Advanced search

IB but not diploma

(20 Posts)
humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 07:48:25

My DS is in Yr12 in a full IB school (not in UK). Due to ill health, he missed most of Yr11 and was too sick to really study at all. He only began to be well enough over the summer but that was really not enough time to catch up.
However, he was really determined to begin Year 12 with his friends and persuaded the school to allow him to do so and to do the full IB diploma (on the basis of having been an excellent student previously), despite having missed so much school and still not being 100% better. We agreed with some misgiving as he wanted it so much.
It appears those misgivings were justified and the poor boy never had a chance really, especially on those subjects where you build on previous content rather than skills. So he was managing fine in humanities and english but language, maths and science he was just hopelessly behind, not helped by missing some days of school due to continuing health issues (getting better but not fully recovered).
Because he is so behind, the school has said he continue this year with the diploma. He's dropping one HL and the TOK/EE requirements. He also has no GCSEs since it is not offered by his school.
What would you say his options are, considering that he is most likely to want to return to UK?
From what I can see he can do the following:
1) Repeat Year 12 and do the full diploma, hopefully in better health and having caught up with missed material.
2) Finish Year 13 on time and do a foundation year at university (he's interested in a science degree)
3) Finish Year 13 on time and do a one year A level course in the UK at an independent 6th form college
4) Finish Year 12 in his current school and then begin Year 12 again in a A level school (but he will have no qualifications in English and Maths which might be a problem in the UK)
5) Finish Year 13 and go directly on to a degree course (in one of his HL subjects) if they accept certificate with 2 HLs - obviously a far less competitive uni than if he would have done the diploma.

Any thoughts about these options? Does anyone have any experience with children dealing with ill health during these critical years? How sympathetic are universities to students with documented health conditions?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 06-Oct-20 09:37:22

Do you mean he intends to return to the UK to finish sixth form? Or stay where he is and come here for uni?

Assuming the latter, all are valid options, and the best for him will of course depend on him. Academically I'd say repeat year 12 next year and spend this year getting a decent grounding in his weaker subjects. But of course that means he's with the year group below next year - how does he feel about that?

I assume he's a fluent English speaker? GCSE English might be useful this year, IELTS if not native speaker. Also assume you're aware he'd probably be assessed as an international fee payer?

LIZS Tue 06-Oct-20 09:45:14

1 - he will struggle to get onto even a Foundation course with no recognisable qualifications. He would also be liable for overseas student tuition fees in England (unless you are abroad for a specific reason such as Forces) and that would add time and cost. Are his health issues ongoing?

humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 09:53:26

Right now he doesn't want to repeat Yr12 and prefers the options where he finishes Yr13 with his pals. but we don't need to decide on this until towards end of the year, just exploring options right now.

I far prefer the option of him repeating Yr12 because it's not so much that he's weak in any subject - he really was an excellent student previously and could easily have got a good score in the IB if he wouldn't have been ill. But he needs to catch up with missed material, especially in MFL, science and maths to be able to do well which is what repeating Yr12 will allow him to do and he should come out with a good diploma.

He wouldn't return to UK alone until after Year 13 when he is 18+. In the UK there are one year A level options at some 6ht form colleges. He could do it in the 2 HL subjects and one of the SL as HL are meant to be similar to A levels and SL to AS level so would have covered much of material already.

We know the rules about home students and trying to figure out but our decisions would be the same regardless as no options for English speaking higher ed here.

OP’s posts: |
bellinique Tue 06-Oct-20 09:57:12

I work for a university which would consider a student based on their certificate results if they haven't completed the full diploma.

We would usually look at either 3 x HL or 2 x HL plus 2 x SL subjects. The IB certificates carry UCAS points and that's how we would assess in this case.

Students do generally need to get pretty high grades in the certificates to meet the degree entry requirement, although that depends a bit on the degree.

Does your son have an idea of which degree subject he's interested in yet?

humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 09:58:47

He would get IB certificates - 2HLs and 3SLs which would give him UCAS points. The best unis want IBDP but there are some which accept certificates. HLs are meant to be almost equivalent to A levels and SLs to A/S levels - a 7 in a HL = A* in A level and SLs give about half the UCAS points as an A level. So he could get points equivalent to 2 A levels and 3 A/S levels.
The overseas tuition thing is not an issue. He should get home/EU status but, if not, our decisions would be the same.

OP’s posts: |
humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 10:02:36

Would you also consider extenuating circumstances due to documented serious ill health?
He wants to do a degree in biology, chemistry or biochemistry, that kind of area - which are exactly the areas he is struggling in now because he is so behind with the material.
It's very frustrating for him, having being such a good student previously. But there's always something inherently unfair when it comes to ill health - no one wants to be ill, espeically not when you're a teenager!

OP’s posts: |
bellinique Tue 06-Oct-20 10:14:40

I had ill health as a teenager which impacted my studies and university decisions so you and he have my full sympathy. If it's any consolation, I'm now in a job I love and it hasn't had a big impact on my career in the long run.

We would take health issues into consideration so it's worth making sure you have medical reports/doctor's letters.

Having said that, it wouldn't be in your son's best interests to enter a degree in Bio/Chem unless he's completed that subject at HL and coped ok. Where I work, all students on those degree subjects will have completed an A' Level in the subject and will be expected to have a certain amount of knowledge from the start.

Is he taking those subjects at HL? If not, we would also accept the US SAT subject test which can be taken several times throughout the year in a range of countries. It might be worth checking with his preferred universities whether adding an SAT to his qualifications would help his chances. From my understanding they're easier than the IB certs and he may be able to take the test without a lot of extra study.

humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 10:23:39

Thanks @bellinique, very helpful
He's doing one science at HL, one at SL and maths at SL, as well as a humanity at HL and English at SL (and completely dropped the MFL). I think he'll need the maths and English as he won't have GCSEs either (also my concern if he switched to an A level school next year)? He's actually doing very well in the humanities and English since the missed content doesn't matter as much.

OP’s posts: |
cultkid Tue 06-Oct-20 10:31:42

I don't think you can do a science degree based on doing the ib certificate, only the diploma

What are his predicted grades and what does he need to go to uni?

I would suggest he repeats 11th and 12th grade

I I don't know of the 11th Grade makes his points I can't remember, I did it ten years ago
But you are correct you learn a lot in 11th grade you'll be examined on

If he does the certificate I don't think it will get him into a science degree

I could be wrong

What do the college counsellors say

What country are you in

bellinique Tue 06-Oct-20 10:36:26

It all depends on the university. We would accept to a science degree with the certificates instead of the diploma as long as the certificate grades are good and the student has completed the science subject at HL.

PlanDeRaccordement Tue 06-Oct-20 10:41:19

I’m not a university admissions person, but I would think it best for him to stay until he completes the full IB Diploma. The IB Diploma would expand his options for university study.
For English speaking schools, we do have hundreds of university degrees taught in English here in France. The tuition is also cheaper than it would be in U.K. as an overseas (non home ) student.

Then he would not need to worry about U.K. obsession with A levels and foundation years.

humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 10:57:06

I agree that repeating Yr12 and doing the full diploma would be best. He's certainly bright enough and motivated enough. That way, he just finishes school a year later (with good reason if unis ask why) and doesn't have to explain away poor grades.
But he's very very against the idea, right now at least. I hope that towards the end of Yr12 when he'll need to decide that we can persuade him it's the best option. Honestly, I'd like him with us another year as well in case of a relapse. His health is improving a lot but I think another year at home would help especially given that we are not in the UK and he'll need to be mature enough to take care of things himself (like taking his medication on time!). But that's not an argument he'll accept!!

The college counsellor is a little bit too shiny and positive about taking the certificates. That's fine with DS as he needed encouragement that this is not the end of the world but I want to get some other opinons!

OP’s posts: |
PlanDeRaccordement Tue 06-Oct-20 11:06:34

A 1 year delay is nothing. Many children start school a year later because they are summer born and not quite ready, many more repeat a year due to injury/illness, so that by the time it is university entry no one blinks an eye if 19 instead of 18. Your DC will not be odd one out.

humusiyada Tue 06-Oct-20 13:24:23

Of course! I know that, you know that. DS thinks it's the worst possible thing that could happen.

OP’s posts: |
PlanDeRaccordement Tue 06-Oct-20 16:42:27

lol! Yes I know teen drama and stubbornness all too well. Best wishes OP.

catndogslife Tue 06-Oct-20 17:04:17

In the UK there are one year A level options at some 6th form colleges.

Are you sure that's up to date OP? It's much more difficult to take A levels in one year since they increased the content of the courses.
There are 1 year A level equivalent courses e.g. the university Foundation programme UFP which can be taken at some independent colleges often alongside IELTS or GCSE English Language. This is not the same thing as a Foundation degree though.
The link to this course and some recommended providers is below

humusiyada Wed 07-Oct-20 05:12:05

Yes, I've been checking over the last few weeks regarding 1 year A level programmes. It's only in a handful of independent 6th form colleges.

Thanks for the foundation programme info - very helpful.

OP’s posts: |
LIZS Wed 07-Oct-20 09:27:59

You may also find they are aimed at retakes and assume some of the content would be familiar.

humusiyada Wed 07-Oct-20 12:32:33

That'd be fine. Higher levels are equivalent to A levels and Standard levels to AS levels. So DS (potentially) could do one year A levels in his 2 HL subjects and 1 of the SLs. I wouldn't expect him to do new A levels in a year either!

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in