The programme explained

The IBDP is a challenging two-year course aimed at students aged 16-19. It leads to a qualification that is widely welcomed by the world’s leading universities and employers. IB students learn more than a collection of facts. The Diploma Programme prepares students for further study and employment by encouraging them to ask searching questions; learn how to learn. Students also develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture, together with the ability to communicate with and respect people from other countries and cultures. 

What is in the curriculum? 

Students are required to choose six subjects: their home language, a second language, a subject from the humanities, an experimental science, maths and either an arts subject or a second subject from the humanities, languages or sciences.

Normally, students study three subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three subjects at Standard Level (SL). Whether studied at Higher or Standard Level, all subjects are weighted the same in the final Diploma, but more time is given to the teaching of HL subjects resulting in a much greater depth of knowledge and understanding being developed.

In addition, all students complete the ‘IB Core’: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), an Extended Essay (EE) and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS).


More information

International Baccalaureate Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. 

To this end the organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. 

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. 

The Learner Profile

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. Parkside Sixth is committed to the principles of the IB and our learners strive towards these 10 qualities:

  • Inquirers

    We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.

    The University Admissions Officers Report (2016) found that all UK university admissions officers agreed that “being prepared to think and learn independently is the most important factor behind thriving at university and yet is the quality which is most often missing”. The report found that 95% of admissions officers scored the IBDP 4 or 5 (5 being “develops it extremely well”) for “developing independent inquiry”, compared with 48% for A levels.

  • Knowledgeable

    We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

    The extended essay is a 4000-word thesis, on which students work independently with the support of a supervisor. This prepares them well for the academic rigour required by universities.

  • Thinkers

    We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.

    Theory of Knowledge develops a student’s ability to ask challenging questions, to look beyond the obvious and say “why”, “how do you know”?

  • Communicators

    We express ourselves con­fidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.

    As well as in-class group tasks, there are assessed oral components in Groups 1 and 2 building up students’ confidence and ability to deliver an interesting, insightful and excellent presentation.

  • Principled

    We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.

    The IB holds academic integrity as a fundamental value and Parkside Sixth has high expectations of our students as role models for each other and younger students.

  • Open-minded

    We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view and we are willing to grow from the experience.

    IB students have a deep understanding of various cultures and views, bringing an appreciation of new views to both their academic study and their involvement in local and wider communities.

    The University Admissions Officers Report (2016) found that 82% and 74% of admissions officers scored the IBDP 4 or 5 (5 being “develops it extremely well”) for “nurturing an open mind” and “developing intercultural skills”, compared with 23% and 5% for A levels respectively.

  • Caring

    We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.

    IB students tell us they bring this commitment to community and others to their activities and leadership roles at university and carry it throughout their lives.

    The University Admissions Officers Report (2016) found that 74% of admissions officers scored the IBDP 4 or 5 (5 being “develops it extremely well”) for “encouraging citizenship”, compared with 1% for A levels.

  • Risk-takers

    We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.

    The IB curriculum is a challenging one, aimed to develop our students’ confidence in approaching new or unknown subjects and content. This is ideal preparation for greater independent study and work, at university and beyond.

  • Balanced

    We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical and emotional—to achieve wellbeing for ourselves and others. We recognise our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

    Participating in a range of extracurricular activities, balanced with their wider academic development, means our students are ready to explore the full opportunities available to them at university and remain well-rounded individuals.

  • Reflective

    We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

    Throughout the activities of the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) element of the IB Diploma, students are expected to reflect on both the outcomes and their personal learning. They become skilled at reflecting on their understanding and how to articulate this clearly.