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International Baccalaureate Specialist Joins CBC

International Baccalaureate Specialist Joins CBC Team

The progressive curriculum planned for the Christchurch Baccalaureate College will improve the range of skills of young graduates, says new Deputy Principal John Wood.

An international expert in curriculum development, Mr Wood was commenting on a troubling preliminary report released earlier this week by the Christchurch City Council¹s Mayoral Taskforce on Poverty.

The report highlights a skills shortage among job seekers, many of whom do not have the work experience Christchurch employers want.

However Mr Wood believes the world-renowned International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme to be launched with next year¹s opening of the Christchurch Baccalaureate College will teach young people to be more adaptable.

After working with IB programmes for more than 12 years, he is emphatic that the inter-disciplinary nature of the curriculum produces students who are well rounded and equipped for a rapidly changing world.

"This pace of change means people will need to switch careers three or four times in their life, so we need to produce students who are open to learning, who can adapt to change and who are lifetime learners."

Mr Wood joined the Christchurch Baccalaureate College team this week fresh from Frankfurt International School, where as Director of Academic Services he was responsible for curriculum development, administering the IB programme and assisting in the day-to-day operations of the school.

The English-born teacher is also an IB history examiner and was part of a working party that devised the programme¹s current history syllabus. During his career at Frankfurt International School, Mr Wood maintained an active role in the classroom teaching IB subjects, including History and Theory of Knowledge.

The Christchurch Baccalaureate College will be the first school in New Zealand to offer the IB Middle Years Programme for Years 7 to 11 when it opens its doors in January 2002. The following year it will become the first school to specialise in the IB Diploma for senior students. Enrolments are currently being accepted for the Middle Years Programme.

Mr Wood was excited to learn that the Christchurch Baccalaureate College is dedicated to core IB principles rather than "grafting" the IB on to existing programmes.

"Of all the offers I had in Christchurch, this was the most tempting. I¹ve seen watered-down versions of the IB offered at other schools and students simply don¹t get the best out of it.

"I¹ve dealt with lots of pre-university courses and I can say without exception that I¹ve found the IB to be the best preparation for tertiary education anywhere. This is reflected in the results of IB Diploma holders when they get to university."

Mr Wood is currently developing the Christchurch Baccalaureate College curriculum, which although based on the IB programme will be modified to include local topics of relevance for students. Along with Principal Brian Hays, he will also be kept busy assessing enrolment applications and appointing teachers as well as writing a timetable for the city¹s newest and most innovative school.

Mr Wood and his New Zealand-raised wife Rhiannon decided to return to NZ with their 16-year-old son to be closer to family and friends. Mrs Wood is currently working as Assistant Principal at Frankfurt International School and will join her family in Christchurch later this year.


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