The Secondary School is co-educational and operates a two form intake from Year 7 to Year 11; the majority of our 300 secondary students come from our own primary department, but places are often available for students coming from other schools or newly arrived in the UAE. There is a maximum of 25 students in each form group at Key Stage 3; generally groups are smaller for GCSE, and our A Level classes boast one of the lowest teacher / student ratios of any Sixth Form in the UAE. Ours is still a relatively small school, with a supportive inclusive environment where there is the opportunity to know everybody.
There is a strong emphasis in Key Stage 3 (Years 7 to 9) on preparing students for the academic rigour of their later years. Classes aim to create a solid foundation and skills base to take the subjects further. There is an expectation that students become independent learners who enjoy challenge and who know how to deal with it. Teachers will strive to inspire and instill a love of their subjects, through teaching that is imaginative and challenging. Lessons will be active, varied and supplemented with trips, competitions, special events and opportunities to try new things. Frequent monitoring reports, and planned early interventions where problems are discerned, ensure that students are rarely able to give less than their best. Tutors, subject teachers and the Key Stage Head expect to work closely and collaboratively with parents, and the students themselves, on target-setting, addressing the need for additional help or greater challenge. A feature of SES is the involvement of older students in mentoring younger students academically.
On a pastoral level, students will be assisted in managing the issues and concerns that come with the teenage years – whether these be personal, social or health and fitness related. A secondary school counsellor is available for assisting with concerns in this area.
There is a strong emphasis at this level on developing values such as respect, politeness, hard work, independence, cultural sensitivity, environmental awareness and intellectual curiosity. Parents need to understand that our belief in a broad curriculum also recognizes how crucial extra-curricular activities are for the nurturing of confidence, leadership and resilience.
The school takes every opportunity to celebrate and share students’ successes, whether they are academic, sporting or artistic.
Key Stage 4 students (Years 10 and 11) take UK General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations, unlike many UAE schools who offer the International GCSE (IGCSE). As students work through this level, with its increasingly rigorous academic demands, they are assisted in becoming more independent and disciplined learners; they acquire the values that will make them into life-long learners with the highest expectations. Though goal-oriented and recognizing that students need to maintain high standards to enable them to progress into A Level and beyond, teaching and learning is still based on engagement, inspiring teaching from knowledgeable teachers and the certainty that a passion for a subject is a sure foundation for success. Opportunities for excelling outside of the classroom are not neglected, with full provision of leadership programmes, regular musical and theatrical performances, local educational visits and optional overseas trips to support history, art and design or drama. Many students also complete the requirements of the International (Duke of Edinburgh) Award.
SES understands and is experienced in dealing with the stresses of academic pressure, and support is always available to assist our students navigate these challenges without compromising their ultimate success.
Our examination success at Key Stage 4 level, represented by our GCSE results since our first sitting of these examinations in 2008, has been outstanding, and far exceeds UK averages.
SES introduced Sixth Form (Year 12 and 13) in 2008, and our first Year 13 students graduated in 2010. We offer small classes at this level (average A Level class size in 2017 was 6 students), which afford students the opportunity to reach their full potential and to apply with confidence to top university courses in the UK or elsewhere.
At our school we believe that the A Level system offers unmatched, demanding academic rigour; it probes subjects in depth in a way that empowers students in their initial university or college experiences. Our teaching staff in Year 12 and 13 are characterized by their experience teaching at A Levels, by their passion for their subjects and by their ability to help students negotiate the rigours and difficulties of operating within a competitive and demanding academic environment. Teachers will be fully conversant with the latest trends in their subject, and skilled at managing the examination board requirements and specifications.
Sixth Form also further builds on the leadership abilities of our students, offering the chance to take part in social or charity events, mentoring students in lower years, becoming sports leaders etc. Senior SES students are commended regularly for their maturity, communication skills, and their confidence with adults and visitors to the school. We are confident that they go into the wider world with the results, skills and confidence to ensure success in whatever track they choose to follow.
Parents are involved and welcomed at all levels of the Secondary School; there is frequent contact with teachers and there are many opportunities for parents to meet with staff and to become involved in school life. We see ourselves, at Sharjah English School, as part of a partnership with students and parents whose common goal is to support the combination of high academic achievement and the personal accomplishments, which will give our students access to the foremost universities throughout the world.
Head of Secondary