Please share experiences of returning to UK school from doing PYP (International schools - Primary Years Programme)

(17 Posts)
somuchtosortout Wed 11-Jun-14 14:39:17

Would be great to hear about other people's experiences.
We are currently abroad and my little ones will do

DD1 - Year 2, 3, 4 and some of 5 in International school, then back to UK half way through Year 5.

DD2 - Reception, Year1 and Year 2 in International school.

Did your children adjust well to the different learning style in UK? Did they find it harder/easier?

Did they gain from the 'love of learning' approach of the PYP?


OP’s posts: |
LIZS Wed 11-Jun-14 14:44:15

In a word the transition was hard. ds did not have the basics well covered when he returned into year 3 so spelling , mental maths, basic principles of maths concepts and phonics were all patchy and took a while to make up lost ground.

somuchtosortout Wed 11-Jun-14 14:47:01

Mmmh, I figured that may be an issue - I take it he was able to make up the lost ground in the end though? Did it affect his confidence, and did any of the 'independent learning' skills shine through or become useful….

I think this is less of an issue for children who stay in the IB system, because it factors in the slower start.

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Wed 11-Jun-14 14:53:04

Sorry but yes it affected his confidence. Fortunately he was a good and keen reader but very quiet and docile. He is also dyspraxic and I think the lack of a systematic approach to the basics meant that any natural dyslexic tendencies were accentuated. He had learning support for 6 years at prep school but has gone on to do well in an academically selective senior(currently taking GCSEs). In retrospect I don't think PYP was appropriate for his learning style and in particular the way his IS had implemented it.

somuchtosortout Wed 11-Jun-14 14:56:14

Thanks - I fear the same for my DD, and now I am faced with a difficult decision! She also much prefers a structured environment and I feel has been a bit lost this year.

We are not considering private schooling she would be going back in to a UK State school.

My younger one I think will cope better and I would be prepared to do phonics and maths with her at home, but it is a bit of a sacrifice!

Thank you for the information!

OP’s posts: |
pupsiecola Wed 11-Jun-14 15:47:17

Same as LIZS. My DS2 (now year 4 in UK system) was behind after a year in an IS following PYP and his confidence was on the floor (in large part due to how the school dealt with him). In fairness he was a little behind when he joined (was only there a year) as has been a bit of a slow burner educationally. But I just wanted to say the UK state school he is at has mostly been brilliant and he has caught up very well and his confidence has grown so much. I knew a state school would provide the learning support and patience etc he would need to catch up.

Older DS (2 school years older) coped fine with the IS but then he really hit the ground running when he started school aged 4.

Good luck!

scottswede Wed 11-Jun-14 16:01:53

Is the IS approach 'really' different to the UK approach. I know Montessori are very much into letting the child find his/her own 'path' in learning. Is IS system the same?
I have been trying to understand the whole 'units of inquiry' but are the kids encouraged to work on their own at their own pace.
Any advice for the future would be appreciated.


pupsiecola Wed 11-Jun-14 16:54:44

There have been a few convos about PYP in the last year or two. I just searched for them. See below. I think it's tricky for the younger kids if they've not got the basics under their belts. My DS was a little slow to get going at school, but because he joined age 7 it was just assumed that he would have the basics down. So there was no support in that area. Not helped by daily 30 minutes of Mandarin ffs and no flexibility to drop that and concentrate on English and Maths.

scottswede Wed 11-Jun-14 17:05:54

Didn't you come back from Asia for school pupsiecola or am I thinking of someone else.....
My DC will be starting PYP2 and 4. They have been in the local school system so still 2 years behind the UK. My youngest hasn't started 'school' yet here at 6, so I'm hoping that is taken into consideration.
I will check out those links thanks.

pupsiecola Wed 11-Jun-14 17:11:43

Yes scotts we did, after a year. Where are you moving to? I think our experience was made far worse by the school catering to a crazy work ethic and not having any other options as we were in Singapore which is titchy really. The IB was just one part of a horribly perfect storm.

scottswede Wed 11-Jun-14 17:37:16

We will be moving back to the UK in about 3 years I think. Kids have been in the local school but I want them taught in English for a while before we return. There are no English curriculum schools here so the IS was our only option.
I don't want my kids beaten with a stick till they learn or left to their own devices either. Somewhere in the middle would be good.
I have been stressing about their education since we moved here.
I don't like that there seems to be a recurring theme of kids not getting the basics with PYP. I had to do all the ground work with DC1 which left both of frustrated and in tears a lot of the time. I was hoping to avoid the same stress with DC2. Maybe I should just prepare myself up for Round 2.

AggressiveBunting Thu 12-Jun-14 03:07:09

Thanks for the links. I need to take a look as next year I'll have to make the choice of IB PYP and the British curriculum. DS is in an international kindy at the moment doing EYP and I've been impressed but I do keep hearing that PYP can let the basics slip- parents complaining that they do all the fun stuff at school and you wind up teaching them fractions for homework.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Thu 12-Jun-14 08:33:55

We are in Asia. 2 children in IB accredited "british" international schools. These still follow the key stage one & 2 curriculum and they have strong foundations. We've experienced another very solid international school where it was all PYP based and found it really lacking so withdraw within the year to revert to a school with a more traditional subject based school.

I think the IB system has a lot of good things in store in later years but it's delivered without consistency in the PYP and I hear is still completely in the making for the MYP.

I think more structure is better than going the other way around. At least the children have a set framework to refer to. Just be prepared to support them.

somuchtosortout Thu 12-Jun-14 16:54:03

Scotts I think others have answered your question! I more or less agree. DD has been in PYP school for a year now (year 2).

She did Year 1 in the UK and has just been coasting along on what she learnt last year.
I think it is such a missed opportunity, the PYP is great in many ways and it would be so easy to incorporate a bit more phonics or basic maths to make it a great all round system.

I think for those who are going to move around or at least stay in the international system to the end then actually it is a good programme, because in later years it focuses on building up those foundation skills and actually I think that in secondary school the IB surpasses the British curriculum in terms of quality of education (in my limited experience).

Unfortunately it doesn't work so well for those of us returning to the UK system during the primary years, judging by this thread!

It is a shame that in the UK they stream children and that it is quite inflexible. So my daughter, who is perfectly able, would probably go straight in to a bottom set in Year 5, and it is hard to dig yourself out of that once you're in it.

That is what I am most worried about. But the PYP school is lovely and big, great facilities, lots of art and music and PE going on.

The British school is in a converted house, very pokey and very unproven as most people have not even gone to look at it.

However it's run by good UK Trained teachers (I hear) and has a small family feel to it.

So the choice for many of us seems to be - smaller school, less social possibilities, but less worries on returning to the UK. Also can spend afternoons doing art, music and fun things.
Or, big school, loads going on, but then have to do maths and english at home after a long hot day at school!


OP’s posts: |
scottswede Thu 12-Jun-14 18:18:14

Looks like I'll be doing a lot of 'homeschooling' AGAIN
I don't resent or mind doing work with the kids but we all find it really stressful. Pleading, crying, excuses, full blow tantrums (that's just me by the way grin )
I am still excited about them moving, because it means we will be working in ONE language only.
We have been working with 2 curricula and 2 languages here as it's exhausting.
I am really glad I'm finding all this out now so I can mentally prepare to start school with the kids after summer.
I think with the options we had:
# leave them at the local school until we move back = 2 years behind + English being a second language + no learning experiences in English.
# Give them a few years at an IS = get them a lot more comfortable in English. Hopefully making the transition easier.
I think it's so hard to make the right decision with schools.
Hopefully this is the right decision for us. [fingers crossed icon]

Briocheeater Sat 20-Sep-14 13:10:20

I have same huge concerns about PYP return to ENC? Dd was in top group at school in reception keen able reader, enjoyed learning to write. We moved to Germany put her in a British school which advertised ENC (English curriculum) only to discover part way through first term they just switched to PYP. End of first year I was horrified when I saw the work books. Dd had coasted on what she had learned in reception in uk. Not one element of ENC year 1 had been covered. Reading had improved as I did that at home with her. Writing was a disaster. To cap it all at end of year we received letters written unaided in class from every single one of her UK old class mates. If dd went back she would now be at bottom of class. If you have a choice steer clear of PYP. Huge elements science history geography just don't get taught at all and spelling writing is as such a slow and untested pace it's ridiculous. If you challenge anything in PYP my experience is you do not get any answers. It's like a cult. Daughter had nightmares following certain subjects starving children, blind people, children being forced to work. I had no idea that was appropriate for 5-6 year olds. Yes it is part of the global situation but do we have to introduce it so young! If you start looking into the blogs from ex PYP teachers you can see some very interesting insights. Have to remember any curriculum is only as good as the teacher teaching it, so I am sure that there may be fantastic teachers squeezing every last drop out of PYP which make it work.......but I would rather have a list of what is taught than leave it to chance.

cannotseeanend Sat 20-Sep-14 13:37:52

Why does local school not in English mean returning to the UK 2 years behind? Surely it matters how the local school teaches in method and in level?

My son has just returned to the UK, last in English aged 10. He never had any formal education in either English or following any international curriculum in English in the last 6 years. He passed 4 IGCSEs this Summer with only a few hours of private tuition including English and Maths and has slipped into A levels with no problems at all. Another girl who is a year older I know took her IGCSE English with him this Summer, having never had any formal English either, 12 years in French. She's hoping to get into a top UK university. I know another girl who is about to start at Oxford to study classics, having spent 14 years in Dutch, again with no formal English schooling. All this is achieved simply because the level of education where they are/have been is higher than England.

Don't think there should automatically be any falling behind coming from abroad back to the UK. It really depends on how they've learnt in the past.

From the sounds of it, perhaps it's easier for my son to go into English at aged 16 than aged 10!

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