St Leonards School is recognised as Scotland’s International Baccalaureate leader.*

Both of our two-year IB Sixth Form options provide a breadth and depth of understanding that is highly prized by universities across the world and by employers. The IB opens doors of opportunity for its students, providing them with the skills they will require at university and beyond.

St Leonards is the only school in Scotland to exclusively offer both International Baccalaureate Sixth Form pathways: the Diploma Programme and the Career-related Programme. 

The IB Diploma Programme was introduced at St Leonards in 2006, and since then we have acquired an enviable level of expertise and experience, and consider ourselves to be a centre of excellence. The fact that other establishments have regularly sought advice from St Leonards on the IB further confirms this. Indeed, as of August 2020, St Leonards has been the only school in the UK to actively offer all four IB programmes, from the PYP, through the MYP to the IBCP and IBDP in the Sixth Form.

The proof of our expertise though lies in the success of our pupils.  St Leonards has been ranked by the Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ table as Scotland’s top performing Sixth Form in 2016, 2017  and 2018 for IB/A Level results**, and the icing on the cake was the announcement that St Leonards was named Scottish Independent School of the Year 2019, The Sunday Times.

Please play the video below to listen to some of our IB Diploma students, past and present, as they share their opinions of their IB qualifications.  The soundtrack to this short film was composed by David Behrens, a former pupil of St Leonards who, himself, completed the IB Diploma with us.

Every year, our school leavers go on to top universities throughout the world. Recent destinations have included Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Exeter, Durham, York, London School of Economics, Munich, Boston and Toronto. Courses have included Law, Medicine, International Relations, Engineering, Chemistry, Art and Geology. 

Don’t just take our word for it… research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency*** reveals that IB graduates are more likely to go to a top 20 UK university, more likely to achieve first and upper second class honours degrees and more likely to be employed in graduate level jobs and in higher paid occupations.

IB Diploma Programme (DP)

Students enrolled on the IB Diploma Programme study six subjects - three at Standard Level and three at a more advanced, Higher Level. The subjects are chosen from six required groups, ensuring that pupils emerge after two years with a well-rounded education. Crucially, they will have avoided having focused on just three or four subject areas at a young age. Their options going forward are, therefore, enhanced.

Sixth Form pupils also complete: the Theory of Knowledge course; a 4,000-word, undergraduate-level Extended Essay; and a programme of Creativity, Activity and Service.

IB Career-related Programme (CP)

Since August 2020, we have been delighted to offer the IB Career-related Programme as an alternative Sixth Form pathway for our pupils. This is a rigorous academic qualification with a vocational element. Pupils on the Career-related Programme study two Diploma Programme courses alongside their DP counterparts, as well as completing a BTEC in Business or Sport, a Language Acquisition Course, a Professional and Personal Skills Course, a Service Learning Project, and a Reflective Project.


To foster all-round, and not just academic, development, IB courses are taught with the IB Learner Profile in mind. The Learner Profile is a set of guiding principles which motivate and inspire pupils.

Pupils at St Leonards aspire to be:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Open-minded
  • Caring
  • Risk-takers
  • Balanced
  • Reflective

Since  its creation in 1968, the qualification has remained constant. Its value and credibility are unaffected by grade inflation. It continues to  instil in pupils qualities that will remain with them for life rather than simply equipping them with the more limited range of skills required to get through a set of exams. At St Leonards, and with the International Baccalaureate, learning is for life beyond lessons.

Due to this, the syllabus finds huge favour with university admissions officers. According to the Director of Admissions at Cambridge University, “If we are hesitating about making an offer at all, we would be more likely to make an offer to an IB student than an A-level student.”****

Associate Researcher scheme

All St Leonards pupils are fortunate to benefit from the School’s close links with the University of St Andrews, and none more so than those studying for the IB Diploma and Career-related programmes. Aside from receiving lectures from visiting members of the University’s academic staff and having access to the University Library and gym, they also have a direct link to the research community of Scotland’s oldest university via the St Leonards Associate Researcher. Appointed annually, the Associate Researcher - usually a PhD student - assists our pupils with their Theory of Knowledge studies, guiding them on research and acting as a general point of contact within the University.

Read more about our most recent IB Results
Find out more about the IB Learner Profile.
Read more about Creativity, Action & Service.

* The Scotsman newspaper, 13 January 2010
** The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2015, 2016 & 2017
*** Analytical Services Team, Higher Education Statistics Agency, UK, April 2011
**** Dr Geoff Parks, Director of Admissions at Cambridge, quoted in an article by Anthea Rowan, Daily Telegraph, October 2011


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