Cornwall Life finds out what next after GCSEs?

Jean Mooney from Truro and Penwith College discusses the benefits of the International Baccalaureate

What next after GCSEs?

Jean Mooney from Truro and Penwith College discusses the benefits of the International Baccalaureate

As well as A Levels, vocational courses or Apprenticeships, school leavers throughout Cornwall could consider the International Baccalaureate (IB), as an excellent alternative at Level 3.  The IB is attractive to students who have enjoyed studying a range of subjects at GCSE and who want to continue doing so at an advanced level.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma is a recognised university entry qualification, offered in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is designed for students aged 16 to 19 and offers an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final exams that prepare students for success at university and in life beyond. There are an increasing number of providers in the UK, and Truro College is the only college to offer this programme in Cornwall.

Truro College has offered the IB for over 12 years, an increasingly popular alternative to A levels. Students take forward six subjects, including a science, a modern language, English and maths. Recent research has highlighted the success that IB students have in Higher Education: a total of 5 % more students achieve a first class honours degree, while 42% of students gain places at the top 20 UK universities.

An impressive 100% of IB students at the College passed this July, with an average point score per candidate of 36. According to the UCAS tariff this is equivalent to more than four A Levels at Grade A.  Some 13 of the students scored over 40 points (more than 4A* at A Level) ranking them in the top 3.5% of all IB students worldwide.  

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“Students can choose from 18 different subjects across the IB curriculum.”

The College offers an outstanding enrichment programme to IB students, including induction, residential, fundraising events and numerous trips abroad. For example, there is an annual visit to Swaziland where the group has set up a charity to support AIDS orphans. All these activities contribute to the friendly and supportive atmosphere found among the College’s IB students. Following one of the best inspection reports in the sector and recognition as a Beacon College, it has continued to disseminate good practice. Truro College was the first tertiary college in the country to be awarded ‘Designated Outstanding’ status by Ofsted.

The progression of IB students onto higher education has been excellent, with many progressing onto selective universities including Oxford, Cambridge and a range of medical schools. The IB entry requirements are five GCSEs at grade C or above with a grade A or B in subjects appropriate to higher level options. Students can choose from 18 different subjects across the IB curriculum.

Student Danica I’Anson, who has received offers from four medical universities explains: “I love the variety of the IB. It doesn’t force you to specialise so you get to try lots of different things even if you don’t plan to continue them. The social side of the IB is great too - I think it really helps you make friends fast and they are all very likeminded people. I also enjoy the freedom at the College, being treated like a young person who is capable of doing things for themselves.” n

For further information:  01872 267000,

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