The English Schools Foundation is looking at running other curricula alongside the controversial International Baccalaureate but has ruled out a full-scale return to A-levels. ESF chief executive Heather Du Quesnay was speaking in the wake of parents' criticisms that the IB was not suitable for all pupils and there was a lack of academic options. One parent said she had no choice but to pull her daughter out of the ESF and take her to Britain so she could study A-levels. 'I don't want to split our family up, but she won't be able to pass the language component. I don't have any choice,' she said. Pupils have to score at least 24 points and pass all six subjects to gain the IB diploma. Another parent, whose son was struggling with the IB workload at South Island School and saw four of his friends drop out because of it, said there was a world of difference between the diploma and A-levels. 'My daughter was studying A-levels and he had a much heavier workload. There were days when she had little to do whereas he was weighed down by the IB,' he said. Ms Du Quesnay said she had spoken to principals and knew it was 'a challenging programme' but cautioned against anxiety. 'It is inevitable that people get very anxious when there is something new going into place and they don't yet know the results,' she said. 'Once we've got a year's results, I think things will steady up a lot.' She said that although the ESF was looking at providing more academic choice, it would not be abandoning the IB. 'I think it does suit most of our students,' she said. 'We are looking at complementary programmes. I don't think at the moment we'll do a full A-level option but what we will do ... is look very carefully at the BTEC programme that is offered in Britain. It's a bit different from A-levels but does count for university entrance.' West Island School offers a BTEC National Certificate in business, and King George V School teaches media and business as part of the ESF Advanced Diploma, a vocationally- oriented pathway that is structured along similar lines to the IB. Although, the BTEC National Diploma is recognised by most universities, it is not accepted as a standalone award by Oxbridge and other high-end institutions. Ms Du Quesnay said there was also the possibility 'that one of our schools will consider offering a very small number of vocational A-levels'. Stephen Fong Keng-kong, chairman of South Island School PTA, said: 'Some parents pulled their kids out of South Island last year because of the introduction of the IB but it was a very small number. 'It is actually going extremely well at South Island.'