What parents ask about IB Diploma
IB at Park Lane International School
Mr. Paul Ingarfield, School director
Mr. Jan Čihák, IB coordinator
Mrs. Markéta Fantová, Parent
Q: Why did you decide to choose the IB Diploma programme as the programme of study for the graduates at PL?
As an international school settled in the heart of the cosmopolitan city of Prague we were looking for a programme, which supports international mindedness, promotes appreciation of cultural diversity and fosters the collaborative nature of learning at the same time. The International Baccalaureate Organisation and the Diploma Programme represent a progressive, 21st century oriented pedagogical philosophy and the DP graduates are welcome by the most prestigious universities worldwide since 1960’s. The universities appreciate mostly the skills of the 21st century learner which the graduates from the IB DP definitely posses.
One of the aspects of the IB DP we highly value among other is its flexibility in terms of the subject students may choose from to study and also the focus on the individual development of each student’s skills. The IB DP goes largely beyond the academic achievements focusing on a holistic development of each student via the Creativity – Activity – Service core component of the DP (physical activities chosen by students contributing to healthy lifestyle, voluntary service to the community, such as helping people in need and creative activities which could be for example learning to play a musical instrument or organization of a photography exhibition).
Q: What is the added value that Park Lane brings in to the IB DP teaching and learning?
Since the beginning of the existence of Park Lane we have always approached each student individually providing support precisely tailored to the actual students’ needs. We carefully identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses in order to offer the best-fit approach to maximise his or her learning and achievements. Our learning groups are small and enable a more personalized, student-centered approach from the teachers. Last but not least we offer a significantly large variety of DP subjects to choose from given the relatively familial nature of our school.
We are aiming at satisfying each student’s individual choice without compromises. The IB DP subject choices are a long process and are done carefully in close student’s cooperation with the DP Coordinator, the Careers adviser and the parents.
Q: What are the Park Lane targets for the IB DP exam results?
It is very difficult to predict the individual results our students will achieve in 2 years time. However, we are aiming at such scores where not a single Park Lane DP graduate will score below the world average which oscillates around 29 – 30 points every year – we are quite confident we can achieve this. We will carefully consider student entries to the secondary school (Y6 transition to Y7), we will use strategies to identify areas of support to students, especially in Y9 and Y11 (end of Key Stage 3 and 4).
Moving up to the Key stage 5 will not be an automatic process and there are already measures in place to secure as much as possible that students entering the DP programme will succeed at the end. Each existing and new Park Lane student entering the IB DP will be provided with individual advice on subject choices especially in relation to the future university studies by the IB DP Coordinator and the Careers and Universities Adviser.
Again, we would like to stress here that individual support to each of our student is our undoubted and self-evident prerequisite for success.
Q: And what about students who wish to join Park Lane just for the IB DP?
Students joining us from the outside at different key stages will be expected to demonstrate above average academic abilities and solid motivation in order to pursue their studies at Park Lane. This is of course also a principle we will apply to students joining us for the IB DP – by the way we welcome students from the outside also because they enrich our existing community as well as our existing community enriches them in a variety of ways.
These students will sit entrance exams usually in English, Mathematics and Czech (if they opt for the bilingual diploma). Part of the entrance procedures is also a standardized test measuring the applicant’s suitability for the rigorous studies at IB DP and a face to face interview with the Principal and the IB DP coordinator.
Q: What are the Park Lane aims in terms of the university destinations of the graduates?
This will very much depend on each student’s individual future plans and career options that every graduate will pursue. Our ambitious aim is to see 30% of our graduates to pursue their studies at prestigious universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, LSE to name the British ones; Harvard, Stanford in the USA and many other non-UK prestigious schools including the most prestigious Czech universities, such as the Charles University.
We would also like to secure at least 70% of our graduates to reach their first-choice university and course.
Q: How do you want to achieve this?
Again, as stated above, we want to maintain and further develop our high standards of individualized information and guidance provided to students and parents to work together on our target. A well trained and experienced Universities and Career Support adviser is available for each student to provide guidance and individual support in the area of careers and further education choices.
The process of subject choices for the IGCSE and IB is also well supported by the relevant members of staff (Director of Studies, Careers Adviser, IB DP Coordinator, subject leaders) who meet with students, inform parents at various related forums organized after school.
We are very keen on starting the careers orientation very soon, so already in KS3 students start to think about their future and they also learn about how Park Lane can (and will) guide them throughout the whole process.
We also work with the most up to date online sources, the software supporting students’ universities choices is already in place and used by students themselves, starting at Key Stage 4 already (Fast Tomato, Bridge U).