The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – A MOMENTOUS JOURNEY
Just as great trees grow from a small seed, great things begin with just a single thought.
Thirty-four years ago, two local Secondary teachers joined forces to create a Steiner Primary School to provide an education that would develop the intellectual, artistic, and practical skills of their children in an integrated and holistic manner.
Fast forward 24 years and the parents and teachers at Mansfield Steiner School looked to the future and the possibility of growing its education to include senior secondary students. This vision for the future was held firmly by the school. The question was: how could the school remain true to its philosophy and Steiner pedagogy through to the end of Year 12? How could the school continue to nurture the heads, hearts, and hands of its young people?
The answer came in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. This inspirational comprehensive pre-university course of study was designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. The two-year course aims to teach students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view; in summary, the IB fulfilled the school’s aspirations for what they wanted to offer students. With the solid backing and support of the Governance Committee, the school made an application to the IB authorities in 2017. After a visit from Dr. Marcia Behrenbruch, then Head of IB School services, Mansfield Steiner School were endorsed and commenced a two-year candidacy period in 2018.
Over this time the school had to demonstrate that it met all the expectations and requirements of this highly respected international education authority. The school’s philosophy, organisation, and curriculum had to address exacting standards, reflected in both policy and practice. New staff was recruited for the growing Secondary Classes and all IB teachers attended training sessions to become qualified to deliver the curriculum. An IB Diploma coordinator was appointed to guide the process and, in February 2019, the IB consultant assigned to the school came to meet with staff and assess the progress. A report followed and a period of intensive preparation for the authorisation application. Those same dedicated teachers prepared subject documentation detailing their curriculum, which was destined for scrutiny by specialist IB teachers. The submission included extensive documentation of policy and organisation, all to be checked and approved against the rigorous Standards and Practices of the IBO.
In November 2019 Mansfield Steiner School received official authorisation as an IB World School and is one of only two Steiner Schools in Australia that offers the IB for Senior Secondary. In 2020 Mansfield Steiner School welcomed their first cohort of Year 11 students, small but eager for the opportunities ahead. The school community is grateful for the vision, thankful to all those who held that vision and to the many whose courage, hard work and determination have nurtured this vision into reality.