Since 2007, students in the Sixth Form at Scarborough College have studied the International Baccalaureate Diploma in place of traditional A Levels and the College has become one of the highest ranked International Baccalaureate institutions across the UK.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma, an academically rigorous two-year programme, was first developed in the early 1960s and it allows students a broader experience of studying six subjects for the full two years, rather than specialising in only two or three subjects within the A-Level system.
This helps enormously in keeping university course options open and provides a far more stimulating academic route where students are truly independent and are coached to think for themselves rather than simply regurgitate facts in an examination setting.
As part of their International Baccalaureate Diploma students continue to study a modern foreign language, maths and at least one science. They can also exploit their creative skills in art, drama and music if they choose to. Credit is also gained for submitting a 4,000 word extended essay which is similar to a mini dissertation and the experience they gain in academic research and writing is excellent preparation for university study. Indeed, the foremost universities in the UK are falling over themselves to recruit International Baccalaureate students who they have recognised over time make high achieving and resilient undergraduates. There are an ever-growing number of International Baccalaureate schools in the UK with one of the particular attractions being that the International Baccalaureate is non-governmentally controlled and therefore is never a victim of political interference, grade inflation or syllabus tinkering.
Students continue to contribute to the life of the school outside the classroom through participation in the core element of CAS (Creativity, Action and Service), a central element of the International Baccalaureate programme involving sport, outdoor activities, music and drama. Great emphasis is placed on serving others through charitable projects. At the College some students choose to undertake major overseas service projects through summer expeditions.
In recent years students have ventured to Borneo, Morocco and Malawi. While on expedition they have worked in primary schools and assisted conservation projects. Later this year a group is venturing to Nepal on a three week expedition of the Himalayas. Following these incredible experiences, and with their appetites whetted, a number of students have undertaken voluntary work overseas such as James Scott who recently worked in a health clinic in Ghana and India Cartwright who assisted in a maternity unit in Tanzania.
Closer to home, students are given additional responsibility in looking after younger students either as senior prefects or peer mentors. The leadership skills they acquire are put to the test when they undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Each year, the College’s upper sixth students receive their results and progress on to universities both in this country and abroad. Students have gone on to Oxford and Cambridge as well very many of the prestigious Russell Group universities such as Imperial, Edinburgh, Durham, Warwick and York.
Headmaster, Charles Ellison, commented: “Scarborough College has gained an impressive reputation for delivering a forward-thinking, outward facing and dynamic education throughout its 120 years and the International Baccalaureate Diploma has proven itself to be a perfect course for preparing our students to be highly successful and accomplished in the world beyond school and university.
“With an average International Baccalaureate points score over the past three years equivalent to three A grades at A-Level, we are able to ensure our leavers gain places at the very best universities and the learning skills that are instilled through the International Baccalaureate set them up to perform extremely well, wherever they depart to and within whichever course they choose.
“Each year we have a number of students arrive to us as new entrants in the Sixth Form from Scarborough schools who have made an active choice for something different and more stimulating beyond the traditional A-Level path and in every case they immediately feel challenged and enthused by the International Baccalaureate.
“Most importantly, the many old boys and girls who come back to visit tell us what excellent preparation the International Baccalaureate has proven to be within their university courses and how its breadth has promoted their learning in areas they never would have believed they would be tackling back when they were in Year 11.”