Mr Bird, our Secondary Key Stage Leader travelled to Dublin on 5-8  October 8 2023 to represent Richmond Park School at the IB Global Conference 2023 at the Convention Centre in his capacity as our school IB Coordinator. The conference centred on the concept of “Education for an Inclusive Future”

During his time in Dublin, he attended many training sessions and discussion forums, met inspirational colleagues from around the world and shared our experiences with IB leaders. He heard inspiring presentations and developed professional friendships with many colleagues on a global scale. Mr Bird works each week with an IB consultant and is involved in preparing our centre for future IB teaching.

We believe that the values of the IB align effectively with our whole school ethos. Whilst examination grades are important for future success, there is much more that needs to be taught to our young people to prepare them efficiently for the demands of the future.

The IB programme allows students to develop critical thinking skills, independent research, foster study habits that go beyond the constraints of the class room. Through the CAS programme, students will support community projects both locally and globally, being empathetic towards those who find themselves in challenging situations.

Through the teaching of the theory of knowledge, students will delve more deeply into the interpretive nature of knowledge, reflecting critically on the diverse ways of knowing. Students will also carry out an extended essay. This will allow them to specialise in an area of interest, develop a love of learning and study appropriate referencing and acknowledgement techniques. These are all key requirements of the programme alongside their chosen pathway of studies.

Mr Bird was moved by a key note speech and address from James Nottingham. James is the author of “The Learning Pit” This centred on the need for students to develop resilience by feeling comfortable at making mistakes, learning from them, and consequently becoming stronger. Students need to feel secure enough in their class room settings to find projects and activities challenging and subsequently grow emotionally and academically.

Students need to celebrate progress and prioritise it over the outcome. By looking carefully at the journey, there is more scope for improvement, reflection, and evaluation. There was considered discussion about the value of putting grades on work so regularly and whether more consideration would be given to the targets for improvement if grades were not so regularly present. It is clear as practitioners, we have the tools to use formative assessment to help to shape pupil progress very effectively.

Other sessions focused on student well-being and how to create a work life balance that ensures that students enjoy the learning process, not feeling overly burdened by pressures and knowing what to do in difficult moments. It highlighted the vital roles of parents, teachers, and all stakeholders in supporting students to flourish. Mr Bird also learnt about wider community projects and higher educational opportunities for our students both in Spain and overseas once they gain an IB qualification. This programme puts our students in the strongest position moving forward. He believes that the IB model will help to transform our students into compassionate leaders through the DP programme.

Mr Bird is now in the process of sharing his experiences with the SLT and wider teaching staff. He looks forward to developing future partnerships and continuing the application process for our school.