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NCUK International Foundation Year: Ages 17 – 18

NCUK International Foundation Year: Ages 17 – 18

The NCUK International Foundation Year (IFY) is a fast-track, one-year programme designed specifically for international students aged 17-18 year old who are looking to secure an undergraduate place at university in the UK or abroad.

Designed by universities exclusively for international students, the NCUK International Foundation Year combines 3 academic modules, study skills and English language training to provide a pathway to undergraduate degree courses at leading universities in the UK and around the world.

Students study at Taunton School International (TSI) and as the IFY is completed in just 10 months, it provides students with a financially attractive and exciting alternative to A Levels or the IB.

Not only do students receive an outstanding education in Business Studies, Economics and Mathematics/Global Studies, they also learn how to think critically and use English for academic purposes and develop the necessary skills to become an autonomous learner, ready to take on the challenges of university life.

Upon successful completion of the IFY programme, students have a GUARANTEED place at one of over 40 universities in the UK and around the world.  Some of the Universities IFY students attend include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Durham, Exeter, Leeds, Manchester, Queen Mary and Sheffield.

Our Foundation programme allows students to progress into three different undergraduate academic pathways:

  • Business & Management
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Social Sciences


Business & Management Pathway

Modules studied:

Business Studies, Economics, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), Global Studies OR Maths (for Business)

Sample of University courses available:

Business Management, Economics, Maths, Marketing, Marketing Management, Business, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Economics & Management, Information Technology for Business, Law, Logistics with Supply Chain Management, Computer Science, Sport Business, International Business Management, Fashion Management


Finance & Accounting Pathway

Modules studied:

Business Studies, Economics, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), Maths (for Business)

Sample of University courses available:

Finance, Accounting & Finance, Banking & Finance, Economics, Business Management, Finance & Economics, Accounting Finance & Mathematics, Marketing, Mathematics & Management, Finance & Data Analysis, Sustainability & Environmental Management, International Development, Business Analytics, Mathematical Economics & Statistics


Social Sciences Pathway

Modules studied:

Business Studies, Economics, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), Global Studies

Sample of University courses available:

International Relations, Criminology, Tourism Management, Marketing, International Business, Business Psychology, Business Management, Law, Politics & International Relations, Management & Innovation, Law & Sociology, Planning & Real Estate, Human Resource Management, International Law & Globalisation


For further support and advice, please contact our Admissions Team, who will be happy to help you with any questions you might have or to take you through the application process.

For further information on NCUK, please click here.

Further Information

Entry requirements

  • Students must be 17 or 18 years old (at the start of the course)
  • IELTS ≥ 5.5 or CEFR ≥ B2
  • 1 A Level (grade E or higher) OR 2 AS Levels (Grade E or higher) OR 5 GCSEs at Level 4 or above (Grade 5 in Mathematics) OR successful completion of 12 years of school education
  • Where no external Mathematics qualification has been achieved, students will need to sit and pass an internally-assessed Mathematics test
  • Keen interest in Business Studies and preferably, have studied this subject (or similar) to approximately GCSE level


Course Details

  • Three terms of approximately 32 weeks, starting in September and ending in June
  • 650 hours of directed study
  • 450 hours (minimum) additional private study
  • Maximum class size of 12 students
  • Frequent and structured mentoring sessions with a personal tutor
  • Personalised careers advice
  • Comprehensive guidance and support for university applications
  • A wide range of sports to choose from
  • Over 100 clubs and societies available to access throughout the year
  • Full board in a single room
  • Full access to our 56-acre campus, including health centre, swimming pools, fitness suite, sports halls, sports pitches & courts, theatre, library, Sixth Form centre, dining hall, Chapel, music school and shop.

University Entry

Upon successful completion of the IFY, students have a guaranteed place at one of over 40 universities in the UK and abroad, offering our students hundreds of undergraduate courses to choose from and in multiple disciplines.

For further information on NCUK, please click here.

For further support and advice, please contact our Admissions Team, who will be happy to help you with any questions you might have or to take you through the application process.

Download the course brochure

Frequently Asked Questions

What do our Foundation courses cover?

Both our Pre-Foundation Year and International Foundation Year courses are designed for students who want to pursue a career in finance, business or management.

The Taunton School PFY combines an in-depth English programme with courses in maths, business and economics. It is tailor-made so that students are able to make a flying start the following year when they join the NCUK’s International Foundation Year in Business.

Successful completion of the IFY here at Taunton School, gives students guaranteed access to thousands of degree courses at universities in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Our counsellors are there every step of the way to help students choose the degree that’s right for them.

Who should consider Taunton School’s Foundation courses?

For some students, starting a two-year A-level or IB course is just not the best, or wisest, choice. These two university pathways, which we also offer, require students to be up to speed linguistically and academically from day one.

If they are not, there is a chance they will fall behind and drop out – or, at best, achieve lower grades than they require to fulfil offers from the universities of their choice.

Disappointment like this is harmful for a student’s self-esteem and academic confidence. At Taunton School we want to make sure every student is on the programme that is right for them.

As well as academic knowledge, our foundation courses deliver a specialist English language element and a breadth of cultural knowledge which readies students for degree-level study.

Find out more about our international admissions process here.

Can students just come to Taunton for the NCUK’s Business IFY?

Yes. If a student’s standard of English is already high, then they can join the IFY course at 17 or 18-years-old, providing they fulfil our entry requirements.

Since 1987, NCUK has helped over 30,000 international students gain guaranteed access to leading UK universities with a range of foundation programmes.

Here at Taunton School we focus on the Business International Foundation Year.

Learn more about NCUK’s International Foundation Year Course here.

My child wants to take the IFY at a centre in London because they would like to experience life in a big city. Why would we think of sending them to a school in the rural South West of England?

Many students aged 16 to 18 need that little bit of extra support when they move away from family and friends for the first time. Although they may seem confident at home, that can swiftly disappear once they face the challenges of living in a big city – either in a home stay setting or halls of residence.

Here at Taunton School we provide a reassuring step towards independence for students and peace of mind for families who want to make sure their child has the support they need, when they need it.

Our 56-acre site feels like a mini-university campus. With our outstanding sports facilities, extensive choice of extra-curricular activities, a new £4 million dining hall and 350 boarders living on site, there is always a buzz about the place and lots of opportunities to mix and make friends.

Find out more about our campus and facilities here.

How will you support my child?

Caring for the wellbeing of all our students is paramount.

We have a student to staff ratio of 3:1 for all our international students, wraparound pastoral care and a 24-hour health centre with access to doctors, nurses, counsellors and a physiotherapist.

Our boarding house staff provide a home from home environment and most are trained in EAL (English as an Additional Language). They are dedicated to making their students’ educational journey in the UK a happy and memorable one.

Learn more about our Pastoral provision here.

Apart from their studies, what do students do?

Our older students have greater freedoms: there is no uniform, they have later bedtimes and can choose single or twin rooms in well-maintained boarding houses. They also have access to Taunton, the town on our doorstep, which has restaurants, shops and many other amenities.

International students make rapid progress here at Taunton School thanks to our small class sizes and lots of individual support. This frees up valuable time for them to socialise and benefit from the amazing range of activities available on site.

Students quickly learn how to manage their time so they can take part in some of the 140 clubs and societies we run during the week and at weekends.

Everything from debating to horse-riding, rugby to triathlon, we offer it – and everyone will have the opportunity to represent the school at sport at some point during their time here.

We also make sure there are lots of possibilities for work experience with local businesses as well as volunteering and charity work. We actively encourage our students to take up leadership roles – all of which are so important for applications to university.

Learn more about clubs and societies at Taunton School International here.


What about cost?

Choosing a boarding school for your son or daughter to take the IFY course can initially seem like an expensive option. We know that, on paper at least, the cost of the course is cheaper at a centre in a UK city. But consider the cost of accommodation for your child, their transport and general living expenses. With our fees, everything is included:  accommodation, healthcare, all meals and sports facilities.

Find out our Fees for the International Foundation Year programme here.

Isn’t Taunton quite remote?

Not at all. We are just 1 hour and 45 minutes by direct train from London. Exeter airport is 30 minutes away, as are the renowned university cities of Bristol and Exeter.

Taunton is in a beautiful and safe part of the UK with easy access to the stunning beaches of the South West as well as hills, lakes and some wonderful countryside.

View Taunton School’s location on an interactive map here.

Who will help students with their university applications?

We have in-house counsellors who provide one to one support for each student during the university application process until they receive their offers of a university place.

Our counsellors help students find the courses at the universities which best suits their needs and abilities as well as ensuring they engage in activities which will enhance their application.

Tricey from Ghana

Tricey Taunton School student IFY
Tricey from Ghana

 Tricey is studying at the University of Kent after completing the course.

“The thing that really appealed to me about this course was the fact that it was really business-focused and it provided me a clear pathway for studying at university. The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) element gives me an advantage over people who follow the normal A-level pathway, as I have been taught how to write university-standard essays and coursework. It was also great to be able to get involved in extra-curricular activities while on the course – I got to play cricket, take part in The Duke of Edinburgh Award and I also organized charity events and volunteered in forest management. I cannot wait to begin the next step of my academic journey at the University of Kent, and I don’t believe I would have received my offers without the help and assistance from my teachers at Taunton School.”


Jarry from China

Jarry Taunton School student IFY
Jarry from China

Jarry is now attending the University of Melbourne.

“This course is the most appropriate pathway for me to get to university.I really liked how the coursework element of the course helped me to learn how to study independently, and the teachers at Taunton School have been incredibly supportive. I’ve learned how to manage my time wisely and have learned about time management generally, which is going to be vital when I go to the University of Melbourne next year. I chose the course because I want to work within my family business in China or set up my own business in the future, and this course has been the perfect preparation for that.”


Paul from France

Paul Taunton School student IFY
Paul from France

Paul went on to study Business at HEC Montreal in Canada.

“One of the things that really appealed to me about the course is the fact that it really guides you through the preparations for university. Thanks to the teachers at Taunton School, I felt supported every day with my classes and homework. I feel ready for the next step in my education in Canada now and that is because of the IFY course.”