The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program in Australia: Parents and School Choice

By Elizabeth Law, Janet McDowall and Trevor Feder.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The following study sought to better understand Australian parents’ choice of primary school with a specific focus on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Fifty-one parents at three participating International Baccalaureate primary schools in Adelaide, South Australia agreed to respond to a brief questionnaire regarding prior knowledge of and the importance placed on the PYP inclusion when selecting a primary school for their child. Of these fifty-one parents, five agreed to a further face to face interview. Findings show many parents reported to have limited knowledge of the PYP with relatively few parents describing themselves as being well informed about the curriculum prior to their child’s enrolment. Most participants reported they did not seek information about the PYP prior to enrolment although almost half of respondents agreed the PYP offered an alternative curriculum. Interestingly, some parents indicated they only chose schools that offered the PYP. An analysis of interview responses found seven reoccurring themes of significance, including the skills attained, teacher quality and consistency of curriculum. Further avenues for research are suggested.

Keywords: International Baccalaureate, Primary Years, Curriculum, Australia, School Choice

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp.295-310. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 848.526KB).

Elizabeth Law

University of South Australia, Australia

Elizabeth (Libby) Law is a graduate of the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education Degree with Honours, University of South Australia. She currently works as an early childhood educator in preschools and junior primary schools in Adelaide. Her passion is providing learning environments and programs, which stimulate and support young children’s exploration of their world and instill a love of learning.

Dr. Janet McDowall

Lecturer, School of Education, University of South Australia, Magill, Australia

Dr. Janet McDowall is a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of South Australia. She teaches in pre-service teacher education programs, mainly in early childhood curriculum courses, with particular emphasis on arts education. She also contributes to research methods courses. Her research interests are in arts education and they focus on contemporary approaches to music education through the use of technology.

Trevor Feder

Lecturer, School of Education, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Trevor Feder is a lecturer at the University of South Australia and teaches in the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education program. He worked as a teacher in South Australian government schools for 15 years. He coordinated the Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Program at the South Australian College of Advanced Education. and has been a lecturer with the University of South Australia since 1991. For 11 years he occupied the position of program director of the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education Program. In recent years, he has worked with the development of elementary teacher education in Papua, New Guinea and the reformation of primary education in eastern Indonesia.

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