The first place to start may just be the IBO website: International Baccalaureate Organization . (By contrast to the US Education turtle of a website, this one goes like a jet and has everything you're looking for right at your fingertips. We know this is a schools guide, but we couldn't help noticing...)
The IBO has a very strong system for setting up IB schools and making sure they get off to a good start, but thereafter do not particularly inspect or certify those schools (although they do continue to keep a close eye on schools using their Primary and Middle Years curricula). Instead, they feel the results speak for themselves. Therefore, parents should look at an IB school's exam results and numbers of students qualifying for the IB Diploma: if those numbers are poor or dropping, take a much closer look.
If a school is an IB candidate, that's a good sign...but not if it's been a candidate for a decade. Good IB exam and Diploma results do not in themselves tell you about the feel of the school or whether it's right for your child, and no one is looking into every cranny in the same way an American accreditation or Ofsted inspection officer does (not only the academics but also the governance and financial stability of a school).
But if scores look good, and you like the buzz of the school, there's a good chance you'll find a rigorous programme that will allow a fairly seamless transition from one IB school to another. That is, before the final two year IB Diploma programme. It is very important to note that, in spite of similarities within the curriculum, the two year course is usually regarded by schools as being fairly monolithic. In other words, not made up of identical sequential parts that students can pop in and out of, from school to school, at will.
Be aware that the IBO exists to set up curriculum and protocols and they are very good at what they do, but counciling or guiding parents trying to make this transition is not part of their brief.
Some special needs are easy to spot, others are only determined once a child has experienced considerable difficulties, frustrations or social and emotional problems.
Over the years, diagnosis of and provision for SEN have improved, but both can still be a minefield.
Identifying different kinds of special educational needs
Few children fit a condition perfectly – if they do, we tend to say they are a ‘classic’ case. Most will not be straightforward: perhaps a dyslexic with dyspraxia and a touch of ADD, or a child with ASD who also has Down’s syndrome.
Just as special needs are hard to…
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Counties such as Kent or Buckinghamshire are ‘selective authorities’ and most families will have at least one grammar school close to where they live. Elsewhere, for example in Reading or Kingston-on-Thames, there are just one or two grammar schools and competition for places at these is ferocious.
How to find a state grammar school
Grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. Almost half of these are considered 'selective authorities' (eg Kent and Buckinghamshire), where around one in five local children are selected for grammar school entry based on ability. The others are areas such as Barnet or Kingston,…
As proud parents, we all know our children are unique. They're smarter than anyone else's, funnier, certainly more attractive, better behaved and above all bursting with the kind of talent that would leave Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Bell and Charlotte Church standing. And for some extraordinary - though totally understandable - reason, everyone but us seems blind to our offspring's God-given artistic gifts.
If you think your child would benefit from a boarding school education, but are put off by the high fees and consequent limited social mix of a typical independent boarding school, you may find that a state boarding school is the answer