School Partnership and the International Baccalaureate programme (IB)

Girl in check shirt studying in class in UWS Ol Tuch, Cambodia

How a school partnership with UWS can support a school to fulfil the aims of the International Baccalaureate

UWS is dedicated to providing an education to some of the world’s poorest children who have no access to a meaningful alternative. Put simply, we build schools and support communities by providing a free basic education in rural and hard to reach areas.

To make our UWS Schools sustainable we partner them with more affluent Partner Schools from around the world. It is vital for us that this partnership provides an educational benefit to all the students involved.

Many of our Partner Schools use their UWS school partnership as a key element of their IB programme and CAS activities.

10 ways UWS helps with your IB Curriculum

A school partnership with UWS provides:

  1. Both opportunities and resources for students to engage with all elements of the Learner Profile.
  2. Tangible international links to help “develop internationally minded learners who recognize their common humanity”.
  3. Detailed case studies, pictures, videos and assemblies to help learners explore and understand a different culture.
  4. Tailored resources for the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition Element.
  5. Links to a specific UWS School so that learners in Middle Years Programme (MYP) can quickly make practical connections between their studies and the real world.
  6. Information and background if students want to carry out their MYP Project on their UWS School.
  7. Support for the Diploma Programme’s Extended Essay through the provision of bibliographies, pictures, videos and the opportunity to carry out first hand interviews with key stakeholders at your UWS School. An example of a very successful Extended Essay on UWS is here: A critical analysis of the work done in Ratanakiri province Cambodia by United World Schools, with reference to the philosophy of Paulo Freire” (PDF, 3.5MB)
  8. Opportunities for learners to see visible impact from their Creativity, Action & Service elements.
  9. Links to other Partner Schools and their work with UWS and the IB.
  10. Support to students and the school to visit their UWS School and see the impact they have had first hand.

Case Study of an IB learner: Cora Edwards

Cora Edwards, a student at Red Maids School, used their school partnership with UWS and expedition trip to their UWS School as material for the Extended Essay component of her International Baccalaureate course.

During the trip Cora interviewed key stakeholders including the village chief .

You can read Cora’s Extended Essay, which scored an ‘A’, here:

“A critical analysis of the work done in Ratanakiri province Cambodia by United World Schools, with reference to the philosophy of Paulo Freire” (PDF, 3.5MB)

Cora Edwards

How UWS can be involved in a schools delivery of the IB programme

Many of our Partner Schools use their UWS school partnership as a key element of their International Baccalaureate programme. Jon Cooper of Red Maids’ School explains how they have incorporated their UWS partnership into the Red Maids’ IB curriculum:

  • The “Extended Essay” is a compulsory part of the Diploma Programme. The link to a UWS Partner School provides an opportunity for cross-curricular research and enquiry. Pupils may consider aspects of Cambodian history, medical care, globalisation, international development and the impact of aid. Furthermore, pupils have been able to conduct unique research by interviewing village chiefs and UWS staff, informing their analysis for “World Studies” essay topics.
  • In “Theory of Knowledge” (a core part of the IB) pupils explore what is knowledge and what is worthwhile knowledge. Pupils explore knowledge as a key driver of development and as an indicator of culture. With the new ToK course up and running we use discussions about the curriculum at our UWS School to explore shared and personal knowledge and how this is disseminated across cultures and languages. This is especially effective for groups who have visited their UWS School on expedition. I have found this result in a rich and varied pool of real life situations for ToK presentations and stimulates a depth of thought about knowledge which brings ToK essays to life.
  • The final part of the core of the IB is Creativity, Action and Service. Fundraising for UWS can be used by students to help them fulfil the experiential learning outcomes, especially in taking on new challenges, considering ethical implications of action and considering global dimensions of their CAS activity.
  • Other areas of the curriculum (History, Geography, Literature etc) can also be linked to the partnered country.
  • We also use the UWS experience in other 6th form courses, such as A level EPQs. We have an optional GCSE course (school run and non-examined) called “Global Citizenship”: this is based on learning about UWS and (in our case) Cambodia, and includes devising a fundraising/awareness campaign. This can be used to introduce IB concepts such as CAS and experiential learning to the younger years.
Jon Cooper

Teacher, Red Maids' School, Bristol

Contact us to find out more


Arrange a conversation with our School Partnership Director, Jack Clark, by contacting [email protected]

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