St George’s School Windsor Castle, one of the oldest schools in the UK, is now officially also one of the most forward looking, having become the first standalone prep school anywhere in the UK authorised to deliver the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP).
Driven by a vision to ensure students become ‘Real World Ready’, the school’s new IB World School status was achieved following a two-year candidacy period which saw St George’s fully embed the globally recognised curriculum framework from Kindergarten up to the end of Year 6.
A pioneering and rigorous approach, the International Baccalaureate teaches fundamental study skills in addition to broad subject knowledge, encouraging children to take ownership of their learning and develop a range of competencies anticipated to be in high demand in the workplaces of tomorrow.
“Rather than learning subjects by rote with the sole goal of passing exams, IB students have the opportunity to reflect upon what they already understand, identify their own knowledge gaps and areas of interest and explore how to research and develop a deeper understanding of each topic across a range of subject areas and practical applications,” explained Emma Adriano, Deputy Head and Head of Pre-Prep at St George’s School Windsor Castle, who spearheaded the curriculum roll out at the school. “This approach develops exceptionally well-rounded students who understand the relevance of what they are learning to the real world and will be able to adapt to a rapidly evolving and increasingly interconnected future. Fundamentally, alongside imparting knowledge, the curriculum teaches not what to think, but how to learn.”
This approach has already garnered widespread support from educationalists and industry leaders alike. Following a year-long project evaluating ‘how to unleash the potential of every child’, in June 2022 the Times Education Commission cited the implementation of a baccalaureate curriculum as the first recommendation in their twelve-point plan. In November of the same year, the Future Skills Report, jointly commissioned by the IB Schools and Colleges Association of the UK and Ireland (IBSCA) and ACS International Schools, found that 88% of small and medium sized enterprise leaders cited communication as the most desired skill set in future employees, followed by an inquiring mind (78%) and the ability to think critically (76%).
“We knew that the rapid pace of change and uncertainty around the future job market required a bold change of strategy and we can already see this paying off in how the children now approach their learning,” added Adriano.
Parents of children at the school have also noticed the change, with 100% of families surveyed by the Independent Schools Inspectorate as part of the school’s ‘excellent’ recent inspection agreeing or strongly agreeing that ‘the school equips my child with the team working, collaborative and research skills they need in later life’. As a result of implementing the International Baccalaureate, the school was also last week named as a finalist in the Independent Schools of the Year 2023 awards.
Ian Canning, the school’s Chair of Governors commented: “It gives me great pleasure to confirm that St George’s is now an accredited IB World School, having progressed through the authorisation process delivering the Primary Years Programme as our core curriculum and philosophy of learning and teaching. This marks a great milestone in our journey as a school and solidifies our commitment to providing a transformational education which delivers the very best outcomes for our students.”