The CP coordinator role

An introduction to the CP Coordinator role

If you are reading this, chances are you are either considering taking on the role of CP coordinator at your school or are new to the role. There could be a chance that you have taken on the role as your school embarks on the road to authorisation; however, there is also a chance that your school has a well-established CP course which you have taken over. Whatever the scenario, here is an overview of key areas so you can familiarise yourself with what lies ahead.

How do you prepare students for a future we cannot see?

More importantly, how do you prepare students for a future we cannot see ... and not leave anyone behind? 

The reality of working as a teacher is that the every day workload takes over and we do not often have a chance to remind ourselves of why we do what we do; possibly more importantly, to consider what we think about what we do and where we stand. The late Ken Robinson became synonymous with challenging the established and accepted centuries long habits of global education systems; systems that systemmatically create a hierarchy where academic intelligence in particular trumps any other talents young people might have. This video is from 2010 and may be familiar to you; it is a good idea to revisit it and consider where you stand as a teacher and where your school stands in relation to it creation of a career-related programme. What are your priorities from this?

The Coordinator's starting point

Creating your role and working towards authorisation

If your school is just embarking on the CP and starting from scratch in all areas of the programme, the role of the coordinator needs to be carefully defined. Existing commitments need to be revised and/or aligned with the new challenges of coordinating the programme. A common word used in the IB world is 'stakeholders' and this is a key area where you can/should play a role in shaping your job description in collaboration with the school. The key area of the Programme Standards and Practices 2020 to consider comes under the area of Environment with particular focus on Leadership and governance (0201). Below is a summary. Whilst the IB acknowledges that a wide variety of contexts can support the implementation of IB programmes there are obligations that the school must fulfil and there are specific requirements in relation to the CP coordinator.

Programme Standards and Practices 2020
Environment: 'Providing essential structures, systems and resources'

Standard: Leadership and governance (0201)
Leadership 2 states that the programme coordinator must have:
1. up to date IB-training
2. a place on the pedagogical leadership team
3. a job description
4. release time
5. support and in a position to facilitate change

Further information: 
1. The CP coordinator must have had recent IB recognised professional development whether this be a virtual 3 day workshop or an online course taking place over 4 weeks. This is not merely for increasing understanding of the IB and CP specifically but a chance for the CP coordinator to contextualise what is needed in their particular circumstances. It is also, more importantly, a chance to collaborate and network with fellow CP coordinators around the region; this support system is valued hugely by CP coordinators.
2. Many schools become authorised to offer the CP to add another programme in addition to their offering of the DP. It is absolutely crucial that there is parity between the two programmes even if the CP might have far less students initially taking it. This is one of the reasons why the CP coordinator must be in the position to be a pedagogical leader and affect change. You will find on the pages on this site how Approaches to Learning and the 5 areas of Research, Self-management, Thinking, Social and Communication skills thread their way through quite fluidly throughout the PPS, Reflective project, Service Learning and Language Development elements. The more these links are taken advantage of to make a fully wholistic programme, the more the intentions behind the CP are realised. This embedding and concurrency of learning is very much the mission of the school's journey towards the 5 year evaluation.
3. A job description is a requirement for authorisation but it is also important to have established the parameters of your role in terms of the leadership and wider school structure. What are your responsibilities now and how will these be affected by the CP coordinator role. It might be that your job description acknowledges the role you will have to take in the authorisation process of the CP as well as the role you will take after its launch. Will you be teaching some/all of the core or will you have a team that you oversee?
4. As with any new programme, schools can start out with low projected numbers. The difficulty here lies when this is translated into a CP coordinator not needing much release time for their CP responsibilities specifically. It is important for a school to consider the time it will take to put into practice all the requirements of the CP for authorisation, who will be doing this and what this means for their time allocation. There is also the factor that the CP coordinator will need release time after the launch of the programme too; especially when it comes to exploring the emphasis on collaboration that the IB state as crucial amongst staff to fully integrate the programme (Teacher Support: 0203-03-0141)
5. It is now possibly quite evident why CP coordinators need to be in the position to affect change! If the CP coordinator is not already the DP coordinator, then it is important to consider the placement of both roles in terms of support systems and ability to facilitate school-wide change.

Contextualising the Career-related Programme

What might be the advantages of the Career-related Programme in your context?
Discuss as a CP team: include all core, career-related and DP teachers (as appropriate).
For a learner ...

What current choice of pathways do your students choose at the age of 18?
What choice of pathways do your students feel able to choose at the age of 18?
How personalised can you make current curriculum for your students?
What do you feel you are not able to provide currently?
If your students could specialise in particular career-related subjects, what might they be? How do you know?
If you had could have more flexibility in your current provision, where would it be?
Which of the DP courses could you provide/you currently provide, might complement a career-related subject best?
What attitudes, values and skills do your students start their sixth form/year 11/12 studies with? What attitudes, values and skills would you like students to leave school with?

As a school ...

How do you provide access to a wide group of students to the IB programme? Could this be wider?
Are you making the most cost effective use of your current IB offering, if you already offer the DP?
How have you establisehd meaningful linkes with employers in your local community? What links could you forge? What might be the benefit of this?
How do you currently balance career-related and academic education in your school?
Other than their academic subjects, what other provision do you provide for students in preparation for future employment, training and study?
Which members of your school community are currently working towards preparing students for future employment, training and study?
How do you currently give students a concept-based curriculum that is student-centred and built through inquiry and collaboration?

Deciding on a Career-related programme

Whether you are deciding on a career-related programme, revising your current offer or considering expanding your choices, the career-related subject need to fulfil a number of criteria from the IB. Their apparent flexibility can be both welcomed by a school but also overwhelming as they try to narrow down what would be right for them. The current criteria stand at:

1. The career-related studies element is offered and awarded by the school and not the IB. It must be assessed and/or validated by a relevant external authority and not the IB. It must also be subject to a valid source of external quality assurance.  It is down to the school to choose the CRS that most suits their local environment the needs of their students.

2. It is important that the CRS has a clear career focus. This might seem obvious but this means is that it should clearly prepare students for further or higher education, internship or apprenticeship, or a position in employment/training in a field of interest. Whatever the school chooses, one thing remains the same: it must give students the opportunity to apply concepts and theories in real world scenarios as well as provide them with the opportunity to develop transferable skills in meaningful contexts.

3. The CRS must be part of the student timetable during the whole CP course over a two year period.

4. The CRS and assessment plan must be accredited and/or recognised by at least one of the following:
- a goverment body

- an awarding body
- an appropriate employer organisation or professional body
- an employer or professional organisation
- a further/higher education institution

Deciding on the shape of your CP offering
The Fixed and Flexible nature of The Career-related Programme

- The career-related subject/s must be completed
- Students must take at least 2 DP courses at Standard Level achieving at least a level 3 in each.
- Students must complete all aspects of the core and achieve at least a D in their Reflective project


- The size and nature of the career-related study taken
- The amount of DP courses studied and whether these are at Standard Level or Higher Level
- How the school designs their PPS, Service Learning and Language Development courses around the IB's aims and learning outcomes.

Possible course combinations
Small CRS2 Standard Level DP coursesThe CP Core
Small CRS3 Standard Level DP CoursesThe CP Core
Medium CRS1 Higher Level DP Course, 2 SL DP coursesThe CP Core
Medium CRS2 HL DP courses, 1 SL DP CourseThe CP Core
Large CRS2 HL DP coursesThe CP Core
Large CRS3 HL DP coursesThe CP Core

Designing a Personal and Professional Skills Course

Map out your students' needs - past, present and future
Discuss as a CP team:

- The skills your students will have coming into the course, the skills they will need throughout the course and where there are transferable skills across their subjects.
- What would you like them to develop in terms of Personal Development, Intercultural Understanding, Effective Communication, Thinking Processes and Applied Ethics?
- Could you take a Project-based learning approach to the PPS course as well or alternatively?

As part of the authorisation process, training in Personal and Professional Skills is mandatory. The school is expected to contextualise the PPS course rather than follow, word for word, the PPS guide from the IB. It is brimming full of suggestions to set you in the right direction however. After any training - for PPS, the career-related subject, DP courses - it is a really good idea to get staff together to discuss the skills that their students will have at the start of their course as well as the skills they will need to develop throughout. Furthermore, where are the transferable skills? Identify this and you have the start of excellent curriculum mapping and the ideal state where concurrency of learning is being facilitated for the student. The PPS course can be where the acquistion of skills can become explicit - students will not just be aware that they have a toolbox, they will know specifically which skill they need for a specific task.

Personal and Professional Skills resources

The following pages have been created to develop skills specifically with students across the Approaches to Learning and the PPS themes of Personal Development, Intercultural Understanding, Effective Communication, Thinking Processes and Applied Ethics.

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Starting discussions and debates

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