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About the IMYC

The Adolescent Brain

After careful study of the latest Neuroscientific research, we identified five key needs of the adolescent brain and developed elements into the IMYC that were specifically designed to support each one. 

The IMYC uses a concept based curriculum design, building units around ‘big ideas’ that help students interlink all their learning. The IMYC also uses a specific process of learning (based on the way the brain learns) consistently across all subjects. This helps students with planning and organising, both regulated by the maturing pre-frontal cortex of the adolescent brain.

Compass International School Imyc Collaboration Unit Science Entry Point

Learning Goals

The learning goals of the International Middle Years Curriculum outline the knowledge, skills and understanding needed across all subjects as well as developing personal dispositions and becoming more internationally minded. The IMYC subject learning goals were informed by eight curriculums around the world, making them easy to adapt to your local national curriculum standards.


Personal goals

Personal goals refer to those individual skills and qualities we believe students will find essential as they move into adulthood. 11 to 14 year olds have very different needs to primary or senior learners as they seek personal meaning and connectedness. The IMYC addresses these crucial personal needs:

  • to make sense of their learning
  • active involvement with their peers
  • to make connections
Globes And Girls

International learning goals

International learning goals help 11-14 year olds develop a sense of their place in the world. They learn about other people and cultures, and continue to become more international.

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Units of Learning

Each IMYC unit has a theme and involves six weeks of learning based around a ‘Big Idea’, which aims to help students in every year group to achieve coherence and connection within their subjects.

The full range of units includes adaptability, balance, belief, celebration, challenge, collaboration, communication, community, competition, consequences, courage, creativity, curiosity, development, discovery, entrepreneurship, identity, interpretation, justice, leadership, reflection, relationship, renewal, resilience, resolution, respect, responsibility, risk, structures and tradition.

The Big Idea challenges students to think beyond a topic by elevating the theme to broader, conceptual thinking, and making connections back to each of the IMYC subjects.

A teaching framework for the unit contains suggested learning tasks to support teachers and the fostering of personal dispositions and international mindedness, all related to the Big Idea.


We believe that knowledge, skills and understanding (as defined by the IMYC) are different types of learning - different enough to be learned differently and therefore should be taught differently and assessed differently.

The IMYC Assessment for Learning plays a crucial role in helping students take responsibility for their learning. It supports teachers to assess students, whilst supporting students to assess their own progress.

The Assessment for Learning Programme covers:

  • tracking subject skills over three years
  • providing success criteria or skills ‘rubrics’ for teachers and students
  • guiding progress to the next level for key skills across 9 subjects
  • assessing student progress from beginning to developing, and mastering across all subjects.
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It’s great to see the changes that are happening which are improving on student learning. In the past we had not really connected our subject learning. Now, with the International Middle Years Curriculum, we connect all the learning and we tailor the learning so that it is culturally relevant to the children. We are already feeling the positive results of the IMYC in the classroom. As teachers, we’re spending less time standing at the front talking to everyone. Now, because of the collaborative, enquiry-based approach we’re going round to small groups tailoring the learning to their needs.”

Charlotte Flook,
Teacher at Harrow International School, Bangkok, Thailand
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