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IB - The forgotten results day

Posted on: 06 Jul 2016
Posted by: Nigel Lashbrook

Students across the UK, and the world, are receiving their IB exam results today. Yet, the day goes past largely unnoticed. Nigel Lashbrook, Headmaster at Oakham School, discusses the 'forgotten results day'.

Students across the UK, and the world, are receiving their IB exam results today. All of the usual results day emotions are in play – ranging from nerves, anticipation, excitement, disappointment and elation.


And yet, unless you, a friend or family member, or your students are receiving results, the day goes past unnoticed. There’s not a joyously jumping student photograph in sight. No fanfare. No front page news.


Every year it is the forgotten results day.


Perhaps this is understandable given the small number of students who take the IB Diploma compared to A levels. There were just under five thousand students (4,891) who studied the Diploma last year in the 123 schools that offer it in the UK. However, its popularity is certainly growing. And, given all the political tinkering with A levels, it’s very likely to become even more popular in the coming years. The number of students studying the Diploma in the UK has already doubled in the last ten years (from 2,402 in 2006), mirroring the global trend – which also doubled in the same period from 72,170 to 141,831. But let’s not forgot these numbers represent pupils who have worked exceptionally hard for two long years to reach this, all-important, life-defining, results day.


Perhaps, however, a fanfare would be a folly. After all, the IB Diploma is considered to be the world’s most highly regarded and academically rigorous educational programme. The IB is seriously good and seriously respected. Indeed it’s become increasingly in-demand from universities across the UK (as well as the world). Research (from ACS International Schools) shows that universities generally value the IB Diploma more than other qualifications. From our own anecdotal evidence, we’re finding that universities are placing increasingly more value in the skills the IB encourages in students – those which go beyond the ability to simply do well in exams.


IB students learn, develop and hone their skills in communication, independent research and teamwork; attributes that employers desperately want. The British Chambers of Commerce recently announced that 88% of businesses think school leavers are unprepared for the workplace, lacking key skills – most notably the ability to communicate. IB students hone these valuable skills through extensive coursework (unlike the newly remodelled linear A levels), participating in a challenging critical thinking course called Theory of Knowledge, and undertaking the Extended Essay (where students write a dissertation-style research project).


So, perhaps its seriousness and its small student numbers will keep the IB Diploma’s results day from making headline news. But for all those students, across the world, who have studied it, and received their results today – we’re jumping for joy for you. For the results you’ve achieved, the skills you’ve acquired, and the exciting future that lies ahead.

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About Nigel Lashbrook

Nigel Lashbrook is Headmaster at Oakham School a co-educational boarding and day school in Rutland.