The International Primary Curriculum

The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) is an internationally minded curriculum that is used in approximately 1800 schools in over 90 countries around the world (correct in March 2017). 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 need in order to face the world of tomorrow confidently. 

We adopted the IPC in Spring 2011 and it means we have become part of a global learning community who use the IPC as part of their curriculum. The children learn through a series of units of work, each unit is carefully selected to meet the needs of the pupils in our school community. The units of work have themes which children are interested in and relevant to today’s world. 

As we have a specialist Art teacher and PE coach and we have Music led by Thomas’s Kensington and Upbeat, these subjects are not taught through the IPC. Instead we focus on History, Science, Geography and International. The units of work have suggested tasks linked to learning objectives however the nature of the curriculum allows staff to be creative and focus on the needs of our children. The development of knowledge, skills and understanding is a very large part of the IPC. The IPC has an element of internationalism built into each unit of work. 

At the Academy, we refer to these units as ‘topics’ and ensure that all staff and children recognise the individual subjects within each topic. Children do not learn ‘IPC’ at the Academy, instead they learn Science, History, DT… through their topic.

Parents also have a significant part in their child’s learning. We ensure that as part of a topic, parents are informed about what their child will be learning and suggest ways in which they can play an active role in their child’s development. All parents receive a termly bulletin with this information. Work is celebrated and shared throughout the year with parents and the school community in assemblies and open days.

More information about the IPC is available here.

IPC Curriculum Route Map:

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

Up to age 6 Milepost 1 Year 1 Key Stage 1
Up to age 7 Milepost 1 Year 2 Key Stage 1
Up to age 8 Milepost 2 Year 3 Key Stage 2
Up to age 9 Milepost 2 Year 4 Key Stage 2
Up to age 10 Milepost 3 Year 5 Key Stage 2
Up to age 11 Milepost 3 Year 6 Key Stage 2

Choosing IPC units to teach

The Deputy Head for Curriculum plans using the IPC units. These are placed in the Route Planner to ensure that there is adequate coverage of subjects. The following subjects are taught outside of the IPC:

  • Computing- staff use the Rising Stars Computing Curriculum
  • Art- staff follow Thomas’s London Day Schools (TLDS) planning
  • PE –our coach follows Rising stars PE Curriculum 

The Route Planner covers mileposts, therefore units are planned across two year groups to ensure coverage. The route planner is reviewed yearly to ensure coverage of the National Curriculum.


Planning a Unit of work: 

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

Entry Point
Knowledge Harvest
Explain The Theme
Exit Point

The Learning Process:

“There is a distinct learning process with every I PC unit , providing a structured approach to make sure that children’s learning experiences are as stimulating and rigorous as possible,”

Every project must follow this running order:  

  • Entry point - could be a session or a day (depending on your unit) but must be a fun way of launching the topic.
  • Knowledge Harvest - one session where we ask the children to show their existing knowledge about the topic by making a model map in their project books – this will need to be modelled (perhaps through a shared model map) at the start of the year. Staff need to ask prompting questions to ensure children can show their knowledge fully. Knowledge Harvests are important as they show a starting point for each child with which you can assess progress against. They also enable staff to differentiate future lessons based on children’s current knowledge. Especially with older children, we can explain the purpose of the Knowledge Harvest.
  • Questions – as part of the Knowledge Harvest, we gather questions from the children. These questions could be in their books or displayed on post-it notes. Throughout the project, encourage children to answer them.
  • Explain the Theme - one (short) session where you use your Big Picture to explain the learning that will take place over the unit. This information is displayed in your classroom for the duration of the project. At the start and end of each lesson, you must refer to the Big Picture – review previous learning, identify current learning and (at the end of the lesson) discuss future learning.
  • Lessons – as mentioned above, every lesson must begin with looking at the Big Picture. All learning must be recorded in the topic lap books. Where children’s learning is unable to be written up (for example, the lesson was a discussion or work produced was an art sculpture), photos of their learning is good evidence and children enjoy annotating these.
  • Displays – IPC working walls should show the topic journey, from Entry Point to Knowledge Harvest to lessons etc. Subject definitions (on TShare- Curric.Co- IPC) should be displayed next to appropriate evidence of learning.
  • Exit Point - at the end of the unit, finish with 'an event’ as the culmination of your work. Parents, teachers or other classes could be invited to share in this. The Exit Point should include a Learning Review. It could be a model map (to compare with Knowledge Harvest), a quiz or anything else that ‘shows off’ the children’s learning through the project.

Involving the Parents:

  • Parents’ Bulletin –staff create and send out the parents’ bulletin for this
  • Entry Points and Exit Points – staff send out invites to parents and families prior to these events. They are usually very well attended.


  • Staff give requests for resources to the Curriculum Lead well in advance of starting each topic so that items can be ordered in time.