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International Baccalaureate a first for Motherwell

Three years of painstaking work has paid off for Motherwell College, as it announced a "first" this week: accreditation as a world school to offer the International Baccalaureate diploma, writes Neil Munro

The two-year programme will begin in the autumn with 30 places for 16 to 19-year-olds. They will be among the first students to begin their "challenging pre-university course" at the Pounds 70 million college on a 200,000 square feet campus, part of the former Ravenscraig steel complex. Hugh Logan, principal, said: "This is a real coup for us and underlines the quality of education provided at Motherwell. It's also a first in Scotland for state-funded education establishments and a great start to what is a very exciting year."

The college joins an elite group of more than 2,000 IB schools in 131 countries which offer educational programmes to more than 600,000 students. Mr Logan believes the college's designation as an IB school will enhance its international reputation and provide additional opportunities for the local community.

The diploma is recognised in 124 countries and a Sunday Times survey in 2003 found that 57 per cent of universities in the UK said IB students were "advantaged" when they applied for a place. The demanding course has students working across six areas at Standard and Higher level - two in language, individuals and society (economics, history and psychology), science, mathematics and the arts. There are also three compulsory elements which have to be successfully completed before the diploma is awarded - theory of knowledge, an extended essay and a project-based one involving "creativity, action and service".

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