IB – A Cause to Celebrate

Over the weekend we received the delightful news that our girls have performed exceptionally well in this year’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. It is a very demanding diploma. The girls study six subjects of which five are compulsory; Mathematics, English, a science, a modern language and a humanity, the sixth subject is their choice, it is often a creative subject. In addition to the six subjects, they have to complete at least 100 hours of community service, write an extended essay and complete an assessment on the theory of knowledge. It is perhaps the most rigorous post 16 qualification of which I am aware.

But this rigour I think means the girls are better prepared for university. They make connections between their subjects, they are taught to question what they learn, they are asked to think of themselves living in a global community and to contribute as much as they can to this community. They reflect more on their education especially as IB’s motto is “educating for a better world”. The assessment also mimics university assessment in that they have finals rather than modules and they have to undertake a piece of extended research in an area of their choosing on a topic on what they like. The topics are vast and the girls love the freedom to research an area of their choosing.

There is no doubt that the girls rise to the challenges of IB and, in doing so, flourish. As one Lower Sixth said to me recently “IB has made me reflect on how I learn and this has helped me understand myself better”. Another has said, “I am more flexible in my thinking and consider more what I say”. It is hard work but nothing of value is achieved without hard work. No one yet has told me they have regretted choosing the diploma qualification rather than A Levels. They each have gained something from it.

The diploma is awarded depending on the number of points they obtain. Every subject is graded 1-7, seven being the equivalent of an A* at A Level. This makes up 42 points and the other 3 points come from their extended essay and assessment on Theory of Knowledge. The maximum number of points is 45 and the minimum to be awarded a diploma is 24. This year the girls worked exceptionally hard and were rewarded with some fantastic results. Our average point score was 38.2, the world average is 29. 82% of our girls obtained Level 6 or 7 in their Higher papers which is equivalent to A*/A at A Level. One pupil scored the maximum 45 points, last year less that 1% of pupils world wide scored maximum points. Truly fantastic results.

Today we celebrate their success, but most of all I am proud that as a school we offer the IB. I really do think it is a first class education preparing them so effectively for a rapidly changing world.

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