New schools: Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions from new schools in the UK about the International Baccalaureate® (IB):

What is an IB education?

The IB continuum of international education is designed for students aged 3 to 19 years through four different programmes: The Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme, the Diploma Programme and the Career-related Programme. The IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students with character: students who can respond to challenges with an open-mind; students confident in their own identities; who can make ethical decisions; students who are prepared to apply what they learn in the real world, complex and unpredictable situations.

What are the four IB programmes schools can offer?

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is for students aged 3 to 11. The PYP prepares students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It is a framework guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subject areas, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry.
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is for students aged 11 to 16. It provides a framework of learning which encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The curriculum comprises eight subject groups, referred to as concepts. It fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement.
The Diploma Programme (DP) for students aged 16 to 19, aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge. The DP is an academically balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students for success at university and life beyond. The programme has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.
The Career-related Programme (CP) is designed for students aged 16 to 19 who are interested in pursuing a career-related education in the final two years of secondary school or college. The programme requires students to complete at least two IB DP courses of their choice, a career related study (i.e. a BTEC) bridged together with a unique ‘core’. The CP’s flexible educational frame work allows schools to meet the needs, background and context of students. Each school creates its own distinct version of the CP.

What are the advantages of an IB education?

The IB offers high-quality programmes of international education. IB World Schools are subject to a strict accreditation process monitored by IB, ensuring that schools provide a high quality education. Teaching methods and curriculums are research-based and draw from the best educational practices around the world. An IB education:
  • Centres on learning – the IB’s student-centred programmes promote ethical responsibility and personal challenge
  • Develops effective approaches to teaching and learning – IB programmes help students to develop the skills and attitudes they need for both academic and personal success
  • Works within global contexts – IB programmes increase understanding of languages and cultures, and explore globally significant ideas and issues
  • Explores significant content – IB programmes offer a curriculum that is broad and balanced, conceptual and connected.

What is the IB learner profile?

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who help to create a better and more peaceful world. The IB learner profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help individuals and groups become more responsible members of local, national and global communities.

IB learners strive to be:
  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

How do teachers measure outcomes?

IB teachers use a range of assessment strategies including formative assessments that provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to develop their teaching and by students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and target areas that need improvement. Teachers use summative assessments which are internationally benchmarked for older students. This means students are measured against a set of agreed upon learning outcomes rather than graded on a ‘bell curve’ as in norm-referenced assessments.

Do IB teachers receive special training?

All IB teachers receive training and professional development in the IB’s approaches to teaching and learning from certified IB workshop leaders, to continually promote their awareness of current educational practices and new thinking. This is a requirement of IB World Schools implementing the IB programmes. All teachers who teach in IB classrooms are required to participate in collaborative planning and reflection to make their teaching practices consistent and to foster a holistic approach to education.

How to become an IB world school?

Schools interested in implementing the IB must successfully complete an authorisation process. The requirements are the same for all schools and the authorisation process is designed to ensure that schools are well-prepared to implement the IB successfully. All IB World Schools are required to participate in an ongoing process of review and development using the same programme standards and practices.

Become an IB World School