The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a respected form of education which, since 1968 has been dedicated to the development of the intellectual, social, personal and emotional skills of children all around the world. Although the IB is becoming more popular within the UK, it is still far from the majority: A-Levels remain the most common sixth form examinations within the UK education system.
The IB diploma can be found in a multitude of institutions globally, with the diploma typically recognized and appreciated by leading universities and companies all around the world. It’s a qualification that acknowledges the rapid globalization of the time we live in, providing all students with a solid grounding in sciences, mathematics, language, literature and other arts subjects, as well as studying individuals and societies.
The International Baccalaureate can also be found for both primary and middle years students, each with the same aim to offer a wide and versatile curriculum not bounded by a specific country or culture, but to be inclusive of everyone.
Yet, while the sound of the IB is unbelievably appealing to any parent undergoing relocation with a child, it is the child themselves who need to be taken into consideration. For children who are all-rounder’s, with talents in languages, arts and sciences, the IB is well suited and allows them to thrive. However for children, particularly teenagers looking to apply to university or vocational courses, who are keen to specialize, it can often hinder. The curriculum is far more demanding than A-Level, which for those who aren’t academically strong can be a hefty challenge.
Students must choose one subject from five individual groups:
- Language and literature
- Language acquisition (a second language)
- Individuals and societies (geography, history, psychology or anthropology)
- Experimental Sciences (biology, physics, chemistry)
- Arts (visual arts, theatre, music)
In addition, maths is mandatory, and a sixth subject can also be chosen from another group. Students must also submit an extended 4000 word essay and complete 150 hours of CAS (creativity, action and service) to learn from experience engaging in real tasks.
The demands are rigorous and not for every student, but if the student is capable, the IB can offer fantastic opportunities and areas to excel further than any national curriculum would allow. As with all areas of education, however, the welfare of the student should be considered first and foremost, particularly in the stress and complications of a relocation.