Scottish school gains world first with bespoke curriculum choice for pupils | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Scottish school gains world first with bespoke curriculum choice for pupils

As young people across Scotland start a phased return to school, Lomond School has been given authorisation to deliver two International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes in addition to an HNC in Business alongside its existing SQA provision, making it the first school in the world to offer this combination of curriculum choice.

The news of the authorisation means that Lomond School, based in Helensburgh, is now the only school in the world authorised to deliver: SQA National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher, an HNC in Business and the IB Diploma and Career-related programmes.

The school can now offer the courses to its S5 and S6 pupils from August 2021, alongside the current model of SQA Highers and Advanced Highers. Current S4 pupils will be the first to embark on the new curriculum with around two thirds already opting and enrolled for IB.

This marks new ground for Scottish education as Lomond will be the only School in Scotland to offer pupils the pathway choice most appropriate for them, through the combination of individual components to create their own truly bespoke curriculum. This now provides pupils from home and abroad exceptional choice and flexibility within their senior school education.

IB programmes are lauded by schools and universities around the globe and, along with academic rigour, place a great emphasis on inquiry-based learning and deep conceptual understanding. The IB challenges senior pupils to become more independent in their learning, preparing young people with the real-life skills and attributes required for success in further education and the world of work.

The Diploma Programme, now over 50 years old, is suited to young people who aspire to attend 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 breadth of subject areas whilst increasing their understanding of cultures and other ways of thinking.

The IB Career-related Programme with an HNC in Business 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 route.

The school is working in partnership with the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) 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.

The day and boarding school welcomes pupils from across the world and hopes that its new IB programmes will widen diversity for its international community whilst offering more choice to local and UK based pupils too. Central to both Programmes is international and intercultural understanding with an aim to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better world.

Johanna Urquhart, Principal of Lomond School, said: “The IB is globally renowned for delivering exceptional education programmes that are synonymous with putting the child firmly at the centre of education. The process of becoming an IB World School is not an easy one. We set out to become an authorised IB school in January 2020, and I am extremely proud that we have managed to achieve this amidst a global pandemic.

“We have learned a lot and adapted over the past year, however what is clear is that we must prepare our young people for the future and give our senior pupils choice and ownership over their own learning, ensuring that they can be independent and rewarded for their own creative, critical and original thinking. Within the IB programme, the skills young people develop for life beyond school are valued with parity of esteem alongside the grades on their certificates. Success cannot be achieved by mere memorisation or repetition; there has to be originality of thought, a critical awareness and the ability to connect across different subject disciplines.

“We now feel that we have a curriculum for everyone, and as a forward-looking school, we are ecstatic that we are now authorised to deliver these courses that will prepare our pupils with the skills, qualities and world renowned qualifications needed for the future.”

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