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Why the IB Diploma?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma provides the best preparation for studying, working and living in the twenty-first century. It is a broad and varied educational programme that aims to develop well-rounded, inquisitive people, capable of adapting to an increasingly globalised society.

The IB Diploma programme creates people capable of thinking logically and creatively to problem solve, rather than simply being able to recall facts and figures.  In a world that changes so quickly with the advancement of technology, the IB philosophy means that students leave fully prepared to handle challenges and situations beyond those that could be foreseen at the time of their education.

A recent study shows that University Admissions Officers are putting a greater value on the IB Diploma, with 18% rating it as better preparation to thrive at university compared to 8% favouring A Levels, and 51% rating them equally. In addition, the IB Diploma was rated much higher than A Levels for encouraging independent enquiry, nurturing an open-mind, developing self-management skills, developing workplace skills and developing global awareness. Interestingly, the IB is often dismissed as not providing as much in depth subject expertise as A Levels, yet when questioned about this, Admissions officers rated them almost equally – 79% favouring the IB, and 81% A Levels. This suggests that in-depth study is still possible despite the broad range of subjects covered. For example, the Extended Essay provides further opportunity for in-depth study of a favoured subject, while appropriately chosen CAS activities can demonstrate passion for a given interest.

Universities all over the world, including the UK, accept the IB Diploma as an entrance qualification and there is now a substantial body of evidence that it provides a better grounding for university, with students experiencing an easier transition from school to university and the world beyond than those with other qualifications. As one Cobham Hall Elder reflected during her first year at university, “After receiving grades for my first essays, I was really surprised how good the standard was compared to that of my A Level friends. My professors told me that it was already the basis for publication, which I could have never done without the IB. It is such a worthwhile qualification to study for and to achieve. The fact that it teaches us to be independent learners serves me very well here – reading and independent research are vital.”

One of the common queries regarding the IB Diploma is that students are required to study subjects that they may otherwise have dropped, either due to a lack of interest in or aptitude for the topic. For example, students who are not natural linguists, or not too keen on Mathematics – wouldn’t they be better to simply drop these subjects, to allow them more time to focus on the subjects they enjoy or are better at?

Imagine yourself ten years from now. You’re working for a company, since you left school or university, and they need someone to go out to their European office. It’s a promotion – more money, more opportunities, and the chance to live abroad. They really need someone who will be able to converse easily with French, German or Spanish colleagues. You’d be ideal for the role, only…you dropped languages at 16 because you weren’t too keen. Or imagine going travelling and meeting new people, only you can’t get what you need because you can’t speak the lingo. In a world that’s increasingly becoming a multilingual global society, having the skill of a second language gives you a distinct advantage. The same is true of Mathematics, by having this as a skill, you give yourself an edge.

You may not know right now where you’ll be in ten years, how the world will have moved on, or even how you will change over that time – what challenges you’ll face what prospects will be open to you, or even what you find yourself interested in. By studying a broad curriculum, including subjects that may not be your strengths, you give yourself the best chance to tackle whatever you face throughout life.

That’s what the IB gives you – the freedom to specialise now, but with the freedom to change as you encounter life’s challenges.

If you want to find out more or arrange a visit, please contact Mrs Julie Shelley or Mrs Hilary Standen, our Admissions Team, via, or by phone on +44 (0) 1474 823371.  You can also join us on Wednesday 19th October for our Sixth Form Taster.