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British Curriculum Schools

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by SineField, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. SineField

    SineField New commenter

    As a newb to international teaching, I have seen it said on the forums several times that people dislike International Schools that run a British curriculum. The IB is preferred.

    Without wishing to ignite a forum war, I am genuinely curious..... what is about UK curriculum schools (abroad) that people dislike (or like)?
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

    I like that they teach my subject, which the IB doesn't (or at least not discreetly).
  3. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I personally cant think of one British school in the world i want to work at. For me it would be like taking an evolutionary step backwards in terms of education.

    There you go.... touch paper lit.... lets see it all explode now ;)
    Helen-Back likes this.
  4. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    Ours runs the IB DP, IGCSEs, and British National curriculum. It’s not perfect but there is a lot that I like about it. I’d like to work in a full IB school at some point.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    If I were a much younger hippo, then the sensible thing to do would be to get some MYP / PYP training. Why? Because the best international schools usually follow the IB program. On the whole, they also pay better and provide a better "package" for their teachers, in terms of health insurance, flights, accommodation and so on. More and more international schools seem to be adopting the IB programme. This is the future for international education and therefore you should get with it.

    Yes, SineField, there are quite a lot of snide and snooty remarks about UK curriculum schools. According to some commentators on this TES forum, so-called "international" schools of this type are "second division" (or maybe they are in danger of relegation from the fourth!) They are not "proper" international schools at all and so really it is very much infra dignitatem to be a teacher in such a grossly inferior institution.

    Well, SineField, I would say that we can argue about what exactly makes a school an "international" school until the cows come home. It is an interesting philosophical question.

    However, just because this school or that school is (or is not) an IB school does not guarantee that you will be treated well as a teacher. An IB or MYP program (or is it a programme?) does not mean that you will get along with all of your colleagues or that every one of your students will be charming, polite and hard-working. Will the principal be principled, if it is an IB school? Maybe and maybe not. As for the idea that IB schools invariably pay better than non-IB, I would say that perhaps that is a bit of a generalization and there are lots of other factors to bear in mind. Very often you might have a choice between a teaching post in a British curriculum school that is in country A and an IB school post in country B. A very big salary looks great on paper, but it might not be so wonderful if you have to pay lots of taxes, accommodation and transport costs. You might be better off accepting a modest salary in a cheaper country, rather than a bigger salary in a more expensive one. If you have to run a car, then of course that will also be a big hole in your pocket. Having to pay for your children's tuition could also be a massive drain on your finances, as some schools provide two free school places, some provide only one freebie, some give percentage discounts and some none at all. For many teachers with children, the cost and the availability of nannies and homehelps are also important factors.

    Taking all of these things into account, I would say yes, try to get some IB / MYP / PYP training, if you possibly can. It will widen your horizons and make you more employable.

    My present school more or less follows the UK curriculum. It is in Shenzhen, a large city in southern China, just round the corner from Hong Kong. Mrs Hippo and I manage to save most of my salary each month. We live right next to a huge park and a metro (MTR) station. The school accommodation allowance pays for our two-bedroomed apartment in the centre of the city. Getting to school in the morning means a pleasant 25-minute walk through the park. My Chinese students are a delightful class of nine and ten-year-olds. Would I be any happier or better off in a school that follows the MYP / PYP? Your guess is as good as mine, SineField. Would it be better and more prestigious to teach in an IB school in Beijing, for example? The money would be better, I am sure, but that will not buy you a new pair of lungs.

    Well, SineField, I hope that this is helpful. We were all young once and the world of international education can be a bit confusing at first. Perhaps you might like to read my blog at www.bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com
    lauwailap likes this.
  6. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Teaching the British Curriculum overseas just seems very parochial at times - you end up teaching the students things that are irrelevant to them and their context, especially if the teachers are lazy and export their UK lesson plans over to a new setting without bothering to ammend them.... [Mind you, that could equally be true of the IB - guess it depends on the teacher.]
  7. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    The IB doesnt require individual lesson plans.
  8. Capricorn2412

    Capricorn2412 New commenter

    I did the IB myself though I now teach A levels. As a student I found it very challenging having completed the O levels before. As a teacher I do think that an IB school could provide a more "holistic" environment and a much broader world view. However, that isn't to say that an IGCSE or A level school could not do the same thing. Perhaps for some students coming from certain national curriculums the IB is too big a jump and A level with its narrow focus is a better transition? But the wonders of the IB can easily be devalued by poor admin and teachers, while the rater dull A levels enlightened by a fantastic teacher.

    @hippo - when you say some form of IB training. What would you do? An IB teaching certificate?
  9. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    While i understand what you are saying @nadirnwo, a bad teacher or Admin can ruin any curriculum.
    You can get specific training for the IB, just go to their website to find out more. If employed by an IB school it is their responsibility to train you.
  10. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    SLT dear. You're on the TES forums now ;)
  11. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Jesus, we have SLT, SMT, WSLT, and im sure i have forgotten a few others
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Established commenter

    There is no such thing as the British National Curriculum.
    rednelly84 and 576 like this.
  13. miketribe

    miketribe Occasional commenter

    I only taught a few years in schools using English curriculum overseas. One was great, but in the other, blindly following the English curriculum was a straight jacket which didn’t allow us to make sensible modifications to fit the needs of our students, especially in English language teaching and social studies.
    dumbbells66 likes this.
  14. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Someone told me once, the state systems teach children to "remember", the IB teaches them to "think". Having taught in both i really would have to agree.
    miketribe likes this.
  15. willow78

    willow78 Occasional commenter

    If you have the right teachers it doesn't matter what the curriculum is, having taught both I don't see much difference as a teacher I teach students to think, remember, enjoy and be independent.

    You certainly need to be able to think to do GCSE's and A Levels and certainly need to be able to remember for IB.

    There are some great schools across the world for both that offer great education and packages for teachers.

    I personally prefer the British style education, but can see the benefits of the IB (particularly at KS5 as it really prepares you for Uni and gives a broader curriculum).

    Both have advantages and disadvantages.
    nadirnwo and tb9605 like this.
  16. SineField

    SineField New commenter

    Cheers all...fascinating stuff..... I suppose my big query regarding a UK curriculum abroad is..

    Does UK curriculum = UK state school thinking ? (ie) endless spreadsheets, trackers, blind obedience to educational dogma... etc)
  17. Capricorn2412

    Capricorn2412 New commenter

    willow78 likes this.
  18. masty88

    masty88 New commenter

    Great question. I am also wondering about this. I reckon nadirnwo is correct, from my (limited) experience so far, nearly everything wrong with the current UK education system is traceable back to Ofsted.
  19. lottee1000

    lottee1000 Occasional commenter

    I shout this at least three times a week.

    On a more sensible note, I really like the National curriculum for England and Wales in my subject, as it teaches independence and social responsibility (well it did until the latest revision, which thankfully my 'british' international school has chosen to ignore). The gcse I find a memory exercise where the students who do the most past papers and learn the most markschemes get the best grades. A level is dependent on the specification chosen, CIE is boring but challenging, for example. All of this is obviously subject specific, though. What I do like about the IB is the breadth and the CAS though, which I think is missing from the A Level system to its detriment.

    What I do really dislike about the British schools I've worked in however is the mindset that British universities, via UCAS, are the only goal. Whilst we do have one or two who go off to the USA or the Netherlands for uni, nearly all of our very multinational sixth form target only the UK, and I personally think they are missing out on many opportunities, and spending a fortune unnecessarily, to do so. Do other people find this in their internationals schools? I find it quite snobby to be honest! I'd love to get a better idea of if this is my three international schools or most British international schools in general.
  20. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Is that why their parents chose to send them to British, rather than IB or US schools? Maybe?

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