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Introducing the International Primary Curriculum (IPC)

Guided by international and evidenced-based research, the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) supports the holistic development of learners aged 5-11 years old with enjoyable, relevant, and rigorous learning, preparing them to be globally competent, socially conscious, and motivated individuals that positively contribute to the world they live in.

The IPC is a framework for learning with comprehensive materials and a defined progressive pedagogy created for learners, teachers and leaders, enhanced by professional development and support services from the International Curriculum Association (ICA).

Curriculum design

Comprehensive, Research Informed, Evidence Based

Designed to be engaging, rigorous and enjoyable for primary-aged learners, the IPC embraces the transformative nature of learning with the goal of improving learning for all.

The IPC is designed around seven foundations for improving learning: Learner-focused Personal, International and Subject Learning Goals; A Progressive Pedagogy; A Process to Facilitate Learning for All; Globally Competent Learners; Knowledge, Skills and Understanding are taught, learned and assessed differently; Connected Learning; and Assessment for Improving Learning. The International Curriculum utilizes educational research to regularly enhance and review its design, ensuring that leaders and teachers are best equipped to guide effective learning in their contexts.

The IPC Written Curriculum

The IPC provides teachers and leaders with comprehensive materials to implement the International Curriculum, including guidance documentation that outlines how to plan for and deliver the curriculum, details of its underpinning research and guidance on pedagogy.

In the classroom, the IPC consists of a comprehensive range of thematic units of learning which feature detailed descriptions of learning tasks and assessment activities spanning the three ‘mileposts’ of the IPC (ages 5-7, 7-9, and 9-11 years old), connecting learning across multiple subject areas and aligned to the unit theme.

Personal, International and Subject Learning Goals

Learning is at the centre of the IPC and progression for learners is driven by rigorously sequenced Learning Goals, across each subject and for ‘International’, that encompass Knowledge, Skills and Understanding. International is both a subject and an overarching principle in the IPC.

Complementing the Subject and International Learning Goals, the Personal Learning Goals contribute to the holistic development of the learner and shape the ethos of IPC learning. The International Curriculum defines 8 dispositions for learners to foster, namely: Adaptable, Communicator, Collaborator, Empathetic, Ethical, Resilient, Respectful and Thinker.

Schools and Curriculum Design

There are predetermined route plans available for schools to follow that provide breadth of coverage in all subjects, across each milepost. Schools may choose to build a route plan that meets their own particular needs using the IPC’s unique route planning tool that facilitates curriculum mapping and monitoring of Learning Goal coverage. With a range of over 150 units available, schools can make selections that best suit their learners' needs and interests while also meeting any local requirements.

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Learning, Teaching and Assessing with the IPC

Process to Facilitate Learning

All IPC units follow the same Process to Facilitate Learning, which supports the familiarity principle that states learner comfort with a repeated process enhances the potential for focus on the content of learning. The Process to Facilitate Learning is specifically designed to promote effective learning for children in the 5-11 age range, positioning the learner at the centre.

The progressive pedagogy of the IPC is provided throughout each thematic unit of learning, while enabling adaptations to the pre-designed activities, such as utilizing a local resource or differentiating for effective learning, in addition to offering learners a choice of which recording method to use in their learning.

A Learner-Focused Progressive Pedagogy

The learning theories underpinning the design of the IPC are based on educational research and current understandings from neuroscience. Featuring four pedagogical paradigms, each thematic unit harnesses these learning theories to provide comprehensive guidance for all activities including making connections to prior learning and using strategies to support memory. Teachers can and should make adaptations to the IPC, to deliver the most effective learning experiences for each learner, in the school’s unique context.

Assessment for Improving Learning

The IPC positions assessment with the purpose to improve learning. To achieve this Knowledge, Skills and Understanding are designed to be assessed differently.

To facilitate the assessment of Key Skills (the skills to be an artist, scientist, or historian), a comprehensive set of rubrics for teachers and a separate set for learners are provided. The rubrics are accompanied by learning advice to help learners to make further progress towards mastery. Guidance on how to use the rubrics for teacher, self and peer-assessment is included in each of the IPC’s units of learning.

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Curriculum Connections

The International Curriculum

Learning is at the heart of the International Curriculum. The IEYC, IPC, and IMYC have been designed to meet the needs of learners aged 2-14. Each curriculum has its own identity that exemplifies research specific to its focus age range, while also being coherent with the seven foundations of the International Curriculum. Personal and International Learning are common to all 3 curricula along with the three types of learning, Knowledge, Skills and Understanding. Each curriculum contributes to a successful future of life-long learning and can therefore be used independently or in combination.

Curriculum Integrations

The IPC can be adapted to any learning context, anywhere in the world and taught and learned in any language. The end of milepost expectations were created with reference to over 20 national/regional curricula. This means schools can successfully map the IPC Learning Goals to any required curriculum outcomes. Detailed cross reference documents have been created that match the IPC Learning Goals to the English National Curriculum outcomes and show which units cover which outcomes, with a recommended route plan to incorporate all the Key stage 1 and 2 outcomes for Science and the foundation subjects (excluding Modern Foreign Languages).

The International Curriculum and Community

The IPC has been created by teachers, for teachers and joining the IPC connects you with an international community of schools, teachers and learners. International learning and global competence can be enhanced through connecting with classes using the IPC in other countries; harnessing technology to research, discover broader perspectives and share insights with each other. The IPC features opportunities to connect and engage with your local community in various aspects of learning, in particular celebrating the Exit Point of units.


Implementing the IPC in our school helps us break boundaries and teach children to see beyond the walls of the school, making a stronger link between what they learn and real-life situations.

Inga Corlateanu

Heritage International School

Through studying the IPC my pupils have a more accurate and realistic approach to life in another culture, enabling them to genuinely embrace diversity and build a brighter future together.

Wesley Possible

Boothferry Primary School, UK

The IPC is an integral and valued part of the learning experience for our students. We aspire for the children to leave our school feeling knowledgeable about the world and empowered to make a difference, and the IPC supports us with that. The units of learning provide wonderful opportunities for our students to engage in local communities, gain a greater understanding of current issues, and deepen their curiosity about the world around them.

Caroline Gordon

British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park

Learning through the IPC is always exciting, engaging and challenging, and involves the whole school community. The Personal Goals taught through the IPC are the core of our schools’ vision and mission as they inspire our learners to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing world. 

Josie Gentil

Westcoast International School

Case Studies

Futuraskolan International School, Sweden

St Leonard's Primary School, UK

North Zealand International School, Denmark

Cheam Fields Primary Academy, UK


The International Curriculum Association (ICA) – working with you to champion quality, improve learning and unlock potential.

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