Schools that wish to offer an IB programme (PYP, MYP, DP, CP) need to successfully complete an IB authorization process. If a school is already authorized to offer one of the IB programmes but wishes to offer an additional programme(s) they must apply for authorization for the second or third programme they wish to offer and go through another authorization process. Once you are authorized you are known as an IB World School and can then, and only then, use the IB logo on your school marketing material. Successful completion of the authorization acts as a kite mark that a school is upholding the high standard required by the IB.
This page outlines the authorization process, signposts key documents and support that a school can receive.
The Diploma Programme Coordinator plays a key role in the pre- and post-authorization process. They are the key pedagogical leader who will
- advise the Head of School (and Governing Board) on the requirements of the Diploma Programme (including philosophical and resource implications including alignment of school policies);
- nurture collaborative working practices amongst the IB faculty so that the IB philosophy and approaches to teaching and learning are consistently introduced to and implemented in the school. This means coordinating closely with the TOK and CAS Coordinators.
- pedagogically lead, manage and support the faculty in the choice of subjects, providing them access to relevant publications, writing course descriptions, providing their professional development as well as coordinating staff participation at IB Diploma Programme workshops, and training staff in the use of on-line IB resources and information;
- be the voice of the IB to key stakeholder groups within the school community (especially students and their parents/guardians), providing them with comprehensive information and responding to their questions through information evenings, newsletters and website presence;
- be the link person with the IB regional office, working alongside the appointed IB consultant and the verification team to ensure that the administrative requirements of the programme are met as laid out in the IB Standards & Practices and The Diploma Programme Assessment procedures, 2018, (formerly called the Handbook of procedures;
- prepare all documentation providing evidence of implementation of the Standards & Practices in advance of the verification visit and write in collaboration with key stakeholders the action plan that follows authorization;
- attend IB workshops for Diploma Programme Coordinators and keep up to date with IB news.
The authorization process is the same for all four IB programmes and has been designed to support schools in:
- Considering whether to become an IB World School
- Understanding what is required of being an IB World School
- Evaluating the extent to which they are ready to offer an IB programme to students
- Action planning to sustain the programme(s) in the medium and long term
Information you will need
Documents you will need for the authorization process can be found on the IB website page ‘Becoming an IB World School’. Click here to access the page.
The key document that explains the authorization process is Guide to school authorization: Diploma Programme (2010, Updated 2016) which can be accessed by clicking here.
A summary of the requirements to be a candidate IB School can be found in Requirements for candidacy which can be accessed by clicking here.
Application for authorization. Click HERE to access it.
Rules for candidate schools which can be accessed by clicking here.
Programme standards and practices (2014) describes the practices common to all four IB programmes (PYP, MYP, DP and CP). It is the 'rule book' against which an IB school can measure their success in implementing the DP programme. This document forms the basis of verification (authorization) and five year evaluation processes. Click here to access it.
The rules that apply to schools that have been authorized to be IB World Schools are contained in Rules for IB World Schools:Diploma Programme which can be accessed by clicking here.
Diploma Programme: Principles into practice
The authorization process
The authorization process involves four sequential stages which are described below. The IB suggests that the process from beginning to end can take between two and three years depending on the context of the school and the IB programme being implemented. However, some schools can follow a fast track process in exceptional circumstances.
Name of phase
What a school needs to do
- Inform IB of interest by completing a School Information Form available here.
- Head of school (or designee) attend an IB workshop - usually Administrators Category 1 - which will ensure the Head has a good understanding of what it means to be an IB World School.
- Learn about the IB philosophy, mission and the structure of the Diploma Programme by studying key documents (see above).
- Carry out a feasibility study in which you match where your school is currently at and what is required by the IB to be an IB World School, and identify actions you need to take. This study should involve key people in the leadership team and academic faculty.
- Identification of resources you think you will require to implement the programme based on studying the IB documents.
- Name the person who will be the IB Diploma Coordinator.
- If you decide you wish to go ahead to the next phase start sending key academic staff to IB workshops.
Request for candidacy & decision on candidacy
- Submit an Application for candidacy:Diploma Programme by either 1 April or 1 October (depending on your academic calendar). This form is submitted to the IB online. A sample form is available here for you to look at before submitting your own. This form provides the IB with an understanding of the outcomes of your feasibility study and documentation of the IB candidacy requirements (e.g. legal status of school). It requires you to present a five year budget to show that you understand the resource implications of becoming an IB World School. It provides the IB with an action plan to reflect your journey towards authorization.
- Pay fee for the IB to review and process the application for candidacy. Details of the fee can be found by clicking here.
- The IB will notify the school of its decision, but may also request further information of the school before a decision is made. The IB will provide feedback on the application identifying areas of strength and areas for development.
- Meet the requirements for authorization. See the next section on this page which considers the IB requirements. However, especially note the requirement concerning professional development of staff through attending official IB workshops. The IB expects this requirement to be completed by the time of the verification visit, or at least staff who have not attended workshops need to be already signed up to attend prior to the visit and prior to implementation of the DP programme.
- Write course outlines for all subjects you will be offering.
- The IB will appoint an IB consultant to support you through this phase. Work with the IB appointed consultant, and host a two day consultancy visit.
- Access the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC): all staff will be given access to the OCC.
- The school may publish that it is an IB Candidate School but must use the official IB text for this which can be found by clicking here.
Request for authorization & decision on authorization
- Submit an Application for Authorization online.With the application form you need to include a number of stated documents that demonstrate your understanding of the IB philosophy, mission and DP programme and the planning you have been doing. A sample Application for authorization can be downloaded by clicking here.
- Host an IB Verification Visit. The IB will arrange for a two day verification visit to the school once it has received the Application for Authorization information. Details about the visit can be found by clicking Verification Visit . The aim of the visit is to verify that the school is ready to implement the Diploma Programme.
- The IB will produce a report based on the findings of the verification visit and the documentation presented. It will include Commendations, Recommendations (on how to further develop the programme in the school), and sometimes 'Matters to be addressed'.
- The IB Director General will make the decision whether to authorize the school to implement the Diploma Programme. The decision is final.
The IB sets out the requirements to be an IB World School on pages 6-16 of Guide to school authorization: Diploma Programme which can be accessed by clicking here.
School Entity Requirements
The following have to be in place to be recognized as a Candidate School:
- School should not already have 'IB', 'International Baccalaureate' or 'World School' in their name.
- School needs to be recognized as a legal educational entity with appropriate accreditation.
- Normally the school should be at least 3 years old.
- In multiple campus schools each campus is normally recognized as separate entity by IB and must apply for its own authorization. Exceptions may include when campuses are in short distances from each other and a programme is taught across both, leadership and governance is same in both, collaborative planning happens across both (see page 7 of guide to school authorization).
- Diploma Programme Coordinator in post, and holding a recognized leadership position in the school with appropriate release time
- IB DP offered in instructional languages of English, French or Spanish.
- Professional Development: the following have to attend an IB Category 1 workshops:
Head (or designee)
All DP subject teachers
TOK teacher(s) - TOK Category 1
CAS Coordinator - CAS Category 1
DP Coordinator - DP Coordinator Category 1
If Coordinators and subject teachers already have recognized IB experience in DP they should attend an appropriate Category 2 workshop.
These requirements are set out in the Programme standards and practices. Click here to access it. Many practices have to be in place prior to the verification visit. Some (which I have shown in italics) need to be planning in progress.
- Standard A: Philosophy
Statements of mission and philosophy aligned to IB
Governing body, leadership,staff and community demonstrate understanding of IB philosophy.
Promotion of international mindedness, learner profile and responsible action.
Promotion of open communication
Place importance on language learning (+mother tongue)
Participate in the IB world community
Access and encouragement to full Diploma Programme for all
Standard B: Organization
B1: Leadership and structure
Governance and leadership structure supports IB DP
Head of school & coordinator demonstrate pedagogical leadership aligned with IB
Admissions policy in place that clarifies admission to DP
Language, SEN, and Assessment policies in line with IB
Academic Honesty policy in line with IB
Systems in place for ongoing development of programme
B2: Resources and support for:
CAS Coordinator and CAS programme
TOK course for 2 years
Time for collaborative planning
Sufficient and equipped laboratories (including secure prep rooms) and studios for group 4 and 6 subjects
ICT facilities (teachers need access to OCC and IB information system; students for research)
Safe for storage of examination papers in restricted area
Sufficiently equipped library / media center to support programme - including materials on global issues and diverse perspectives (The following could be a mixture of paper and online resources: encyclopedias, newspapers, journals, foreign language publications, subject specific books for each subject, several textbooks at IB level, more specialist books for Extended Essay research, good IT provision, Librarian). Links with local libraries to extend offer.
Guidance support (school counselor) - especially pre-university
Timetable that allows for deliver: HL subjects 240 hours and SL subjects 150 hours over two subsequent years (i.e. concurrency of learning)
- Standard C: Curriculum
C1: Collaborative Planning
Demonstrate collaborative planning takes place regularly and addresses IB Learner Profile - to ensure standardization of expectations, differentiation for learning styles, assessment of student learning and recognition that all teachers are responsible for language development
Demonstrate collaborative planning on TOK so that it is delivered within each subject as well, as maybe, as a single course.
C2: Written Curriculum
Balanced curriculum - with a reasonable choice of subjects
Fulfills subject aims and objectives, and identifies knowledge,concepts, skills and attitudes
Facilitates concurrency of learning
Promotes students' awareness of individual, local, national and world issues
Fosters development of IB Learner Profile
C3: Teaching and Learning
Builds on what students know and can do
Engages students as inquirers and thinkers
Promotes academic honesty
Addresses human commonality, diversity and multiple perspectives
Addresses language needs of students and shows that all teachers are responsible for language development
Uses variety of strategies and differentiates for students' needs
Encourages reflection throughout
Is criteria based
Use of range of assessments, including formative assessment