As we explore the advantages of a global education this month, we look at the mainstay of international schools – the International Baccalaureate (IB). What can it offer, and why are more British schools picking it up?
What is the IB?
Established in the 1960s, the IB was designed to cater for an increasingly mobile population. Offering consistency in learning around the world, it became much easier to transfer between schools. Fast-forward to September 2019, and there are now 6,812 IB programmes being offered to students aged 3-19, across 5175 schools in 157 countries worldwide.
Today, the IB is favoured for its international outlook, and focus on developing well-rounded, globally-minded individuals. Instead of choosing just three A-levels at age 16, the IB Diploma Programme allows students to continue with a much broader range of subjects. With languages compulsory, and additional modules designed to promote critical thinking and community engagement, the IB is gaining traction with families seeking a more outward-facing education.
The IB in the UK
Recognising the flexibility the IB can offer – particularly to those children who are unsure of their future career path – an increasing number of British schools are adding the IB to their curriculum. Statistics vary, but there are well over 100 schools offering at least one IB programme in the UK – and this number looks set to rise.
While there are some schools that exclusively follow the IB, it’s quite common to find both routes on offer. Given the academically challenging nature of the IB, this flexibility is ideal for families who are yet undecided on the best option for their child.
If you’re considering the IB, do take a look back at last year’s post, To IB or not to IB, where we discussed the relative merits of A-levels and the IB. Then head over to this month’s interview with Maria Rosengren, Admissions Director at Halcyon London International School, for her perspective on the IB.