THE LAKE District's only independent school has been named in Sunday Times as the International Baccalaureate (IB) School of of the Year.

The Sunday Times published its 25th edition of Parent Power at the weekend, a publication which identifies the 2,000 highest-achieving schools in the UK, which are ranked according to their examination results.

Among the winners this year was Windermere School, where all sixth-formers follow the IB programme, as they have done since 2009. In 2017, and for the second year in succession, the school celebrated record-breaking results. The mean score of 35.03 is the highest average score the school has achieved since the IB was introduced. What makes this achievement all the more exceptional is that the school remains non-selective.

Ian Lavender, who has been headmaster of the school for almost a decade, has no plans to change the non-selective entry requirement.

“It’s been a real eye-opener to me over the years to see students with four or five GCSEs, who have been rejected by other schools, come to Windermere School and go on to get great results in their IB Diploma. The alternative for them might have been a couple of modest grades at A-level.

“In my opinion, the perception that the IB is only for the very able, multi-talented students simply isn’t true."

The Diploma Programme offers a more rounded education to A-levels, comprising six subjects, which must include Maths, English, at least one foreign language, one science subject and one humanity subject.

In addition to the Diploma Programme, the school also offers the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP). This course offers a more vocational style of learning, combining practical and academic skills.

Mr Lavender is also quick to acknowledge the role of the students, their families and the staff, stating: “This staggeringly impressive achievement is a reflection of the whole school community. We were awarded this prize because of what we achieve with an academically non-selective intake of students. In short, we have been recognised for delivering the best outcome for all of our students.

“I must pay tribute to the staff at Elleray, where for many students their journey through Windermere School begins, and to the staff at Browhead for their unwavering support. Everybody is committed to trying to make this the best place it can be."