International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB Diploma)

Leighton Park is an IB School near London and Oxford. The prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is an excellent programme for students with broad interests, who enjoy project-based learning and who have a global perspective. Read on if you want to find out more about the IB curriculum, which IB subjects we offer, learn more about IB Diploma requirements or explore IB scholarships.
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International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students in Music Hall

Why study the IB Diploma?
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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme stands as a beacon of excellence in modern education, developing students into forward-thinking, globally aware individuals. Its unique curriculum is not just about academic rigor; it’s a journey of holistic development that encourages students to think critically, creatively, and ethically. In this vibrant learning environment, students are not just taught facts but are mentored to question, explore, and innovate.

By embracing diverse perspectives and cultures, the IB Diploma cultivates open-mindedness, making its students true citizens of the world. As they embark on this intellectually stimulating journey, IB students develop a rare blend of in-depth subject knowledge and a broad understanding of the world, which makes them stand out in the competitive arena of top university admissions. The programme’s emphasis on research and inquiry ensures that IB graduates are not just well-prepared for university but are primed to excel and lead in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

Students in Library

See why our students chose the IB Diploma Programme

Marta from Spain

Marta will study Engineering at university
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Aidan from the United States

Aidan will study Fine Arts at university
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Henry from England

Henry will study Neuroscience at university
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New Assistant Head - Director of IB Diploma

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Kees Luteijn as our new Assistant Head: Director of IB Diploma. Kees will be joining Leighton Park in September 2024. This is a new role and reflects Leighton Park’s commitment to investing in this excellent international qualification, which complements Leighton Park’s interdisciplinary, problem-based and values-led learning approach so well.

Kees comes to us from Reading School, where he is part of their Senior Leadership Team, with responsibility for Culture and Sustainability. Kees brings with him an incredible track record of academic excellence and supporting students to achieve exceptional results.



Kees - IB Director

Why study the IB Diploma at Leighton Park?

Academic Success

Leighton Park has run the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for sixteen years and is further investing in the programme in 2024 by appointing an Assistant Head: Director of International Baccalaureate. This senior role will specifically focus on ensuring an outstanding experience for our International Baccalaureate students.

Our average International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme score (Summer 2024) was 33 points, compared to a global average score of 30.3. Many of our students achieve scores of 38 or above each year out of a total possible score of 45, making them eligible for the most sought after degrees and universities in the world – see our student case studies. Students can pick up points from across each of their six subjects as well as from the Theory of Knowledge course, an extended essay and even from co-curricular activities.


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Students outside in the Leighton grounds

Meet our International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students


40 points on IB | Maths at University of Warwick

"Leighton Park was an unique and invaluable experience for me. I met incredibly interesting, talented and socially-conscious individuals both in the staff and student bodies who genuinely inspired me to give my all during my time there and made my time at LP unforgettable."
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“Being at Leighton Park School has helped me grow as a person in so many ways. At Leighton Park School everybody is accepted for who they are and gets supported in every possible way to achieve their goals.“
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“LP has really opened new perspectives for me as it’s such an international and inclusive community. Relationships with peers and teachers based on values of respect and equality has given me courage and confidence to interact with the wider world. I’m grateful for spending the most important five years in LP.”
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“Leighton Park is a rarity, and gave me a confidence in goodness… I am endlessly grateful for the friends I’ve met in the past five years.”
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International Baccalaureate Scholarships and Bursary Awards

International Baccalaureate Scholarships
Leighton Park offers five scholarships each year to top candidates on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, with a financial value of up to 30% of the Day fee. These scholarships represent the School’s commitment to this outstanding international qualification, which aligns so well with the School’s values. Applications for these scholarships will open from mid-October via our Scholarships page.

Ian Austin Bursary Awards
Our Ian Austin Bursary Awards are available for IB Diploma Programme students with particular academic ability and/or musical talent. These awards are means-tested and usually cover between 80-100% of the day fee for the two years of the Sixth Form.

Find out more +
Sunset view of Old School

What can I study on the IB Diploma Programme?

Students on the IB Diploma study six subjects; three standard level and three higher level. Students choose one subject from each block below. This is the same at all International Baccalaureate schools:

  • Studies in language and literature

English A (SL) (HL), German A (SL) (HL), School-supported self-study (SL)

  • Language acquisition

English B (SL) (HL), French B (SL), Spanish Ab Initio (SL), Spanish B

  • Individuals and societies

History (SL) (HL), Psychology (SL) (HL)

  • Sciences

Biology (SL) (HL), Physics (SL)

  • Mathematics

Mathematics (SL) (HL)

  • The Arts

Chemistry (SL) (HL), Economics (SL) (HL), Visual Arts (SL) (HL), Music (SL) (HL)

  • Plus core subjects:
    • Theory of Knowledge (TOK): the value, complexity and limits of knowledge
    • Creativity, Action and Service (CAS): programme
    • Extended Essay: independent research, followed by a 4,000-word paper.

Explore our course finder to learn more about each subject.

Learn more about the IB Diploma Programme on the International Baccalaureate website.

Would the International Baccalaureate Diploma suit me?
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The International Baccalaureate Diploma can work for a broad range of students but the statements below are a helpful guide to the personal characteristics and preferences that best suit the IB Diploma:

  • You have broad interests and like working on projects
  • You are interested in global perspectives and culture
  • You don’t want to narrow your options down at this stage of your education
  • You want to have more contact time with teachers
  • You like the interdisciplinary nature of the IB Diploma Programme and the opportunity to explore open-ended questions with more scope for creative thinking
  • You enjoy that you can gain credits for your co-curricular activities
  • You relish the prospect of being part of an international programme
  • You’re excited that 97% of university admissions officers rate the IB Diploma Programme as the best preparation for university.


Watch the livestream from our IB Webinar +
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Media Studio

Myth busting the IB Diploma vs A Levels

Students on the IB Diploma Programme study six subjects compared to three or four for A Level students. But these six options are studied in less depth, with three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. A Level students at Leighton Park are also strongly recommended to undertake the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) to support their university applications. Students will need to study hard on either programme to do well.

As one of the country’s leading schools for STEAM we can say with confidence that the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is excellent preparation for studying Medicine at university, both in the UK and internationally.

IB Diploma students do have to study a different language as part of their programme but as with all our courses, you will be fully supported by language specialists and there are options for you to choose the language that suits you best. It is possible to study Spanish as an ab initio language, meaning that no prior knowledge of Spanish is required and you can study it from scratch.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students have more classroom teaching, while A Level students have more independent study periods. It is vital that students use these periods effectively if they are to achieve good results – they are not free time! If you prefer to have more teacher support then the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme might be a better option.

This used to be the case but UK universities now fully recognise the value of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. In a sector survey, University Admissions Tutors confirmed that the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme provides excellent preparation for university and the world of work, with 97% saying it is the best preparation for university study. From our recent experience International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students enjoy a slight edge over A Level students. An example would be leading university courses that require three A*s at A Level or 37 points out of 45 on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme – a much more achievable score. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is more widely recognised internationally for students hoping to go to a university in another country.

Studying three or four A Levels in depth does limit your subject options more than studying the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme but there are examples of where having this level of focus is valuable, for example if you want to study Maths at a leading university. The EPQ and co-curricular programme also enable you to add more breadth to your studies.

Two students studying together in library

97% of university admissions officers rate the IBDP the best preparation to thrive at university

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