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King Edward's Witley to offer greater choice to sixth form students

Published Thursday 17th of July 2014 09:44:14 AM

King Edward's Witley announces that, following the Government's reform to A-levels from 2015, the School will be offering the new A-level courses alongside its long-running International Baccalaureate diploma (IB) academic qualification.

The Surrey independent school, which has successfully taught the IB for ten years, will be reintroducing A-level courses after an absence of four years, following the arrival of the reformed A-level option which is due for national roll-out in 2015.

Previously, King Edward's has exclusively adopted the IB regarded as the world's global gold standard in education and shunned the UK national qualification believing it to represent an inferior learning opportunity to the internationally acclaimed IB. However, with the revised A-level signifying a welcome return to 'rigour and depth' of study, the school has decided to offer A-levels as an alternative to the IB again, providing pupils with a choice of routes to secure a place at university.

The School remains an ardent advocate of the IB Diploma and believes that for most pupils, this will remain the most appropriate path to follow. This is both in terms of gaining entrance to a university of choice, as well as supplying the breadth of skills sought out by employers operating in the global economy.

Commenting on the decision, the Headmaster John Attwater says, 'A UK school should want to offer the UK national qualification but the sad truth is that up until these latest announced reforms, A-level has just not been up to the job and we could not bring ourselves to offer second-best to our pupils. I am delighted that the landscape has now changed so that, in many ways, A-levels will become more aligned with the way in which the IB is taught, since the new A-level courses revert back to the traditional opportunity to study a subject in depth for two years. This is as opposed to the current studying in 'units' that has resulted in a 'teaching to the test' culture which we strongly oppose. Our decision means that those pupils who wish to specialize early, or whose aptitudes don't necessarily suit the IB have the opportunity to follow a good appropriate course for them to achieve success and university entry where that is their aim. There are also a small number of subjects which the IB does not cover but which are provided for within the A-level offering, and the scope to take more than one performing / visual arts subject at A-level, which is not permissible within the IB. Extensive guidance on the most appropriate qualification to follow will continue to be provided to pupils from Year 10, however, the School still regards the IB as the best choice for the majority of its students.'

Mr Attwater continues 'Pupils at King Edward's who decide to follow the new A-level course will still benefit from some of the valuable components of the IB programme such as the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge, as well as undertaking worthwhile community and social work responsibilities. This will give them the best of both worlds and will continue to distinguish them from the crowd in terms of their university applications. And our teachers will have the edge too, since teaching staff at the School, currently familiar with the IB programme and its associated teaching methods, will find it easier to adapt to the new A-levels than those teaching staff elsewhere who have become used to the teaching style of the old AS / A2 system.'

King Edward's will be celebrating 10 years of the IB in September 2014 and has a number of events planned to mark the anniversary. The IB was first introduced in a British school in 1971.
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