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Setting students in Aberdeen on the path to success

How the IB opens doors and creates global leaders of the future

Group of students sitting and talking.
ISA delivers excellence in education through a safe and caring learning environment.

For ISA student Rheanna George, the International Baccalaureate (IB) has proved to be the key to the doors of many Scottish universities, with five offers coming her way soon after applying.

Rheanna says: “One day after submitting my application I got an offer to the university I want to go to the most. I have received all five university offers in Scotland which I am extremely happy with.

“Although the IB is challenging, it gave me a lot to talk about in my personal statement. I am sure that going to university will feel less stressful after completing the IB.”

The IB: setting students on a path to success

As one of just four settings in Scotland to offer the IB, ISA has experienced steady growth in demand from students and parents who are keen to explore its potential for those seeking to thrive in a globalised world.

And the results literally speak for themselves. In the 2023 exams, the ISA community celebrated full marks with students receiving a 100% pass rate in the IB Diploma, beating global grade point averages with an average score of 31 compared with the worldwide average of 29. Crucially, the IB program allows internationally mobile students to transfer easily from one school to another.

Rheanna George a student of ISA
Rheanna George attributes the IB for placing her on a path to success.

The IB has set Rheanna on a path to success already navigated by numerous previous ISA alumni, with last year’s graduates going on to a broad range of courses at universities across the length and breadth of Scotland from Abertay to the University of Edinburgh, as well as tertiary education settings all over the world.

For Chris Van Dort, who graduated from the Aberdeen school in 2015, his post-ISA journey saw him opt to stay in the UK to study, completing a degree in Politics & International Relations at York University, followed by a PGDE at Durham University. Chris has been a teacher at Whitgift School since 2019 where he teaches both A level and IB. He is also Deputy to the Assistant Head of Student Futures, supporting senior students in their university applications.

 The IB is a unique and challenging curriculum that opened so many doors for me and gave me the best possible grounding for university and beyond.” – Chris Van Dort

So, what makes the IB unique and an attractive learning programme for settings such as the independent ISA who began teaching the programme in 1996?  Recent research published by the IBO states that IB Diploma students demonstrate higher levels of global mindedness than other young adults.

A 2020 study on students in Australia, England and Norway found that IB students demonstrated higher levels of critical thinking than their non-IB peers. The study also found that IB students have very high educational aspirations, with 98% aspiring to a bachelor’s degree at the end of their school studies.

In a broader geographic context, the IB diploma is accepted in 75 countries at over 2,000 universities making it an ideal option for young people who are keen to expand their horizons and their place in a global community.

However, put simply and at the heart of the IB programme is the fact that it centres on learners.

ISA students in a lab setting, studying the IB.
ISA students achieved a 100% pass rate in the IB Diploma in 2023.

Using effective approaches to teaching and learning, the IB works within global contexts to maximise understanding of different languages and cultures. It aims to: “Develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

With an emphasis on creating life-long learners who are challenged by international education and rigorous assessment, the IB is a natural fit with ISA’s focus on academic integrity and its mission to deliver excellence in education through a safe and caring learning environment.

Students are challenged to reach their maximum potential through academic success and personal growth, becoming learners for life and socially responsible, active global citizens.

ISA provides students with a comprehensive university preparatory education utilizing best practices in education from around the world which aim to develop every young person in the classroom and beyond. The school serves an internationally diverse student body through a partnership of excellent staff, committed parents and an involved community.

During their IB journey, students will study six subjects over two years giving them a broad foundation for the future.

ISA students standing outside.
The IB diploma is accepted in 75 countries at over 2,000 universities, making it easy to transfer from one school to another for internationally mobile students.

ISA’s High School Careers Adviser Heather Barker explains: “There is a broad range of subjects on offer which means that students can cover lots of angles in preparation for what they might want to do in future and have a strong foundation on which they can build their choices moving forward.

“However, the IB also enables students to personalise their studies to what interests them, and strong course integration allows them to look across subject groups.

“This goes even further during the Theory of Knowledge, an interdisciplinary requirement which aims to stimulate critical reflection on learning, bringing together learning from both inside and outside of the classroom. It really is about developing the whole person.”

She adds: “For those looking ahead to university, the Extended Essay gives them the opportunity to take a deep dive into a topic of special interest to them as an individual.  It’s recommended that about 40 hours of private research and writing time is dedicated to the Extended Essay and the process takes them a step on the ladder towards the sort of independent work they will need to carry out when they go on to university.”

Find out more about how your child can thrive in a globalised world thanks to the foundation of care from the roots of an independent education at ISA.