10yr old changing schools. British Curriculum or IB PYP/MYP?

(14 Posts)
ForPetesSakeNotAgain Tue 03-Dec-13 13:24:59

Even though this is a zombie thread I am still going to comment.

DS1 and DS2 are in the PYP and it has not been a success. DS1 is now in PYP8 (Yr 6) having started in PYP1 and DS2 is in PYP4 (Yr 2) having started in PYP2 (Reception).

DS1's core skills (writing and maths) are very poor. We blamed that on a mix of dyslexia and poor teaching - and anyway we didn't really have any other option here that we felt comfortable with.

However DS2 has no learning problems and has had good teachers but his class (and he) are falling rapidly behnd other schools locally and in the UK. I am appalled and fear he is going to be in the same position as his big brother in a few years time. The school boasts about how much they learn in the units of inquiry - DS1 is fairly knowledgeable and is also a self-confident presenter but I suspect a lot of that knowledge (particularly in the ealrly years (up to age 7/8) where the units seem very shallow) could have been picked up in a chidlren's encyclopaedia. Being able to present confidently is great of course but I think in the long-term it would help him more to have got a decent grounding in numbers and writing.

If I had my time again and had a decent choice of schools, I would steer well clear of the PYP in the youngest ages when they need to be picking up these key core skills and then maybe move them to the PYP/MYP later (or maybe steer clear of it altogether!)

expatgal Sat 09-Feb-13 11:42:37

PeriPathetic wished I had seen this thread before. We also had a disasterous experience with both PYP and MYP. I would also have been very wary of a school who was considering putting your DD up two years especially when you said she struggled in areas in her right age group in the British Section. Both of my DCs left hardly being able to write and with limited maths especially mental maths skills at all. It actually made them very dependent and demotivated learners. I moved both back to the British stream at the earliest opportunity and now they seem back on track but not without many tears shed on all parts. I understand this may not be the case for everyone but it was definately the worst move we ever made. Some people call the MYP the Muddle Years Programme enough said.

Alex727 Sat 09-Feb-13 02:21:28

Bllomfield - I am also considering after school programs for my child to make up for the lack of sound academics in the PYP program but the extra time and expense is frustrating. One school should be enough. I did try teaching him math myself and he made failry good progress but that also has problems. When I initiate the work (vs. the school) he views me as a nag. Also it takes a lot of time and effort on my part and I resent having to do it while I'm paying full price for the day school. I want to help my child with the academic challenges the school should be setting, I don't want to be the one to create the challenges. I don't want a teacher student relationship with my child. WHat happens is PYP forces parents into outside programs or homeschooling after school and then they take the credit for the success!! While PYP holds itself out as egalitarian, in fact it is extraordinarily biuased against kids whose parents don't have the time, money, energy or skills to buy or create after school remedial academic programs. It's also biased against lower aptitude kids. They need the drills and extra time to bring them up the level of an educated adult. But PYP provides no drills or exercises. The traditional system brought the lower aptitude kids up without dragging down the higher aptitude ones. Really smart kids will do well in PYP but they do well in any program.
PeriPathertic - I wonder if part of the problem your child had is IB doesn't provide the basic tools and exercises to learn to do the math. They someohow expect the kid to just "get it" from class discussions. Smart kids will get it but average ones won't.

PeriPathetic Fri 08-Feb-13 23:25:26

Zombie thread! I posted this in 2011, but as I'm still here I'll update a little.

We put her into the IB school.
All in all it's been a total disaster sad And not because the work is too easy, it's totally the opposite. Some of the homework is what I recall doing at around 15-16 years old. Especially maths. I'm sure it would work out if she'd been in IB from the start though, just not moving from one to the other.

English is sort of taught as ESL which doesn't suit, but she's in the minority of native English speakers - 3 in a class of about 28 kids.

Culturally, it's just not working out for her either. There's been bullying, lax teaching, dreadful school to home communication and much more. I don't know if it's the IB system or the school, or both, that's not for her.

We're taking her out in a few weeks.

bloomfieldtj Fri 08-Feb-13 08:58:04

Totally agree with Alex 727 here. My son attends a primary school in Hong Kong that follows the MYP principles. He loves the "Unit of Inquiry" based learning etc, but his basic maths skills and his handwriting are appalling. I have taken to enrolling him in writing classes outside of school and doing Bond style maths assessment type books with him. However, he is very happy at his school and apart from the above, it seems to suit him well as he has an inquiring mind. My daughter however, did not thrive under this type of system and she faired better with the UK style primary system.

As a friend of mine said of her child here, "it's a lovely, caring school. She can't write for toffee, but she's happy!" LOL!!

Alex727 Fri 08-Feb-13 08:01:15

I recommend extreme caution with PYP. My child is enrolled in British school that adopted PYP. While independent test show his apptitude is fairly high, his actual maths and writing skills are terrifying. PYP uses little or no textbooks, homework, tests or grades. By their own admission, they don't really "teach". They "inquire" and students teach each other. There are some critical skills that you can only learn while you are young and PYP does not do a good job of teaching those skills. When I asked them to assign nightly math problems in light of his disasterous skills, they flat out said they would not do it. Which leaves me to do the work the school should be doing and I have other work.

Ironically, I think the staff at this school is excellent. They are smart, compassionate, high energy people. The problem is not the teachers it's the system. Also, the 'no bullying' environment they create is good (although I think most schools do a better job on this than before).

To demonstrate I'm not an IB basher, one of my best friends (politically center right, wealthy entrepreneur) sent his kids to conservative and very expensive catholic grade schools, then to IB high school then back to catholic colleges. They loved all three. They thought IB was great. I was visiting when his daughter was doing her "portfolio." She was fully engaged and turned on and obviously having a great experience. At the high school level it's different. You get out of it what you put in. For motivated and well prepared kids, "inquiry" does work at the HS level. If you don't like it, one single lost year is less critical when you are older. A bad one-year experience with IB in high school might overall be a good experience in figuring out what type of college program you want. But at the early elementary level, PYP is just a disaster. Brings me to tears seeing the lack of progress and lack of any kind of homework. If your child is not very academic then the best solution is a softer approach to the basics but the program MUST teach the basics or your kid will just lack basic skills that are applicable to all life pursuits. PYP emphasizes "respect" but your kid won;t get any in the real world if she can't read and write effectively. At a minimum understand what you are getting into.

PeriPathetic Thu 15-Dec-11 09:47:14

She is very mature for her age and would do well at one year up. But not, in my mind, mature enough to go up 2 years.

We've spoken to a colleague of DH's who has a (younger) child there. In his opinion, DD should go up 2 years with regard to the educational level. To my mind, this makes me think that the work isn't too hard there. But then, hockey, if the system allows differentiation in one year group, all should be well.

DH went up a year overseas, then had to retake the year in the UK. He enjoyed it. I would have hated it!

Anyway, I'm still swinging between the two schools having had another pile of positive info from the British School. confused

We'll see how the new year shapes up. Whichever it is, it will be good to get her settled somewhere with lots of other kids.

hockeyforjockeys Wed 14-Dec-11 18:44:12

Unless she is particularly emotionally mature, and is very academically able I would strongly advise keeping her in the correct year group (and I say this as someone who was moved up a year as a child, not a happy time). The last year of primary school is a special time, and ironically they often have more responsibility than Year 7s as they are the oldest in the school.

If the school is decent they should be differentiating as appropriate, and the PYP gives a lot of scope for this as the academic requirements aren't as defined. The philosophy is one child-led learning, so if your daughter is capable and willing to do something at a higher level then she should be given the opportunity to do so.

PeriPathetic Wed 14-Dec-11 12:41:43

Thank you smile That's all very helpful. I can find very little about the MYP as well. But I do think a change of system will work very well for DD.

Since I posted the OP there have been a few developments and we're pretty much set on the IB school now. For a start, the school is a lot closer by, literally, miles. Also, we've just heard on the grapevine that the British School's headmaster is leaving and other stuff about the school that makes me go hmm

We've a meeting with both schools in early January and a 3 day trial in the pipeline for the IB school.

This trial will help decide which Grade DD will go into. She's in Y5 now (Grade 4 equivalent) but being a native English speaker, they've indicated she will go into Grade 5, or even possibly Grade 6.

Not too sure about the Grade 6 thing as this is secondary schooling and I don't think she is quite up the the responsibility and everything else that entails. We will wait and see how the meeting goes.

Basically we will deal with what happens in 4 years in due course. I'm sure she will cope whatever happens.

hockeyforjockeys Sun 11-Dec-11 20:22:53

If she is going into Year 6 and isn't academic then I would recommend PYP over british curriculum. Don't know how many British international schools choose to take SATS, but they can be really stressful depending on the school's attitude, particularly if she may not get a Level 4 (the expected level). The PYP on the other hand has the exhibition, which is an extended individual/group project and something for her to really get her teeth into and feel some sense of achievement (depending on the school she may have quite a bit of free choice on what to study, but it is usually an 'issue' of some kind). There is also a requirement for children to learn two languages (one would be English for her), and the expectation is that if they have done the PYP from the beginning that they would be fluent in both languages by the end of primary school.

As for MYP I have heard more criticism about, with some claiming it doesn't properly prepare for the diploma/A Levels etc., but then many schools happily use it (I really don't know much about it so not much help!). After that again I'm not mush help, but I do know that the international school I used to work at offered the local school leaving certificate as an alternative to the diploma for the less academic. However many, many children transfer between systems and cope just fine.

Spree Sat 10-Dec-11 23:21:47

I started a similar thread in Secondary Education and Living Overseas. My DS is a year older than your DD and we are now deciding on secondary options (living abroad too).

We are trying to decide if we can do US Middle School for a few years and move back to UK GCSE curriculum in Yr 9.

We have some experience of the PYP of the IB but not the MYP which is what your daughter will probably go into?

I found the PYP tried to link a unit they were studying into all other subjects, math, english and while my son did enjoy it, I have found the current British International school he is at far more academic (Maths, English although very little focus on Science)

I also know the IB is broader than the "A" levels and I've been told by a school administrator that while you can get by in the "A" levels using traditional "book learning and some memorisation", you can't do that with the IB, as it's aimed at testing a child's understanding by getting the child to write and explain in his / her own terms.

Hope this helps.

PeriPathetic Wed 07-Dec-11 10:12:03

Thank you - that looks like a very useful site. "Gloves off" is something I like!

If we do go to the UK, she will be starting Year 9 there. But I guess we'll have to cross that bridge in due course. The British schools run iGCSE courses which I guess will be similar.

mummytime Wed 07-Dec-11 09:51:39

Have you heard of the International Schools review? I it contains reviews written by teachers, and is rather gloves off. I would subscribe and read if choosing an overseas school.

BTW you are going to have huge problems if you move back to the UK when your DD is going into year 10, regardless of what kind of education she has had, as they often start GCSE syllabus before then. But I have known students adapt from the US Curriculum etc. at this age, so all is not lost. There are also IB schools in the UK, and even State ones for Sixth form.

PeriPathetic Wed 07-Dec-11 09:24:47

We live overseas and moved here from another o/s country in April where DD attended a British school. She had a difficult time there with bullying and heavy academic pressure.

We may go back to the UK in 4 years or we may go to another country, we just don?t know yet.

DD is currently in Year 5 at an International school here but we aren?t happy with it for lots of reasons. She needs to change schools at Easter or in the September 2012 term.

There are two other schools to choose from, both with their own pros and cons. One is a fairly academic British School and the other runs the IB curriculum.

So far, DD hasn?t proved herself to be a good learner ? at least with the British curriculum. The only subjects she excels at and enjoys are languages. She struggles with maths and is, as far as I can tell, average at everything else. I?m sure she is bright but she just doesn?t care or try her best. Homework is a constant battle; thankfully her current school doesn?t provide any.

I favour the IB school. DD does as well, but mainly because of bad associations with her previous British school. I think DD will do much better with the IB at this stage in her life. DH disagrees (mainly because the IB school doesn?t have a uniform hmm ). However, I don?t think DD is academic enough to complete the IB Diploma in later years. But then, she?s only 10 and may ?get into? learning and school with a different schooling approach.

As you can see I am going in circles and would appreciate any advice or input.

We will leave here when she?s finished Year 8. What are her chances (if we choose the IB route) of successfully adapting to the British curriculum in the crucial option-choosing Year 9? Should I forget about it and just keep her in the British system and hope she doesn?t struggle too much?

TIA smile

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