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UK County Leads the World in Offering Newest IB Programme

By Chloe McMath

Twenty-four state schools across Kent are now authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Career-related Programme (CP), with first teaching starting this term. This equates to almost 30% of state schools in the county. With over 500 students studying the programme in Kent alone, the UK is now home to almost a quarter of the schools across the globe that offer the CP.
The CP is currently offered by 177 schools in 25 countries around the world with 1,965 candidates registered for the 2017 examination sessions. The newly authorised schools were all part of an initiative jointly run by Kent County Council and the IB in a bid to raise the aspirations of students who previously may not have considered continuing with their academic education post-16 or aiming for university post-18.
Paul Luxmoore, Executive Head Teacher at the Coastal Academies Trust, which has four schools offering the programme and was the first group of schools in Kent to offer the CP, said: ‘’The CP is an invaluable educational offer with a really exciting methodology: by blending academic and career-related learning students’ options are kept open. The programme is life-changing; it has had a transformational effect on students in our schools and indeed on the schools themselves”. 
The programme is specifically designed for students aged 16–18 who wish to engage in career-related learning, while also continuing to gain transferable and lifelong skills in applied knowledge, critical thinking, communication, and cross-cultural engagement.
Peter Fidczuk, UK Recognition and Development Manager at the IB said: “The discussion ar ound whether academic or career-focused qualifications successfully prepare students for life is a hot topic frequently discussed in the media and by the general public. What’s interesting to see is that a group of state schools in Kent have decided to steer away from the normal curriculum in their sixth forms and offer a new, innovative programme that blends both styles of learning. We hope it is a trend that we will continue to see increase amongst schools across the UK and consequently have a positive effect on student life-chances and aspirations”.
The CP combines a career-related qualification (for example a BTEC), with at least two IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses, and the unique CP core, which consists of a reflective project, a foreign language, a community project, and personal and professional skills.
A CP “package” for students wishing to enter the engineering world, for instance, might include: a BTEC Extended Diploma in engineering (double), IB DP business and management, mathematics and chemistry, as well as the core.
Fidczuk said: “It is really exciting to see the growth of the programme in the county, and we are really looking forward to seeing the routes student choose to follow, whether that be higher education, an apprenticeship or the world of work”.

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