IB vs. British Curriculum: A Comparative Analysis

ib curriculum vs british curriculum
  • User AvatarStephanie Brown
  • 21 Jul, 2023
  • 4 Mins Read

IB vs. British Curriculum: A Comparative Analysis

Education is the most essential part of a child’s life and parents always want to ensure their children will get the best possible education. With hundreds of educational programs available these days, it can be extremely challenging for parents to pick the best educational program for their children. Among the multiple educational programs, two of the most prominent educational programs that dominate the academic world are the IB curriculum and the British curriculum.

IB Curriculum VS British Curriculum is an ongoing competition that has ever existed. In this blog post, we will understand the difference between both of these curriculums.

What is the IB Curriculum?

The International Baccalaureate or also known as the IB Curriculum is a globally recognized educational program. It focuses on developing a student’s academic, intellectual, social, emotional, and personal growth for them to become lifelong thinkers, learners, and contributors to society. The curriculum not only offers the students a challenging but also a comprehensive structure that prepares them for higher education.

Today the IB Curriculum is offered in over 5000 schools around 153 countries, both privately and publicly.

The IB Curriculum is structured in the following way:

  1. Primary Year Program (PYP)
  2. Middle Year Program (MYP)
  3. Diploma Program (DP)
  4. Career-Related Program (CP)

The curriculum provides a holistic education that balances not only academic, but also creative, and personal development.

The IB Curriculum requirements state that a student must: complete the course, and examination requirements in 6 IB subjects, write an extended essay on an independent topic guided by a faculty member, complete creativity, activity, and service activities, and at the end participate in a critical thinking course also known as TOK.

What is the British Curriculum?

The British Curriculum, also known as The National Curriculum of England is a standardized educational system that focuses on the knowledge and skills students need to acquire during their schooling years. It is widely used in state schools in England, and Wales as well as many schools all over the world.

The are four key stages in the British curriculum:

  1. Key Stage 1: For students aged 5-7 years
  2. Key Stage 2: For students aged 7-11 years
  3. Key Stage 3: For students aged 11-14 years
  4. Key Stage 4: For students aged 14-16 years

Every key stage has a set of multiple subjects that the students are expected to study which include English, Mathematics, Sciences, Arts & Design, Technology, History, Geography, Computer Science, Physical Education, and Foreign Languages.

The curriculum also puts emphasis on the student’s personal, intellectual, and social skills that would help in achieving greater success in life. It also focuses on developing the key competencies that are being used on a daily basis such as numeracy, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills.

The British Curriculum requirements state that the student must complete the compulsory courses that include Mathematics, English, Sciences, Design, Technology, History, Geography, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education, Computing, and Modern Foreign Languages.

What is better IB or British Curriculum?

What is better IB or British Curriculum

Since we have understood what both curriculums actually are, now it is time to actually dive deep into the difference between IB and British curriculum.

In order to thoroughly understand the IB curriculum vs British Curriculum completion, we will divide the difference as per the following comparative points:

  1. Educational Philosophy
  2. Core/Elective Subjects
  3. Curriculum Structure
  4. Assessment & Evaluation
  5. Recognition & Acceptance

1. Educational Philosophy:

IB Curriculum:

The IB Curriculum is designed and structured in such a way that it provides the students with an international perspective and encourages them to become global citizens by focusing on question-based learning, critical thinking, and intercultural understanding.

British Curriculum:

The British on the other hand focus on providing students with a broad and balanced education that emphasizes literacy, communication, numeracy, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

2. Core/Elective Subjects:

IB Curriculum:

The IB Curriculum requires students to study a wide range of subjects which include Languages, Sciences, Mathematics, Humanities, Arts, and Physical Education. Students are also required to participate in not only extracurricular activities but also community service.

British Curriculum:

The British Curriculum requires students to also study a wide range of subjects but in this curriculum, students typically have more choice, especially at the secondary level.

3. Curriculum Structure:

IB Curriculum:

The IB Curriculum is designed in a highly unique 3 program framework such as the Primary Year Program for students aged 3-12 years, Middle Year Program for students aged 11-16 years, and Diploma Program for students aged 16-19 years.

British Curriculum:

The British Curriculum is divided into 4 key stages that contain a set of specific subjects that the students are expected to study and pass.

4. Assessment & Evaluation:

IB Curriculum:

Assessment in the IB Curriculum is based on a variety of methods which include coursework assessment, exams, and practical assessment. Students are also assessed on their ability to apply their knowledge in real-life.

British Curriculum:

The British Curriculum primarily uses standardized exams and tests to evaluate and assess the progress of a student.

5. Recognition & Acceptance:

Both IB and the British Curriculum are internationally recognized by universities all over the world.


In conclusion to the fierce competition IB Curriculum vs British Curriculum, both curriculums have a fair share of their strengths and weaknesses. IB curriculum is more international-focused while the British curriculum provides a more broad and balanced education. In the end, the choice of curriculum highly depends on the individual’s needs and requirements as both curriculums provide the student with a high-quality education.

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