A school in Birmingham which controversially scrapped teaching A-levels in favour of a diploma scheme is celebrating record results.
King Edward's School (KES) in Edgbaston is understood to be the only school in the city to have entirely dropped traditional A-levels and replaced them with the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.
Supporters of the IB diploma claim it offers a more rounded education compared to A-levels, with students having to take a mix of science and humanities subjects, as well as both English and maths.
The IB, for 16 to 19 year olds, sees students assessed with exams at the end of a two-year period and is marked out of a maximum of 45 points.
At KES, a fee-paying school, three of its pupils – Oliver Bealby-Wright, Aleksandar Duvnjak and Harrison Shaylor – this year clinched the top score of 45 points. Just 160 students out of 141,831 across the world who sat the diploma managed to clinch full marks.
Across the school, the average pupil scored 39 – up 2.2 points compared to the average of 36.8 points last year.
The school's average was almost ten points higher than the world-wide average of 29.88 points.
The results revealed that 43 per cent of the school's IB cohort attained scores of 40 points or above – the equivalent of more than four A*s at A-level.
Chief Master John Claughton said the school's decision to replace A-levels with the IB five years ago had paid off. "These are truly exceptional results, better than anything we might have hoped for," he added.
"These results are a giant leap forward and will place us amongst the very best IB schools not only in this country, but also in the world.
"For the individual boys, it means the vast majority of them have got their offers at the best universities and it was a pleasure to see so much delight when the results were announced.
"The move to the IB Diploma in September 2010 was, in itself, a major step and, five years on, we feel that these results show it was the right decision. These boys are getting a real, broad, intellectual education and coming out with world-class results.
"All of this has been achieved through the ambition and efforts of the boys and the total commitment of the staff to their progress.
"And it has been done by a group of boys that has been remarkably successful in the other aspects of school life. These are remarkable boys and this is a very proud day for this school."
What is the International Baccalaureate?
The IB Diploma comprises six subjects within which pupils must study English, maths, a science, a language and a humanities subject. Pupils also complete a 4,000-word essay on any subject, study 'Theory of Knowledge' and undertake a range of extra-curricular activity and community service.
The qualification was first established in Geneva in 1968 is said by some to be the fix for a well-rounded further education syllabus. The diploma is not, however, the norm. Just 135 schools in the UK offer it - 79 independent schools and 56 state.