WHEN St Leonard’s College became the first Victorian school to introduce the International Baccalaureate diploma in 1982, just two students enrolled – including the principal’s son. The only other school in Australia to teach the internationally recognised qualification – which requires students to study six subjects, including a second language, write a 4000-word research essay and perform community service – was Narrabundah College in Canberra. Thirty years later, the prestigious diploma is offered at 63 schools, including 16 schools in Victoria, which accounts for about 40 per cent of enrolments nationwide. Victorian schools that offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma. This year, Werribee Secondary School will become the first state school in Victoria to offer the IB diploma, which enables students to go on to study anywhere in the world. Selective-entry state school Melbourne High is also seeking authorisation to implement the program. St Leonard’s College student Kara Robinson, who was one of about 3000 Australian students to receive her results on Friday, was grateful for her school’s pioneering approach. Kara, who obtained a near-perfect score of 44/45, hopes to study a double environmental engineering and arts degree at Monash University this year. ”IB gives you a more in-depth preparation for university,” said Kara, who, for her 4000-word research essay, analysed whether water restrictions had led to a reduction in water usage. It was time-consuming – she trawled through the water bills of nine households over 10 years – and the sample size was too small to be statistically significant, but she did discover a correlation. Read more at Schools embrace Baccalaureate to produce ‘fantastic results’.