Baccalaureate better than A-levels, says Isle of Dogs head teacher

A headteacher in London’s East End has thrown her weight behind a government minister’s claim that A-levels don’t prepare students enough for studying at university.

The claim by Education Secretary Michael Gove came in a letter to the exam regulator Ofqual, in which he suggested universities be given more say in the content of A-level courses to improve preparation for studying degrees later.

The view was backed by Kenny Frederick, head of George Green’s Secondary on the Isle of Dogs which started offering sixthformers the International Baccalaureate in 2008 as an alternative.

“It was not an easy decision to make,” she said. “The Baccalaureate is rigorous and has a strong focus on the theory of knowledge and critical thinking.

“But our students tell us that they have a huge advantage when they get to university because it helps develop thinking and study skills they need for academic life.”

The school has notched up significant achievements since introducing the programme four years ago, with almost all students going on to university. It is said to develop camaraderie through students studying together, with “a good understanding of how the world works” as well as in-depth knowledge of the subjects they study.

Results at George Green’s were above the worldwide average in 2011 for the first time, with ‘outstanding’ grades in economics, business management and mathematics.

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The Baccalaureate is an international programme offered by schools throughout the world. George Green’s is one of a small but growing band of UK state schools offering it as an alternative to A-level.

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