Got a question or two about the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme? We explain everything you need to know plus where to find top IB schools in Singapore
If you’ve got school-going kids, odds are you’ve heard other parents dropping the term “IB” in conversations. The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an educational programme that fosters creativity and imagination and is one of the most in-demand educational programmes around the world. But what does IB really mean in the grand scheme of your child’s education? We break down all the reasons that set the IB programme apart from others, its unique benefits, how to know if IB is a good fit for your child and even round up reputable IB schools in Singapore for you. Let’s break it down!
What is the IB Programme?
Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) offers high quality, challenging educational programmes at three different levels in Singapore: the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP), for students aged 16 to 19; the IB Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) for students aged 11 to 16; and the IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) for students aged 3 to 12. IB is renowned for its high academic standards and helping to develop truly global, 21st-century citizens. The curriculum places great emphasis on creativity and imagination. Students are encouraged to take a truly global view in every sense: learning is about considering the nature of human thought and developing the skills not just to remember facts, but to analyse one’s own thinking and effort.
What sets IB apart?
At the heart of the curriculum are the principles of inquiry, action and reflection. All the while, students develop core skills for thinking, working with others, communicating, self-management and research. So basically, the skills you need not just to succeed in school, but in life!
To that end, the culminating IB Diploma Programme (DP) is academically challenging and balanced, with final exams that prepare students for success at university and beyond. Many schools in Singapore pride themselves on their outstanding IB results. Of course, it all starts with the PYP, which focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, not just in the classroom, but in the outside world a well. We all know kiddos ask lots of questions; the IB PYP plays to that strength with its powerful emphasis on inquiry.
Meanwhile, it’s in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) that the IB framework encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers, with a real emphasis on intellectual challenge. Kids at this stage start making really powerful connections between their studies and real-world subjects, all the while boosting their communication skills, intercultural understanding, and global engagement. In short, IB is a perfect fit for students in a globalist, multi-cultural environment like Singapore! It’s also very transferable if you make an international move, given its truly global reach.
What are IB’s unique benefits?
- IB encourages both personal and academic achievement
- In IB programmes, students learn how to learn (hint: it’s not with lots of memorisation!)
- IB programmes encourage students of all ages to consider both local and global contexts
- IB programmes develop multilingual students
- IB programmes are developed independently of government and national systems and incorporate best practices from research across a global community of schools
Finally, IB schools are particularly known for producing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people. That’s not to say kids in other curricula can’t fit that bill, but there’s real care and emphasis placed on this outcome, to which we say, Bravo!
Understanding IB Results
The IB programme involves taking six subjects (three at higher level and three at standard level) over two years. Assessment is based on a combination of final examinations and coursework. Each subject is scored from 1-7, and up to 3 additional points may be awarded for TOK (Theory of Knowledge) essays and the Extended Essay. A minimum of 24 points is required to obtain the IB diploma while 45 points is the maximum. The world average IB pass rate is approximately 88.95% and the world average points as of May 2021 is 32.98%.
IB Schools in Singapore
We round up the various international IB schools in Singapore at the early years, primary and secondary levels across Singapore. On the local school front, Anglo Chinese School (ACS) International Singapore, Hwa Chong International and SJI International all offer the IB Diploma at the secondary level.
Dulwich College (Singapore)
Dulwich College (Singapore) is known for its academic excellence, but at its core is a fundamental commitment to creativity, service and global citizenship. This is why since its inception in 2014, the College has been committed to only delivering the IB as its pre-university qualification. All students at the College develop a personalised pathway that reflects individual choice, ability, and personality. In Senior School, these pathways are enriched by an abundance of clubs and societies, more than 300 CCAs, industry partnerships, leadership opportunities, mentoring programmes as well as Ignite!, their cutting-edge student development programme for those wishing to pursue a career in sport, music or the performing arts. To further support the development of personalised pathways, the College is intending to launch the IB Career Related Programme (IBCP) in August 2022. The IBCP is a pre-university pathway for students aged 16-19 that is based on the educational principles, vision, and learner profile of the IB. It is a unique programme that addresses the needs of students who wish to follow a targeted career pathway and develop professional skills in an academic context. Following this, in 2023, Dulwich will open a brand new state-of-the-art, seven-storey building to support the unique learning requirements of its IB students.
IB Results: In 2021, the College’s IB Diploma students averaged an impressive 39.85, with 54% scoring 40 points or higher and a 100% pass rate. Most importantly, 100% of their graduating students secured their first choice offer for university.
Dulwich College (Singapore), 71 Bukit Batok West Ave 8, Singapore 658966, Tel: (+65) 6890 1000, singapore.dulwich.org
An IB school in Singapore that caters to students aged between 2.5 and 18 years, GIIS offers multiple international curricula, ranging from the IB PYP, Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme and IGCSE to the IB DP. Your child’s IB journey begins with a strong foundational framework of the IB PYP – this sparks curiosity and spurs them to be more inquiry-driven. In the middle-year grades, GIIS’ Cambridge curriculum offers students analytical skills and a better grasp over a wide range of subjects, which equips them to handle the various challenges of IBDP in Grades 11 and 12. The school employs a unique performance-measuring system called 7S, which tracks and monitors each student’s academic and all-around progress. This enables teachers to roll out a systematic improvement plan for each student. At GIIS, children are exposed to cutting-edge facilities such as digital classrooms, collaborative learning spaces, video conferencing, data analytics in sports and more than 40 skill-based studios. All of these help to create an environment for students to effectively explore a world of ideas. Almost 250 students graduate each year from GIIS and are placed at prestigious universities including the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Cornell University, Imperial College London, National University of Singapore and more. GIIS also has moderately-priced school fees – almost 40% lower than some international schools!
IB results: In 2021, GIIS had a school average of 38.8 points, and 53% of the IBDP cohort at GIIS obtained scores of above 40 points (out of a maximum 45). Furthermore, 16 students scored a perfect 45/45 and nine students obtained a near-perfect score of 44.
GIIS, SMART campus (Punggol) and East Coast campus, singapore.globalindianschool.org
Chatsworth International School
Chatsworth International School has been an IB World School since 2004 with three IB core programmes – Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma. These programmes offer students a balanced and individualised education, while simultaneously developing an international-minded viewpoint. Whether it’s academics, arts, sports or service learning, Chatsworth provides a challenging but well-rounded experience that inspires students to bring out their best selves. Middle School students (Year 11) typically seek a formal qualification in the full MYP eAssessment, which comprises seven subjects and a personal project. This leads to an award of an IB MYP Certificate or IB course results.
IB Results: Chatsworth is one of few schools in Singapore where students sit for the full MYP eAssessment, and the school has consistently seen students achieve well above the global average score. Chatsworth’s students have also received a 100% pass rate and an average of 36 points in the IB Diploma for three consecutive years (2019 to 2021). 33% of their 2021 cohort also achieved the prestigious Bilingual Diploma.
Chatsworth International School, 72 Bukit Tinggi Road, Singapore 289760, Tel: (+65) 6463 3201, www.chatsworth.com.sg
Australian International School, Singapore
The Australian International School is the only southern-hemisphere school in Singapore that offers an Australian curriculum-based global education for students from the age of 2 months to 18 years. This IB school in Singapore has a truly international education that begins with the IB PYP from Preschool to Year 5, Australian Curriculum for Years 6 to 8, Cambridge IGCSE in Years 9 and 10, and the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) for Years 11 and 12. AIS has a vision to be known internationally as an institution that represents educational excellence in all aspects of its operation. The school philosophy commits fully to the notion of a holistic, rounded education, which cherishes the arts and sports as well as academics as essential dimensions of each student’s education. Their educators are equally committed to teaching students to have a moral commitment to making the world a better place as reflective, caring, knowledgeable and principled people.
IB Results: AIS students had a 100% pass rate and a 34 point average with one graduate achieving a high score of 44 out of 45.
Australian International School, Singapore, 1 Lorong Chuan, Singapore 556818, Tel: 6517 0247, www.ais.com.sg
Canadian International School
Canadian International School (CIS) offers the three core IB programmes – Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma – to students aged 2 to 18. CIS aims to provide the best curriculum and learning experiences to drive the best outcomes and skills that will be needed to solve challenges that don’t yet exist. CIS’s concept-based curriculum, benchmarked against national curricula globally, promotes in-depth thinking, understanding and the application of knowledge. Coupled with an inquiry-based approach, students develop essential 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity and communication. A wide range of sporting, artistic and service opportunities support students as they develop new skills or follow their passion. As bilingualism is becoming a requirement in today’s globalised world, the school delivers their curriculum in three different programmes: the English programme which includes daily language acquisition classes in French or Chinese (and Spanish in secondary), or the Chinese-English and French-English bilingual programmes. CIS’s STEAM approach, which integrates science, technology, environmental studies, arts and math, supports students’ natural curiosity and creativity; this helps them understand how each discipline is connected and related in the real world. Facilities like the Outdoor Discovery Centre and programmes like open minds teach students to investigate topics in real-world contexts.
IB results: CIS graduates go on to leading universities around the world to study a wide range of disciplines. With a 100% IB pass rate and an average score of 35, CIS student’s are both knowledgeable and real-world ready.
Canadian International School, multiple locations, Tel: (+65) 6467 1732 (Lakeside campus) / Tel: (+65) 6345 1573 (Tanjong Katong campus), www.cis.edu.sg
Dover Court International School
Dover Court International School is an inclusive IB school in Singapore that caters to students aged 3 to 18. This IB World School teaches the English National Curriculum, International Primary Curriculum, IGCSE, IB, ASDAN and vocational BTEC. They also offer IB Diploma Programmes in Years 12 and 13, where you can expect small class sizes and a healthy student-teacher ratio for personalised learning. Dover Court International School’s IB graduates have gone on to study at prestigious universities all around the world, too! They are currently offering partial scholarships covering 50% off tuition fees, for students who want to join the August 2022 IB Diploma enrolment. Applications are open from now until 28 February 2022, and you can email the school for more information.
IB Results: The 2021 cohort has an average score of 36 and a high score of 44 with a 100% pass rate.
ISS International School Singapore
ISS International School, one of the longest established three-programme IB schools in Singapore, is celebrating 40 years of serving the international community. Offering a holistic education in an inclusive environment, you’ll find a community of open-minded learners and passionate educators at this beautiful heritage hilltop campus surrounded by lush greenery. The IB programme at ISS has flourished exponentially in these past 50 years, but what sets them apart is that the fundamentals of their academic delivery differ from other schools. ISS believes in and practices an inclusive education philosophy where everyone has an opportunity to express their viewpoints and have access to programmes. They create an empowering environment where students are encouraged to develop and pursue their sense of purpose. Highly trained teachers guide and nurture students using an individualised approach to learning, with attention to detail and unique initiatives such as their Learning Accelerator programme. Their rigorous teaching and learning approaches are complemented with great emphasis on wellbeing, both in and outside the classroom, through a Pastoral programme and a K-12 curriculum that consists of three IB programmes and also the ISS High School Diploma Programme.
IB Results: In 2021, ISS celebrated an average IB score of 36 and a 100% pass rate. 28% of graduates received more than 42 points, and 89% received a bilingual IB Diploma.
Nexus International School (Singapore)
Nexus International School (Singapore) offers the IB Curricula – Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme* and Diploma Programme. This IB school in Singapore has also introduced the MYP in the new 2021/2022 academic year, which integrates global concepts into the school’s existing secondary curriculum and makes it more extensive and balanced. Additionally, the MYP promotes skills such as problem-solving, evaluation and analysis, providing a solid foundation for future-ready learners. From Year 7 onwards, learners are exposed to the rigorous yet highly flexible framework of the IB, making the adjustment a lot easier as they progress through their educational journey. At Nexus, the IB is embedded in all that the school does and learners have many opportunities to work with peers in their academic pursuits. Sports, Arts, Music and Service complement the existing IB curricula, supporting learners to be successful and graduate to their university of choice.
IB results: 100% pass rate with an average IB score of 37, while 40% of learners achieved 40 points and more. 44% of the awarded IB diplomas were bilingual with an average IB score of 38 points. Nexus learners have, on average, scored one level above their predictions in their subject grades, which is a testament to both their teachers and their hard work.
*Nexus International School (Singapore) is a candidate school to offer the MYP Curriculum. They’ve introduced IB MYP for all Year 7 learners in August 2021 for the academic year 2021/2022, Year 8 in AY 2022/2023 and Year 9 in AY 2023/2024. Learners will continue with the English National curriculum in the meantime.
Nexus International School (Singapore), 1 Aljunied Walk, Singapore 387293, www.nexus.edu.sg
North London Collegiate School (Singapore)
North London Collegiate School has maintained its record of being the one of the most successful schools in the United Kingdom since first offering the IB Diploma sixteen years ago. Over a third of NLCS (UK) graduates are accepted into Oxford, Cambridge and Ivy League colleges each year. The IB results obtained by NLCS Jeju and NLCS Dubai are similarly impressive. NLCS (Singapore) takes pride in being the fourth school in the prestigious NLCS network drawing on the rich history of the 170-year-old founding school in the UK. Their ‘Spirit of Scholarship’ enables students to recognise excellence, and realise that it is attainable. This stems from the NLCS core belief in the transformative power of academic engagement, and that a culture of scholarship should extend beyond the classroom and permeate the wider life of their schools. This IB school in Singapore provides students with an inspirational and life-changing educational experience that will ensure they become successful, well rounded and compassionate human beings. The DP curriculum focuses on academic rigour and scholarship whilst incorporating elements designed to cater for a truly international cohort, aspiring to attend elite universities across the world. NLCS (Singapore) is now opening their August 2022 Sixth-Form and the IB DP enrolment. Join the Sixth Form Online Information Session at 6pm on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 or email the school to find out more.
Overseas Family School
Overseas Family School (OFS) offers the IB Middle Years Program (IB MYP) to students in Grades 9 and 10, and the IB Diploma Programme to students in Grades 11 and 12. Students are immersed in a wide range of stimulating course offerings thoughtfully designed to help them make practical connections between their learning and the outside world. Despite being one of the few IB schools in Singapore and globally that do not preselect students into the IB Diploma Programme, OFS is renowned for delivering consistently excellent results year after year. Any student who wishes to pursue the IB DP is allowed and encouraged to do so, and OFS’s IB DP is one of the most inclusive and supportive in Singapore.
IB results: OFS had five students who were awarded a perfect 45 points. Another seven students scored 44 points, while 34.4% of OFS candidates achieved 40 points and above. The year had a 96.8% pass rate and an average score of 37 points that surpass world averages. 33% of the diplomas awarded were also prestigious IB Bilingual Diplomas, reflecting the exceptional language resources and support available at OFS.
One World International School
One World International School (OWIS) offers the IB Primary Years Programme for students between 3 to 12 years old and the IB Diploma Programme for pre-university students in Grades 11 and 12. The transdisciplinary nature of the IB PYP Units of Inquiry encourages students to explore various topics across subjects and make connections, versus rote learning. This IB school in Singapore has experienced teachers that create ample opportunities for collaboration, agency, experiential learning and developing international mindedness and kindness, which are in line with OWIS’ values. The IB DP for Grades 11 and 12 promotes independent inquiry, open-mindedness, self-management skills and a global outlook, all of which serve students well as they prepare for university life. Under the guidance of excellent, IB-trained educators, IB DP students flourish physically, intellectually, ethically and emotionally at OWIS. The expansive spaces at the international school include dedicated outdoor areas for sports, well-equipped science labs, and spacious music and art rooms, which makes the environment conducive for meaningful learning.
IB results: In 2021, the first IB DP cohort of the school graduated Grade 12 and the students were offered university places in Singapore and in Canada.
Stamford American International School
Stamford American International Singapore offers a holistic education for students from 2 months to 18 years of age, being the first and only school in Singapore to offer Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) and Business and Technical Education Council (BTEC) Diploma curricula, together with a US-accredited High School Diploma. Home to more than 75 nationalities, this IB school in Singapore is uniquely inclusive and offers multiple, personalised graduating pathways. Every Stamford student is guided towards a successful academic outcome, which is individually right for them. The Class of 2021 students achieved the school’s highest scores ever and was the school’s strongest performance yet on this year’s IB exams. 80 students from the Class of 2021 took the exams and achieved a 100% pass rate. This is a powerful testament to their belief in the ability of each student – and the support provided by Stamford American helped ensure that each achieved success.
IB results: 19 students – about 20 percent of total test-takers – scored 40 points or higher, and two scored a near-perfect score of 44. Stamford’s average IB score was 35 – three points higher than a year ago. 29% of students achieved the rigorous bilingual IB diploma. Nearly 90% of the IB Diploma students achieved at least a score of a 6 or above, universally accepted as a very strong exam score.
Stamford American International School, 1 Woodleigh Lane (Off Upper Serangoon Road), Singapore 357684, Tel: (+65) 6602 7247, www.sais.edu.sg
Tanglin Trust School
Established in 1925, Tanglin Trust School is the oldest British international school in Southeast Asia. Named once more by Spear’s as one of Top 100 Private Schools Globally and one of the Top 15 Schools in China and Southeast Asia*, Tanglin provides the English National Curriculum with an international perspective to children from three to 18 years in Singapore. A vibrant co-educational school of 2,800 students representing over 50 nationalities, Tanglin provides a unique learning environment for children from Nursery right through to Sixth Form. As a not-for-profit school, tuition fees are devoted to the provision of an outstanding education. Tanglin is the only school in Singapore to offer A-Levels and the IB Diploma in Sixth Form, and all of Tanglin’s Sixth Formers study a programme that is tailored for them. Students’ examination results consistently surpass Singapore and global averages, with 97% of graduates typically receiving their first or second choice university, all among the best in the world.
Tanglin celebrates its 96th anniversary in 2021 and looks forward to the opening of a new state-of-the-art building in 2022. The building will house a 50-metre swimming pool, sports facilities, exhibition and music spaces, and a dedicated co-working area for parents.
IB results: In 2021, 100% of students scored 35 points and more, while the grade point average was 41 points. 86% scored 38 points and above and four students achieved a maximum of 45 points. Four students achieved the prestigious bilingual diploma, and 97% of students were admitted to their first or second choice university
*Index Compiled by Spear’s and Carfax Education 2021
Tanglin Trust School, 95 Portsdown Road, Singapore 139299, Tel: (+65) 6770 3583 or (+65) 6770 3480, www.tts.edu.sg
XCL World Academy
XCL World Academy (XWA) is a family-orientated international school offering rigorous education comprising four IB programmes (IB PYP, MYP, DP and CP). Compared to large schools, with over 3,000 students, this IB school in Singapore is known for being a medium-sized school with a close-knit community and marvellous facilities, providing students aged 2 to 18 with personalised attention, authentic learning opportunities and preparing them for the careers of tomorrow. XWA places emphasis on the holistic development of every child. Academic development is as important as character development. The school strives to build qualities like confidence, resilience and leadership in every student. EQ is as much sought after as IQ. They believe that some of life’s most important lessons can be learned outside textbooks. That is why they created a vibrant environment with opportunities in technology, sports, arts, innovation, community service and extracurricular activities. XWA prizes diversity and is proud to host students from over 60 nationalities with no one dominant culture or background (representing no more than 15% of the student population). Their world-class teachers are trained to identify each student’s special strengths to create personalised pathways that recognise their unique strengths. All this makes XWA a genuinely international school that prepares students to stay a few steps ahead of the future.
IB results: XWA achieved a 100% pass rate, the highest score at 45 points and an average of 35 points. 20% of graduates achieved a score of 40 points and above, placing them in the top 9% of students in the world. Nearly 90% of XWA’s students scored above 30 points. In addition, 38% of the graduates received a Bilingual IB Diploma.
Enrol now to receive a registration and admission fee credit, which will save you $6,000 on application fees! Promo is available only to families based in Singapore. Terms and conditions apply. Call 6871 8835 to find out more.
XCL World Academy, 2 Yishun Street 42, Singapore, 768039, Tel: (+65) 6230 4230, www.xwa.edu.sg
Other schools in Singapore that offer the IB curriculum at the Primary or Secondary level include:
For more info, you can also visit the International Baccalaureate Office in Singapore; check out their website for lots of handy resources!
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