The International Primary Curriculum

The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is an internationally minded curriculum that is used in over 92 countries around the world. The IPC provides opportunities for global learning – allowing pupils and staff to make links. The goal of the IPC is to nurture a love of learning through a combination of academic, personal and international learning. Children will develop many skills which they will need in order to face the world of tomorrow confidently.

St Mary’s adopted the IPC in September 2014 from Nursery to year 6. Children learn through a series of units of work, of which there are over 70 to choose from.Each unit is carefully selected to meet the needs of our own school community and to ensure we are covering all areas of the national curriculum.The units of work have a theme which children are interested in and relevant to today’s world. Children learn many of the subjects through the theme so that their learning has meaning to them. The units of work have suggested tasks linked to learning objectives however the nature of the curriculum allows staff to be creative and focus upon the needs of our children.

The table below shows the links between the ages of pupils, the National Curriculum and the IPC.

Age of pupil IPC Year Group National Curriculum
Up to age 5 Early YearsProgramme NurseryReception Early YearsFoundation Stage
Up to age 6 Milepost 1 Year 1 Key Stage 1
Up to age 7 Year 2
Up to age 8 Milepost 2 Year 3 Lower key Stage 2
Up to age 9 Year 4
Up to age 10 Milepost 3 Year 5 Upper Key Stage 2
Up to age 11 Year 6

The IPC covers many areas of the curriculum through a topic based approach which makes learning fun and more relevant. The subject coverage for the IPC is listed below:

  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Computing
  • Design and Technology
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • International mindedness

At St Mary’s English, Maths and RE are taught separately from the IPC, however teachers will make links to the IPC theme if this is relevant.

Although physical education and music are taught as part of an IPC unit of work we also timetable discrete lessons for physical education, music and Spanish which are taught by specialist teachers.

Planning a unit of work

The International Primary Curriculum consists of 5 key components when planning a unit of work:






The Entry Point

  • should be the ‘WOW’ factor to introducing the unit
  • needs to motivate the learners and stimulate interest
  • involves all the children, staff (teaching and non-teaching) and, if appropriate,parents, visitors
  • provides children with a real context so they can apply the learning to the rest of the unit
  • doesn’t give too much knowledge to the pupils – just gives a taster for what is to come!
  • needs to be varied so that pupils do not lose interest.

The Knowledge Harvest

This focuses on three key questions that the children and staff consider:

  • What do I know?
  • What do I think I know?
  • What would I like to know?

The Knowledge Harvest can be represented in a number of ways: whole class display, individual responses, mind maps etc. It is crucial that the Knowledge Harvest is referred to throughout the IPC unit.

At the end of the unit the Knowledge Harvest is added to. Children will add to their original ideas to show what new knowledge they have gained.


Researching is not just about using ICT. At St Mary’s we encourage the children to use a wide range of research tools; internet, books, visitors, drama opportunities and practical experiences.


Children are encouraged to represent their work in a range of different ways. Before completing any piece of work, children are very clear about what is expected of them. As with any piece of work, the presentation policy is followed.

The Exit Point

The Exit Point is the celebration of the knowledge gained throughout the IPC unit.Children are fully involved in this and quite often the older children lead the celebration event. For certain IPC units, parents, the local community, school Governors may be invited to share in the celebrations. The Exit Point can take many forms: assembly, drama, road show, role-play etc. The list is endless!

If you would like any further information on IPC please visit http://www.greatlearning.com/ipc/