Secondary School

Welcome to the Secondary School

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Secondary School at VIS.

The school has chosen to adopt three International Baccalaureate programmes. In the Secondary School, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP; Grades 6 -10) provides us with a curricular framework from which to build, not only our students’ knowledge but also their conceptual understandings, which transcend subject boundaries.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme years (grades 11 and 12), provides the best possible preparation for tertiary education. Our students receive significant support and guidance and successfully access universities of choice worldwide.

We are committed to a holistic education for our students. While our curricular programmes are strongly academic, we invest in ensuring the holistic development of all our students.

The School has an extensive extra-curricular programme that encompasses sports; music; mathematics competitions; Model United Nations; student publications and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (to name but a few).

All our students participate in Service and Action projects. It is central to an IB education and to the values of VIS that every student should contribute to better the world. This includes projects that improve the lives of others, the environment and society as whole. We aim to educate ethically driven, contributing members of our global community who are empowered to be positive drivers of change in the world.

Vienna International School has strong values that our students understand and respect. We have a strong pastoral team, who support students and parents through any challenges, be they academic or personal. We take a constructive approach to student behaviours that are outside of our expectations.

We know that if the relationship between the home and the school is strong we can successfully work to support students in achieving personal success. We therefore engage parents as partners in the learning journeys of our students and expect that our parents will support the values of the school and its approach to learning, student success and well-being.

Elisabeth Stanners
Secondary School Principal



The Vienna International School prides itself on a very strong and successful arts programme. From music to visual and performing arts, the students have the ability to immerse themselves in the genre that best suits their talent. With highly qualified and dedicated artists and musicians as teachers, the students are able to develop and hone their skills, which allows them express themselves as confident and competent artists. 

Purpose-built facilities at VIS include three digital design laboratories, two product design studios and a fully equipped food design kitchen. Mandatory study in G6-G8 allows students to follow the design cycle to solve open-ended briefs in product design, digital design and food design contexts. These programs assist students to develop skills in the areas of investigating problems, designing creative solutions, planning, creating and evaluating. 

The Physical Education department uses sports and activities as a tool to help every student to become responsible and guide each individual to achieve their own potential and reach success, in any aspect of society. Therefore, PE at VIS is geared to develop three domains: the psychomotor (physical development), cognitive (thinking, reflecting skills) and affective domain (emotions, feelings, attitudes, behaviour). We offer a range of sports and activities to provide students with a contemporary and holistic education. Moreover, all lessons are inquiry-based and are students centred.  We offer a range of sports and activities and teach them in clusters: Striking & fielding (e.g. Softball, cricket), Invasion games (e.g. Ultimate frisbee), Racket/net games (e.g. Badminton/volleyball), creative movement (dance, parkour), and Track & field.

Science is taught with a high level of hands-on practical work aimed at making the subjects both relevant and exciting. We have seven well-equipped laboratories that are fully able to manage the demands of practical science work. The Science Department also makes good use of the surrounding environment and local excursions and field trips to enhance the classroom experiences for students.

Students are taught mathematics with an emphasis on discovering and applying knowledge and skills in real life contexts. In addition to textbooks, they learn using a wide variety of resources, including departmental sites subscriptions, manipulable materials and ICT tools. 

In G6-G10, our courses were designed to address all the topics included in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme framework: Number, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability, and Discrete mathematics. 

In G6-G8, students follow the same common course that leads naturally to the standard mathematics course in G9-G10. For those students who have demonstrated higher capability and results they have the opportunity to join the extended mathematics course in G9-G10. This course contains additional content and the standard level topics are explored at an higher level
of sophistication and abstraction. 

Students in G11-G12 study one of the following courses from the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Mathematical Studies at standard level, Mathematics at either standard or higher level. There is also the opportunity for students to undertake the Further Mathematics course at higher level.


The Romance Language Department at VIS offers French and Spanish to all secondary students. Our curriculum aims to construct learning around relevant and authentic situations and develops the four skills speaking, reading, writing and listening.  From G6-G10, we work under the MYP framework, which aims to develop a respect for, and understanding of, other languages and cultures, and is equally designed to equip the students with a skills base to facilitate further language learning. In G11 and G12 we follow the curriculum of the DP program, based around five themes: identities, experiences, human ingenuity, social organization and sharing the planet. 

As the language of the host country, German is taught to all secondary students at VIS. We offer courses at all achievement levels in each grade. Our teachers are all native speakers who teach with enthusiasm and passion. Excursions and field trips add to the authentic approach of the teaching and expand the cultural experience of learning German. 

The English curriculum is an exciting and entertaining experience for young people with an aim to expose students to a range of language and literature and to engender a love of writing and highly developed writing skills. In keeping with the IB Middle Years Programme, students experience thematic units based on open-ended questions in which they encounter texts from around the world both ancient and modern. Assessment is continuous and balanced, incorporating tasks written and oral, analytical and creative, formative and summative; all designed to prepare students for success in the IB Diploma Programme. 

Grade 11 and Grade 12 students have the possibility to take their Mother Tongue as one of their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma subjects. Approximately 30% of all IB Diploma level students each year take this option. Please contact the IB office or the IB DP Mother Tongue Coordinator for further information: ibmothertongue(at)

English Language Acquisition (ELA) and English B "Language is the medium in which teaching and learning take place in schools; the medium through which we transform and develop our thinking about concepts; and in this way language and content are inextricably linked" (Halliday, 1993)

At VIS the Language Acquisition programme supports students whose mother tongue is not English* to acquire the English language skills necessary to participate successfully and confidently across the curriculum.

The Language Acquisition programme has been designed to meet the needs of students who have English as a second or additional language. Our goal is to develop English language skills, which allow children to be successful in their academic work as well as in everyday communication. We have adopted the IB language continua in which is organised in phases.

The Secondary School delivers the Language Acquisition programme as a discrete curricular programme. Students in the IB MYP Language Acquisition Phases 2 and 3 take Language Acquisition classes in place of English, Romance Languages, Science and Humanities.

Students in the IB MYP Language Acquisition Phase 4 course take Language Acquisition classes in place of English and Romance Languages.

Diploma students have the option of taking the English Language B course at both Higher and Standard levels.


As a social science, economics uses scientific methodologies that include quantitative and qualitative elements. The IB Diploma Programme economics course emphasizes the economic theories of microeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting individuals, firms and markets, and the economic theories of macroeconomics, which deal with economic variables affecting countries, governments and societies. These economic theories are not to be studied in a vacuum—rather, they are to be applied to real-world issues. Prominent among these issues are fluctuations in economic activity, international trade, economic development and environmental sustainability.

Geography is a dynamic subject that is firmly grounded in the real world and focuses on the interactions between individuals, societies and the physical environment in both time and space. It seeks to identify trends and patterns in these interactions and examines the processes behind them. Geography is distinctive in that it occupies the middle ground between social sciences and natural sciences. At VIS, Geography is part of the IB Middle Years Programme for G6-G10. It is a required course and students take geography in either the first or the second semester, alternating with History. At the IB level, students may elect to take geography at either the standard or higher level. By the end of the course G12 higher and standard level will have covered the core themes of: population in transition; patterns in resource consumption; disparities in development; and environmental sustainability. 

The emphasis of History is on building analytical skills, essay writing and knowledge and understanding of the past. The course of study in History is done thematically which enable the students not only to build their historical skills but also to make links to the present and other areas of knowledge. History at the IB diploma level is a popular choice at the school and focuses on Modern European History. 

Psychology is offered as an IB course as a two-year programme at both standard and higher levels. (There is no prior knowledge requirement and psychology is not offered at VIS prior to the IB diploma/certificate level courses).  Students in standard level study the “core” of biological, cognitive, and sociocultural psychology as well as one optional topic (form five prescribed by the IBO) and conduct a simple experimental study that involves replicating published research. At higher level, students complete the same core requirements and study two of the five options, complete a simple experimental study that also involves inferential statistics, and study qualitative research as an additional topic. 

Matura Equivalency

The International Baccalaureat Diploma Programme examination is accepted for entrance to all Austrian Universities/Fachhochschulen (§64 Abs. 1 Z.7. Universitätsgesetz, BGBl. Nr. 131/2015).  Please note that the IBDP examination, by agreement with and validated through Nostrifikation by the Ministry of Education, is an international and not a national school leaving certificate. Therefore Matura equivalency is not automatically transferable to other countries as “Austrian Matura”.

Students qualify for Matura equivalence based upon their final, externally marked, International Baccalaureate assessment grades, and internal VIS assessment grades (3 higher level and 3 standard level, with no assessment grade below 3, and with a total of at least 24 points).

In addition, in G9-G10 students must successfully complete:

  • all subjects taught in the VIS curriculum (including 3 separate sciences) receiving G3 or above in each on their end of year school reports
  • a third language taught as part of the VIS curriculum for at least four years, up to and including G10, with level two objectives being reached, (including success in external exams, or an International Baccalaureate certificate in the third language)

In G11-G12 students must study:

  • Austrian history and Austrian geography.
  • German (B, HL), English, Mathematics and one experimental science from biology, chemistry or physics.