Why the IB Diploma is the right progamme for sixth form study
There are several different reasons why the school feels that the IB Diploma is the right programme for Sixth Form study:
- IB is a coherent course with a clear purpose and philosophy, not just some subjects bolted together. This is emphasised by the Theory of Knowledge component at the heart of the system.
- In IB all pupils continue to study across the full range of subjects; English, a science, Mathematics, a language and a humanities subject. We believe that this range is of great value for boys here of whom most find it very hard to decide which subjects to drop after GCSE. It will mean that even a committed scientist will continue to study the literature of his own language and another language, even the committed linguist will still keep up his Mathematics and a science. In a world where problems are increasingly complex and spread across disciplines, we believe that this is by far the best preparation for the challenges of adult life.
- The continuation of more subjects enables a pupil to leave open the final decision about subject choice for university for longer. He is not driven down one channel too young. The problem for many of our boys is that they are forced too soon to give up things they enjoy. Also, at 16+ a boy may begin to be able to understand subjects that he may have thus far found difficult. After all, it is a time of growing intellectual and emotional maturity.
- The course is linear, ending with examinations at the beginning of the last term of the Sixth Form. This allows teachers to teach as they want when they want and it allows pupils not to be continually oppressed, year upon year, by public exams. In many subjects, there is much greater freedom in specification and the questions are more open, allowing candidates greater freedom to show their ability.
- The points system (see below) gives greater differentiation for the best candidates: the maximum mark is 45 points and 38 points is the average level at which the best universities make offers.
- There is an emphasis on two things that this school particularly values, independent learning, through the Extended Essay, and action beyond the classroom, through the Creativity, Action, Service component. There is a strong sense that IB pupils are better prepared to cope with the nature of university life.
- The international component makes it valuable for a school like ours with a 60% ethnic population, a very rich cultural diversity and wide opportunities in later life. It also makes it interesting for staff to be trained alongside teachers from other countries.
- IB is free from government interference and grade inflation.
All of these reasons are of significance in trying to offer our pupils the best route into the future. However, an argument that has carried as much weight has come from the experiences many of our staff have had in visiting IB schools. In every IB school there is a sense of excitement and energy and enquiry. This school's declared purpose is to provide:
‘an educational experience that is the richest, most diverse, and most exciting possible in an atmosphere that provides support, encouragement and care for everyone, pupils and staff, here. We want our pupils to love coming here and to go from here prepared for all that human life has to offer.'
We strongly believe that the IB Diploma is the best way to do just that.