Southbank Westminster offers the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the IB Diploma Programme (DP) with students ranging in age from 11 to 19 years old. It represents 61 nationalities. The IB Middle Years and Diploma Programme age groups are equivalent to middle, senior, upper or high school in other education systems.
Southbank was the first UK school to offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum to students of all ages. In the MYP (11-16 years) at Westminster, French and Design Technology are added to the core subjects begun in the Primary School. The MYP links traditional subject areas to one another through a holistic framework. The emphasis is on skills development and students are prepared for the IB Diploma Programme (16-18/19 years).
Our campus on Portland Place is conveniently located in central London near Regent’s Park with good transportation nearby. Facilities include five science labs, a computer lab, a hall/theatre, art and music rooms, and two libraries served by networked computers. The door-to-door bus service covers a wide area of central and north London.
Our Conway Street campus is a striking, modernised building located a few minutes’ walk from Warren Street and Great Portland Street underground stations. It features a wide range of high-quality facilities, including a science lab, art studio, social space / hall and language suite, which is set across four storeys. We’re also particularly proud of our Library Resource Centre (LRC) at Conway Street. It offers access to over 3,800 books, DVDs, audiotapes, magazines, local and national newspapers and university prospectuses.
Our Cleveland Street campus opened in September 2018 and allows an additional 219 students to benefit from the Southbank experience. Spread over five floors, it features a wide range of different environments, including specialised classrooms, a large common space on the top floor, study and learning pods, and a design technology lab in the basement. As requested by students, the new campus also features calming colour schemes and living moss walls which bring nature indoors.
There are no in-house catering facilities at Westminster. Students can bring their own packed lunch and morning snack or may opt to go to one of the many eateries in the immediate vicinity and within the designated area boundary. Students must have off-campus permission from their parents via the online Student Information Form (SIF).
English is the language of instruction, but students may also study their native language: currently 17 languages are offered as first or second languages. English as an Additional Language (EAL) is also offered throughout the school. Southbank attracts well-qualified and internationally experienced teachers.
Admission is based on previous school records and satisfactory references, as well as suitability of the candidate for the curriculum offered.
All students progress to universities in the UK, and around the world.
Facilities and Resources
Library Resource Centre and Information Literacy
Information literacy can be defined as an intellectual ability to locate, evaluate, use and create information. It is also about knowing when and why information is needed.
Grades 6-10 receive information literacy and research skills instructions from the librarians. Students are taught how to plan structured research projects. Practical exercises consider website evaluations, cyber safety, social networking, database evaluations, plagiarism, copyright, referencing citations and information retrieval. Students also learn to use bibliographies and footnotes.
There are 5,000 volumes in the MYP Library Resource Centre at Portland Place, as well as DVDs, CDs, newspapers and journals.
A new feature of the MYP Library is a powerful online database known as EBSCO. Another academic database, JSTOR (journal storage) is available for research. In addition, there is Encyclopaedia Britannica Online which students can use at school and at home.
The library at Conway Street supports the IB Diploma Programme through the acquisition of suitable texts, resources and subscriptions to online databases. Some 3,800 books, DVDs, audiotapes, magazines, local and national newspapers and university prospectuses are available to students in Grade 11 and Grade 12 in the LRC.
Southbank has an archive of past Extended Essays covering the period from 1996 to the present day, available to consult in the library.
Students receive guidance on planning, preparing bibliographies, footnoting, citations and the research process as part of the Information Literacy programme for Grade 11 and Grade 12 students.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
The main roles of the EAL department are to enable all students to integrate fully into mainstream MYP classes and to support colleagues in their work with EAL students.
On entering the EAL programme, all students take the “Oxford Online Placement Test” developed by the Universities of Oxford and Columbia (New York), which is Mapped into the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages, to determine their level of English.
The test, together with an assignment set by the English Department, also serves as an exit test for those students leaving the programme for mainstream English.
Personal, Social, Physical and Economic Education (PSPEE)
One advisory lesson per week is devoted to PSPEE. Guest speakers are invited to the school to give expert advice on alternative lifestyles, sexual health education and personal finance matters.
Further time is allocated to study skills, time management, the writing of CVs, applying to universities in the UK, USA and elsewhere, the nature of academic honesty, safe internet use, drugs, alcohol and tobacco awareness and the Extended Essay.
Southbank offers learning support in accordance with the aims of the International Baccalaureate, that: “All students should be allowed to demonstrate their academic ability.”
The learning support teacher works closely with students, advisors, parents and teachers in a team approach to support the student as they work towards their academic goals.
Sport and PE
Southbank is a member school of the International Schools Sports Association (ISSA) through which students aged over 14 can participate in annual tournaments in football (soccer), volleyball, basketball and golf.
To complement our involvement in this competition, games are arranged throughout the season against other schools (usually to be played within normal practice times) as a form of preparation for these tournaments.
Southbank uses many local facilities for PE such as Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath, Swiss Cottage swimming pool, Moberly Sports Centre, All Souls Clubhouse, Westway Sports Centre, Seymour Leisure Centre and The London Football Academy, as well as Parliament Fields for Sports Day.
In 2012, the school purchased and refurbished a sports centre in Kilburn to provide facilities for all Southbank campuses for PE and after-school activities.
Students, accompanied by the PE teachers, are transported to and from these locations on minibuses and coaches.
Information and advice are available on all aspects of career and university choice to Grade 11 and 12 students. Students attend information sessions about planning for university in both the UK and US systems.
We have two dedicated university counsellors (one specialising in North American and American-style universities and one specialising in the UK and covering other university systems worldwide).
Both counsellors are available for individual appointments, and evening presentations are organised to inform parents about university planning and entrance procedures.