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【SCMP Education Post:Boarding Insider】Three tempting British independent IB schools to blow your mind

Boarding 101


The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma has stood strong and rarely had its feathers ruffled over the years. It is, indeed, a timeless classic with an outlook of the global, analytical and visionary about it. With universities taking note of the alluring features of the IB, the qualification is also a genuine box-ticker for those who wish to excel in the modern era and get ahead in life. Here, we look at five British independent schools which offer the IB Diploma – and much more …


Since its foundation in 1968, the IB has endeavoured to put education over a country’s politics and inevitable lust for reform. Offering breadth, through a curriculum which comprises six subject groups from which students must choose one subject and three core components, and in-built international elements, namely through the “Theory of Knowledge” (TOK), the IB now has universities taking heed of its appeal.


Universities do recognise the rewards which the IB Diploma brings. Firstly, only the most determined, creative and imaginative students can cope with the demanding structure of the IB, and therefore they would be at an advantage when it comes to meeting deadlines and organising their time when at university. A second point concerns the final component of the IB diploma – the extended essay – which is particularly welcomed by universities because it provides students with a realistic idea of the assessment conditions they will incur at college. Namely, research skills and independent learning should be embraced to complete a 4000-word assignment on the student’s nominated area of interest.

Let us then consider five British independent schools which have become established IB providers:

Oakham School

Oakham School, situated in the market town of Rutland in the heart of England, lies tantalisingly close to the attractive Rutland Water Nature Reserve while also finding itself a short journey away from the multicultural city of Leicester. Oakham is a co-educational school for pupils aged 10-18 years old.


Oakham offers all the facilities and activities one might expect of a top-class boarding school. A range of boarding options, a fondness for the arts and a Voluntary Action programme are just a few of the school’s most respected features.


On July 6, 2016, Oakham celebrated its fifteenth year in offering the IB Diploma to over 800 students. Clearly, Oakham’s experience with the IB Diploma enables its students to excel, the average point score this year being 36.9 – significantly above the international average of 30.2. Even more impressive is the fact that half of all students gained 38 or more points – the equivalent to 5 As at A-level.


Oakham also offers A-levels and is realistic in its approach to the IB Diploma, maintaining that the qualification is neither easier nor idea than taking A-levels but is simply ‘very different, both in subject contents and skills’.


Sevenoaks School

The highly selective Sevenoaks School, located in the small town of Sevenoaks in Kent, sits in 200 acres of its own campus.


With over 1000 pupils and over 300 staff, Sevenoaks revels in providing individual support and its renowned pastoral care system.


Convinced that the IB is the “gold standard” in International Sixth Form education, Sevenoaks was the first school to completely transform its curriculum from A-levels to the IB.


In fact, the full force of the IB can be felt right down to Middle School, where the Sevenoaks School Diploma was introduced to embody the school’s educational vision and belief in breadth, deep knowledge of particular subject areas and a spirit of independent curiosity – all key essentials of the 16+ IB Diploma.


Malvern College

Malvern College is a co-educational boarding school set in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, England. It was originally founded in 1865, and is a member of the prestigious Rugby group.


Malvern College has a global reputation for excellence, and has produced two Nobel Laureates, two Prime Ministers, and was the school of C.S Lewis, novelist and author of The Chronicles of Narnia.


The school is no stranger being a true innovator in education, initiating the first language laboratory in an independent school as well as pioneering Nuffield Physics in the 1960s. Ever since 1992, the IB has been available in the Sixth Form at Malvern, one of the first schools in Britain to offer the programme and further confirmation that the school is at the forefront of all things innovative.


Malvern offers a wide range of IB subjects and is one of the limited number of schools in the world to offer the Further Mathematics course. All three of the Visual Arts, Sport and Education Science and Societies are other noteworthy choices.


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