Prepare to excel

Our leading PreIB programme has been developed and refined for over a decade, and is dedicated to supporting overseas students aged between 15 – 17 years in progressing seamlessly from national education systems into a British boarding school.

The immersive programme provides the opportunity, within a fully supportive setting, for students to discover and explore a multitude of subjects, with one-year GCSEs being an optional extra.

Students gain a mastery of academic subjects to ensure that they start the IB Diploma with a solid foundation in each of their chosen subjects and develop the understanding, methods and habits required of the IBDP. The IB’s approach to learning is more like a university tutorial environment.


"The boarding house is great! There is a real community in the house - watching films, studying together." Nikolay, from Russia joined us in PreIB and went on to become Head Boy

A tailored programme

Students may join PreIB for as little as one term for an international student immersion programme, or follow the complete 1-year course, fully preparing them for entry into our award-winning IB Diploma Programme the following year.

Students follow a parallel class to the British Year 11, ensuring ample opportunity to socialise and form friendships with British classmates whilst receiving additional support in adjusting to the British curriculum.


Unrivalled preparation for the IB

As a PreIB student, you will gain a mastery of a range of academic subjects. Students who follow the full PreIB course, with a view to starting the International Baccalaureate Diploma the following September, have the distinct advantage of having explored subject choices and gained a very solid foundation in each one. They also benefit from an incredible international experience and insight, as well as having already made friends from across the globe.


Develop critical thinking skills

Throughout PreIB, as you explore the IB Diploma elements of CAS, TOK and prepare for the Extended Essay, your time management skills will be developed, you will learn how to construct a compelling essay, develop and defend an argument, present with confidence and hone the linguistic and critical thinking skills that form the backbone of future university and career success.

Perfect your academic English

With international students at the forefront of this programme, you will be supported through the year by our English as a Second Language (ESL) specialists. We know that speaking English is one thing, but studying in English can be a whole new challenge.

There is also the opportunity to further boost your English skills prior to joining with our specialist ESL Summer School, a three-week programme, every August, combining classroom-based academic English lessons, with an activity-filled summer programme.


‘Take the leap! The world here is far better than anything you could imagine. You have to take the leap to find out for yourself!’ Dharani, Westbourne graduate/Cambridge undergrad
Take the leap!

Take the leap!

Talk to our International team today
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What age can I apply for PreIB?

We accept students into Pre-IB from 15 years. Most students will turn 16 or 17 within the PreIB year.

Younger international students are welcomed at Westbourne and will have the opportunity to follow either the Common Entrance, or GCSE course, depending on age.

Can I just study PreIB?


The most successful graduates join Westbourne for the full three-year programme (PreIB and IB Diploma), however, we do welcome students who choose to study only the Pre-IB course for a year.

Depending on availability, we can also offer a one or two term immersion programme for international students.

What level of English do I require?

PreIB specifically prepares students to fully access the IB Diploma curriculum, including providing intensive ESL tuition where required.

As part of the entrance exams students will sit an English test to determine their level of English, our 3 week Summer ESL programme may be recommended to some applicants.

Strong academic English is a core entrance requirement for the IB Diploma, students who are already 16 years of age, who meet all other entrance criteria, yet require improvement in academic English may receive a conditional IBDP offer, based on successful completion of the PreIB programme.

What subjects will I study?

PreIB provides a thorough grounding across all 6 subject areas of the IB Diploma with a strong focus on academic English.

An example of PreIB academic life:

Term 1

  • 5 lessons of Further Mathematics, providing not only a maths qualification at the end of the year but a much smoother transition into IB Maths.
  • 5 lessons of English, both first and second language is on offer depending on the strength of your English.
  • 8 science lessons; Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science
  • 8 humanities lessons: History, Geography, Psychology and Economics
  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
  • Community, Activity, Service (CAS)

Term 2

In term two you will narrow down your subject choices, focusing on those you enjoy the most, which support your university and IB Diploma aspirations.

Term 3

In term three you will carry out research work in your subjects which replicates the coursework demands of the IB course. For those following a 1 year GCSE pathway, you will sit national examinations in May/June of this term.


You will also have the opportunity to enjoy our co-curricular programme throughout your PreIB stay.

Can I do GCSE's?


The PreIB Programme provides the opportunity for students to sit some GCSE exams within one year which is beneficial when applying for universities, particularly the more competitive STEM courses.

However GCSE’s are optional, based on the requirement and ability of each student. Options will be discussed with you both during the admissions process and in Term 1, once your base subject understanding has been established.

Will I learn critical thinking skills?


One of the core elements of the PreIB course is to develop your critical thinking skills, vital for education and indeed life!

Can I still play sport?


Located in the safe seaside town of Penarth, near the Capital City of Cardiff you will have access to world class facilities and clubs within minutes, including rugby, golf, swimming, ice hockey, basketball, netball and athletics to name just a few.

The school day includes a selection of extra-curricular clubs, as well as sport and games lessons. Once students reach 16 years of age they qualify for full and unlimited fitness centre membership in our local state of the art gym.

How many international students are there?

Westbourne is a distinctly British smaller school with 380 students ranging in age from 2 years – 18 years.

This enables us to provide exceptional academic attention and pastoral care to each and every student.

  • 72% of our students are British
  • 16% are from Europe
  • 12% from Asia/rest of world

Across our international student body, no one nationality dominates, we currently have over 40 different nationalities amongst the international student community.

How much does it cost?

Fees for PreIB are in line with our International Boarding fees, which can be viewed here.

Should I join Year 10 or PreIB?

Year 10 entry is for students aged 14 – 15 years and is the standard entry time for students looking to sit GCSE or IGCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) exams.

Many students join us a year earlier, age 13 – 14 years to gain an early start in Year 9 on the GCSE syllabus, the time our UK students start their GCSE studies.

Students in Year 9 and 10 will study up 8 – 10 different subjects, depending on ability and English aptitude and will sit exams in these subjects at the end of Year 11.

Students then proceed to Year 12 to start the IB Diploma, assuming they meet the minimum grade requirements for Year 12 entry.

There is the opportunity to sit a reduced number of intensive 1 year GCSE’s for students who join only in PreIB (15 – 16 years), this is dependent on ability and English language proficiency on joining.

GCSE examinations in PreIB are optional, students will have lots of opportunities to consult with their teachers on subject choice and whether or not to sit the examinations in PreIB.

Do I need a visa?

Students outside the UK will require a visa to study at Westbourne.

Westbourne is a Child Student visa sponsor and our International Admissions Team can advise on the type of visa required, depending on length of study, and support you throughout the visa application process.