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Taught in over 5,600 schools across 160 countries, the International Baccalaureate, or IB, is an increasingly popular educational programme for young people.

We spoke to Simon Brian, Head of St Leonards School, to discuss the global appeal of the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

What is the International Baccalaureate?

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, parents and young people are faced with decision after decision. Education is one of them, and as teachers and school leaders, we are forever preaching the values of choosing the right school for your child. But what about the right curriculum?

Over 4,500 students across the UK graduate with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma at the end of Sixth Form each year. It is globally recognised, holistic and academically ambitious. It teaches a love of learning and equips the leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, and employees of tomorrow with the ultimate skill set for success.

That said, the Diploma is just the tip of the iceberg. Founded in Geneva, in 1968, the International Baccalaureate offers not just one qualification, but a full and inspiring curriculum, from ages three to 18. At St Leonards, we deliver it from age five upwards, and its ethos underpins all that we do.

What are the benefits of the International Baccalaureate?

For over 16 years, St Leonards has followed the IB curriculum, most recently adopting all four IB Programmes to become one of just two schools in the UK to actively offer the full suite. Its strengths are many and its opportunities endless.

The IB starts with the Primary Years Programme, taking a pupil-centred approach from day one and allowing learners an unrivalled level of independence designed to foster their creativity and inspire them every single day.

Standards are high, whilst promoting a balanced approach to education, with the child forever at the centre. Students are held accountable for their work, their input is valued, and their inquiries are simply fascinating.

In addition to your classroom staples, there are co-curricular opportunities, vocational pathways, an incredible synergy with outdoor learning (Beach School and our Outdoor Classroom at St Leonards), extended essays and projects, and the fostering of community mindedness.

What is the IB Learner Profile?

All IB accredited schools instil in their pupils the values and attributes of the IB Learner Profile. They are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, reflective, and take risks within reason.

At St Leonards, we focus on all ten qualities year-round, with special emphasis on one value per month of the academic calendar. This month, we’re exploring how we are knowledgeable, not just in the classroom, but in all aspects of our lives. As with all the IB learner attributes, this is something that we, as adults, are also able to aspire to, and indeed model to our learning community.

What do IB Graduates go on to do?

Everything- the world is their oyster. For IB learners, doors are kept open every step of the way. The Primary Years are followed by the Middle Years, before opening out into two Sixth Form curriculum options: the Career-related Programme and the Diploma Programme.

Both Sixth Form pathways serve as ideal preparation for further education and work, with the CP offering an additional vocational element through real-life business skills, whilst the DP sees students span six academic subjects, complemented by Theory of Knowledge, Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay.

The curriculum, the approach to learning, and the qualifications at the end signal the start of new beginnings. The IB is extremely attractive to universities and employers, whether Medicine is the plan, or Law, Architecture, Physics, Psychology, Fashion Business, Engineering, or Art.

As we, the educationalists, prepare pupils for life (our motto Ad Vitam reflects this) and for academic and all-round success, so too must we educate those around us. What is the International Baccalaureate? It is a global education, a way of learning and a way of living, that lasts a lifetime.


Many thanks to Simon for his contribution to this blog. You can find out more about the International Baccalaureate at St Leonards School here.


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