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

The two year qualification provides a breadth and depth of understanding that is highly prized by universities across the world and by employers. It 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 concentrate 100% on the IB in the sixth form. That means our efforts and resources are undiluted by the demands of additional qualifications. As one of the first schools in Scotland to offer the qualification, we have  built up an enviable level of expertise and experience and consider ourselves as a centre of excellence. The fact that other establishments have regularly sought advice from St Leonards on the IB further confirms this.

The proof of our expertise though lies in the success of our students.  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**.  

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the IB at St Leonards.  In the Times Educational Supplement, our Headmaster, Dr Michael Carslaw, writes authoritatively about the ethos and philosophy underpinning 10 years of the International Baccalaureate at St Leonards.  Click here to view the article.

Please play the video below to listen to some of our IB Diploma students, past and present, for their opinion of their IB qualification.  The soundtrack to this short film was composed by IB student David Behrens.

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 students 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.

Over two years, pupils 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 students emerge after two years with a well-rounded education. Crucially, they will have avoided having focused on just three or four subject areas. Their options going forward are therefore enhanced.

Students also complete:- Theory of Knowledge course: A 4,000-word, undergraduate-level Extended Essay and a programme of Creativity, Activity and Service.

Standalone IB subject courses known as Certificate courses can also be taken. These are equivalent to individual A level or Higher/Advanced Higher courses but with the additional IB ‘experience’. Each individual Certificate gains UCAS points for university entry.


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 students, encouraging them to be Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded and more.

Since  its creation in 1968, the qualification has remained constant. Its value and credibility are unaffected by grade inflation. It continues to  instil students with qualities that will remain with them for life instead of simply equipping them with the more limited range of skills required to get through a set of exams.

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 St Andrews University. None more so than those studying for the IB Diploma. 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 Academic Results. 

Find out more about the IB Learner Profile.

Read more about Creativity, Action & Service.

* The Scotsman newspaper, January 13 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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International Baccalaureate

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

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