Henley to drop Bac

July 5, 1996

Henley College, one of the few public sector institutions offering the International Baccalaureate, is planning to phase the option out.

Graham Phillips, principal of the Oxfordshire tertiary college, said it would continue to offer the two-year IB only until the advent of the National Diploma that is proposed in the Dearing report on 16-19 qualifications. This means that next autumn's intake could be the last.

He said the programme was in part a victim of the financial pressures on further education. "It is considerably more expensive than alternative qualifications and we have had to subsidise it."

There are about 50 students spread across the two years of the programme, which mixes three higher and three subsidiary options with a research-based extended essay and a theory of knowledge module. "We would need a take-up of about 100 students over the two years to reach a financial critical mass," said Mr Phillips.

Henley introduced the IB in the late 1980s. "We thought this was the way that post-16 qualifications were moving," said Mr Phillips. And in spite of the financial pressures, he retains that faith."It offers both breadth and depth and I think that the Dearing model has the potential to form the basis for a British baccalaureate, if it is allowed to develop that way."

The option had been particularly attractive to the most able students. One candidate last year, now reading philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University, scored 44 points out of 45.

Other colleges offering the IB, which has been more associated with international institutions like Atlantic College and public schools, include the tertiary colleges in Swansea and Exeter and Llandrillo College, Colwyn Bay.

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