Primary Years International Baccalaureate programme - any positives/negatives?

(15 Posts)
allyfe Tue 30-Jul-13 15:35:56

I am considering putting my daughter into a new bilingual school (French/English) from year 1 onward.

I have been trying to research organisation that will be managing the school, but also the education programme they will be using. The school is aiming for accreditation from the IB Primary years programme. I have just had a look and found this:

"The philosophy of the PYP is to make the students into "inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced, and reflective"

Reading that sends me into academic heaven! One of my biggest issues with the British system is how much emphasis is put on learning for tests (I should add the disclaimer that my child will only be starting reception in September so I may be being unfair).

I was wondering if anyone had had any experience of the Primary IB system, and particularly if a child would have a) any difficulty moving to a State secondary and b) if it would prepare a child for such hideous concepts as the 11+ (or the entrance exams for the super-selectives). I would really be interested in both positive and negative experiences. Thanks!

mrz Tue 30-Jul-13 16:00:33

It's quite boring and old hat really (IMHO)

allyfe Tue 30-Jul-13 16:04:21

You mean the IB programme Mrz? Any reasons why? I'm aware that an exciting mission statement doesn't necessarily translate into an exciting education programme. Do you have any thoughts on how it compares to the English primary system? Thanks!

mrz Tue 30-Jul-13 16:27:10

The themes covered by the programme aren't terribly inspiring - the type of thing you would have seen in some UK schools in the 80s/90s. A good school/teacher could come up with much more exciting ideas. The English primary system varies from school to school teacher to teacher. Some schools follow the Primary IB and other "creative curriculum" models some are creative and others think following a off the shelf prog makes them creative hmm.
IMHO

2468Motorway Tue 30-Jul-13 17:49:47

I'm surprised that you are interested in their stated ethos and then want to do the 11+. It is absolutely all about tests and practice.

allyfe Tue 30-Jul-13 18:08:45

2468Motorway I don't think the question is whether or not I want my children to do the 11+, it is more whether or not I live in an area where that is relevant to them. I was state educated and believe that everyone should be entitled to a top class education that suits their own particular learning styles. I didn't get that (although I LOVED my creative liberal ILEA primary school). I think that they should be taught to think and question. I also think that that should describe a state education. However, the education system is far from perfect. If I could afford to, I would have the moral dilemma about whether or not to send my children to a state or private school. Honestly, despite my concerns about private education, I would probably do that if I could. I have the same issue with the 11+/grammar/selective schools. I don't know if my children would get in. But if they turn out to be academic and interested, then I will encourage them to sit the exams for the 11+/super selectives. And if we have found/inherited/won a very large sum of money, and it is appropriate for my children, I will get them to sit the entrance exams for the selective private schools. What I want is the best education possible for my children smile

2468Motorway Tue 30-Jul-13 18:55:14

Of course, I'm sorry to have been blunt. Realistically though a school with the ethos you describe is unlikely to help you prepare for an 11+. I also think that the way the super selectives etc are much more competitive now than they were when we were at school and the vast majority do practice papers if not tutoring.

2468Motorway Tue 30-Jul-13 18:58:34

Btw if I could get a state bilingual education for my kids where I live I would grab it with both hands no matter what the language or ethos.

allyfe Tue 30-Jul-13 19:05:00

smile 2468Moterway I think it was a fair question. I know that my children would need to do a vast amount of tutoring/testing to prepare for the exams. But I still see that as different to the continual testing in English primary schools. But as far as I can see, the children in my local school (where my daughter will be for Reception no matter what we decided about the blilingual school) spend a lot of time preparing for SATs at school and the 11+ at home. The pressure to perform at school is enormous because although a lot of parents hate SATs, they still want the results of their schools to be really high. It is such a horrible vicious circle of testing obsession. If my children are less tested at school, then some how preparing for an 11+ exam might seem less arduous. I can hope ;)

keepsmiling12345 Tue 30-Jul-13 19:25:34

allyfe I can't speak for your local state schools but I can honestly say that I don't recognise this picture you paint of "continual testing in English primary schools". Yes there are SATS in yr 2 and yr 6 but that is hardly "continual testing"! Perhaps some schools spend a lot of time preparing for SATs but many really don't, certainly not in a "teaching to the test" approach. I know nothing about the IB Primary years curriculum so can't comment on that but my DD's state school has an ethos and vision not dissimilar to that which you have articulated. I suggest you at least take the time to understand what the ethos and vision is of the state schools your DC could attend...at least then you'd have something real to compare against versus an assumption of what state schools do.

allyfe Wed 31-Jul-13 10:59:19

AlienAttack, it is true that my daughter hasn't actually started at reception yet, and my view is partly based on listening to other parents with older children in the school. It is also partly based on seeing the level of independent thinking skills that 18 year olds from state schools come into University with (I'm a university lecturer). And on hearing parents of A-level students complaining that their children work incredibly hard to do well and so it is unfair to say that standards are slipping. But basically, they are tested for GCSE, they are tested for As level and for A-level. In all that time, they are learning for tests. They come to university shockingly unable to think or understand. I am perhaps wrong to think this starts at Primary school. I do very much hope you are right that you are right and it doesn't. However, I know that they are less able to think and reason independently when they leave school. About that I have direct experience.

mrz Wed 31-Jul-13 16:02:30

I think we have had government policy that encouraged a generation who were educational spoon fed - told where to find the answer but that has thankfully changed in recent years and independent learners valued ...

allyfe Tue 10-Sep-13 20:22:45

Just giving this a post-summer bump! Thanks!

Bonsoir Wed 11-Sep-13 08:12:25

My sister's DC have all done or are still doing PYP. They covered far less ground academically than my own DC, in the French system. My sister's DC are very bright and read hugely and are definitely independent thinkers and learners. That might be family influence rather than school, however.

Catsnotrats Wed 11-Sep-13 18:05:23

Mrz I think you might be getting the IB primary years programme confused with the international primary curriculum. The IB programme has no set topics, only six themes (which are very vague such as 'who we are' and 'how you express yourself) that you use to plan six topics for each year. It's entirely up to the school's discretion what the topics are, certainly it gives you more scope than the national curriculum. It is a completely theoretical curriculum, there is absolutely no detail as to what you have to teach day to day in the classroom (eg age-realted expectations for subjects etc.). There are only a small handful of schools that teach it in the UK.

The international primary curriculum was designed by shell for their schools, and has then be sold as a package to quite a lot of schools in the UK. It's the one with the topics such as 'chocolate', and I agree that it is quite boring.

OP - the IB programme is designed specifically for children to move between different systems as it is mainly taught in expat schools. However how well it prepares for something like the 11+ would be up to the individual school. I have worked in one of the schools that originally developed the curriculum, and I know that while the children had a very broad and interesting curriculum, their maths and English skills weren't very well developed (they were in line with their English counterparts, but not up to the standard required for a super selective). It has both it's positive and negatives.

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