A successful IB visit

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Leadership | 2 comments

Many coordinators ask about IB visits and how to prepare for them. Let’s start by looking at the different types of visits:

  1. Consultation: This visit takes place during the consultation phase. The IB consultant supports the school with readiness in preparation for the verification visit. The consultant works primarily with the coordinator and head of school.
  2. Verification: This visit takes place after the consultation phase, and the IB verification visit team leader and team member verify IB requirements to become an authorized IB world school.
  3. Evaluation: Once the school is authorized, the cycle of evaluation will start (every 5 years). The evaluation leader and the programme leader will work closely with the IB coordinator to provide the school with constructive feedback to feedforward, support programme development, whilst also highlighting school strengths and achievements.

All the visits mentioned above have clear guidelines and agendas, which the coordinator can find on MYIB. It’s very important to start reading these documents. If you have any doubts or questions, your first point contact is the official IB programme relationship manger (IB candidate schools) or IB world school manager (IB authorized schools). You can find their name and email in MY school.

If the preparation for the visits takes place collaboratively, then the visit should be a celebration of your school’s journey, without panic or stress. Sometimes, it’s normal to feel a bit nervous, but remember that the visits are also a celebration of your journey. Other than the guidelines, the most essential document for the coordinators is the standards and practices, including programme-specific requirements. All of your school’s community should be aware of it and be involved in the process.

Before the visit

Clear communication and clear organization help in successful visits, regardless of whether it’s face-to-face or virtual. You can also download the necessary guide (Global Visit Event Guide) from the IB programme resource centre for further clarity.

For face-to-face visits, you need to make sure about the following for the visitors:

  • Flight details: arrival time and departure time of the visitors
  • Transportation: airport – hotel – school – airport
  • Food: any dietary requirements
  • Hotel: Accessible and has excellent internet
  • Room for the visitors on site with access to a printer
  • Internet for visitors during the school day
  • Easy way to communicate (maybe create a WhatsApp group)

For the virtual visit:

  • Check the time zone difference.
  • Check and test the platform used (Zoom, Microsoft Team, Google Meet).
  • Make sure the internet connection is stable (I highly recommend face-to-face if you don’t have a stable net at school)
  • Check any necessary guides on the programme resource centre for virtual visits

For both types of visits:

  • Make sure the agenda is clear, and you all agree on it before sharing it with the whole team.
  • Make sure the dates are suitable.
  • All documents and policies are up to date and aligned with the IB mission.
  • All teachers are trained according to IB requirements.   

During the visit

  • Don’t stress and make sure the teachers are not stressed.
  • Remember that you don’t just prepare for the visit 1 week beforehand, it’s a whole year process.
  • Be transparent; this is an excellent opportunity to grow, learn, and improve based on an external point of view. The more the visit team know about your strengths and challenges, the more they can support you and provide a helpful visit report.
  • If you hear anything from the visitor, a comment, or a recommendation that confuses you, ask for clarification and evidence from the IB documents. We all know that the IB visitors are educators like us, and sometimes, they come with previous experiences from different contexts, and they need your help and support to understand your school’s background, journey, success, and challenges.

After the visit

  • Celebrate
  • Wait for the report, then share important points with the school community. This includes both strengths and opportunities for development. Why? Because it reinforces whole school and community ownership and action.
  • Revise the action plan or start working on your programme development planning with your team.

Top tips

  • Developing a positive and professional relationship with your IB consultant or visitors is extremely important.
  • Communication with your visitors is the key. Share the things the visitors should be aware related to cultural norms.
  • Prepare in advance, don’t rush the process. Make sure all the folders/ evidence are clear and organised
  • Print the agenda and the school map for the visitors

The IB visits are not a surprise to catch you out, not an inspection or an exam to fail or to pass. The visits are an opportunity to support the learning journey and appreciate each school’s context and practices. The purpose of the visits is not to compare your school to other IB schools. But rather a reflection of the school’s unique journey with the implementation and evaluation of the programme standards and practices. You have a voice in how these visits will look; you will co-construct the agenda with the IB visitors. Yes, some documents are obligatory, but your school will still be a unique IB school with a unique story and journey. This is what makes the beauty of being an IB school.

You may want to check out a helpful mini ebook developed by ManageBac and authored by my wonderful colleague Mr Ali H. Head to this link and click on ‘Preparing for IB Evaluation or Authorisation’.

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3 months ago

Good read! Thanks, Ali!

Sheherbanoo Fathi
Sheherbanoo Fathi
3 months ago

Very detailed yet to the point. Thanks Ali