Recently back from the Council of British International Schools’ (COBIS) conference for teachers and leaders in Prague, which included a session on the The International Primary Curriculum (IPC), Gerry Hillier-Manolas reflects upon the relevance of the curriculum for British schools in the UK as well as those abroad.
For anyone who did their teacher training prior to the introduction of the National Curriculum (NC) in 1989, the IPC – which is now being used in over 1,000 schools in 65 countries around the world – heralds a return to the best bits of cross curricular teaching. Even in ‘89 we knew that children learnt best when subjects were linked together in as many ways as possible. Now, with the development of research into the brain and how we learn, we can prove scientifically that children who are educated using this method generally remember more of what they learn.
The difference this time round is that rather than having some very tenuous links within topics, trying to ensure all curriculum areas are covered, with the IPC schools are encouraged to teach some things in isolation. PE and RE, PSHE and of course maths and English skills are some subjects that will need individual lessons.
Easy cross referencing
Another key benefit of using the IPC is that there are over 90 different units to select from, allowing each school the ability to choose units that reflect their children’s interests and the expertise of their staff. To make sure that all aspects of knowledge, skills and understanding are covered thoroughly within the programme a school selects, it can be cross referenced using a computer programme. With a click of a mouse schools can identify areas they have missed out, enabling them to make changes or decide what needs to be taught separately; no lengthy inset days are required to cross reference every curriculum document with schemes of work.
More than festivals, flags and food days
What surprised and pleased me the most was to see how many UK schools had decided to take on the IPC within their schools as a better alternative to the NC. This curriculum, with its international focus filtered throughout all the themes is relevant in British schools in the UK as well as those abroad. We are in a world which, thanks to technology, is becoming smaller and smaller and our pupils need to be prepared to work in an international environment, and not just a British one. The IPC delivers this in all areas, something the NC only achieves in part and even then only if the school believes it’s important. A truly international education has to be more than festivals, flags and food days.
If you want to change your school curriculum and give children something to get really fired up about, I recommend you take a closer look. For the first time in 10 years I really wanted to get back in a classroom and teach: it just made so much sense and looked so much fun.
In a rapidly changing world, don’t your children deserve the best start to help them live and work within a truly international environment?
Contact Steven Mark and find out more at www.internationalprimarycurriculum.com