IB vs A level

At Sixth Form level, Rossall offers the very best of two worlds – the traditional A Level route and the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

The A level route is most suited to students who wish to specialise in three or four subjects – students are given free choice across a wide range of subjects, so the subject combination can play perfectly to the strengths and passions of the individual. Many A level students will also wish to further enhance and strengthen their academic learning by following an examined course in Theory of Knowledge or the EPQ, Extended Project Qualification.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is ideal for students who wish to retain a broader subject range in the Sixth Form – and to show off that broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding to universities and future employers! As well as six subjects, with two or three at higher level and the remainder at standard level, students also pursue the Theory of Knowledge course, write an extended essay and build up a portfolio of service and community work. The IB is a challenging and stretching programme which is highly valued by universities.


  • A levels

    At Sixth Form, subjects are studied in much greater depth than they are at GCSE and they require considerable more private study time. If you are to be successful you must be committed and this is more likely to happen if you enjoy the subject. Choosing your combination of Sixth Form subjects is an important task and for many a difficult one. Rossall is committed to providing a unique educational experience for its students. Our provision is quite distinctive and enables students to pursue courses, which will prepare them well for entry into Higher Education – including those seeking Oxbridge entry. Our pursuit of excellence, through the solid academic A level course and the many course combinations will benefit students during their time at school and as they secure their futures.

    A level subjects:

    Art and Design
    Business Studies
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Graphic Communication
    Physical Education
    Religious Studies

    *Only for native speakers

  • IB

    ‘The IB has the potential to powerfully shape the lives of students who participate in its programmes’

    The IB Diploma course has been established for over forty years. It is a comprehensive and rigorous two-year Sixth Form curriculum, leading to examinations which are recognised by universities throughout the world.

    The International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) is based in Geneva, is independent of any interference from national governments and therefore the Diploma has not suffered from any grade inflation. This is one of the reasons why more and more schools opt for the IB Diploma which was recently rated “10 out of 10” by the Financial Times. With currently 4,998 participating schools, from 146 countries, the IB Diploma is truly a worldwide qualification. Rossall has been accredited as an IB World School since 1998 and has considerable experience in the delivery of the programme. The curriculum model bridges the gap between the specialisation required by some national systems and the breadth preferred in others.

    The Diploma programme involves the study of six subjects. All students must study a subject from each of six subject areas:

    1. Literature in the student’s own language
    2. A Modern Foreign Language (French B, German B, Spanish ab & B, Mandarin B)
    3. A Humanities subject (Business Management, Economics, Geography, History, Philosophy, Psychology)
    4. An Experimental Science (Biology, Chemistry, DT, Physics)
    5. Mathematics
    6. Visual Arts, Music – or a second subject from one of the above groups.

    IB Course Descriptions
    Students normally study three of their subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three subjects at Standard Level (SL). HL subjects are taught for four hours per week; SL subjects are taught for a minimum of two and a half hours per week. There are internally assessed components in every subject and public IB examinations take place at the end of the Upper Sixth year. Thus, no valuable teaching time is lost to exams during the course.

    The Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
    The teaching of TOK is at the core of the Diploma. TOK explores the relationships between the various disciplines and it encourages critical thinking, reflection and analysis of knowledge and understanding in an international context.

    The Extended Essay (EE)
    Each Diploma student undertakes independent research, resulting in a 4,000-word essay in a subject of their own choice. The EE is highly valued by universities as it is proof of a student’s ability to work independently.

    Creativity, Action and Service (CAS)
    The CAS programme enables students to develop into rounded members of society. They initiate, lead and participate in projects which benefit their personal development as well as the wider community.

    The IB Diploma is, therefore, a very comprehensive qualification, which is highly respected around the world. One former Rossall IB student called it an “Inspirational Beginning”.

    Some prestigious UK universities (for example Kings’ College London) are now actively recruiting IB students as research, as well as experience, have shown that IB Diploma students are well prepared for success at university.

    IB Subjects:

    Business Management
    Chinese A Literature self-taught, Language B
    Design Technology
    Dutch A Literature self-taught
    English A Language
    English A Language & Literature
    English B
    Environmental Systems and Societies
    French A Literature self-taught, Language B
    German  A Literature, Language B
    Italian A Literature self-taught
    Japanese A Literature self-taught
    Latin Language B
    Russian A Literature self-taught
    Spanish A Literature self-taught, Language B and ab initio
    Theory of Knowledge
    Vietnamese A Literature self-taught
    Visual Arts


International Baccalaureate Programme

International Baccalaureate Programme

The International Baccalaureate Diploma is a unique educational qualification offered by over 200 schools in the UK and recognised worldwide as the educational ‘gold standard’.

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Careers and Higher Education

Careers and Higher Education

The time at Rossall is merely a springboard to the rest of one’s life so it is vitally important to spend time exploring and considering the best route to take.

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Exam Results and University Destinations

Exam Results and University Destinations

Rossall students achieve excellent exam results at GCSE, A Level and in their International Baccalaureate qualifications and go on to study at top universities all over the world.

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