IB Diploma

IB Diploma

At ISL, we have been offering the International Baccalaureate for four decades - and our IB diploma students achieve approximately twice the world average results for bilingual diplomas.


We were one of the first schools to offer the very rigorous IB diploma in the UK. And unlike many schools, we encourage - wherever possible - all Grade 11 students to take the full diploma course.

The IB Diploma is a comprehensive and rigorous two-year curriculum leading to a set of external examinations taken by students in May of their final year at the school. Those who satisfy the demands of the Diploma demonstrate a strong commitment to learning, both in terms of the mastery of subject content and in the development of the skills and discipline necessary for success in a competitive world.

We believe our students’ record of impressive IB bilingual diploma results is due partly to our strong mother tongue programme. And when you consider many take exams in their second or even third language, these high grades are even more remarkable.

As part of the course, students complete an independent, self-directed piece of research culminating in a 4,000 word essay. In addition to this students follow the Theory of Knowledge programme, which asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and how they know what they assume they know. Students are required not only to write a 1,600 word essay but make an oral presentation. They are also encouraged to push back their individual frontiers with creativity, action and service activities.

The focus is on critical, reflective and holistic thinking, collaborative working, individual initiative, personal organisation and planning. Recent surveys have shown that universities value these skills very highly.

In addition to the extended essay and Theory of Knowledge students must study six different subjects, at least three of which are studied at a higher level and three at a standard level. These are chosen from

Group 1: First language: the study of literature including a selection of literature in translation.
Group 2: A second language, which may be another first language or a second modern language which may be started from the beginning.
Group 3: Individuals and societies: a form of humanities such as history or economics.
Group 4: Experimental sciences
Group 5: Mathematics.
Group 6: Arts or another subject from Groups 1-4.

Each of the subjects in Groups 1 to 6 is graded from 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum) and a student must reach a minimum of 24 points to be awarded the diploma. Up to three core points are available for the extended essay research paper and the Theory of Knowledge course, so the maximum score for a diploma is 45 points.

In completing their IB Diploma course, students also qualify for the ISL High School Diploma. Read more here.


Course offerings

Our course offerings potentially provide access to all university degree and foundation programmes in the UK and elsewhere.

Group 1: We aim to provide a teacher for every student's mother tongue or first language. Current and recently offered languages at higher and standard levels include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Group 2: English, French or Spanish B at higher level or standard level; French or Spanish learned as a beginner (standard level only0.

Group 3: Geography, history, economics, business and management or psychology at standard and higher levels.

Group 4: Biology, chemistry or physics at standard and higher levels.

Group 5: Mathematics higher and standard levels or mathematical studies at standard level.

Group 6: Visual art higher or standard level or another subject in Groups 1-


IB Diploma College Handbook