The Vale of Glamorgan's Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Which 6th Form?

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It is a challenging time of year for Year 11 students. Not only are they in the final stretch preparing for their GCSE exams in June; they also need to choose where to go for their Sixth Form studies. Dr Gerard Griffiths tells us more…


There are many factors that play into this decision but paramount amongst them is: what is the best route to gaining a place at a top university? The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is unequivocally the best way to secure such a place.

Despite its 50-year history and worldwide reputation as the gold standard in secondary education, many people still don’t know the real, central value of the IB. It is simply this: the IB is the best possible preparation for university… bar none!

The entire conception of the IB Diploma 50 years ago was a recognition that high schools all around the world did not do a great job of preparing students for university. 50 years later and the evidence is incontrovertible. Only 24% of A-level graduates gain a place at a Top 20 university. Conversely, 40% of IB graduates achieve this. At Westbourne School in Penarth, fully 90% of our IB graduates go to a Top 20 university.

It is the analytical and critical thinking skills that are embedded throughout the IB curriculum that makes the difference, the very same skills required for success at university and one’s career beyond.

In the words of one Russell Group Admissions Director, “IB graduates on ‘day one’ at university are as academically mature and effective as A-level graduates well into their second year.” This is unsurprising as preparing students for university is in the IB’s DNA.

IB classes are much more akin to a university tutorial approach – a highly engaged and interactive dialogue between students and teachers – rather than the old ‘chalk and talk’ / ‘teaching to the test’ model, sadly still the norm in too many schools.

It is certainly true that the IB is not for everyone. It is a little more demanding; about 20% more work overall than A-levels. But students gaining mostly As or better in their GCSEs adapt easily (7s or better under the new numeric grading system) and even B-average students (a 6 in the new system) can do extremely well as long as they are diligent and focussed.

And when it improves one’s chances of a Top 20 university place so dramatically, it is absolutely worth the extra effort!

We have been running the IB at Westbourne for a decade now and are proud to have entrenched our position at the top of the UK-wide league tables for the last three years in a row. We have an ideal balance of intelligent and highly capable local and international students, which expands the horizons and perspectives of our local students and prepares them for the world of work in an increasingly globalised economy. So if your son or daughter has aspirations to go to a Top 20 university, we would invite you to apply for one of the limited number of scholarship places available in our Sixth Form this September. Up to full academic scholarships are available for top students. And please do not hesitate to call me directly if you wish to discuss our outstanding IB programme in further detail.

Scholarships are available
Up to FULL tuition for top students Application Deadline Friday 6 April

Call or email to apply
02920 705 705

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