The Pathfinder Programme

The Pathfinder Programme facilitates personal excellence by allowing students to follow the MYP from the perspective of their own interests.

Students must meet the same requirements and standards as other MYP students at ISH and around the world, but work with Learning Guides (teachers) from each subject area to design and carry out investigations that build on their interests. Learning Guides also play the role of introducing different ideas. In doing so, students construct personalised, challenging and relevant curricula.

Why take this approach?

  • Individualised knowledge and motivation: By allowing students to make authentic choices about their learning, we aim to harness the power of intrinsic motivation and help students create a unique and powerful body of knowledge that stays with them. 
  • Skills for learning and life: By helping students to plan and carry out their own initiatives, we give them the opportunity to practice on a daily basis the skills they will need for learning, life and work in the future.
  • Confident about their place in the world: Young people are engaged in a struggle to shape their identity: who they are and how they will contribute to the world. Pathfinder allows students to explore these questions by giving them more choice about their learning, helping to shape a positive and confident identity.

Pathfinder programme 2019-2020 :






Frequently Asked Questions:

How do students learn?

There are four main learning routes in the Pathfinder Programme, each requiring a different level of autonomy on the part of the student:

1. Personal goals

These are at the top of the ladder because they are goals that the students identify and pursue themselves. They might be about:

  • Academics - e.g. carry out a personal investigation into my family history and write a book
  • Skills - e.g. learn to play the piano
  • Community-profile - e.g. speak in front of 50+ people I don’t know 
  • Serving the community - e.g. raising awareness about poverty in The Hague

Students should always be pursuing a goal and will have regular check-ins with a Learning Guide. 

2. Student pitched investigations

These form the main part of a student’s learning experience. At different points through the year, students are encouraged to develop and "pitch" ideas for investigations to peers and the relevant Learning Guide(s). Students are also able to join investigations developed by others that interest them.

3. Math and science options

  • Math options aim to “model” good math projects and ensure students make progress in the four branches of mathematics. There are different levels available for each branch and students are able to pitch their own ideas too.
  • Science options aim to equip you with knowledge of the topics covered in Y10&11, and help students develop essential independent study skills. Students typically meet a Learning Guide in small groups once a week and work towards a summative assessment at the end of the unit. Y10&11 students need to take the options for the sciences they wish to study in Y12. 

4. Learning Guide challenges

At four points through the year, the Learning Guide team will set a challenge to complete over two weeks. It will include at least two subject areas and will be the only thing students work on during this time. For example, students might be challenged to establish and run their own news outlet for the school. Whilst these challenges will be directed by the LGs, students still have a lot of choice about how to complete the task and will need to work independently.

How is progress reported?

Progress is reported via ManageBac in the same way as the rest of the school.

  • Achievement levels for MYP-related investigations will be reported according to subject area.
  • Regular reports are generated that show progress in each subject area. They look the same as any other MYP report.

More importantly, at different points throughout the year, students encouraged to record their achievements and interests in a CV/portfolio, and discuss this with friends and family at student-led conferences.

How does the timetable work?

At the start of the year, students receive a personalised timetable. This includes:

  • "Core" Pathfinder times, ensuring they get to see Learning Guides from each subject area.
  • PHE lessons and any additional languages taken (French, German and/or Spanish).

Although this may look like any other timetable, it’s much more flexible as students will not be working on every subject area at a given time. 

  • This allows them to focus more of their time on an investigation, perhaps spending a whole day on one investigation.
  • It also means that students meet Learning Guides in much smaller groups, allowing for a more personalised and intense session. 

How do you ensure students are ready for their next steps?

The MYP programme is designed to help students develop key skills and competencies across a wide range of subjects that they will need in the future (be that further IB programmes or life in general). Pathfinder simply implements the MYP in a different way, so Pathfinder students still develop these skills, competencies and subject area knowledge. They are held to the same standards as any other MYP student and experience taking more responsibility for their learning, as they will need to do in the IB Diploma and Careers programmes.

To ensure students have specific subject knowledge, special units are provided where they are needed. For example, if a Y10 student’s science investigations miss an important topic usually covered in that year, they take a special science option (see the math and science options mentioned above). We are also extremely lucky to have a teaching team experienced in subject area knowledge and IB programme who help ensure every student is ready for their next steps.

How do I find out more?

If you’re an ISH student or parent:

  • Look out for the weekly updates and announcements in the newsletter.
  • Students are welcome to drop-by the Pathfinder room (B124) to see how Pathfinder works in practice.

Otherwise, you can find out more by emailing

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