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International Baccalaureate

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.

CREDIT: Image header taken from BSA member school Bethany School

  • Some Schools that Offer IB

    There are 192 IB World Schools in the United Kingdom offering one or more of the three IB programmes. 14 schools offer the Primary Years Programme (PYP), 10 offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and 168 schools offer the Diploma Programme (DP).

    Listed below are BSA member schools offering the IB Diploma Programme (DP). Of those, three are State Boarding Schools.

    ACS Cobham International School
    Ardingly College
    Bedford School
    Box Hill School
    Bradfield College
    Brentwood School
    Bromsgrove School
    Bryanston School
    CATS Canterbury
    Cheltenham Ladies’ College
    Christ's Hospital
    Cobham Hall
    Dallam School*
    Ellesmere College
    Felsted School
    Fettes College
    GEMS Bolitho School
    Gresham’s School
    Headington School
    Hockerill Anglo-European College*
    Hurstpierpoint College
    King Edward’s School, Witley
    Leighton Park School
    Malvern College
    Marlborough College
    Marymount International School (DP and MYP)

    Oakham School
    Plymouth College
    Queen Ethelburga’s College
    Rossall School
    Rydal-Penrhos School
    Ryde School with Upper Chine
    Scarborough College
    Sherfield School
    Sevenoaks School
    Sherborne School
    Sherborne School for Girls
    Sidcot School
    St Clare's Oxford
    St Edward’s, Oxford
    St Leonard’s School
    Stanborough School
    Steyning Grammar School*
    Stonyhurst College
    TASIS – The American School in England
    Taunton School
    The Royal High School, Bath GDST
    Truro School
    Warminster School
    Wellington College
    Whitgift School
    Windermere School
    Worth School

    *SBSA School

    For further details on the International Baccalaureate, please go to