International Baccalaureate and A-levels
The best preparation for university and beyond
Young people should be equipped with the skills to prepare them for modern life, both at university and in the workplace. These skills will enable them to compete in a global marketplace, think for themselves, work in a team or independently, not be afraid to take risks, be good communicators and be interested and interesting citizens.
The Sixth Form at King Edward’s achieves this, whether through the IB Diploma or A-level route. It provides much more than just a set of examination results, with opportunities to think critically, study broadly and in depth, pursue interests in the creative and active sides of life and devote attention to the wider community.
The Sixth Form experience at King Edward’s is built around the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme which we have offered with huge success since 2004. We like it because it suits the collaborative approach and broad educational opportunities on offer here perfectly.
However, now that the A-level exams have been re-structured signifying a welcome return to rigour and depth of study, we will also be offering A-level courses, thereby providing two alternate exam routes for our pupils.
Which course is right for me?
There are many advantages to maintaining a broad curriculum in the Sixth Form. The IB Diploma allows pupils to keep their options open, to experience a wider range of subjects at Sixth Form level before making the final decision as to what they wish to study at university. Some pupils have already made up their minds and wish to specialise early, in which case they may prefer to take the A-level route.
It will be an advantage in the workplace to have continued to study Mathematics and a language throughout school, as most of our international colleagues will have done so. The IB requires pupils to take a broad spectrum of subjects, including their mother tongue, a foreign language, a humanity, a science and Mathematics. However, if pupils really do not wish to be confined to such a rigid framework, then A-levels may suit them better.
The IB Diploma requires pupils to complete an extended piece of university style research, which is a valuable skill for further study. IB pupils also take a course in Theory of Knowledge, which hones their reflective, analytical and thinking skills. All IB pupils are required to partake in a range of creative, active and service activities. Such is the value of these aspects of the IBDP that King Edward’s offers them to A-level pupils also. Both the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge count towards UCAS points in combination with A-level subjects. There is clear evidence both from universities in the UK and USA that pupils who have managed their curriculum and these additional aspects are far more likely to complete their university course. For example, in the USA, first year retention at university is 98% for IB pupils compared with 77% nationally. Completion of a four year course is 79% for IB pupils compared with 39% nationally. UK statistics are similar.
Both courses are equally respected by universities.