School bids for international exam course

PUBLISHED: 05:37 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 24 May 2010

A NORTH Somerset school wants to give its sixth formers a new challenge by providing a tougher alternative to A-Levels. Sidcot School headteacher John Walmsley says some of his students hit a 'glass ceiling' this year during their A-Levels and may need to

A NORTH Somerset school wants to give its sixth formers a new challenge by providing a tougher alternative to A-Levels.Sidcot School headteacher John Walmsley says some of his students hit a 'glass ceiling' this year during their A-Levels and may need to break through it by completing a more demanding qualification.The school, near Winscombe, which achieved some of its best ever A-Level results this year, could provide an International Baccalaureate (IB) course by next September.The IB qualification has attracted interest from schools around the country amid controversy that A-Levels are getting too easy.The two-year IB course is recognised around the world as one of the leading qualifications in post-16 education and requires students to complete six different subjects.Mr Walmsley said: "There has been a lot of concern about A-Levels and we are concerned they may be becoming too prescribed and we are looking for something that is broader and more of a challenge."The IB course requires students to study a foreign language, and has sections on 'thinking skills' and community service, as well as subjects such as maths and science."It is highly thought of at university level and recognised around the world."There is a bit of a glass ceiling now with A-Levels and students need to break through it to reach a higher level and enable them to get to the university they want."A group of Sidcot teachers has just been on a week-long IB training course in Athens and the school is being assessed by the IB organisation in Geneva, to check it is able to provide the course.Mr Walmsley added: "We are confident we will get approval and the course could be in place by September 2007 or 2008.

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