The number of state schools in the UK offering one or more of the International Baccalaureate programmes is on the rise. While the vast majority of state-funded primary and secondary schools follow the National Curriculum for England, there are more than 50 schools that have adopted the IB instead.
The IB is more normally associated with fee-paying private schools in the UK and both local and international schools in countries as far-reaching as the US, the UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong. However, there are 55 state schools in the UK, most of them selective grammar schools, that offer the IB programme; this compares to a total of 76 private schools offering the IB.
The IB's three programmes were not designed as a continuum. Each is a standalone framework and curriculum, developed at different times and stages of the IB's evolution. The most common in the UK is the IB Diploma Programme, an alternative to A Levels which requires students to take a broader range of subjects, complete an extended essay, take a course in the theory of knowledge and participate in community-based and other extra-curricular activities.
There are 14 state schools offering the PYP.
There are 16 state schools offering the MYP, which can be followed by students in Years 7 through to 11, although many schools switch to GCSEs in Year 10-11. These schools include the state day and boarding school Hockerill Anglo-European College; day schools including Chester International School; grammar schools including Dartford Grammar School and Tonbridge Grammar School; and academies including Leigh Academy Blackheath, Longfield Academy, The Halley Academy, and The Leigh Academy.
Most recently, Impington Village College (a non-selective secondary school in Cambridgeshire) has been confirmed as a candidate school by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to offer its Middle Years Programme (MYP) to students; this makes it the first state school in the UK to offer the MYP, Diploma Programme (IBDP) and Career-related Programme (IBCP).
Looking for an alternative to A Levels or BTECs? The IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) is offered to students in Years 12-13 by both private and state schools that have been authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).
There are 22 schools in the state sector offering the IBDP; the majority are selective grammar schools or standalone sixth-form colleges, both of which do not charge any tuition fees. Among these, Dartford Grammar School was named The Sunday Times International Baccalaureate School of the Decade in 2020.
The award, which straddles both the state and independent sector, is determined by academic achievement in the IB Diploma examination over the past 10 years, the progression of those results, and scrutiny of outreach activities. The school was said to "ace the tough International Baccalaureate examinations year after year, achieving staggering success without their parents having to wear the cost of school fees". Dartford Grammar School's average IB score in 2020 was a very high 38.7, which beats the global average of 29.90 points.
Below is a complete list of state schools offering the IBDP (and those in bold also offer the IBCP):
In May 2021, the top performing schools in the IBDP were all private schools and include King's College School - Wimbledon (average score of 41.7); North London Collegiate School (41.3); Godolphin & Latymer School (41.3); Sevenoaks School (40.1); and Whitgift School (40).
The IB Career-Related Programme (IBCP) is specifically developed for students who want to focus on career-related learning. It is an extension of the UK's BTEC, and can lead to university, apprenticeships or employment. The IBCP is perfect for academically strong and independent students who know from an early age that they want to focus on a specific career path. Students need to be highly motivated and disciplined, as they are taking rigorous university-level classes in addition to their regular IB courses.
While there's only a few private UK schools that have launched the IBCP (just nine), it has become more popular with UK state schools. Below is a complete list of state schools offering the IBCP: