Because the IB is an international curriculum it is generally possible to move easily from one school to another, making it an attractive curriculum for families moving frequently from country to country. However bear in mind that not all IB schools offer all age ranges of the curriculum. For example in the UK, nearly all IB schools offer the IBDP but only 15% offer the PYP or MYP. Therefore a 14 year old already studying the MYP in say Spain, might find themselves moving to a UK school for 2 years of GCSEs before then progressing to the IBDP at age 16. However, we would expect most students to want to stay with the same curriculum on a transfer.
The PYP and MYP are based on the development of skills and approaches to learning, rather than the accumulation of facts. Thus although the actual content taught may vary from school to school the framework of the curriculum and the essential elements will be the same. However, each individual school will have its own admissions policies and criteria so it is important for parents to check that their child will be eligible for entry to any particular school.
A critical factor is to determine if the school calendar is the same on a transfer between countries. Some countries may start their academic year in January, whereas others start in September. Many IB schools are flexible enough to take admissions mid year or even mid term, whereas others will only accept at the start of their academic year.
Students in the IB Diploma programme may need to switch schools after the first of the two years. (e.g at age 17) This is possible with some receiving schools but there are a number of factors to consider:
Does the school offer the same courses? Not all IB schools offer every available course at Higher Level. In some cases the student may have to be prepared to “self teach” subjects which they have started but are not taught at the new school. Some schools may not offer particular languages so in this case too a student may have to be prepared to work independently.
Is the content the same course? Even if a course is offered, the actual content may be different, especially in subjects like History or English Literature. This may mean that the student has to catch up on missed work which can add considerably to the workload.
Does the school have the same deadlines for coursework? Schools may set different deadlines for the Extended Essay so it will be important to check whether these can be met at the new school or if there will be some flexibility.
For advice on choosing a new international IB school please call us on +44 1622 813870