Any views, opinions or comments on International Bacculaurate system of schooling?

(17 Posts)
madchocolatemum48 Sat 05-Jul-14 10:35:37

Both my dc's are moving to an IB programme this year. I am trying to find out as much as possible. First hand experience is always useful, so has anyone any experience with the IB cirriculum?

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Sat 05-Jul-14 10:47:00

No first hand experience, other than being a governor at an Academy which considered switching to this programme and then rejected it.

However, the rejection was mainly down to the huge investment in retraining staff, and needing to buy new resources etc. Everyone was agreed that its a fantastic programme, which provides a much better all round, holistic education for pupils.

Its not entirely off the cards, but the manor investment needs to be planned with the finance team (it wasn't - another story).

IB is not so good (IMO) for children who know they want to specialise in at an early age, and particularly at A level, but fantastic for kids who want to keep all options open. I've been to some uni open days recently with DD and can confirm that universities (the ones we've visited anyway) accept IB as GCSE/A level equivalent.

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Sat 05-Jul-14 10:47:39

*major investment!

roguedad Sat 05-Jul-14 11:01:25

On the science side I'd definitely say stick to A levels unless you really have no idea what the child wants to do after school - it's a much better preparation for University Study in many subjects. When I was a university tutor in maths I despaired of the poor preparation of IB students, especially in terms of lack of depth of knowledge, and I heard similar concerns from science staff. It's probably a better idea to pick up a MFL A or AS level alongside traditional sic/math A levels, then go broad and, IMHO, shallow with the IB.

madchocolatemum48 Sat 05-Jul-14 11:41:48

They are still relativley young to be thinking of what they want concentrate on at 6 & 8. I understand it is a lot less " structured" form of learning, but worry about what that means if you feel your kids need to be pushed a little.....
Is it then a bad idea to move a 13 year old into mainstream schooling after being in the IB system.
We are planning 5 years with IB (work move) then back to MS. How disruptive would this be.........

SomeSunnySunday Sat 05-Jul-14 16:52:36

My 5 year old started in an IB school abroad. At this age I found it all a bit academic-light, and touchy feely. There wasn't, e.g., any focus at all on progressing through reading or maths levels, it all seemed to be learning by experimenting, visualising etc (in practical terms this meant sand & water play, building blocks etc - nursery level stuff). Which I don't disagree with, and there is definitely a place for this within the curriculum, but I did struggle with it being the entire curriculum. DS was not pushed or challenged academically at all (e.g. he was never sent home with a reading book). I got the same feedback from (British) parents slightly further up the school. Our posting finished at the end of what would have been Y1 in England, and DS will be starting Y2 at a British primary. To be completely honest we are sending him to an independent school as, even at this stage, I fear that he'll be quite behind, and will need help to catch up. That said I'm not overly worried, I'm sure that he will catch up in the right environment.

I suspect that there is a point further up the school where the gap narrows - at some point children will be learning reading and maths in a more formal way, and so with a 5 year posting you may be OK. Do be prepared for finding the early years very different, though.

roguedad Tue 08-Jul-14 18:53:10

Apologies madchoc.. Round here the IB comes up more in terms of 6th form choices, so I was thinking about a very different context.

mummytime Wed 09-Jul-14 06:48:22

I don't think you can assume all IB schools are the same, any more than all UK state schools are the same (however much Mr Gove would like them to be).

The biggest complaints I have heard have been about the middle years programme which some parents seem to think is a bit time wasting. However that is certainly something you can ask about.

I have known people go from IB to study Sciences at Oxbridge and Medicine, for well over 20 years. Some have even been some of the best students when they got there.

Rogerthatmummy Wed 09-Jul-14 07:04:15

I did the IB instead of a levels ... ahem ... 19 yrs ago and I loved it. I knew what I wanted to do but didn't feel ready to drop sciences, humanities, etc so the broader range of subjects appealed. Also loved the world lit and philosophy.

I found it really hard work - IB students at my college seemed to work significantly harder than a level students

I went to a state school that offered the IB - I think more do nowadays - and the broader educations (philosophy, etc) just wouldn't have been offered at the state comp I otherwise would have gone to for a levels

callamia Wed 09-Jul-14 07:11:56

I also did IB about 15 years ago. I loved that I had the capacity to study a broad range of subjects - I want easy to specialise.

I'm now a university lecturer, and I still really like IB students applying. The courses are rigorous, and the fact that students have to take a maths subject and English is very welcome. I also reviewed one of the IB subject areas for the UK a while ago. It was so much better than the A Level in the same subject. It is modern and encourages independent study through the Extended Essay in the way that the Extended Project at A Level hasn't quite managed to emulate.

I know IB doesn't quite suit everyone. If you fail, certificates just aren't as well considered, and not everyone wants or needs to maintain the broad range of subjects. I'm sorry I don't know more about the early or middle years programmes though. I have no experience of them.

idontlikealdi Wed 09-Jul-14 07:23:52

I did it, erm, 15 years ago so things may have changed...

It was thought then robe equivalent to 3 A levels (the highers) an 3 AS levels (subsidiary) plus theory of knowledge which was like philosophy, 200 hours of community and active service over the two years and a 4000 word essay to be written in the summer between 11th and 12th grade.

It was hard, but I loved it an was able to keep up my French and geography which I would have dropped at A level. I got accepted onto the second year of uni on the basis of it.

If it's still the same I would really recommend it for academic children. There used to be the option of doing six subjects at subsidiary level for less academic children but not sure how that equates to a levels.

Jinsei Wed 09-Jul-14 22:02:00

roger, did you grow up in Essex by any chance? Weren't that many state schools doing the IB 19 years ago...

I also did the IB a long time ago, and have worked with IB students since. At our school, it was generally the brighter kids who did IB and the rest did a-levels, though there were some notable exceptions. I've heard it said by maths teachers that the higher maths syllabus is much more challenging than a-levels and that was certainly the case with modern languages, so I don't think it lacks depth.

Rogerthatmummy Thu 10-Jul-14 00:07:20

I grew up in northants but went to impington village college outside Cambridge for the IB smile

Jinsei Thu 10-Jul-14 00:18:16

Ah, ok. There weren't too many state schools that offered the IB back in the day! smile

PeriPathetic Thu 10-Jul-14 00:21:29

So much depends on the school.

At 6&8 they will be doing the PYP (Primary Years Program) which will ground them in the IB method of 'self learning'. This is a Good Thing. But then they will move into the MYP (Middle Years Program) by which point they may well be at least two years behind the English National Curriculum if our experience is standard. Moving into MS will be tough.

My DD entered at aged 10 from English NC and it was a disaster. Some subjects were what she had covered in Y1 - 2 and others were building on subjects covered in previous IB years, which of course she had no knowledge about. She had no concept of the style of work that was expected of her and unfortunately the school were less than unhelpful. It's taken her a long time in a British School to catch up to her peers.

madchocolatemum48 Thu 10-Jul-14 08:09:13

Thanks Peri I think that seems to be the the running theme, the completely different learning techniques/curriculum used and the fact that they are 2 years out of sync.
Obviously staying in one system throughout school life is the best way, unfortunately sometimes not always possible.
They have been in the local school here so they are 2 years behind anyway. The reason I moved them was to gain some experience learning in English really.
Ideally we would keep them in an IB school when we we move back to the UK but can't really find any that don't have huge fees or are not in London.

mummytime Thu 10-Jul-14 08:12:34

Are you actually moving back to the UK? How long?

Actually most children I have seen move into UK schools have adapted very well, even if they didn't speak English before and regardless of what kind of school system they came from.

The English school system is not the best in the world, its okay, but children do perfectly well in lots of different systems all around the world.

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