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More choice and practical work will turn pupils on to science

In his comment on "schizophrenic diplomas", Professor Adrian Smith is not the first to fundamentally question the direction of development of the UK curriculum ("Top civil servant tears into key school policies", February 13).

Recognising the need for change, many schools throughout the world have introduced the International Baccalaureate programmes to provide a more relevant, interactive and global-minded option.

While there is a rapid increase in the UK and worldwide in the numbers of schools offering the IB diploma, forward-looking schools have also introduced the other programmes of the IB - the primary years programme for children aged from three to 11 and the middle years programme for those aged from 11 to 16.

The emphasis that these IB programmes offer on learning how to learn, coupled with intercultural and international understanding would seem to answer most of the questions that have been raised by educators, the Government and the press during the past few months. Those questions have included how to provide a more stimulating and flexible primary curriculum; how to replace dull, outdated and difficult-to-fail GCSEs; and how to help universities select students.

It seems that too many experts are ignorant of the strengths of IB. There is a prejudice that exists that seems to demand that a system that worked well in the past should be maintained at any cost and any new proposals meet half-hearted support or obstruction.

For success in the 21st century, it must be accepted that the "gold standard" of British education has become somewhat tarnished. Rather than clinging onto it, why not consider a more radical change?

David Rose, Head of school, North London International School, Chair, London International School's Association.

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