Learning Pathways



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YEARS 7, 8 & 9

The Year 7,8 & 9 curriculum is based on the National Curriculum of England but is specifically determined by the needs of the students who attend Sharjah English School (SES). It is enriched by an emphasis on the relevance of the cultural, religious and geographical context of the UAE, achievement in the performing arts and sport as well as an expectation of awareness for important global issues.

In Year 7, 8 and 9 we aim to facilitate the cognitive development of students. This is characterised by a concentration on the acquisition of basic skills in language, literacy, numeracy and information technology.

We also look to develop the skills of conceptualisation, analysis, reasoning and the application of basic skills over a wider range of experience.

In this way, students can begin to appreciate the wider world and begin to develop notions of their place within it and their contribution to it. As a result, the key elements in this phase of the curriculum are:

  • Continuing emphasis on the development of basic skills, building toward a successful transition to I/GCSE.
  • Continuing emphasis on assessment for learning techniques.
  • Focusing on the development of higher order thinking skills through appropriately challenging work—specifically through extensive use of Socratic questioning.
  • Encouraging the development of independent thought, not only by teaching and learning opportunities but also by an increasing amount of extra curricular and wider school initiatives.

All students are entitled to an appropriate curriculum that is broad, balanced, differentiated, rigorous and relevant to student needs. In addition to their academic progress this will cater for their creative, social, physical, emotional, moral and spiritual development.

The Middle Years curriculum is broad in that it offers all the subjects required as part of the UK National Curriculum with an enriched performing arts, sporting and extensive extra-curricular provision.
In Years 7, 8 and 9 all students are taught History and Geography, Arts, Science and Technology with cross-curricular links between them. In Year 9 the students continue to study all a diverse range of subjects as well as studying Physics, Chemistry and Biology as individual sciences for the first time. As a result, students should have a well-rounded educational experience with enhanced cultural, sporting and language provision.
Differentiated and Rigorous
Throughout Year 7, 8 and 9, students are placed in mixed ability teaching groups. However, setting takes place in Mathematics during Years 7, 8 and 9. Students in need of specialist help are identified and facilities and specialised teaching are made available to them after consultation with their parents. These groups tend to be categorised as Learning Support groups or Language Support groups. Although a different style of delivery may be found within each teaching group throughout Year 7, 8 and 9, the delivery to each group will be characterised by its rigour and the high expectations by staff of their students.

The holistic education provided by the academic curriculum, the Moral Education curriculum, enrichment opportunities and co- curricular activities aims to ensure that all students develop academically, creatively, socially, physically, emotionally, morally and spiritually whilst they are within Year 7,8 and 9. This approach ensures the foundations for success at I/GCSE are developed before the students reach Year 10.

YEAR 10 & 11 (I/GCSE)

The I/GCSE years offer new challenges for students aged 14-16 years at Sharjah English School (SES). The curriculum is more academically demanding than in previous years and assessment in the form of coursework occurs throughout the two year period. Students have to plan their time more effectively and show greater initiative in their studies.

We are very keen that every student at SES fulfils his or her potential. In academic terms, this means that each student should gain the best grades of which they are capable in the different sets of external examinations they sit.
I/GCSE or the General Certificate of Secondary Education

GCSEs (I/GCSE is the International version) is the external examination which students in England and Wales take at the end of Year 11, usually when they are sixteen years old. I/GCSEs are important examinations. Not only do the results give an indication of a student’s attainment in the subjects they have taken in Years 10 and 11, they also give a broad sense of what may lie ahead in terms of the pathways they take in their education.

Naturally, students are encouraged to study only the subjects in which they have ability or do what they are passionate about. Entry to Year 12 is selective and students are expected to achieve at least a grade B or Level 6 at I/GCSE in order to continue the study of a particular subject in Year 12.


In addition to the examinations, students are assessed in some subjects by coursework and controlled assessments, the nature of which differs according to the subject. Coursework requires planning, research, initiative and patience. It is a very valuable learning experience, in addition to being an important form of assessment. Redrafting, proofreading and editing coursework assignments helps to make students more critically aware of their own weaknesses and also teaches them how to improve the quality and depth of their work.

It is essential that students maintain as broad an education as they can, for as long as they can. All academic subjects in universities, and virtually all employers, seek students and employees with a wide education. I/GCSEs provide a sound base on which to build on in later study. In Year 12 and Year 13, students will have the opportunity to specialise further and study subjects in greater depth. The I/GCSE years are challenging but they are also an intellectually stimulating time. Students truly begin to engage with the complexities of different disciplines and coursework allows them to pursue the branches of knowledge that interests them most. There are greater opportunities for independent learning and initiative is essential to doing well. The breadth and depth of I/GCSEs are an ideal foundation for more specialised study.

Facts About The I/GCSE

In general, I/GCSE examinations are taken at the end of Year 11. The General Certificate of Secondary Education is administered by examination boards based in the UK. The examination boards we follow are EDEXCEL and AQA and both offer I/GCSE courses which are broadly considered to be the equivalent of one another. Universities make no distinction between the GCSE or IGCSE qualifications.For further information please refer to the Ofqual website.
Detailed syllabus information can be found on the following websites:



YEARS 12 &13  (A Level)

We expect most Sharjah English School (SES) students to opt to study three subjects at A Level and study these for the duration of the two year course. Most universities will make offers based on three subjects. Students considering four A Levels should discuss this in their 1-1 interview with the Head of Secondary School and the Sixth Form leadership team. This is usually restricted to students with a Level 7-9 (A/A*) at I/GCSE, plus an excellent effort record across all subjects.

Each subject has its own entry criteria. Most subjects require an achievement of at least a Level 6 (B) at I/GCSE level (For those students wanting to study Further Maths the minimum requirement is an 8-9 (A*) at I/GCSE level). Many subjects require students to have studied them previously, but some subjects are available to students with no previous experience of them. Entry onto these courses is at the discretion of the Head of Secondary & Head of Department.

In Year 11 students are asked to make choices from the subjects listed below.

  • Art & Design (Fine Art)
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • D & T Product Design
  • Drama & Theatre Studies
  • Economics
  • English Language
  • French
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physics
  • Physical Education
  • Psychology

Please note that, as always, some subjects may not be available if the numbers of students opting for a subject or staffing/timetable constraints do not make them viable. Please also be aware that whilst it is likely that we can accommodate most first choices, we cannot guarantee this.

Our aim is for students to be well placed at the start of Year 12 to ensure a smooth transition and the best possible start to life in Year 12.

As part of the comprehensive Post-16 pathways guidance, students will be advised as to whether they are recommended for a 3 or 4 A Level pathway.

Assessment and Grade Award

A Levels are graded A* to E for pass grades, with U (un- classified) for fail. Students receive regular reports throughout their time in SES and parents are also invited to attend meetings with their son’s and daughter’s teachers to discuss their progress. In addition to ex- aminations, in some subjects students will complete a variety of coursework tasks, all of which contribute to the final grade that they will receive.

Preparing students for a globalised world

At SES we recognise that sole academic achievement at A Level is not all that is required to secure places at the world’s leading universities or to fully prepare young students for the important challenges and working environments that they will face in the future.


At SES we endeavour to provide all of our students with a more rounded education and skill base whilst upholding the academic rigour that A Level success demands. None of us know exactly what the future holds for each individual member of our community. However, through Year 12 and 13, we strive to provide every student with the self confidence to take on each challenge that they face and the right tools to enable them to find the solution.

As well as studying at least three A Levels subjects students at SES will also have the opportunity to study for an SES Diploma Programme designed to equip them with the academic and professional skills needed when they leave the school to go to universities.


Life as an A-Level student at SES is about so much more than the courses students choose to study. We pride ourselves that at SES all of our students are well rounded, well prepared young adults, ready to face the world of work and higher education. Accordingly, A Level students are expected to follow an enrichment programme designed to deliver this breadth and depth.

The programme will involve:

  • Creativity: Experiences that involve creative thinking, experimentation and expression.
  • Activity: Physical exertion that contributes to a healthier lifestyle, and involves personal challenge. This will be linked to the PE/Sport programme.
  • Service-learning: an unpaid voluntary exchange that has learning benefits, while maintaining the rights, dignity and autonomy of all involved.
The CAS Experience

CAS is doing all of the beneficial things that we do which are not a direct part of the academic curriculum. The CAS experience is central to developing better people.

CAS students are expected to follow the maxim: ‘think globally, act locally’ and recognise that ‘common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet helps to create a better and more peaceful world’.

By doing real tasks that have real consequences, the CAS framework provides everyone with the time and opportunities to benefit from experiential learning, which develops social responsibility, enhances existing passions and inter- ests, and raises awareness of new skills. It is only after reflecting upon these experiences for a period of time that personal development occurs.


The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop self-worth. CAS is about educating the whole person, and the three elements are closely interwoven. Together, they enable students to recognise that there are many opportuni- ties in life that complement academic study. It is the interaction of creativity, activity and service that facilitates the richness of the CAS experience; the whole of CAS is greater than the sum of its parts.

Creative and physical activities are particularly important for adolescents as they shape their desires and values. There are also many opportunities for fun and enjoyment through service-learning which can act as a release from the stressful times of academic life.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The EPQ is an in-depth piece of research which involves either producing an essay (5000 words) or a product and 1000 word report. Also they will complete a production log and do a 20-30 minute presentation.

The aims of the Extended Project are to develop students skills in essential areas such as research, planning, analysis and evaluation. The development of these skills will help students with both their A-Level studies and their future studies at university.

An EPQ enables a student to stand out from the crowd of university applicants and demonstrate explicitly that they are ready and able to succeed on an undergraduate programme of study.

Students begin working on their Extended Project dur ing Term 2 of Year 12 and it is completed by the end of Term 1 of Year 13. Students can produce a project on any topic but it would be best for it to link to either their A-Level studies or their future university course. Presentations will occur in the first or second term of Year 13.

Physical Education and Healthy Living

All Year 12 and 13 students will have one period of the week together to take part in a range of different physical/healthy living related activities. Physical activity promotes the production of serotonin which has been proven to help student’s mental health and well-being.

Students will complete different activities throughout each year with the aim of not only improving the physical and mental well-being of the students but also to enhance their skill in a number of key areas that will be very useful in their lives beyond SES.

The aim of this programme is to provide the introduction to a variety of pathways that will facilitate a lifelong engagement with physically active lifestyles.The students will be able to choose from a variety of options, just as they will be able to as adults.

Higher Education Preparation

Students are challenged to aim high, within their capabilities, and are well informed about how to maximise their chances of gaining places at leading universities worldwide.

In keeping with the hard work they put in, the vast majority of SES graduates achieve their ambitions and enter leading institutions throughout the world, including the very highest ranked universities in the United Kingdom, Ivy League universities in the United States and the best universities in many other countries around the world.

Oxbridge and Ivy League Preparation

The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop self-worth. CAS is about educating the whole person, and the three elements are closely interwoven. Together, they enable students to recognise that there are many opportuni- ties in life that complement academic study. It is the interaction of creativity, activity and service that facilitates the richness of the CAS experience; the whole of CAS is greater than the sum of its parts.

Creative and physical activities are particularly important for adolescents as they shape their desires and values. There are also many opportunities for fun and enjoyment through service-learning which can act as a release from the stressful times of academic life.

Ivy House Award and SES Diploma

The SES diploma is an innovative enrichment program tailored to enhance the educational journey of sixth-form students. It represents an academic and leadership enrichment initiative aimed at empowering our students to construct an impressive personal profile that supports their aspirations for Higher Education and future careers.

It revolves around four pivotal components: upskilling, leadership, fostering positive contributors, and world readiness. Included in the program are externally accredited courses like the EPQ qualification administered by AQA and Ivy House award. Additionally, students are encouraged to pursue Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by platforms like Coursera and edX, which are accessible to everyone free of charge as well as participation in essay competitions.

Internally, the program offers the World Ready initiative, providing access to lectures and workshops from external professionals such as university lecturers. Furthermore, students participate in volunteering opportunities within our primary school community and are encouraged to lead ECA's, and societies and secure work experience outside of school.

The Diploma program commences in the first term of Year 12 and concludes in the second term of Year 13. Throughout this duration, students will meticulously record and validate their hours and accrued points using the Diploma log book. The personalised structure of the Diploma offers students the flexibility to tailor their experience by combining and selecting activities to amass points.Additionally, students have the opportunity to earn points through alternative courses or activities, such as coaching a sports team. Upon completion of the program, students will receive acknowledgement certificates during the Graduation ceremony held at the end of Year 13.

Throughout my eleven-year journey at Sharjah English School, I'm extremely thankful for the unforgettable memories and lifelong friends that I have made. These range from the precious moments I cherished during Primary's Golden time to the Physics lessons that I always enjoyed. I am also deeply grateful to SES for helping me discover and nurture my interests in Maths and Economics. This was made possible by the dedicated teachers and the abundance of opportunities provided to me. I am excited for the future and would like to thank SES for the strong foundation that it has provided.

Class of 2003