Secondary Curriculum

Key Stage 3

Head of Key Stage 3: Miss. Ruth Tremlett

In Key Stage 3, we work on developing individuals' talents, whether they be academic, musical or sporting. It is our aim to help the younger students develop their own skills both in and out of the classroom in order to produce well-rounded human beings as well as successful academics. Being organised as well as active helps increase students' confidence and enthusiasm in their studies and this is encouraged from the first day in Year 7.

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, Second Language Arabic, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology, Drama, Computing, Music, and Physical Education. There is Learning Support and Islamic Studies provision.

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 are required to engage, support and extend students’ of all abilities, in lessons which are varied, creative and often daring.

There is wide scope for participating in sports, extra-curricular activities, instrumental lessons etc. SES recognizes how crucial these are for the nurturing of confidence, leadership and resilience. Details of the clubs on offer can be found on the Extra Curricular Activities page of our website.

Key Stage 4

Head of Key Stage 4: Mr. Darren Cowan

Option choice booklets can be downloaded from here

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 must 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 teachers begin in the first term of Year 9, with option evenings and meetings, and continues 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 options present a programme of study which will judiciously mix mathematics, and sciences with arts subjects. The final blend 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 and English Literature, Mathematics, two or three Science courses and up to four further optional subjects to GCSE 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 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. Whatever their choices, the school works hard to ensure that children recognize that the GCSE courses require application and hard-work over a two year period.

The terminal examinations, in June of Year 11, have acquired critical importance as assessed coursework has disappeared or diminished in importance. Students need to be guided towards maximizing 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.


The Sixth Form

Head of Sixth Form: Mr. Paul Egan

Option choice booklets and application forms can be downloaded from here

SES believes that A Levels still 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 and Cambridge, Brown, St Andrew’s, Imperial, Boston and 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 that they develop, the friendships forged will all be crucial in determining how students cope with the transition from school to university and adult life, and their success 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 third-level 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 / pupil ratios amongst any established school in the UAE; our Year 13 teacher / pupil ratio in 2017 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 are all experienced practitioners with years of examination 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 personal statements, UCAS, references, enhancing their applications with extra-curricular achievements and responsibilities.


For our small but important cohort of US bound students, SES has an outstanding record of assisting our scholars gain admission to top American colleges. Our experience and the testimony of the students who have progressed to US universities, is that the benefits of completing Year 13 and acquiring full A Level qualifications, considerably eases the academic transition into the US system and offers in many cases a head-start towards academic distinction there.