INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE – IB
The International Baccalaureate Diploma is an increasingly popular post-sixteen qualification, now available at well over 100 independent and state schools in the U.K.
The IB offers prescribed breadth, not the ‘pick and mix’ choice which emerged from the Curriculum 2000 reforms to A Level, so that all IB diploma students study six subjects; three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. These must include the student’s own first language, a foreign language, a science, a humanity and mathematics. The sixth subject may be a second foreign language, a second science, a second humanity or an elective such as music, art or computer science. Study in these six areas is united by all students studying “Theory of Knowledge” (a course in critical thinking, essentially) and assessment of a 4,000 word extended essay on a topic of their choice.
Over the two years of the course students must also complete a log of a personal programme of activities covering Creativity, Action and Service or CAS (the third element, along with ToK and the Extended Essay, to make up the Diploma’s ‘core’). This recognises the value of the diverse range of activities and experiences to be found in all BSA boarding schools, and that education should not be confined to the classroom. All Diploma students have to complete fifty hours of creative work, of action (sport), and of service to the local or wider community.
The IB Diploma has a coherence and balance, as well as breadth which educationalists and universities applaud. That said, the IB is an unashamedly academic and rigorous qualification, as acknowledged in the recent inclusion of the IB Diploma in the UCAS tariff which equates six A Levels at grade A to 43 out of a possible 45 IB points.
The Diploma is recognised for entry at Universities throughout the world including, of course, all those in the UK.
SOME SCHOOLS THAT OFFER IB
Hockerill Anglo-European College:
Hockerill Anglo-European College, a state boarding school in Bishop’s Stortford has offered the IB Diploma as its only post 16 provision since 1998. It also models its pre 16 curriculum on the IB Middle Years programme. The international outlook of the IB, its coherence, balance and its recognition of the importance of the development of the whole person provides an ideal match for the College’s own mission and vision.
Dr Robert Guthrie
Hockerill Anglo-European College
Sevenoaks has offered the IB for thirty years and has pursued the diploma exclusively since 2006. It became the first HMC school in the UK to have an all-IB Diploma sixth form, of over 400.
The IB is not just an exam board, however; it embodies a philosophy of education based on a few basic principles:
students should be both literate and numerate, scientifically adept as well as linguistically able, and not abandon key subjects at the age of 16;education is about more than passing exams; it involves promoting creativity in the Arts, well-being through sport, and compassion through service in the community;schools have a responsibility for advancing a clear set of values, including international-mindedness, integrity and honesty, and tolerance for others.
What makes the IB distinctive?
The principles above might seem inarguable, yet it remains a sad fact that in the UK - as opposed to the US and Europe, indeed most of the world - a false divide exists and is perpetuated between the arts and sciences; only in the UK are students effectively encouraged not to study either their native language or Maths beyond the age of 16. Young people's brains are incredibly elastic and are capable of pursuing a range of subjects. For those with curiosity, sciences and languages should be complementary, not contradictory areas of study.
Of course, students need to play to their strengths, and the IB allows them to choose 3 subjects at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level, but the principle of breadth as well as depth remains. In addition, pupils are encouraged to think critically through a Theory of Knowledge course, and to learn independently by completing an Extended Essay on a subject of their choice.
What about universities and the IB?
IB students who complete the diploma are genuinely well-rounded people, confident and outward-looking. This is because, through the IB, schools spend time developing the emotional intelligence of pupils as well as their academic abilities. All UK and US universities recognise the IB and value the balanced education students receive. Indeed, a leading Admissions Tutor at Cambridge is on record acknowledging that, given a choice between two marginal candidates, he would rather take a student who has studied the IB.
At Sevenoaks, over 90% of our leavers gain places at their first choice university. It is a fact that IB students secure more first-class honours degrees, are twice as likely to study medicine, are more likely to be employed in graduate level jobs and, as confirmed by the Higher Education Statistics Agency in 2011, enjoy higher salaries than their peers.
Why choose the IB?
The IB might not be the easiest qualification available, but we are convinced that it is the best one and the right one. The coherence and balance of the curriculum, the flexibility of choice it offers, together with its emphasis on independent learning, ensure that students are equipped with a set of skills to compete in an increasingly globalised economy. In short, the IB gives today’s young people the best possible chance to succeed at university and in the world of work.
Dr C Greenhalgh
Deputy Head Academic
International Baccalaureate (IB)
There are 196 IB World Schools in the United Kingdom offering one or more of the three IB programmes. Nine schools offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP), 7 offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and 190 schools offer the Diploma Programme (DP).
Forty-six BSA member schools offer the IB Diploma Programme (DP). Of those, four are State Boarding Schools.
ACS Cobham International School
Bedford High School
Box Hill School
Cheltenham Ladies’ College
Hockerill Anglo-European College*
King Edward’s School, Witley
Leighton Park School
Marymount International School (DP and MYP)
Queen Ethelburga’s College
Sherborne School for Girls
St Edward’s, Oxford
St Leonard’s School
Steyning Grammar School*
TASIS – The American School in England
The Bolitho School, Penzance
The Royal High School, Bath GDST
Windermere St Anne’s School
For further details on the International Baccalaureate, please go to www.ibo.org