From the Principal (Thursday Times, T2 W3, 2017)

18 May 2017

Dear Parents

Our Principal, Mr Luke Thomson, is Chair of the International Baccalaureate Heads Council, which serves as an advisory group to the Director General of the IB, Dr Siva Kumari. Having Pembroke’s Principal as Chair of this group is of great benefit for the School and its place in the international educational community.

The Director General visited Adelaide earlier this month as part of her Australian tour. Dr Kumari was involved in meeting South Australian students, teachers, examiners, IB coordinators, Principals and representatives of other stakeholder organisations during one very busy day.

The IB has broad and far reaching goals. The IB aims to have students that:

  • are prompted to think independently and drive their own learning
  • are encouraged to think critically and challenge assumptions
  • become more culturally aware, including through the development of a second language
  • are able to engage with people in an increasingly globalised, rapidly changing world.

All Pembroke Junior School students engage in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). Participation in the IB Diploma programme at Year 11 and 12 is by choice, students select between the IB Diploma or SACE. There are good reasons for students to choose either of these options. I am, however, aware of some misconceptions amongst our student population regarding the Diploma programme. I would like to dispel a few of these:

  • The Diploma caters to a broad range of interests and abilities for students, it is not designed to be accessible only to a small cohort of intellectually gifted students. While the IB curricula are rigorous, the courses are appropriate for a great number of our students. There are many (non-selective) schools around the globe where the IB Diploma is the only option, and the courses are accordingly designed to be able to meet the needs of the range of students in these schools.
  • The Diploma offers a pathway into university here in Australia and overseas. Most of Pembroke’s IB graduates complete their degrees at Australian universities. The Diploma programme provides an excellent basis for further study locally or internationally.
  • Study of a second (or third or more) language is assumed in many countries. Australian students should be encouraged to study other languages. The Diploma’s insistence on this should be seen for most as a benefit rather than a barrier.  Students do not need to continue with their study of a second language through to Year 10 to complete the Diploma. While language acquisition is certainly best served by completing continuous study through Middle and Senior School, “ab initio” language courses are specifically designed for learners commencing the study of a language in Year 11.

Though reasons to choose the IB should not be focused on matters related to ATAR, our IB Diploma students do perform very well in this regard. In 2016, 5 of Pembroke’s 47 candidates received an ATAR of 99.95, and the average IB score for Pembroke students was 37 out of a possible 45, compared to a global mean of 29.2. Our 2016 IB students were amongst the 85,708 candidates worldwide.

I encourage all students and their families to consider both the IB Diploma and SACE pathways when considering their Senior Secondary studies.

Kym Lawry
Acting Principal

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