Island School Futures Curriculum
Please see this website to find out more about curriculum developments at IS between 2011 - 13 ... here
Island School offers a broad and balanced curriculum through which students learn knowledge, develop skills and nurture habits. The school’s academic teams and timetable is organized along the lines of the IBO hexagon with each area having roughly the same amount of time.
Please click on the subject links below to access more detailed information about our subject based curriculum.
The areas of the curriculum are:-
CREATIVE ARTS: Visual Arts, Drama and Music.
In addition, there is one lesson a week of Personal, Social and Health Education and students register with their form tutor at the start of each day.
We have an Individual Needs Department which provides support to students with learning difficulties, who are gifted or for whom English is a second language.
Island School also values the Co-Curriculum where a wide range of activities (currently 111) are organized to develop interests in what the IBO calls CAS. This is Creativity, Action and Service. It includes productions, concerts, sport and working with the local and international community.
We believe that assessment is fundamental to learning and so we have an Assessment for Learning and a Tutoring for Learning programme. This is where departments write rubrics that clearly direct the development of knowledge, skills and habits that inform students’ discussions with their teachers and tutors. This personalizes learning and motivates students by allowing them to understand what their next steps for learning are. It unlocks the mysteries of the subject for the students and helps to inform lesson planning for the teachers.
DEVELOPING THE CURRICULUM
FOR YEARS 7 TO 11
Island School has traditionally followed an adapted version of the English National Curriculum leading to GCSE or IGCSE and GCE Advanced Level examinations. However, we are very aware of the need to review this if we are to keep pace with the changing demands and needs of the 21st Century. We must be confident that our students are equipped to meet any task or challenge in their professional and personal lives wherever they choose to live.
Changes are already being implemented. Our partner primary schools have taken on the International Baccalaureate Organisation’s (IBO) Primary Years Programme (PYP) and we are now offering the IBO Diploma Progarmme (IBDP) at Island School. We are also improving our own Advanced Diploma Programme for Sixth Formers who are more suited to this style of learning.
This begs the question about what we are doing for the students in between these programmes, the 11-16 age group or those in Years 7 to 11. It may take three to five years to consult everyone with an interest, to plan and prepare and then to seek authorization. In the meantime, we do not want to lose the good practice and success we currently enjoy. We do not want to stand still either, and so we are looking to marry our best practices with other exciting pedagogies.
Island School has adopted the IBO Learner Profile (IBLP) that details the habits we want our students to nurture. This defines the student as an inquirer, as knowledgeable, as a thinker, as a communicator, as principled, as open minded, as caring, as a risk taker, as balanced and as reflective. These outcomes are becoming central to our planning, though it is worth mentioning that they are very similar to the English National Curriculum’s desired outcomes for students which are, that they become a successful learner, a confident individual and a responsible citizen. This includes, for example, being a creative, critical, enquiring thinker who can communicate through a number of mediums and being a risk taker.
We have a number of teacher Development Teams that are researching how to develop and enrich the learning experience. This includes building on the PYP units of inquiry, giving a greater focus to trans-disciplinary skills, attitudes, themes and concepts, introducing a 1-2-1 laptop programme that will bring more technology and opportunities into the classroom and beyond, and looking at education for sustainability. This will prepare our students for the Sixth Form where, for example, there is a requirement to complete an extended essay independently and to explore abstract concepts such as the theory of knowledge. However, we are also mindful of the fact that the Middle Years Programme (MYP) would lead to the end of GCSEs and IGCSEs here and yet the IBDP is assessed by terminal examinations with emphasis on subject knowledge.
At the moment, the Year 7 to 9 curriculum is organized along subject lines or what the PYP calls disciplines. They include English, Foreign Languages, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, PRS, Design Technology, Food Technology, IT, Drama, Music, Art, PE and Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE). We are introducing a new school leadership structure to reflect the IBO’s arrangement of the curriculum areas into a hexagon, so that History, Geography and PRS become Individuals and Societies, ICT and Technology are joined and Drama, Music and Art become a Creative and Performing Arts faculty.
We are also developing our assessment policies so that they personalize learning. As in PYP rubrics are being used here to show students their next steps for learning. Subject teachers use assessment to guide students’ learning on an individual basis. This is then taken up by tutors who have an over-arching perspective of a student’s needs to provide further guidance in what we call Tutoring for Learning.
The changes that are happening show that Island School is receptive to new thinking and innovation and that it is able to grow organically. It is important that these developments are furthered in a partnership between students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders.