Enhancing our GCSE learning through the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme

Johanna Sale, Vice Principal, Impington Village College


Impington Village College was one of the first UK state schools to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) following the introduction of the IB Diploma Programme more than 30 years ago. The introduction of the DP was followed by offering the Career-related Programme (DP) after its launch 10 years ago.


As experienced IB educators, our legacy Key Stage 3 curriculum was already heavily influenced by IB ideas and techniques. So, it was an easy decision to pursue candidacy to offer the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) when the IB offered the option of a flexible, three-year programme instead of the previous five-year offering.  Our decision to offer the MYP means that we are the only state secondary school for 11 to 18 year olds to offer the MYP, DP and CP – a statement we are wholly proud of. This means our students study the MYP for three years –7 to 9 – before transitioning to GCSEs and we look forward to seeing how the MYP positively impacts our students’ GCSE learning experience.

Preparing students for the world outside of the classroom

The MYP gives context to students’ learning, which spans eight subject groups including Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Science, Mathematics, Arts, Design, Physical and Health Education and enables them to apply their learning to real-world scenarios and experiences. The programme provides a unique opportunity for students to study an interdisciplinary unit, where they learn about one topic from the perspective of two different subjects. In Year 7, our students combine the study of literature and history to explore how a literary or historical figure can be viewed as a victim or a villain, dependent on perspective. Interdisciplinary learning and interconnected subjects deepen and broaden our students’ knowledge, in addition to helping them to develop their critical thinking and independent study skills. Unlike the national curriculum, the MYP goes far beyond classroom learning to prepare young people to become inquiring, caring and active learners, ready to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

Developing skills for the 21st century

Critical thinking, problem-solving and international-mindedness are skills that are in high demand for today’s students when they enter the global workforce. Unlike the national curriculum, the MYP is underpinned by the IB mission and IB Learner Profile, which aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through education.

Learning how to learn effectively 

The MYP’s Approaches to Learning (AtLs) help students ‘learn how to learn’. By developing their academic knowledge and emotional skills, students’ independent thinking and confidence grows – both inside and outside of the classroom.

A holistic approach to education

At Impington Village College, our Year 9 students undertake a community project to engage with advocacy work, fundraising and awareness raising.  Service learning is a fundamental pillar of the IB and helps MYP students gain greater awareness of the world they live in, and their role and responsibility in improving the lives of themselves and others.

Preparation for the academic journey

Finally, in addition to preparing our students for the rigour of GCSEs, students who complete the MYP are well-prepared lifelong learners who thrive in future stages of education and beyond.

June 15, 2023