.


  • Upper School Form 9 – Form 12: DEVELOPING PATHWAYS

    The curriculum allows students to develop their understanding of and connection to their community and the world around them. Students begin to focus on areas of particular interest related to both their future schooling and intended pathways beyond school.

University Access

To remain in Portugal a student has to achieve equivalence to the 12º ano of the Portuguese education system by passing the AICE diploma.

The Portuguese system enables our students to enter university without sitting the Portuguese exams, through the use of "Artigo 20-A". Students have to ensure they have in their diploma subjects that are considered to be equivalent by the Portuguese authorities to the national "provas de ingresso". For example, if a student wants to enter Economics, then they have to include Mathematics and Economics in their AICE curriculum, as "Matemática" and "Economia" are the subjects required to enter this area in some universities. If a student chooses a university that does not apply "Artigo 20-A", then they have to sit the appropriate Portuguese "prova de ingresso". Each year, more and more universities are accepting the use of "Artigo 20-A" in their application.

To go to the UK (and several other EU countries) students have different routes they can take and pay the same fees as UK students, which are subsidised. The difference is that students need to study A2s and do not follow the AICE diploma requirements. Entry to a British university does not rely entirely on marks but also on the student's personal statement and the school's reference which accompany their application. In the case of Art, the student's portfolio is decisive and for medicine, the interview is a deciding factor. Furthermore, a student's CV over the course of their schooling has a great impact, and for the competitive universities straight A grades do not suffice, so students at CLIP are encouraged to work towards building a portfolio of skills, competencies and activities to complement their academic training.


Since its inception, CLIP has consistently achieved success with students gaining entry to University in Portugal, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Between 1996 and 2009, 96% of CLIP Form 12 leavers entered higher and further education.


In 2011-2012, 46 – of the 48 (96%) Form 12 students - entered university (academic year 2012-2013): 15 (33%) abroad (Scotland, England, France, Switzerland, China and Spain); and 31 in Portugal. Of the latter, 12 scored 20 as the final mark in the AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education) diploma.


Of the 31 who opted to stay in Portugal, 6 of them entered the University of Porto Medical School and the others the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, the Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Porto, the Faculty of Economy of the New University of Lisbon, the Medical School of the University of Lisbon and ISEG- The Lisbon Technical University. For those that applied to foreign universities, their choices fell on Imperial College London, University College London (UCL), King’s College London, University of Bristol, University of the West of England-Bristol, and University of Glasgow.

Rua de Vila Nova, 1071
4100 - 506 Porto, Portugal


tlf. +351 226 199 160
fax. +351 226 199 169 

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