This article is a study of one aspect of the character education offered by schools following the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate – students’ pro-social development. Set against a background in which the development of inter-personal qualities is being marginalised by conservative governments across many national systems of education (Keddie, 2015), the International Baccalaureate seems to defy these trends by continuing to centre attention on the holistic development of personal characteristics, including the cultivation of pro-social behaviour through the learner attribute ‘Caring’. Through a focused analysis of the pro-social curriculum practice enacted by nine case-study international schools following this curriculum across three continents, the article concludes that pro-social behaviour is effectively encouraged by the International Baccalaureate programmes, but that it is a somewhat patrician version of caring that is enacted in many contexts. © The Author(s) 2018.