insideKENT Magazine Issue 60 - March 2017 - Page 110

EDUCATION IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE IB AT SEVENOAKS SCHOOL WHAT IS THE IB? Since its inception in the 1960s, the International Baccalaureate (IB) has rapidly established itself as the gold standard of world education. The IB is not just an exam board, however; it embodies a philosophy of education based on a few basic principles: • students should be both literate and numerate, scientifically adept as well as linguistically able, and not abandon key subjects at the age of 16; • education is about more than passing exams; it involves promoting creativity in the Arts, well-being through sport, and compassion through service in the community; • schools have a responsibility for advancing a clear set of values, including internationalmindedness, integrity and honesty, and tolerance for others. WHAT MAKES THE IB DISTINCTIVE? The principles above might seem inarguable, yet it remains a sad fact that in the UK – as opposed to the US and Europe, indeed most of the world – a false divide exists and is perpetuated between the arts and sciences; only in the UK are students effectively encouraged not to study either their native language or Maths beyond the age of 16. Young people's brains are incredibly elastic and are capable of pursuing a range of subjects. For those with curiosity, sciences and languages should be complementary, not contradictory areas of study. Of course, students need to play to their strengths, and the IB allows them to choose three subjects at Higher Level and three at Standard Level, but the principle of breadth as well as depth remains. In addition, pupils are encouraged to think critically through a Theory of Knowledge course, and to learn independently by completing an extended essay on a subject of their choice. WHAT ABOUT UNIVERSITIES AND THE IB? IB students who complete the diploma are genuinely well-rounded people, confident and outward looking. This is because, through the IB, schools spend time developing the emotional intelligence of pupils as well as their academic abilities. All UK and US universities recognise the IB and value the balanced education students receive. Indeed, a leading Admissions Tutor at Cambridge is on record acknowledging that, given a choice between two marginal candidates, he would rather take a student who has studied the IB. At Sevenoaks, over 90% of our leavers gain places at their first choice university. It is a fact that IB students secure more first-class honours degrees, are twice as likely to study medicine, are more likely to be employed in graduate level jobs and, as confirmed by the Higher Education Statistics Agency in 2011, enjoy higher salaries than their peers. WHY CHOOSE THE IB? The IB might not be the easiest qualification available, but we are convinced that it is the best one and the right one. The coherence and balance of the curriculum, the flexibility of choice it offers, together with its emphasis on independent learning, ensure that students are equipped with a set of skills to compete in an increasingly globalised economy. In short, the IB gives today’s young people the best possible chance to succeed at university and in the world of work. 110