As schools prepare for pupils to return after lockdown, Lomond School is looking to the future by enhancing our curriculum model and we are set to become the first in Scotland to offer two International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes for S5 and S6.
The IB Diploma Programme and IB Careers Programme will run alongside the introduction of an HNC in Business in addition to our current model of SQA Highers and Advanced Highers, offering pupils from home and abroad unrivalled choice and flexibility within their senior school education.
Having already gained approval as an IB candidate school* we are now undertaking a rigorous process of authorisation in order to begin teaching these new curricula from August 2021.
This marks new ground for Scottish education as we will be the only school in Scotland to offer all three of the IB Diploma Programme, the Careers Programme and an HNC in Business within the curriculum. Pupils will be able to choose the pathway most appropriate for them and will be able to combine individual components to create their own truly bespoke curriculum.
IB programmes are lauded by schools around the globe and, along with academic rigour, place a great emphasis on enquiry-based learning and deep conceptual understanding. At the heart of IB Programmes is international mindedness and individual components which prepare young people with the real-life skills and attributes required for success in further education and the world of work. It challenges senior pupils to become more independent in their learning, and demands a range of creative, active and service pursuits alongside academic studies.
Our Principal, Johanna Urquhart, said: “We want to reward our pupils for their creative, critical and original thinking and give our senior pupils ownership over their own learning. Additionally, it is important that we offer a course for young people who struggle with academic examinations but excel in other areas, giving them the kind of teaching they need to succeed.
“Rather than learning key words, memorising passages and following the exam ‘formula’, we want to provide meaningful and engaging experiences that give young people the ability to solve the kind of complex issues we will still be facing after this pandemic, such as plastic pollution and global warming. The IB model allows us to do that effectively.”
The IB Careers Programme will be unique to Scotland, offering a course for pupils who are planning further education and/or a career in Business and will offer flexibility for those young people who may not wish to pursue five Higher examinations. The programme comprises a mix of academic courses from the IB Diploma Programme alongside a career related study, with real-world approaches to learning and work placements throughout. It provides a flexible pathway which both challenges the most able and supports those who may not be naturally aligned to a purely academic pathway.
The IB Diploma Programme, now over 50 years old, is suited to young people who aspire to University. It was designed to develop and challenge young people intellectually, physically, emotionally, and ethically as they acquire an understanding of six subject groups and complete ‘core’ experiences. The pupils who opt for the IB Diploma Programme will enjoy a real breadth of subject areas whilst increasing their understanding of cultures and other ways of thinking. They will complete an extended essay that prepares them for independent learning and writing in further education and work, and also explore the theory of knowledge which is aimed to grow enquiring hearts and minds.
We are also working in partnership with the Scottish Qualification Authority to deliver an HNC in Business as part of the Careers Programme, providing pupils with extra exposure to economics and business related studies to help with employment and/or further education.
Our teachers started their training to deliver IB programmes ahead of lockdown and many have now transferred to online courses, as we prepare to launch this new learning and examination model in August 2021.
As a day and boarding school, we welcome pupils from across the world and hope that our new IB programmes will widen diversity for our international community whilst offering more choice to local and UK based pupils too. Central to both Programmes is international and intercultural understanding, and the mission of the IB is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better world.
Johanna Urquhart, Principal, said: “We are thrilled to have been accepted as an IB candidate school having demonstrated our commitment to the programmes during the application process, and are very much looking forward to transitioning into the new curriculum.
“As part of our curriculum review and our five year strategy we had already been considering the IB programmes, however our decision has been validated as we have witnessed our pupils become independent learners during lockdown and watched the many ways that our world has been working together to solve complex issues: both of which align with the IB Programmes.
“The deep understanding of key subjects, an international focus and the independence of the model overlaps with the skills, experiences and outcomes that our teachers, pupils and parents look for and this is the next logical step for our school.
“Lockdown has fast tracked our focus on digital learning and we now have a huge range of technologies that we can utilise in order to continue to deliver effective learning moving forward, with a blended approach which incorporates both online learning and face to face.”
* Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), or the Career-related Programme (CP). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted.
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