What is the Diploma Programme?

The IB Diploma Programme (DP) is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students.


  • We want every Southlands student to reach their full potential.

  • We want to provide courses which allow our students to enter the best universities in the world.

  • We want our students to be internationally-minded global citizens.

  • We want our students to work together: with their teachers and with their peers, for an altogether better experience.

  • We want to ignite a passion for discovery, an enthusiasm for investigating, a thirst for learning.

  • We want our students to surprise themselves with the quality of their ideas and work.

KEY STAGE 3 (11-14 years old)

Transition to Senior School: The teaching structure at Southlands Senior School follows the English National Curriculum. The transition from primary to secondary school represents higher expectations and greater responsibility for the individual student.

Curriculum: Our programme is devised to provide students with opportunities that allow and encourage progression through each year, by building on existing knowledge, acquiring new skills, sparking inquiry, and developing wider understanding and tolerance, following specific requirements for each subject. By the conclusion of Year 9, our students should be ready to tackle the challenges of our Pre-IB Key Stage 4 and GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) courses. Indeed, many of them will have their first experience of this exam in Year 9, when they have the opportunity to take a GCSE French and Italian as a foreign language.

KEY STAGE 4 (14-16 years old)

Progression in Senior School: In line with the English National Curriculum guidelines, Year 10 and Year 11 are working in Key Stage 4. Over the two year course, students prepare for the General Certificate of School Education (GCSE) in most subjects. This qualification is an essential requirement for all students in the English school system; the quality of grades achieved will determine the individual’s options for subsequent study, and may inform students about their own potential, strengths and preferences. Most students at Southlands already have completed a language GCSE and the Italian National Media Programme, so Pre-IB courses in French as a Foreign Language and Italian Language & Literature are being offered for students who have completed the preparation programme.

Curriculum: Southlands Key Stage 4 programme is specifically designed to prepare students for our IB Diploma Programme in Key Stage 5. The majority of our Key Stage 4 students will be studying for GCSE awards, including a double award for English and for Science. Specific details of each course vary for each subject: as new initiatives are introduced, changes arise which impact the structure of a particular syllabus for these rigorous examinations.

KEY STAGE 5: International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (16-18 years old)

Progression in Senior School: In line with the English National Curriculum guidelines, Year 12 and Year 13 are working in Key Stage 5. Widely regarded as the leading school leaving qualification and recognised by the best universities across the world, the IB Diploma Programme comes to Southlands. The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares our students for success at university and beyond. Based on the pattern of no single country, it is a deliberate compromise between specialisation required in some national systems and the breadth preferred by others. IB programmes are recognised around the world and sure an increased adaptability and mobility for IB students but above all, they promote national understanding through a shared academic experience. The curriculum and pedagogy of the IB Diploma Programme courses on the global perspectives of learning and teaching, while insisting that students fully explore their home cultures and language. Life in the 21st Century

Curriculum: Southlands Key Stage 5 IB Diploma programme is specifically designed to prepare students for Higher Education anywhere in the world. IB Diploma Programme students must choose one subject from each of five groups (1 to 5), ensuring breadth of knowledge and understanding in their best language, additional language(s), the social sciences, the experimental sciences and mathematics. Student may choose either an arts subject from group 6, or a second subject from groups 1 to 5, subject to availability.

They must also complete the three core elements:

  • The extended essay asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying.  The world studies extended essay option allows students to focus on a topic of global significance which they examine through the lens of at least two DP subjects.

  • Theory of knowledge develops a coherent approach to learning that unifies the academic disciplines. In this course on critical thinking, students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.

  • Creativity, activity, service (CAS) involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking. Activity seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. Service with the community offers a vehicle for a new learning with academic value. The three strands of CAS enhance students’ personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning and enable journeys of self-discovery.



Specific details of each course vary for each subject. An outline for each subject has been provided along with this handbook, showing the combined weighting of internal assessment and external examinations.

The programme, has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.

For more information, please contact the School and the IB Diploma Coordinator or consult the IBO’s website www.ibo.org