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IB instead of A levels?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Milly Molly, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Just found out that my children's school is giving up teaching A levels in favour of IB. Mini MM will be in the first cohort to be affected. To date the school has offered both, with fairly weak results in the IB, it has to be said. Mini has a fairly clear idea of where she wants her further ed to go - very literary/creative, intends to pursue a career in writing/illustration - and had selected her A levels accordingly. ( In her head, that is, not actuality - in Y10). What good is IB to her? Apart from the seemingly ridiculous workload, she hates sciences and current GCSE projections are OK but not glorious! We have not been consulted as parents at all, and had no idea that this was coming. Do we search out somewhere else for 6th form or are all schools ( and this is an acadamy) heading this way? Whilst I know it's natural to feel negative about big changes I am not happy about this. Mini MM is very worried already about both the possibilityof having to leave a school where she is happy and having to do subjects she hates at a higher level. Any thoughts welcome here!
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I teach at an IB school which is not in the UK.
    The bottom line is that it is easier to get into a university with A Levels than the IB as the universities still don't really understand the difficulty of the IB.
    That said, for the right students, the IB is a fantastic qualification. I would make sure that the teachers in your daughters school have experience of the nuances of the IB. Subject wise, if you can teach one you can teach the other, but the IB definitely does have its peculiarities.
  3. AdmiralNelson

    AdmiralNelson New commenter

    IB is a good qualification for 'all rounders' - and it is harder work than A Levels; if your daughter doesn't want to study any of the elements, I'd look elsewhere (only a small minority of schools offer the IB); it really depends on her - IB would've been great for one of my children, disasterous for the other...
  4. A girl I know chose IB, she could have done A levels at her school. She was offered a place at Cambridge and needed 40 IB points, she got 35 and therefore was not accepted. Had she done A levels her offer would have been AAA (A*s weren't awarded her year) and I think she would have got this. I can't believe Cambridge who accept thousands of students from abroad many of whom will have done IB, don't understand what it's about.

  5. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    First, to be totally honest, when I was doing my exams I would have been extremely put out if I had to do IB. But that was because I only wanted to do science and maths. However, the IB would have forced me to pursue a more rounded education.

    From this point of view alone, the IB is better, in that it makes sure that students don't confine themselves to too narrower field at an early age.

    I can't comment on other subjects, but putting my maths teacher hat back on, I would say that IB maths is better than A-level maths. In particular I am very impressed by the options offered to higher level candidates.

    Yes, IB is probably harder, but our harder achievements are the ones we can be most proud of. Also, because it's an international exam it's got better credibility as the government can't dumb it down to make the failing UK education system look better. I suspect that this is the reason certain people are so hostile towards it.
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Have you any experience of teaching IB?
  7. Thank you for your thoughts. I'm not against IB per se. What has riled me is lack of consultation, my child's choices being whipped from under her feet and the possibility of having to disrupt her at a crucial stage both educationally and socially. Also. she is not an all-rounder.. She's mine and I adore her, but school just isn't her thing. Where she has strengths she soars. Where she doesn't she just can't be *****, basically (her mother's child!). She has an idea of what she wants to do and I can't see where the IB fits in. I thought if I could just get her through GCSEs OK we'd be on a home run as then she could focus on the things she loves. This is a bit ****! This school is just completely up itself ( won't talk to me about this until after the meetings... June!) but she is happy there. (or was!!!)
  8. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Arrange a meeting with the school and ask them about the following and how they are going to implement them or teach them:
    ToK, EE, CAS, World Lit, what different options are they going to offer for Groups 1 to 6, are they aware of the new changes to the language options in Groups 1 and 2, are they aware of the new requirements for coursework for maths HL and SL. Also ask them about whether or not all the staff involved in the IB teaching will be sent on IB level 1, 2 or 3 courses.
    If the answer is evasive to any of these I would seriously consider going elsewhere and doing A Levels.
  9. Ooh, Karvol, thank you! That will challenge my acting skills to make them think I know what I'm talking about and not just an emotional mother! I'll give it my best shot though. Much appreciated.
  10. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Unfortunately, Milly this is relatively common. I've seen Principals for whom the school is simply a means of self-aggrandizement. The philosophies they claim to espouse are wonderful, and they could win an Oscar for their performances in front of the media, but they only really care about (if care is the right word) their most able students, in whose reflected glory they like to bask.

    I've also met Principals who care deeply about their students, but I think there are far fewer of these.

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