At both Higher and Standard level, Diploma Programme courses are designed to run for two years.
In fact (more or less) the first thing that the visual arts guide states is
“The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view.”
But I know that a number of schools attempt to squeeze the two years into one, usually (but not always) expecting Standard level students to complete the course in what is effectively seven months – September to March inclusive (for most schools in the northern hemisphere)
This seems like a tricky proposition, to say the least.
But to try to complete the Higher Level option in eight months seems almost absurd.
Having said that, I did encounter a student once who wanted to do the whole thing (at Higher Level) in one year. He was absolutely devoted, committed, industrious and creative, and in the end he did well, but he put at least the minimum of 240 hours in, and probably more like double that, working throughout most weekends and during holidays.
So it worked once, with a very proactive, mature and conscientious student.
But I think that offering the course to all visual arts students as a one year programme is unlikely to be very successful – and immensely challenging (and probably frustrating) for both the students and the teachers.
Personally I have only worked in ‘2-year DP’ schools. I can see that it might be cheaper for schools to take the ‘1 year’ route, but I wonder what the administration would say to justify this in educational terms…