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Sixth forms during a group discussion

International Baccalaureate

The Diploma Programme Course

The International Baccalaureate is an international qualification, which has been recognised for over 40 years, being offered by 4,000 schools across the world to nearly a million students. The IB serves as excellent preparation for university, with universities valuing the qualification, due to the impressive skills that students develop, developing inquiring and knowledgeable students who have the skills necessary to succeed. The IB learner profile serves as excellent preparation for higher study. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2016, ‘IB students have a 57% greater likelihood of attending one of the top 20 UK universities than A-Level students.’

The International Baccalaureate is a package which aids student development in a wide range of skills, such as communication, becoming a reflective learner and developing curiosity. The learner profile on which the IB is based and the breadth of the curriculum means that students study six subjects, making them stand out to prospective employers and university admissions. The selection of three subjects at higher level enables students to excel in their strengths and create a package which is just right for them.

As part of the IB, students study six subjects; three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. Students also study Theory of Knowledge, complete CAS hours and a 4000 word essay in an area of their choosing.

In addition

  • Students write an Extended Essay (a piece of research which offers the opportunity to investigate a topic of special interest in greater depth). This introduces them to the kind of independent research and writing skills expected at universities.
  • They will follow a course in the Theory of Knowledge which helps to develop skills of rational argument and stimulate critical reflection upon the knowledge and experience that they have gained both in their studies and generally in life.
  • The equivalent of one half day a week will be spent on some form of creative, aesthetic activity or active community service. This is known as CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) and credit is given for skills, talents and participation in activities such as sport, theatre, community service and voluntary work.

Because there are nine components in the Diploma, IB students are taught how to learn, how to organise themselves, think and, crucially, how to continue as individuals to learn.

The course is well balanced and an IB timetable is very similar to an AS/A2 timetable. One big difference however, is that IB students do not have the pressure of examinations in year 12 and retakes in year 13: more of their learning programme is devoted to education, and not to examination technique. Examinations are taken at the beginning of May and results are published around 5th July.

The IB is a highly successful preparation for, and method of admission to, all universities including Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, and medical schools. It is also a unique passport to over 900 of the top universities world wide: they know IB students are higher achievers than most, fulfil their potential and are, therefore, keen to attract them into their institution.

International Baccalaureate


Group 1: Group 2: Group 3: Group 4: Group 5: Group 6:
English Higher Spanish Anthropology Chemistry Maths Higher Theatre Studies
English Standard German History Biology Maths Standard Visual Arts
English Literature and Language French Global Politics Physics Maths Studies Music
Japanese Geography Environmental Systems & Societies (Standard Level only) Film
Economics Sport Exercise & Health Science Or any subject from blocks 2-4
Psychology Product Design
Philosophy Computer Science
Business Management
Theory of Knowledge
Extended Essay

For more information about the International Baccalaureate, please visit International Baccalaureate Organisation’s website