International Baccalaureate

NLCS has offered the IB programme as an alternative to A levels since 2004. Since then, we have had a consistent record of success, securing our position as one of the highest-achieving IB schools in the world.

We were delighted that in 2022 our students once again achieved so highly in this challenging and enriching qualification, achieving an average score of 40.7 points. These results placed us again among the best IB schools in the world.

“I studied higher-level history, Spanish and chemistry, and standard-level maths, English, and Global Politics. I think a huge benefit of taking the IB is the flexibility it affords you; the breadth of six subjects meant that I could keep my options open in regard to choosing what to study at university. The differentiation between standard levels and higher levels meant I could still pursue my favourite subjects deeply while trying out a new area of study (politics).”

– Jasmine, Class of 2020, Undergraduate student at Pomona College, USA

IB graduates have gone on to great success at University, studying a range of subjects including Medicine, Law, Modern Languages, PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics), Engineering and English.

Our IB students have received offers from a range of impressive institutions including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and Princeton, as well as other leading universities such as Bristol, Edinburgh and the London colleges and medical schools.

The IB offers a balanced, ambitious curriculum which has an international outlook and encourages students to be open-minded, caring, balanced and risk-takers.

It allows students to become specialists in three subjects studied at ‘Higher Level’, whilst keeping up their intellectual development in other areas. Scientists will keep up their engagement with literature and a foreign language, whilst Humanities specialists will gain the numerical skills valued by employers in the modern workplace.

The IB Diploma course and subjects are detailed in our Sixth Form Course Guide.

At NLCS, we ensure that the programme can be tailored to suit the interests and aspirations of all students. The various ‘independent research’ elements of the courses also allow students to explore areas linked to their interests. For example, a prospective medic analysed data from a recent Ebola outbreak.

We introduce the option of studying the IB Diploma early in our students’ time at NLCS, running workshops and seminars and symposia in the Middle School introducing elements of the core subjects of Theory of Knowledge and Community, Action, Service (CAS). You can read about these here.

The skills gained are highly valued by universities. In a recent poll, 84% of Russell Group universities reported that the IB encouraged good self-management skills, compared with a figure of 29% for the A-Level or Pre-U programmes. The IB’s emphasis on independent and reflective learning is also useful, with university admissions officers saying that such attributes are lacking in 60% of students. NLCS students regularly comment that having completed various research projects during the course allows them to have confident and interesting discussions at admissions interviews.

“We find that IB students adapt more easily to a university style of learning and become independent learners from an earlier stage compared to those from other backgrounds. IB students cope more easily with the wide range of subjects that each student is required to study from Year 1. They are less focused on achieved marks, and value the education that we provide.”

– Dr Lorraine Craig, Admissions tutor, geophysics and engineering department, Imperial College, UK