In September 2010 King Edward's School replaced A Levels with the International Baccalaureate Diploma for its Sixth Form provision. The International Baccalaureate was created in 1968 as an attempt to bring together the best elements of the British and European educational systems and it is now taught in 2,721 schools in 138 countries. In September 2010 there are 220 schools in this country teaching the IB Diploma and the number will continue to grow by September 2011.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma embodies an entirely different educational philosophy. The A Level system tends towards specialisation whereas the IB Diploma has at its heart a more holistic approach. It believes that pupils should experience a wider range of different subjects - boys will continue to study six subjects and must study English, Mathematics, a science, a language and a humanities subject. It is equally important that these subjects are bound together into a coherent whole through a common core. This common core is composed of a course on The Theory of Knowledge (ToK), an extended essay on any subject and the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) programme, whereby a student gets credit for extra-curricular activity. IB is, as they used to say, not so much a programme, more a way of life. Indeed, the IB says of itself in its Mission Statement:
‘The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.'