Every one of our Sixth Formers follows the full IB Diploma programme. Its ethos is the touchstone not just of the Sixth Form but of the whole school.
The IB was founded in 1968 and has grown in size while staying true to its roots. It is based firmly in educational idealism with a very 1960s idea that educating young people in the right way can be a powerful force for good in the world.
Sevenoaks School's academic success, and national and international reputation have grown dramatically over the last 20 years and undoubtedly our adoption of the IB is responsible for a good part of that success.
You can find the IB's roots even further back, in C P Snow's famous 'Two Cultures' lecture in Cambridge in 1959 which argued that the Arts/Science split in British culture makes it harder for each to recognise the qualities of the other, and has stifled progress in both.
As well as building on unifying arts and sciences the IB began from the desire to change practice in schools away from rote learning to learning how to learn and in particular learning how to develop higher orders of thought.
Our involvement with the IB, and the benefit we gain from it has grown from our introduction of the Diploma to the curriculum in 1978 when the qualification was still fairly young to the momentous decision in 1999 to go fully IB, which was realised in 2006 with the first fully IB Sixth Form.
In contrast to the IB, A-levels are not administered by a single organisation. Currently five boards compete for schools' attention. Such a competitive market has, over time, inevitably led to a 'race to the bottom' of easier and easier specifications and exams and, as we'll see, rampant grade inflation.
A levels are no longer fit for purpose
Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, 2017
The IB Diploma Programme was not conceived as a mechanism for getting good students into the top universities, but it must be admitted that it does that job particularly well, as can be seen from the variety of top university destinations achieved by our cohort every year!