KINGS International College in Camberley is celebrating becoming the 1,000th school in the world to be granted approval to run the International Baccalaureate qualification.

At a recent presentation George Walker, director general of the International Baccalaureate Organisation in Switzerland, handed over the Certificate of Approval to Ann Cockerham, principal of the college.

The qualification is an international gold-standard alternative to A-levels and the college is now an authorised IB centre in its own right.

The approval is vital to the school and underlines its international status.

It opened last year on the former premises of France Hill comprehensive school.

Education bosses decided to change it into a completely different kind of school because France Hill, despite performing well educationally, was not attracting enough new pupils.

Mr Walker said: "This is a landmark for the IBO, which has authorised schools in 108 different countries.

"I am particularly pleased to be presenting the certificate to a school in the United Kingdom, where there is so much current interest in the IB Diploma Programme."

Kings International College for Business and the Arts opened its doors to students in September last year as part of the 3E's Federation of Schools.

Mrs Cockerham said: "The potential that exists within the federation for the sharing of best practice is phenomenal, and colleagues are keen to work with like-minded people in their quest to create opportunities for learning that are special and different from those in most other schools at the moment.

"There is a real pioneering spirit and a determination to create a blueprint for education in the future."

Students can study a wide range of subjects under the diploma, which leaves their options open when it comes to deciding what university course or career to follow. So far 25 students have embarked on the new qualification.