Our Educational Approach

St. John’s is an all-through IB school offering the MYP in Middle School and the DP in the final two years of high school. The International Baccalaureate is an internationally-recognised curriculum which is highly regarded by universities around the world. St. John’s has phenomenal experience in the IB having introduced the IB Diploma Programme as far back in 1978. WE are very proud of our outstanding IB results which are consistently well above the global average and enables our students to take up places at prestigious universities in the UK, US, Europe and beyond.

The key difference between the IB and other curriculum models is that it really does teach students how to think. Knowledge is still vital, but the ability to research, enquire, challenge, question, hypothesise, draw inference and conclusions is highly developed through IB learning.

Students also learn how to present their work, their thoughts and ideas in interesting and engaging ways. Once they reach the top of school, they are able to present articulate and highly developed pieces of extended writing in an academically sound and structured way. St. John’s graduates therefore find the step up to tertiary education highly manageable and many achieve university credits because of the high level at which they have already been working at in school. IB students are also outward looking, reflecting on their place, role and voice in the world.

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is designed for students aged 11 to 16. It provides a framework of learning that emphasizes intellectual challenge and encourages connections between studies in traditional subjects and the real world. The MYP focuses on “learning how to learn” through the systematic development of approaches to learning (ATL) skills for communication, collaboration, organization, self-management, reflection, research, informational literacy, media literacy, creative and critical thinking, and transfer of learning. It also fosters intercultural understanding and global engagement.

Interdisciplinary teaching and learning builds a connected curriculum that addresses the developmental needs of students and prepares them for further academic study and life in an increasingly interconnected world. The MYP uses concepts and contexts as starting points for meaningful integration and transfer of knowledge across eight subject groups:

  • Language acquisition
  • Language and literature
  • Individuals and societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Physical and health education
  • Design

In years 4 and 5, students have the option to take courses from six of the eight subject groups within certain limits, to provide greater flexibility in meeting local requirements and individual student learning needs. Each year, students in the MYP also engage in at least one collaboratively planned interdisciplinary unit that involves at least two subject groups.

MYP students also complete a long-term project, where they decide what they want to learn about, identify what they already know, discovering what they will need to know to complete the project, and create a proposal or criteria for completing it.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) is a course of study designed and administered by an international, non-governmental educational organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The IB is a two-year program (at St. John’s normally Grades 11 and 12, or, exceptionally, Grade 12 and a post-graduate Grade 13 year), which offers students the opportunity to engage in intellectually stimulating academic studies, and which culminates in an “externally assessed” secondary school leaving qualification, the International Baccalaureate Diploma, recognized as an entrance credential by universities throughout the world. Many U.S. institutions grant advanced standing in selected subjects to the diploma holder.



To obtain the IB diploma, a student must:

  • Study subjects from six groups, three at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL), or four at HL and two at SL
  • Write an Extended Essay in one of the IB subjects
  • Complete the Theory of Knowledge course
  • Participate in the CAS program (Creativity, Action, Service), the equivalent of three to four hours per week


For students not wishing to obtain the full diploma, individual IB diploma courses, the extended essay and/or the TOK course can be chosen instead of the full IB programme.

Note: Higher Level grades are recognised by U.S. institutions as equivalent to Advanced Placement grades, with advanced standing in that subject usually granted. Most competitive universities in the U.K. require the full IB Diploma to be presented as an alternative qualification for admissions’ consideration, as do most European universities.

IB-designated courses may be studied by a well-motivated student who does not wish, or is not academically strong enough, to take the external final examinations. In such cases, students will either take the course for honours credit, being assessed internally by IB criteria, or an Alternative Course Form will be completed which modifies the name of the course, the content and the assessment criteria.

To view our IB results:

SJIS IB DP Brochure

The Advanced Placement (AP) programme consists of challenging college-level courses and examinations for secondary school students. St. John's is the only school in Belgium offering AP courses. Student scores in the AP: 70% scored a 5 in the exams taken, 83% scored 4 or 5 and 94% scored 3 or higher.
Over 90 percent of the colleges and universities in the U.S. give academic credit and/or advanced standing to students whose AP Examination grades are considered acceptable. Course exam offerings may be found in the summary below.
Calculus, Economics, Statistics, Physics, French, German, Spanish

St. John’s International School is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and by the Council of International Schools. The school awards a General Diploma and an Academic Diploma. In addition, a student may work for the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma which is awarded upon successful completion of requirements set by the International Baccalaureate organization.

The St. John’s programme of secondary studies extends over four years in Grades 9 to 12. The Academic Diploma and the General Diploma require 28 and 24 credits respectively from a maximum of 45 to graduate, with the Academic Diploma with honors being awarded to outstanding students who fulfill the High School’s additional academic criteria.


In the High School, we believe success is achieved through good leadership, planning and the setting of clear goals. To that end, St. John’s High School is inclusive in intention, international in perspective, caring in spirit, committed in action and dedicated to excellence.


  • we will reinforce the philosophy, mission and objectives of St. John’s International School;
  • we will promote academic excellence;
  • we will enable each student to reach his or her potential in all dimensions: academic, artistic, physical, social, personal and spiritual, through the provision of a broad and balanced education;
  • we will encourage students to develop self-esteem, self-discipline and self-awareness, and respect and tolerance for others;
  • we will create a harmonious, enjoyable and safe learning environment which is characterized by trusting and caring relationships among students, teachers, parents and administrators;
  • we will enable students to develop global awareness through the celebration of cultural diversity;
  • we will guide students to make the appropriate choices and prepare them effectively to meet life's challenges;
  • we will promote an ideal of life-long learning in an atmosphere of openness and critical inquiry;
  • we will engage the student and parent voice in issues affecting the High School where appropriate.

To view our High School Profile results:

High School Profile

St. John’s has a long tradition of offering a Mother Tongue Programme particularly to students who have transitioned from a system where English was not the language of instruction. The Mother Tongue Programme currently starts from Grade 9 and continues until graduation.

Alongside our English and French Language and Literature classes, St. John’s currently also offers the Mother Tongue Literature Programme in Dutch, Spanish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese and Korean. We can offer a variety of other languages on request.

Many students choose to study their Mother Tongue as one of their six IB Diploma subjects as part of the IB supported Self-taught Literature Standard Level option.

Our Mother Tongue Coordinator is Ms Ruth Colado Cabo. She can be contacted at rcoladocabo@stjohns.be.

Teaching and Learning in the MYP are underpinned by the following concepts


Students learn best when their learning experiences have context and are connected to their lives and their experience of the world around them. Using global contexts, MYP students develop an understanding of their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet through developmentally appropriate explorations of:

  • Identities and relationships
  • Personal and cultural identity
  • Orientations in space and time
  • Scientific and technical innovation
  • Fairness and development
  • Globalisation and sustainability

Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. The MYP prescribes sixteen key interdisciplinary concepts along with related concepts for each discipline.

A unifying thread throughout all MYP subject groups, Approaches to Learning (ATL) provides the foundation for independent learning and encourages the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self-management skills helps students learn how to learn.