Mark Gardner, MYP Co-ordinator at Marymount International School London, explains how the IB’s Middle Years Programme benefits students’ learning and growth

The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) has become one of the most popular programmes worldwide for international schools. Data from shows that 1,500 schools are now offering this learning pathway. Marymount International School London was an early adopter of the IB, and we have been offering this to our students for over 40 years.  The school adopted IB as it recognises the value it gives, providing each and every student with individualised learning experiences to support both academic and personal growth.

The MYP is a five-year programme covering Grades 6 to 10 (Years 7-11) and, as the name suggests, it forms the middle of the full IB continuum. There is also a Primary Years Programme alongside the Diploma Programme for students in their final two years of school.

For Marymount London, an independent, Catholic, all-girls school, the MYP supports a broad and balanced approach to the curriculum whilst supporting our mission statement which empowers young women to be “firm in faith, vibrant in hope, rooted in love and one in service”. The design of the MYP provides a framework from which all schools are able to develop learning programmes relevant to their local and individual context, whilst meeting internationally recognised standards. This is an inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching, supporting students in developing their knowledge, skills and understanding. But it is what it at the core of the programme that provides its real points of difference.

Across all subjects within the MYP, content is contextualised to give meaning, embedding learning in real-world situations to explore concepts and the inter-connected nature of the themes and topics which students investigate. The approach helps students to connect to content in meaningful ways, offering opportunities to reflect and explore their own experiences and interests and develop a growing sense of self. In practice, this approach broadens each student’s appreciation of the world around them, enhancing intercultural understanding, and developing appreciation of their duty as responsible citizens of the world. A STEAM programme has also been introduced for our students to create further opportunities for meaningful links across and beyond subjects, and to engage students with this critical area of study.

The development of skills to support self-regulation and nurture characteristics of a lifelong learner run through the veins of the MYP”

The development of skills to support self-regulation and nurture characteristics of a lifelong learner run through the veins of the MYP. Across all subject groups, skills of ‘learning how to learn’ are integrated into teaching and learning, focusing on a wide range of key skills, including critical thinking, effective research, evaluation, self-management and communication. These skills support students in enhancing their potential. They learn about taking reasonable risks, discover their learning preferences and develop and reflect upon their own personal identity.

Throughout the programme all students take an active role in the provision of service to others, in both organised and self-initiated ways, with each activity being measured against meaningful and engaging outcomes. As students approach the final year of the programme, they also undertake a substantial independent piece of work which demonstrates, and further enhances, the skills and abilities they have developed during the programme.

The journey through the MYP that our girls make not only develops their academic abilities and competences, it also supports their understanding of themselves and the world around them. As well as enabling Marymount International School London students to move on successfully to the IB Diploma, the MYP builds confidence and independence of thought. This, in turn, helps them to find their place in what is becoming an increasing complex and challenging world.

Marymount International School London

Further reading: DLD College London on learning for the here and now