Head of Key Stage 3: Mr Daniel Burns & Mr Greg Ryan
The aim of the Key Stage 3 curriculum is to develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and character of each student. We achieve this aim through a broad and engaging curriculum which helps to develop students academic ability as well as their own individual interests both inside and outside of the classroom. In addition, the Key Stage 3 curriculum extends beyond the academic focus and encourages students to develop their own skills and learning behaviours, such as organisation, responsibility and leadership, which will enable them to be successful both in their future studies and in a rapidly globalising world.
A full curriculum is offered in Key Stage 3 prior to taking options for further study in Years 10 and 11. In addition to the core subjects of English, Maths and Science, students in Years 7 to 9 take French, Arabic, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Computing, Music, Physical Education & Islamic Studies (for Muslim Students).
As a school under the auspices of the UAE Ministry of Education, we incorporate local Social Studies and the new Moral Education Framework into the curriculum, and alongside special assemblies and events to mark occasions like National Day, SES promotes knowledge and understanding of local history, culture and traditions.
Key Stage 3 students have opportunities to engage with and explore subjects, many of them being encountered for the first time, in an atmosphere that stokes intellectual curiosity, academic discipline and ambition; in this they are guided by dedicated, highly specialized teachers who share a passion for their subject and a love for imparting knowledge. Teachers engage, support and extend students’ of all abilities, in lessons which are stimulating and enriching. Where required students will also have access to learning support provision.
There is a wide scope for participating in sports, extra-curricular activities, instrumental lessons etc. As a school we recognize how crucial the co curricular programme is to help nurture confidence, leadership and resilience. Details of the clubs on offer can be found on the Extra Curricular Activities page of our website.
Mr Daniel Burns
Head of Year 7
Mr Greg Ryan
Head of Years 8 and 9
Head of Key Stage 4: Ms. Jessica Ockenden
As they leave Year 9, the students reach an important point in their schooling where they have to decide which subject options to take for their GCSEs. Before this choice can be made, teachers, parents and students all work together to ensure that the final decision is one which will be informed and to the satisfaction of all concerned. Consultations between students, their parents and the teachers begin in the first term of Year 9. The options evening is held in late November, straw polls are carried out to inform the final option blocks that students can choose from, the choices that they make continue to be fine-tuned through the year.
We believe that a broad, balanced education is essential and this policy is reflected in our option format. Our GCSE and BTEC options package reflects a programme of study which will prepare our students thoroughly for future studies in whichever system of education they enter. It will also give them the diversity of subject matter that does not close down future academic or career pathways.
To ensure breadth and balance in each student’s individual curriculum, all students take English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, two or three Science courses and up to four further optional subjects to GCSE (or BTEC equivalent) level. Students also take Physical Education and a Personal, Social and Health Education course as non-examination subjects. For the majority of students a total of nine or ten GCSE subjects will be studied. Some subjects may be offered at both Higher and Foundation level. Students are also permitted to offer additional language subjects for examination at IGCSE (in Arabic, Russian, German, Spanish for example); at times it may be agreed that examinations in these additional subjects can be taken in Year 10.
In addition to subjects they have studied since Year 7, Key Stage 4 students have the opportunity to embark on new subjects, such as Economics and Business Studies. Whatever their choices, the school works hard to ensure that children recognize that the GCSE and BTEC courses require application and hard-work over a two year period.
The GCSE terminal examinations, in May/June of Year 11, have acquired critical importance as assessed coursework has disappeared or diminished in importance. Students need to be guided towards maximising their grades and exceeding their targets in these final examinations, so as to ensure access to A Levels, and to keep as wide as possible a variety of post-16 options available for themselves. In this they are guided by teachers with detailed knowledge of the specifications and past examinations, who are capable of supporting and stretching all the students in a group to achieve the highest grades of which they are capable.
Key Stage 4, while undoubtedly focused on ultimate examination success, also provides ways for students to enhance their leadership skills, their control of their own health and fitness, their ability to manage and navigate the increasing personal and social demands that come with being a teenager. We do not, at SES, lose sight of the fact that children should also enjoy non-academic success, personal growth and wellbeing, and should feel happy, supported and secure being at school. They will face challenges, but will do so in an environment that encourages ambition and positivity.
Ms Jessica Ockenden
Head of Key Stage 4
Head of Sixth Form: Ms. Ruth Tremlett
SES believes that A Levels provide the ‘Gold Standard’ amongst pre-university qualifications, wherever a student plans to go next. The subject mastery required to gain a top grade at A Levels requires rigour, discipline and hard-work of a very high order; the school’s role is to enthuse and inspire senior students to fearlessly take on that challenge and to take ownership of their futures with confidence.
The school and teaching staff have a proven record of guiding and preparing students for some of the top universities in the world – SES alumni have enjoyed success at Oxford, Cambridge, Brown, UC Berkeley, St Andrew’s, Imperial, Boston and several other Ivy League and Russell Group universities.
The choices students make, about what and where to study for Sixth Form, will have a significant bearing on their future life and career. The qualifications they acquire, the personal qualities and life skills they develop, the friendships forged will be crucial in determining how students cope with the transition from school to university and adult life, and their successes in an increasingly competitive world.
If they are to benefit from entering Sixth Form, students must have a proven academic record of achievement at GCSE or IGCSE. They must embark on the course prepared to extend themselves academically, to utilise the greater independence that they will have in a worthwhile and constructive manner to allow them to take advantage of the opportunities which will exist for developing skills, leadership and responsibility. Their aim should be to strive for success, so that they can leave school fully satisfied with the options that are available, and they must feel equipped to take on the challenges of university and life with confidence.
Senior SES students enjoy one of the lowest average teacher/student ratios amongst any established school in the UAE; our Year 13 teacher/student ratio in 2019 was 1 to 6. This guarantees the individual attention, early support and intervention, and setting of additional work and extension tasks, which maximize opportunities for examination success.
Our teaching staff at A-Level and BTEC are all experienced practitioners with years of success behind them. Students are entitled to expect teachers who are subject specialists with a firm grasp of the academic intricacies, the current examination specifications and assessment requirements. SES can also assure prospective students that their teachers will be enthusiasts for their subject, who can engage and support every member of a class, and who can deliver demanding material with clarity and passion.
What SES can also offer prospective Sixth Form applicants is a fully established and proven system for supporting college applications, through staff mentoring and assistance with all aspects of their applications; from personal statements and personal essays to enhancing their applications with extra-curricular achievements and responsibilities. As a school we have experience of sending students to universities in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Germany and the UAE.
Ms Ruth Tremlett
Head of Sixth Form