IB debate heats up

SIR - As a prospective student of the IB, I was extremely distressed to read of Ms Robertson s plight. At a first glance she makes the consortium seem like a scam. However I believe this is unfair: of course no one from the consortium was able to comment,

SIR - As a prospective student of the IB, I was extremely distressed to read of Ms Robertson's plight. At a first glance she makes the consortium seem like a scam.

However I believe this is unfair: of course no one from the consortium was able to comment, it is the summer holidays!

It is my opinion that Ms Robertson has deliberately chosen to make her concerns extremely public now when she knows the consortium is most defenceless. My friends are panicking and now attempting to leave the IB because of her article.

I urge people to look at the statistics again - for example, nobody in Beaumont failed the course. Yet this fact goes completely unnoticed. I am angry that we have been deliberately forced to panic, especially as our own GCSE results come in two weeks and we will discover which courses we can take then.

Mrs Robertson must also understand that her son was in the first year to do IB in the consortium and, while this shouldn't make a difference, of course there were going to be some mistakes.

She doesn't have the right to dissuade pupils from taking the IB next year, it is a completely different story now, the organisation and teaching standards have been improved dramatically. My only wish is that people would stop being so pessimistic about the IB and give it a fair chance to get going.

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Hatfield Road

St Albans

SIR - Re: your article on 'Students let down by A-level alternative' (Herts Advertiser, August 6).

There are a number of pupils and parents in a similar situation as Yvonne Robertson, you have to admire her energy to get to the bottom of what went wrong.

The despair cannot be imagined, there is no single body to date who has taken responsibility except for the Verulam head master who has admitted some failings - the failing has to be on the head teachers' shoulders.

This program seems to be rushed into without proper due diligence, demonstrated by the large number of pupils who have not gained a place in the university of choice.

There needs to be an investigation into why a large proportion of the bright pupils who selected the IB did not get into their university of choice. We feel helpless with no support.

Numerous letters to the school and relevant bodies has been fruitless with each passing the buck.


Hatfield Road

St Albans

SIR - Firstly let me declare an interest in the International Baccalaureate story (Herts Advertiser, August 6) - I have a son at Verulam School and am very happy with his progress and with the positive and progressive effect of the current Verulam School Leadership Team.

That said, my perspective on this issue is that of an employer rather than a parent.

When considering job applications I always look upon those who have suffered some form of adversity/set-back in their education/career with far greater interest than I do those who sail through with straight As and a first-class honours degree.

In my experience as an employer I find those who have never had to deal with a set-back are ill prepared for the harsh realities of the working world.

Hard though it may seem right now, I am convinced that these young people who are now having to deal with this disappointment shall emerge, in time, from this experience stronger, more resilient and more adaptable members of the workforce.


Harpenden Road

St Albans

SIR - I would like to add my voice to Yvonne Robertson as my child has also just received their IB results and has been hugely disappointed.

My son, like all the others taking the IB diploma, worked incredibly hard but has also not got the points needed for either of his two chosen universities.

I feel totally let down by the schools in the BeauSandVer consortium - we were promised that the IB was the future but my son now bitterly regrets not doing A-levels.

There have been many problems during the running of the course over the last two years, some mentioned by Mrs Robertson and also five different German teachers in the two-year course and much confusion over course deadlines, but any concerns raised by parents have been dismissed and ignored.

The students encouraged to take the IB diploma were all high-acheiving students but how can Mr Gray claim that this leap of faith paid off when so many have been left shocked and disappointed?

Mr Gray is keen to mention the students with places at Oxford University and Imperial College but what of the other 27 students?

Many are in the same position as my son, not really knowing what to do now and knowing that there will be very few places available at clearing, some are doing retakes and some are taking an enforced gap year to recover from this stressful time.

Please can you help your readers know the truth about this situation and hopefully protect others from being in this situation in two years time.