Pathfinder Curriculum

Co-constructing the curriculum

At ISH we recognise that your child will have a unique collection of interests, talents and ambitions. We also know that empowering them to construct aspects of the curriculum around those interests will help them find personal excellence. Pathfinder is an innovative programme which epitomises the Student-Led Inquiry model where students are supported to construct Inquiry Units that challenge them to achieve more in the MYP. 

In meeting this challenge they can start to develop a passion for life long learning and begin to create their own unique path in the world.

The MYP is an excellent framework of skills and standards that students should work towards in all subjects. To implement this framework, schools and teachers need to make lots of choices; what topics to study and when, how to assess students against the standards provided?

Instead of making these choices alone, Pathfinder teachers make them with students, taking into account their interests, talents and ambitions. The result is personalised, unique programmes of study.

Although the inquiry process will vary in every subject area, we generally follow these steps:


  • Existing interests are explored in more depth and new ideas are introduced to provoke different thinking.
  • This might happen through trips, guest speakers or specialised workshops.


  • Subject areas narrow down ideas to define inquiry goals and questions based on the interests identified.
  • Teachers and students work together to make a plan for the unit, incorporating the “essential” curriculum for that subject.


Students investigate their inquiry questions, gathering information and practicing relevant process skills.


Students make sense of what they’ve found out by structuring and communicating it to others.


Students make generalisations about their learning and test statements of understanding in different circumstances.


  • Students reflect on how learning has impacted on them and can be used positively for the communities to which they belong.
  • A student-led conference allows them to include family and friends in this process.


Pathfinder in Years 8 & 9

Students choosing Pathfinder in Years 8&9 do so in the following subject areas:

  • English Language and Literature
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Science
  • Design
  • The Arts

They work towards the same standards as other MYP students at ISH and around the world, but have more choice about the topics and how they demonstrate their learning in these subjects. Other subjects - Mathematics, languages, PHE - are taken with the rest of the school.



Pathfinder in Years 10 & 11

In Years 10&11, students can choose Pathfinder as a “subject” option alongside their other subjects. They follow the same co-construction process, but take an interdisciplinary approach to their inquiry, combining relevant subjects to achieve a learning goal. Their learning is assessed according to the MYP interdisciplinary criteria.

What does this look like in practice?

Meet Amalia! She joined Pathfinder with an ambition to write her own Broadway-style musical. She started by analysing a range of plays and musicals to understand the tools available to a playwright when writing a play. She then used this knowledge to create an original script and produce “You’re Next! The Musical”.

The production included more than 30 actors/actresses/dancers and backstage crew and was performed to an audience of more than 150.


For more information, contact Ollie Quinton, Pathfinder Programme Coordinator