IB Core Weekend 2022

During the first weekend of term, 55 Lower Sixth pupils embarked on an adventure filled with learning, challenge and most importantly, fun. The IB Core Weekend has been held early in the Michaelmas Term since 2015, providing a time not only for Sixth Form pupils to prepare for the challenging year ahead, but also to introduce new pupils to the school. 


The purpose of this weekend is to acquaint new and returning pupils to the Sixth Form leadership team, as well as each other outside the normal school environment. This weekend also aids pupils’ understanding of the IB programme, namely the three core elements: CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service), TOK (Theory of Knowledge) and the Extended Essay. It is the combination of these aspects that ensures an IB Pass, and also helps to develop an array of lifeskills that makes the IB programme so unique. One of the most distinctive aspects of the IB core weekend is the ability for pupils to use activities they have completed, such as mangrove planting and raft building, as evidence of their CAS to start their portfolio. 


The weekend began with an introduction to the IB Programme, teaching the pupils the importance of CAS and TOK and how this weekend can benefit their IB journey. After this, trip leader, Mark E., led some team building and icebreaker activities, allowing pupils to get to know each other in a relaxed and informal environment, this certainly set the tone for the weekend. After a nice dinner, pupils enjoyed what can only be described as organised karaoke chaos. Music from the Backstreet Boys, Taylor Swift and, of course, Queen, was performed by brave pupils. An epic finale to a great first day. 


Saturday brought with it glorious weather. Pupils were divided into groups with half completing a mangrove tour and planting, and the other half were challenged with a jungle trek. Groups swapped over at midday to ensure all pupils got the full experience. On the mangrove tour, pupils were told about the importance of the species for environmental purposes and were challenged with planting as many as possible on the muddy coast in which they grow. Pupils rose to the challenge with spirit, planting approximately 200 mangrove plants, an excellent contribution to the local ecosystem, and an act of service that can be used in their CAS reports. 


The jungle trek was equally challenging, consisting of a 2-hour hike up a local hill where pupils faced muddy climbs. However, when the children reached the top, they were rewarded with a spectacular view of the Johor Straits. The second group were unfortunately caught in the rain, with many muddy falls and some choosing to slide their way down. However, everyone made it back safe and sound, if a little wet and muddy. 


The trip concluded with a mystery beach activity: raft building. This was another excellent example of a CAS activity that required teamwork, coordination and creativity. The group worked together to ensure all managed to board a raft and paddle to safety.


Of course, an essential element to the success of this trip was the brilliant staff involved. A huge thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson, Mr. Tapp, Mr. Avle and Ms. Hughes for making this weekend possible. An equally big thank you to the organisers in Desaru, and leader Mark E., without whom the smooth running of the activities would have surely spiralled into disarray. Long may the tradition of the IB Core Weekend continue as pupils come back to school this week feeling refreshed and ready for the year ahead.


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