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University and Further Education advice. How important?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by igvram, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. igvram

    igvram New commenter

    Just a quick straw poll. How important is this in YOUR school? I have noticed that in American type schools this is an important position often with no teaching attached whilst in British schools it is often treated as a sort of ugly add on that some poor sucker has to do in order to keep the parents happy.
    I would be interested to hear.
  2. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    We have one at our School (British) and it's taken very seriously.
  3. igvram

    igvram New commenter

    Thanks ejc that's a start I suppose. One for how many students?
  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    We have three for approximately 140 students in the VIth form. One to deal with the US, one for the UK and one for Europe (non-UK). Two are full time positions and one is part-time. The process starts in year 11.
  5. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    "in British schools it is often treated as a sort of ugly add on that some poor sucker has to do"

    This may have been true in the past but I am not sure it is these days, most British schools now have either a full time or part time university counselor who takes their job very seriously.

    As always the size of the sixth form may be an issue but with all the options for university open to students these days it would be a foolish school that just saw it as 'ugly add on'
  6. igvram

    igvram New commenter

    This is interesting Mike, as someone who has worked in this field for 20 some years, mainly in British schools, where it was merely an adjunct to my Head of Sixth Form roles which I dealt with along with my IGCSE and A-Level teaching loads I now find myself working at a US School with 0 teaching/activity/duties load and a 100% remit to learn as much as I can to help the kids get to College/University. To this end I attend courses/meetings probably twice a month and I would say that over 90% of the counselors I meet who work in British Schools also have a teaching load as well as other responsibilities. I would say though that my remit goes down to Grade 6 rather than starting in Y11!
  7. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    Staff working in this area should always be treated with the importance their wit, intellect and dazzling good looks deserve ;)
  8. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    No, don't tell me SPC2, you are university Councillor!!!!

    Again igvram, I can only speak from my own experience, yes many middle management/admin roles in international schools come with a teaching load, usually reduced, but that does not mean it is not taken seriously.

    I also have to say imo that American style schools are often ludicrously generous in their provision for some roles, e.g. Athletics Director!! to organise a some buses and a few sports fixtures! My old friends who were Heads of PE in large comprehensives in the UK would be laughing all the way to the bank! At my current school the Athletics director for the secondary school is asking that her role be divided into two (a middle school and High School job) as she is overworked, our school is only 600 students with limited scope for school sports fixtures!!

    On a more serious note, the cousins, have always had a somewhat different view of the role of admin in schools, in the UK traditionally we preferred to have experienced teachers take on these roles with a reduced teaching load so that they did not lose contact with the students and perhaps equally importantly teaching colleagues.

    In the US, as I understand it, they seem to prefer to make admin a separate role in the schools management structure, they even have specific degrees for such things as university counsellor, school administrator (Head and Deputy Head etc) and one need never have been a teacher to take on these roles, and do not have a teaching timetable at all. Perhaps this has something to do with the complexity of many of the US systems as there are so many layers to their bureaucracy i.e. Institutional, Local, State and Federal.

    Different strokes for different folks!

    Sorry for the 70's TV reference - Forgive me!
  9. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    I believe any decent IB teacher should have a reasonable knowledge of university expectations and within the school there is no need for a dedicated counsellor dealing with university applicants.
    On the other hand, it depends where you are in the world. Some countries have 'good' agency students can pay to take advice from, and then there's the British Council which 'should' help for UK universities: the majority of students I've dealt with aspire to go to the UK.
  10. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    The university and careers counsellor at our school does not have a teaching load. His sole job is UCC. He is very experienced and highly qualified. I think that this kind of role is absolutely necessary and shouldn't be an add on to another role that a teacher or middle manager is doing. It is far too important. We have around 600 students in secondary. Not sure how many in the final two years though.
  11. SPC2

    SPC2 Occasional commenter

    MM strikes again...'no need for a dedicated counsellor when dealing with university applicants'. So who writes the Counsellor input for Common App for the US or manages the school UCAS account for the UK, for instance? Plus is it fair that subject teachers should all have to know the differences between US Early Action and Early Decision, the difference between UK clearing and adjustment and the fact that Canadian applications are different for Ontario or that Quebec has special visa requirements?

    My understanding is that US counsellors are usually general counsellors, advising academically on electives and college applications as well as covering what we in the UK would call pastoral care. Whether the university guidance is combined with other functions, and what those might be, depends on lots of factors (size of relevant cohort, likely destinations, management structures etc.).

    Mike, one is a Head of Sixth Form :cool:
  12. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    All good points SPC2, and things have changed greatly since I was a Head of Sixth Form, as I said in my earlier post, the world that is open to many of our students, in terms of where and what to study at university, is a far more complicated place, whereas in the past the 'ugly add on' might have been all that was required, nowadays a specialist is, more often than not, essential. Although I would not want to lose that inside knowledge that comes from teaching students, even as a Deputy Principal I kept teaching at least one IGCSE or IB group each year.
  13. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    The relevant heads do it, with their team, of course.

    Whilst the question of universities is up: What's your take on doing the IBDP or A Level early, say starting at age 15? Personally I'm against it but I'm always seeing requests for parents to have their little ones skip years. I know Unis will accept 17 year olds, but looking at their policies especially in regards to child protection hassles, they don't like it. My belief is that if there is one remaining place to allocate, and there were two applicants with identical merit, but one was 17 and the other 18, the 18 year old will be offered and the 17 year old will be left out.

  14. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    [QUOTE="MisterMaker, post: 11479031, member: 1145673"What's your take on doing the IBDP or A Level early, say starting at age 15?[/QUOTE]

    Depends purely on the maturity of the student. We have had 16 year olds graduating and going off to university (last one went to Warwick, I think). 17 year olds are pretty common and no university is worried about them.

    If the students are attending UK universities, they will usually be classed as overseas students (unless EU), so they are at the top of the queue anyway as they bring in more cash.

    Also, UK universities are going through a period of reappraisal of the IB. King's College has recently dropped is IB requirement to 35 points for Law (from 38 I believe). The rest either are, or will, follow suit.

    As for choosing between a 17 year old and an 18 year old, the answer is simple. They will choose both.
  15. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Enough of the ToK style answers, Mr Karvol.
    In a theoretical universe where 2 plus 2 actually adds up to 4 and parents need to choose to save the life of one child only in an imaginary scenario, universities can only have a choice of either a 17 or 18 year old: my feeling is the older is preferred all things being equal. Child protection legislation is a pain to sort out as a university and they remain a child until 18: the 'natural' age for universities.

    I suppose the 17 year olds can always do a gap year pre university.
  16. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    The problem is, your theoretical universe does not exist.

    Universities always give more offers than places exist, as they know some offers will not be met and some offers will not be taken up. Both individuals, if they are as good as each other, would get the offer.

    The only possible exceptions to this rule are at US universities when students apply Early Decision. There the university decisions are binding, so the universities are very careful as to whom the offers are made to.

    As for child protection issues and universities, you are talking hypothetical, I am talking about actual students who have been through the process.
  17. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    If you read some of the blurb of UK Uni websites about under 18s, they give the distinct impression it is a hassle to take on 17 year olds.
    Some do, of course, as there are exceptional 15-17 yr old G&Ts around. However, for a non-G&T I argue it is a disadvantage. Not only are you likely to grade lower in the sixth form exam, you will find it harder - not impossible - to get first choice UK & US uni places.
  18. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    [QUOTE="MisterMaker, post: 11481088, member: 1145673"However, for a non-G&T I argue it is a disadvantage. Not only are you likely to grade lower in the sixth form exam, you will find it harder - not impossible - to get first choice UK & US uni places.[/QUOTE]

    For an average 15-17 year old, the university is not the issue. The issue is as to why the school is accepting a student onto a senior school programme when it is clearly not in the interest or to the benefit of the student.

    I suspect that the reason it is done is because the school needs "bums on seats". In such a case, the student is already at a disadvantage by studying at a level for which they are not ready, probably getting lower grades and ending up at a university below their aspirations.
  19. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    And so we come full circle to the parents who pester about skipping years. I've always, as you might tell, resisted this, but sometimes arriving at new schools sticklers for age will find the predecessor took the bums on seats route, rather than the quality of education route.
    So, Karvol, now that our arguments start to merge, another hypothetical: A group average 15 year olds have already started the IB / A Level course at a school you just arrived in: what would you do?
  20. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter


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