Prague school gives students a choice between an IB diploma and Czech Maturita

Leonardo V. Academy offers an educational renaissance in the heart of Prague

Julie O'Shea

Written by Julie O'Shea Published on 21.06.2024 11:55:00 (updated on 21.06.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

Leonardo V. Academy, which offers bilingual primary and secondary education in the heart of Prague’s Old Town, has recently secured its IB accreditation – one of only a handful of private schools in the Czech capital to hold this distinction.  

“We are so proud that we have finally secured our IB World School status,” says Richard Jackson, the IB Coordinator and Deputy Head at LVA. “To be able to join this prestigious program is confirmation of our academic program’s high standards.” 

In addition to its IB program, LVA, which operates an elementary school and gymnázium on Dlouhá street, also allows students to study toward the rigorous Czech Maturita exam – or do a combination of the two. This ambitious goal of being the only school in Prague that offers students the choice of completing the IB and Czech Maturita simultaneously is what truly sets LVA apart.  

The new IB accreditation comes just three years after the school first opened and is a testament to its ambitions and rising popularity. LVA was founded by Věra Komárová with just 14 students. Today, enrollment now sits at 180, representing 25 nationalities. 

The IB program is in line with the school’s “renaissance values,” which focus on developing global citizens by instilling a passion for learning and enriching traditional academic standards through a modern innovative approach. 

Students are encouraged to be positive contributors to society once they graduate, and the school nurtures this through a series of social programs and charitable endeavors, like participating in the Happy Hearts Foundation, that run alongside normal studies.

LVA is a member of the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), a cooperation that places a heavy emphasis on developing a distinct education pathway without losing sight of the school’s core learning values.

“The IB learner profile espouses values like a commitment to learning, to think holistically about subjects and press for details, rather than simply remembering facts,” says Dunstan Clark, one of the school’s senior IB instructors. 

Students should develop themselves, to be reflective of their work and learn how to utilize these skills to be leading citizens of tomorrow, to be principled and caring people.”

The week kicks off with an all-school assembly where one key IB principle is discussed. These principles, says Clark, “are in line with our own philosophy and ‘renaissance education’ mindset – we face challenges, we believe, we learn.”

LVA moved into a UNESCO-protected building on Dlouhá street in 2022. The location has helped drive the school’s “Prague is Our Classroom” mission. LVA’s international faculty is encouraged to use the city as a basis of their lessons. With so many museums, galleries and other partner learning institutions close by, the location of the school certainly offers something unique.

In fact, during the IB accreditation process, inspectors remarked on how perfect Prague is for enhancing the quality of an IB education. However, this does not mean that the “Czech identity” of LVA will be lost. 

Throughout the year, the school holds many events acknowledging Czech culture and history. Developing Czech-language skills is nurtured in all students and is a key focus of the curriculum. This along with preparing students for success in the next stage of school life is a fundamental principle at LVA. 

The school’s dynamic academic program, however, continues to be what really makes it stand out. 

“We are completely unique,” says Komárová, “in that we teach a blend of the British and Czech curricula to our younger primary and secondary students, before helping them to attain IGCSEs in the upper-secondary school. At Year 12 and 13, students will have a choice to complete the IB’s DP diploma, the Czech Maturita or a blend of the two.” 

Sustaining these high standards is challenging, yet the school staff believes it is necessary in order to give LVA students the best chance to succeed once they graduate. Risk-taking is necessary to build a bold and new school, yet this is completely in line with the renaissance principles on which LVA was founded.

“Our philosophy is that all our students should be able to go to their first choice of university, whether this be in the Czech Republic or outside of the country,” says Jackson. “Czech students can go abroad or choose to stay in their own country and study in English or Czech, while our international students have a firm footing to start life in the Czech Republic if they choose to remain here.”

This article was written in association with Leonardo V Academy. To read more about our partner content policies see here.

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