PRE 16 LEARNING AT WEST ISLAND
To achieve our vision of ‘for every learner to be the best that they can be’, our young people follow a broad and balanced curriculum that gradually offers more personalisation and specialisation as they reach Post 16.
Throughout Years 7- 13, we advocate a set of core values and attributes through our teaching, assemblies and wider learning guided by the IB Learner Profile and reinforced by West Island School’s five Cs.
Our mission is to provide:
‘Exceptional learning opportunities that emphasise achievement, personal fulfilment, service to others, learning skills and responsible global citizenship’
Year 7-9: Middle Years Programme (MYP)
The focus of learning in the MYP classroom is to use and apply subject group knowledge to generate wider understandings through inquiry within a global context.
The programme allows young people to develop their whole brain through learning from a wide variety of essential subject groups and disciplines.
Students will study the following:
- Language acquisition (Chinese is compulsory and learners also study a choice of French or Spanish)
- Language and Literature (English)
- Individuals and Societies (Philosophy, Geography, History)
- Sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Biology)
- Arts (Visual Arts and Performing Arts)
- Physical and Health Education
- Design (Resistant materials, graphics, textiles, food, computer studies)
MYP Framework Explained
When learning has a context and is relevant to their lives, young people engage and are curious to find out more. The global context answers the: Why are we studying this? What is this subject’s significance to the wider global community beyond the classroom?
At West Island, the Sustainable Development Goals are used where relevant to enrich learning both in and beyond the classroom, enabling students to understand and connect with the current challenges that face local and global communities.
Concepts are a way into inquiry; they enable young people to see the wider purpose of subject knowledge by examining their personal, local and global significance
Concepts create learning opportunities for new ideas and solutions. For example, take the concept of systems: A student may leave history class with a knowledge about systems of government but will also have investigated- Why do we need systems? What type of systems will we need in the future?
What matters is not the absorption and regurgitation either of facts or of predigested interpretations of facts, but the development of powers of the mind or ways of thinking which can be applied to new situations and new presentations of facts as they arise.
(Alec Peterson, first IB Director General 2003: 47)
Tools for Learning – Approaches to Learning (ATLs)
To achieve their personal best your child is taught how to approach their learning using explicitly taught skills.
These skills are grouped under Approaches to Learning or ATLs – they provide students with a scaffold of how to access ways to inquire and allow children to demonstrate what they can do with growing confidence– for example – how to research, how to present ideas or how to work collaboratively with others- this take practise and time
Developing and applying these skills help students learn how to learn.
Service and Action (learning by doing and experiencing)
are values shared by IB and West Island community. Your child may well have participated in community work as part of their primary years programme and we will continue to deepen their connection with meaningful and purposeful service.
As global citizens our young people are provided with opportunities to take principled action and engage in service inspired and instigated by their learning within the classroom and through the extra curricular provision in place.
Seven learning outcomes guide students and are used as a means for students to self reflect on how they approach and engage with this important aspect of their service learning.
- become more aware of their own strengths and areas for growth
- undertake challenges that develop new skills
- discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities
- persevere in action
- work collaboratively with others
- develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding
- consider the ethical implications of their actions.
The Community Project is a passing criteria of the MYP and takes place in Year 9. Students develop awareness of needs in various communities, addressing these needs through service learning. Working in small groups students engage in sustained, student centered practical explorations through a process of inquiry, action, and reflection. The community project not only offers authentic community engagement but also builds on key academic and affective including collaboration, empathy, listening, presenting to a range of audiences, examining the reliability of sources, academic honesty and approaches to research.
Young people entering the 21 century workforce have to be flexible and think across disciplines and beyond subject matter to meet the changing demands across industries. Effective problem solving requires thinking that integrates disciplines and skills to come up with new solutions to complex problems.
Interdisciplinary units are taught in each year of the MYP. Units are designed to create authentic learning experiences where young people make connections and present understandings within a global context.
Interdisciplinary learning in years 7- 9 benefits students in the following ways:
- allows students to use knowledge domains creatively to foster new
- develops mental flexibility that prepares students to be lifelong learners
- promotes intellectual rigour by providing a holistic approach to the study of complex issues and ideas
- models the importance of collaboration and teamwork across disciplines (an important life skill)
- supports and promotes transfer of understanding.
Taken from ‘Fostering interdisciplinary teaching and learning in the MYP’:For use from September 2014/January 2015
Teaching and Learning
The MYP classroom provides learning opportunities for asking (inquiry), doing (action) and thinking (reflection), forming the framework of good teaching and learning. Your child will be encouraged to examine facts critically, think creatively, investigate the relationship between facts and concepts and reflect and evaluate their own learning.
Years 10-11- IGCSE plus future proofing
During Years 10-11, students can achieve more personal fulfilment through our iGCSE programme. They will continue to study the following core curriculum:
- Language acquisition (Chinese and French or Spanish)
- English language and literature (English)
- Physical and Health Education
- Sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Biology)
Students can personalise their programmes by making three choices from any combination of the following areas:
- Individuals and Societies (Philosophy & Religion, Business, Economics, Geography, History)
- Creative Thinking and Expression (Art, Drama, Music, Resistant Materials, Graphics, Textiles, Food, Dance, Media, Hospitality)
In addition, we are keen that our learners are ready for the jobs of the future that don’t yet exist. The ‘fourth industrial revolution’ described by the World Economic Forum identifies the skills of creativity, complex problem solving and emotional intelligence as critical. Students are therefore able to tailor a suite of experiences from non-examined courses across their two-year programme.
After Year 11, students choose once more to prepare themselves for future university or employment opportunities:
International Baccalaureate (A choice of subjects from six groups)
International Baccalaureate Careers Programme (A choice of five BTEC Subjects and any combination of IB certificates with a personal project, language portfolio and reflective project)
International Diploma (A choice of BTEC Subjects)
Foundation Diploma (A choice of individual courses designed to meet individual learning needs)
Across all ages, students will participate in lessons which prepare them for the challenges that face young people through the teenage years. This includes learning about relationship and sex education, emotional intelligence and digital citizenship.
All students will participate in our extra curriculum programmes through Community Action and Service (CAS) in every year group.
The school has a strong commitment to inclusion which means offering a wide variety of courses that offer different styles of learning and assessment. For some, offering additional support for EAL, literacy or specific learning needs.
Parents will be expected to cover IGCSE, BTEC and IB examination fees. Also any other externally examined or accredited courses may carry an additional cost. These will all be invoiced by epayment.