Introduction to Understanding the IB Diploma Program


The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) is a comprehensive and globally recognized educational framework designed for students aged 16 to 19. It offers a challenging and balanced curriculum that aims to foster intellectual, personal, emotional, and social development.

Overview: The IB Diploma Program is renowned for its international perspective, emphasizing critical thinking, research skills, and a well-rounded education. It is a two-year program, and students pursue a diverse range of subjects to ensure a holistic learning experience.



In essence, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program offers a rigorous and holistic educational experience that not only prepares students for academic success but also fosters the development of well-rounded, globally-minded individuals.


Videos promoting the IB


Data re IB



An increasing number of Australian parents are choosing International Baccalaureate (IB) programs over state curriculum options. This trend is particularly strong in the senior secondary years, where the IB Diploma has almost tripled in popularity since the early 2000s.

  • Globally, the IB is now offered in nearly 4000 schools across 148 countries. Its reach has been extended beyond the senior years to offer primary and middle years’ programs and a vocational career-related certificate. The number of students taking the IBDP in the UK was 4,850, less than the 5,250 last year (2022).
  • A total of 179,917 students took the IBDP and IBCP examinations worldwide, compared with 173,878 IBDP students in 2022.


What is an IB education? An IB Education explained – Once the preserve of international schools, the IB Diploma is an emerging rival to state-based certificates – such as the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in NSW and the Victoria Certificate of Education (VCE) in Victoria. The diploma is offered in a range of public and private schools.

But what is it about the IB Diploma that makes it an attractive option to some parents but not to others? And how is it different from existing state-based curricula and certificates?




Pedagogical principles underpinning the DP

What is of paramount importance in the pre-university stage is not what is learned but learning how to learn …

“What matters is not the absorption and regurgitation either of fact or pre-digested interpretations of facts, but the development of powers of the mind or ways of thinking which can be applied to new situations and new presentations of facts as they arise.”  (Peterson 1972)

From its beginnings, the DP has adopted a broadly constructivist and student-centred approach, and has emphasized the importance of connectedness and concurrency of learning.

There are six key pedagogical principles that underpin all IB programmes. Teaching in IB programmes is:

  1. based on inquiry (a key curriculum foundation of Living School)
  2. focused on conceptual understanding (Concept frame underpins Living School’s Three Threads)
  3. developed in local and global contexts
  4. focused on effective teamwork and collaboration
  5. differentiated to meet the needs of all learners
  6. informed by assessment (formative and summative).

Core Components:

  1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK): Encourages students to question the nature of knowledge, exploring its origins, validity, and practical applications across disciplines.

  2. Extended Essay (EE): Students engage in independent research, writing an extended essay on a topic of personal interest, cultivating their research and writing skills.

  3. Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): Promotes experiential learning through participation in creative pursuits, physical activities, and community service, fostering a sense of social responsibility.


Subject Groups: Students choose courses from six subject groups, ensuring a well-rounded education:

  1. Language and Literature
  2. Language Acquisition
  3. Individuals and Societies
  4. Sciences
  5. Mathematics
  6. The Arts or an additional subject from the aforementioned groups

Assessment: Assessment is both internal and external, including examinations, coursework, and individual research projects. Students are evaluated on their knowledge, critical thinking, and application of skills.

International Mindedness: The IBDP emphasizes global awareness, encouraging students to appreciate different perspectives, languages, and cultures. This international-minded approach prepares them for an interconnected world.

University Recognition: IB Diploma holders are highly regarded by universities globally. The program emphasizes skills such as critical thinking, research, and time management, ensuring students are well-prepared for higher education.

Holistic Development: Beyond academics, the IBDP focuses on nurturing students’ personal and social development. There is a specific focus on Learning Profiles.  CAS activities, in particular, encourage students to be well-rounded individuals with a commitment to community service.