PYP Overview

Hillside uses the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) as its curriculum framework and has been an authorised IB World School since January 2013. The school has completed its first evaluation visit from the IBO in November 2018.


How do children learn at Hillside?

Children at Hillside develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding of concepts through guided inquiry. Classrooms foster curiosity and promote discovery by making learning relevant to the “real world” and challenging for each student. We start from children’s prior knowledge and build on each student’s strengths, experiences, and cultural and linguistic background to support learning. We encourage children to become independent learners and critical and creative thinkers who are empowered to take action.

Class teachers in each year group work as a collaborative team, supported by specialist Mandarin teachers to provide a transdisciplinary curriculum. Children create new understandings by drawing links between and across the traditional subjects.

What is the curriculum?

The curriculum is made up of three parts:

What do we want to learn?
The Written Curriculum
This includes:

  • Scope and sequence documents – these documents outline the conceptual understandings and learning objectives students learn while at Hillside
  • Programme of Inquiry – This is the overview of all units of inquiry the students will engage with over 2 years at Hillside
  • Units of Inquiry – These are the four detailed planners which make up each year group’s programme
How best will we learn it?
The Taught Curriculum
This includes:

  • Learning engagements that make use of structured inquiry
  • Learning skills that enable children to take ownership over their learning
  • Developing attitudes
  • Understanding concepts
  • Learning knowledge
  • Developing the attributes of the learner profile
  • Taking action
How will we know what we have learned?
The Assessed Curriculum

This includes:

    • Formative assessment – finding out what students know in order to plan the next steps in learning
    • Summative assessment – the culmination of teaching and learning where students demonstrate what they have learned
    • Recording – how we collect and analyse evidence of learning
    • Reporting – how we communicate information about learning

Please CLICK HERE for the Hillside Assessment Policy.


The curriculum framework consists of five essential elements:

This includes:

  • Concepts
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Attitudes
  • Action

The knowledge component is developed through inquiries into six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, supported and balanced by six subject areas.

Transdisciplinary Themes Subject Areas
Who We Are
Where We Are in Place and Time
How We Express Ourselves
How We Organise Ourselves
How the World Works
Sharing the Planet
Social Studies
Personal, Social & Physical Education

This diagram shows how all of these elements fit together to develop the curriculum framework.


At the heart of the curriculum is the Learner Profile which is a set of attributes that the IBO and Hillside believe are demonstrated by internationally minded people. All members of the Hillside community are encouraged to model these attributes and foster their development in others.

Information on this page was taken in part from: “Making the PYP Happen” 2009
For further information, please visit: or click HERE for key IB PYP Publications

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