King William’s College is an International Baccalaureate school. Its Principal, Mr Joss Buchanan explains the benefits of an IB school

In 2002 King William’s College began teaching the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma for the first time. Since then, more than 900 students have studied the Diploma with us and we have become one of the largest and most successful IB schools in Britain. We believe that it is an excellent preparation for both university and life beyond.

What is the IB Diploma?

The IB Diploma Programme combines both breadth and depth of study. It places a strong emphasis on critical thinking skills and promotes an international mindset. The programme is taught over two years and is recognised by all UK and most leading universities around the world.

The IB Curriculum

All students study six subjects. They study English and a second language, a humanity, a Science, Mathematics and one additional subject, which can either be an arts subject or another choice. This breadth is one of the great strengths of the IB. It ensures that a student specialising in the sciences still works on their communication and language skills, whilst a student good at the arts still has a grounding in both Maths and Science. It is a true all-round education.  

In addition, the programme has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding. One is the Extended Essay, a 4,000 word piece of independent research. It introduces them to academic research and is an invaluable preparation for university. The second is Theory of Knowledge; students are encouraged to critically examine different ways of knowing and different kinds of knowledge. The third is Creativity, Activity and Service; students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. 

How is the IB marked?

Both standard and higher level subjects are marked on a scale of 1-7, with 7 indicating excellence. A maximum of three ‘bonus’ points can be awarded according to a candidate’s combined performance in Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. The maximum score therefore is 45 points. 24 points are required in order to be awarded the Diploma.  

IB students are busy. They quickly learn how to organise their time and how to succeed in a wide variety of tasks. They show initiative and take responsibility for their own studies. It is not surprising that research has shown that IB students gain higher class of degree at university and are more likely to study for further qualifications.

At the heart of the programme is a sense of internationalism. In this globalised world most students can expect either to study or work abroad at some point in their lives. The IB introduces students to other cultures and, critically, it requires them to study a second language. To put it simply, it aims to educate the citizens of the 21st Century.

At King William’s College the International Baccalaureate Diploma is the only qualification we offer in the Sixth Form – simply because we think it is the best. Keeping the numbers small, the overseas students are able to integrate quickly and perfect their English. A majority of our boarders are native English speakers, so students speak English all the time, both in lessons and after school.

If you enjoyed this article, why not read ‘How to encourage girls in STEM subjects‘?