02 October, 2023

All you need to know about the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

All You Need to Know About IBDP-All you need to know about IBDP-Blog header 1317  741px IB Head
A comprehensive guide to IBDP


The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a two year programme and is one of the most complex curriculum at Key Stage 5 (Age 16-18) as it requires students to choose 6 subjects, one from each of the main subject areas:

Group 1: Native Language
Group 2: language acquisition
Group 3: Individuals & societies (humanities)
Group 4: Sciences
Group 5: Mathematics
Group 6: The Arts

This breadth of study allows students to show a breadth of competency – something global universities like to see. Students are not forced to choose a narrow pathway and can keep their options, beyond school, open to all courses of study – particularly helpful for those young people who do not have a specific vision for their next steps after school.
Students will choose to study 3 of these subjects at a ‘Higher Level’ and 3 at a ‘Standard Level’. All subjects have an Internally Assessed piece of work that will contribute between 20% - 25% of the final grade. 

This breadth of study makes the IBDP curriculum unique at this level but, what really allows the Diploma Programme to stand apart from all other curriculum is the addition of The Core.

The Core is made up of 3 additional areas of study:

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a subject designed to develop critical thinking skills by encouraging students to ask ‘how do we know what we know’? Being able to think critically is absolutely crucial, not only for study at a higher level but for life beyond education.

The Extended Essay (EE) is a piece of academic research that students have absolute autonomy over. Students choose a subject, a topic and a research question and then, with the support of a subject specialist supervisor, they carry out research in order to answer their question within 4000 words. This is excellent preparation for the writing that will be undertaken at university. We deliver classes on how to carry out research, how to reference their sources, how to plan an extended piece of academic writing and, importantly, how to reflect on the experience throughout in order to enjoy personal growth.

Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) is, in my opinion, the IBO’s answer to well-being. Students are asked to take part in activities that are physical and that will get their heart racing, activities that support their wider community and activities that develop their creativity. These experiences are student led and the Diploma Programme demands that students reflect on how each activity will help them grow as an individual. 


All You Need to Know About IBDP-All you need to know about IBDP


Students that graduate from the IB Diploma Programme possess a superior skill. They have honed their communication, Self-Management, Social, Thinking and Research skills. The design of the ‘Approaches to Teaching and Learning’ model outlined by the IBO ensures that this curriculum is delivered in such a way to develop and draw out these skills. The IBO philosophy outlines that students who partake in any IB pathway will develop a set of 10 characteristics called the IB Learner Profile. Students who graduate from an IB Programme will be: Principled, Thinkers, Collaborators, Open-minded, Caring, Inquirers, Knowledgeable, risk-takers, balanced and reflective.

Global university admissions tutors have reported that IBDP graduates enter university with a preparedness that other young people do not. Having faced the challenges of the Diploma Programme, they organise themselves and communciate  with a maturity beyond their years and they possess skills that most undergraduate students would struggle to acquire. Our young people benefit from the support of their families and our excellent pastoral system to ensure that they face these challenges in a protected and safe environment. This years graduates have receieved offers from some of the highest ranked universities around the globe, including Georgia Tech, Stanford University, John Hopkins University, Imperial College – London, USC – University of Southern California, Kings College - London, University of Amsterdam, University of Leeds, UCLA – University of California, The University of Mitchigan, Loughborough University and The University of Warwick.

It is the careful design of curriculum and the blend and cultivation of academic and interpersonal skills that puts this curriculum in a class of its own. Students leave us feeling not only ready but equipped for their next adventure.


Katherine Rose

IB coordinator