The International Baccalaureate offers four educational programmes for children aged 3–19: The IB Primary Years Programme (IB PYP), the IB Mid Years Programme (IB MYP), the IB Diploma Programme (IB DP) and the IB Careers Programme (IB CP).
While all four of these programmes are usually available in an expat oriented country, not all schools will offer all four programmes. In fact that is a rarity.
The IB's four programmes were not actually designed as a continuum. Each is a standalone framework and curriculum, developed at different times and stages of the IB's evolution. Increasingly however the IB organisation is moving to provide an overarching framework for children from 11 through to 19. Even with this however it is not necessary, or even usual for a school to offer all programmes.
An IB Continuum School offers the IB PYP, IB MYP, and either the IB DP or IB CP (or both).
Many schools that have gone the IB route choose the GCSE up to 16, followed by the Diploma programme. It is more unusual for a school to be IB up to 16, and then offer A Levels.
IB Primary Years Programme
The PYP is the IB's primary years curriculum and aims to prepare students to become "active, caring, lifelong learners". It is the equivalent of the UK's Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.
Also known as: IB PYP
Age range: 3-12
First offered: 1997
IB Middle Years Programme
A secondary level framework that "encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world". The MYP is inclusive by design and "aimed at students of all interests and academic abilities". It is the equivalent of GCSE - with a crucial difference that individual examinations are not part of the MYP programme.
Also known as: IB MYP
Age range: 11-16
First offered: 1994
IB Diploma Programme
The IB's most common post 16, pre university qualification, that aims to develop students "who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically". It is the IB's equivalent of the A' Level, and is widely accepted by universities around the world.
Also known as: IB DP
Age range: 16-19
First offered: 1968
IB Career-related Programme
The CP is a framework of international education addressing the needs of students engaged in career-related education. It leads to further/higher education apprenticeships or employment. It is the equivalent of the UK's BTEC, although with a distinctly more academic shell.
Age range: 16-19
First offered: 2012