IB can even work with “no cost”
Making use of the opportunity visiting my daughters in Canada, I made a few cold calls to several schools trying to know more about the educational practices in Canada in February 2017. Luckily enough, I received a positive reply from Dr. Andrew Schofield, the principal of Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver.
There are quite a number of interesting facts about Britannia. It is the existing oldest secondary school in Vancouver nowadays that has been established since 1908. When Dr. Schofield toured me around the school, I could see the multifarious facilities ranging from a swimming pool, gymnasium, library, etc. Surprisingly the school owns an ice rink for hockey games, and a big mechanic workshop for pre-vocational courses.
The long history and facilities do not guarantee satisfying student intake of the school. “Britannia is an Inner City School. Every day there are situations and circumstances, associated with low income urban communities, … It is also true about Britannia serves a vibrant community of diverse cultures, interests and needs…. The Britannia catchment area also has the highest concentration of Aboriginal Peoples in Vancouver.” (Britannia School Report, 2011) 38 different home languages including English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Tagalog, French and Swahili of students reveal that this diversity is reflected within Britannia’s student population.
In 2016, the Vancouver School Board was considering closing up to 12 schools, in which Britannia was one of them because enrolment has dropped in Vancouver schools for more than 10 years and school closures are being considered to save money, to speed up seismic upgrades and to boost capacity. (Vancouver Sun, September 16, 2016)
Dr. Schofield shared with me his vision in the hard times of the school and significantly how he runs a school in a disadvantageous demographic position, and how he runs various programs such as film production, hockey academy, mechanical maintenance, as well as a “no cost” International Baccalaureate (IB) program.
I can feel Dr. Schofield’s high hopes for the development of the school and I certainly believe Britannia can find their way as long as the strong will like his prevails.