IB staff newsletter
The purpose of Bac Chat is to provide staff with a greater knowledge of the activities and initiatives that take place across the organization; to provide a worldwide perspective on what it is like to work for the IB; and to illustrate how we are achieving our mission.
With this in mind, we are keen to hear your ideas on how this newsletter can meet its objectives. Please send all comments and ideas for news items to the internal communications mailbox.
Bac Chat - February 2006
Happy New Year Bac Chat readers! As everyone settles back into work and 2006 we would like to take this opportunity to let you know about several new changes and projects around the organization that are taking place as the new year begins.
- Communication across the IB community
- 2006 pay increases for staff
- Jeff Beard leads reform on school fees
The new year presents the culmination of important communications initiatives which link the IB community around the world.
The new public website has gone live today, Thursday 12 January 2006! There are many new facilities, for example:
- Answers to the ten most common questions about the IB
- An overview of the Primary Years Programme
- An overview of the Middle Years Programme
- An overview of the Diploma Programme
- Recent newspaper articles about the IB
- Details about new IB World Schools
- Statistics about IB World Schools by country, programme and region
- The main articles from the latest IB World magazine
- New and improved calendar of workshops and conferences
Finding your way around the site is much easier with a consistent pull down menu, a very powerful search engine and an A-Z index. In addition, every school has its own page which means that the search engine is a very quick way of finding information about a school (eg. try typing just one line from the middle of a school address or the name of the coordinator).
As part of the redeveloped public website, the IB publications group has created a new online store, available at http://store.ibo.org
The IB store will provide us with a new and improved showcase for our products and services (including curriculum materials for all three programmes, IB gift items, the schools’ jobs service and an IB World subscription service) and enable us to more effectively market these goods and services.
The IB store offers customers a superior shopping experience akin to other online stores such as Amazon with benefits such as:
- Improved layout and navigation
- Ability to download publications, such as past exam papers
- A shopping cart approach
- More images and information for individual items
- Newsletter and email updates on new products
- A “My Account” facility allowing easy monitoring of order history and amendment of account details
The new store also has internal benefits, as it will streamline working practices and reduce the cost and time associated with processing sales orders.
Staff wishing to place an order on the store will need to first set up an account. A procedure sheet giving information on how to set up this account and place an internal order is available here. Please note this account can take up to 48 hours to activate due to the large amount of school accounts that require activation in the initial weeks of the store going live.
For further information on ordering procedures or the IB store itself, please contact email@example.com
All staff should now have received their copy of the relaunched IB World, the organization’s flagship magazine. This January issue of IB World is the result of much internal and external discussion with stakeholder groups and collaboration between the IB communications team and Haymarket Network, an international publishing company.
This new IB World aims to inspire, celebrate and communicate with the IB community, presenting a modern, up-to-date design and format and introducing new features such as readers’ letters, interviews with alumni, more news from IB World Schools and teachers’ resources. In an effort to dramatically increase the magazine’s circulation, all IB active examiners will now receive their own copy of the magazine and all IB World Schools have been offered the opportunity to purchase bulk subscriptions at a very low price. Readers can also access the main articles via the new public website at http://www.ibo.org/ibworld/
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Carol James, human resources director, writes " As many of you will know, the balancing of the 2006 budget took considerable time and effort and part of that process was a discussion about staff salaries for 2006. These discussions are always difficult; as the IB is keen to reward its staff yet needs to maintain a balanced budget.
To assist in the decision, advice was taken from the Hay Group on the market rises in the countries where we have offices. The directors then used this information to agree the budget bid.
I am pleased to advise that for 2006, the cost of living rise was agreed at 3%. As we had been unable to give full cost of living rises in previous years it was agreed to add a further 0.5% to this figure in an effort to correct this situation. Therefore, all staff, except anyone gaining a rating of “unsatisfactory” in their 2005 IPDR evaluation, will receive 3.5% and the bands will also rise accordingly.
Furthermore, the compensation committee has agreed the following percentages for performance related ratings: those achieving “fully acceptable” are to receive a further 1.75%; those achieving “superior” will receive 2% and those receiving “outstanding” 2.5%.
Each office is now taking the necessary action to implement these pay rises during January 2006.
The combination of the cost of living rise, the additional 0.5% and performance related pay has the welcome consequence that nearly all staff will see their pay increase well ahead of inflation this year."
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An IB fees steering committee has been formed, led by Director General Designate Jeff Beard, to support the Council of Foundation’s work in creating a new framework for IB fees in 2006.
A preliminary fees working group, set up in May 2005 and led by Anthony Flatley, presented to Council in November seven principles underlying a new fees structure, which revolve around the three strategic aims of quality, access and infrastructure and which were sent to all IB World Schools for their feedback.
With the completion of the first group, management now has sufficient direction to review the fee structures of all three programmes to ensure they are consistent with these principles. The new IB management-led group consists of a fees steering committee and three sub-groups covering the areas of Primary Years and Middle Years Programmes, Diploma Programme and financial modelling. The role and responsibilities of these groups will include:
- Research into the cost base of all IB programmes and options for change
- A review of the data gathered after nine months of service costing;
- A development of guiding themes based on the principles agreed by Council and a review of the current fee structure in the light of these;
- The development of financial models for the new fee structure based on service costing data and input from all groups.
Jeff Beard stressed the importance of this work; “The seven principles approved by Council give us an excellent framework to review and shape our fee structures to ensure each programme is self-sustaining on a stand-alone basis”. He also highlighted the availability of important financial tools in the organization now, which will enable us to more accurately match programme income to expense.
The steering committee has already initiated a series of meetings to begin this work and is expected to present a proposed new fee structure and recommendations to senior management in March and recommendations to Council in April 2006.
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Staff Chat Back
This month: John Knowles
Technical coordinator, Publishing services department
What is your favourite website and why?
What album are you currently listening to?
I’m currently enjoying a Led Zeppelin renaissance and have dug out some old classics. Jimmy Page is better than Hendrix in my opinion. For a bit of light relief I also like They Might Be Giants. They’re much more than their song ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’ and not just a novelty band.
Where is your favourite place to visit and why?
It’s not so much a single place as an experience but I thoroughly enjoyed inter-railing when I left university before getting a proper job. Highlights included northern Italy and Paris on Bastille Day the day after France had won the football World Cup. At Christmas I love going back up North to visit family. York just seems to know how to do Christmas properly.
What is your favourite book and why?
I travel into work on the bus so there’s plenty of time to get some reading done. My favourite is probably ‘Quarantine’ by Jim Crace, a novel about what might have happened when Jesus spent forty days in the desert. I’m also a big fan of Magnus Mills (a bus driver turned writer). His books portray normal life from a skewed angle and are like a more-accessible Kafka.
Area: 496,223 sq mi
Life expectancy: 69.5
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, many minor Amazonian languages
Literacy rates: 91%
No of IB schools: 15
Curriculum mailing dates for 2006
PYP - 16 January and 17 July
MYP - 23 January and 24 July
DP - 6 March and 4 September