International recognition for The Abbey Junior School


The Abbey Junior School, Reading, has become the first 3-11 girls’ school in the UK to be authorised to deliver the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP).

A new style of education

The PYP is the outstanding curriculum for primary-aged students, helping young people solve tomorrow’s problems. What makes it special is that students are taught how to think and how to connect subjects, rather than memorising stale content in fixed channels. Students are inquirers and investigators, led by their own curiosity to pursue meaningful questions relating to the world in which they grow. 

At the end of Year 6 there is no concluding examination. Instead students create the big questions they want to investigate, carrying out research and deciding how to take action with their new learning. The culmination is the Exhibition, an event where students showcase their findings. Visitors are set challenges by students, who demonstrate in live discussion how they have developed their skills and knowledge and encourage others to take action.

In The Abbey’s first Exhibition, themed on communication, students presented on how writers have used fiction to explore world issues over thousands of years, on the ways AI and coding can revolutionise communication between machines, on how art communicates truth, and the neuroscience and value of bilingualism to name a few. This extraordinary learning experience is made possible through research-driven teaching and learning that develops thinking skills, depth and breadth of knowledge and a life-long passion for learning. From our earliest learners in Little Knellies, and all through the Junior School, the PYP prepares students for a future of their own creation. 

Tackling ongoing discrimination in education

We still live in a world where the voices of girls and women are not heard loudly enough. Recent research shows that book characters are more than four times more likely to be male than female. Over half of primary school teachers witness regular gender stereotyping in their schools. Over a third of girls in school report being treated differently due to their gender.

The Abbey Junior School supports diverse and talented female students to expect to have their voice heard as a matter of right. The PYP, with its focus on holistic learning, challenge and presentation, is the best way to help girls cement and develop the skills they need for their own futures and to help drive social progress for all.

Human Intelligence vs Artificial Intelligence

The launch of the PYP is the centrepiece of The Abbey’s Human Intelligence programme. In a world of machine learning, The Abbey nurtures investigators, risk-takers, inquirers and communicators with the creativity and initiative to thrive in an uncertain world. Our students take the global perspective: they learn how issues inter-relate, and they learn how to lead change. 

The key ingredients in The Abbey’s world-leading curriculum are Ideas + Passion. The PYP allows us to free the way our students think and learn. They shatter assessment targets but more importantly they do so with the assurance that makes them ready to take on the world.

One of the world’s leading schools

The Abbey already secures results in the International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Programme from 16-18 that places it in the leading group of schools in the world. GCSE and A Level outcomes are also among the best in the country.

The Abbey will always use its position in education to innovate and lead change in support of the school’s single aim: to equip its students to live with confidence, purpose and joy.

Festival of Inquiry – 21 January

Book places for our inaugural Festival of Inquiry on Saturday 21 January to experience first-hand our unique learning environment during a detective-themed morning! You and your daughter are invited to explore our Junior School campus in a fun, interactive challenge. Can you solve the mysteries that await? To book your places, please click here.

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