International Baccalaureate

The IB was a key reason why I joined NLCS in the Sixth Form, and I would say that while I partially chose it because I thought it would help me to achieve my goal of attending university in the States, my enjoyment of it in turn strengthened my conviction that I was most suited to a liberal arts higher education. My previous school did not offer the IB, so when it came round to selecting my A Levels I greatly struggled to narrow down to just three subjects, and found I changed my mind almost every day as to which three I wanted to pursue.

- Jasmine, IB student 

We have offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) programme as an alternative to A levels since 2004. Since then, we have had a consistent record of success, and we are one of the highest-achieving IB schools in the world.

IB graduates have gone on to great success at University, studying a range of subjects including Medicine, Law, Modern Languages, PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics), Engineering and English.

Our IB students have received offers from a range of impressive institutions including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and Princeton, as well as other leading universities such as Bristol, Edinburgh and the London colleges and medical schools.

The IB offers a balanced, ambitious curriculum which has an international outlook and encourages students to be open-minded, caring, balanced and risk-takers.

It allows students to become specialists in three subjects studied at ‘Higher Level’, whilst keeping up their intellectual development in other areas. Scientists will keep up their engagement with literature and a foreign language, whilst Humanities specialists will gain the numerical skills valued by employers in the modern workplace.

At NLCS, we ensure that the programme can be tailored to suit the interests and aspirations of all students. The various ‘independent research’ elements of the courses also allow students to explore areas linked to their interests. For example, a prospective medic analysed data from a recent Ebola outbreak.

The skills gained are highly valued by universities. In a recent poll, 84% of Russell Group universities reported that the IB encouraged good self-management skills, compared with a figure of 29% for the A-Level or Pre-U programmes. The IB’s emphasis on independent and reflective learning is also useful, with university admissions officers saying that such attributes are lacking in 60% of students. NLCS students regularly comment that having completed various research projects during the course allows them to have confident and interesting discussions at admissions interviews.

We find that IB students adapt more easily to a university style of learning and become independent learners from an earlier stage compared to those from other backgrounds. IB students cope more easily with the wide range of subjects that each student is required to study from Year 1. They are less focused on achieved marks, and value the education that we provide.

- Dr Lorraine Craig, Admissions tutor, geophysics and engineering department, Imperial College, UK