The Secondary School is co-educational and operates a three form intake from Year 7 to Year 11; the majority of our 340 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 a small-but-growing school, with a supportive inclusive environment where there is the opportunity to know everybody. At SES, we are more than a collection of individuals, we are a community who share a common purpose. Our education is based on a detailed understanding of what each and every student needs to succeed and our lessons are personalised to deliver precisely the skills, knowledge and understanding that each individual student needs to acquire next in order to make progress towards their learning goals.
The seven years of secondary education are divided into 3 separate Key Stages. Key Stage 3 includes Years 7, 8 and 9, and during these three years, students will study a wide range of subjects. Students in Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) follow a more personalised programme of study that increases the depth of learning in the eight or nine subjects that they have chosen to study throughout the Key Stage. At the end of Year 11, students take their final GCSE exams. When students move into Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13), they will follow a programme of study comprising three A Level subjects, each of which is studied in far greater depth than at GCSE level. Students take their final A Level examinations at the end of Year 13.
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 a challenge and who know how to deal with it. Our teachers are almost universally trained and qualified in the UK, but many also have a wide range of international experience, which helps them to understand the unique nature of international private education. All of our 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 Heads of Key Stage expect to work closely and collaboratively with parents, and of course the students themselves, on target-setting and addressing the need for additional help or greater challenge. A feature of SES is the involvement of older students in mentoring younger students academically.
We endeavour to present all of our students with a wide range of opportunities and experiences which help them to develop as individuals, and to both acquire new skills and develop existing ones. Opportunities for excelling outside of the classroom are an integral part of SES, 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 choose to complete the highly-valued International (Duke of Edinburgh) Award during their time at SES.
We aim to develop character as well as enabling students to achieve highly, and we endeavour to instill such qualities and attributes as leadership, team-work, resilience and determination. There is also 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.
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. 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.
Key Stage 4 students (Years 10 and 11) predominantly 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.
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 (the average A Level class size in 2019 was 6-8 students), which afford students the opportunity to reach their full potential and to apply with confidence to prestigious universities in the UK and around the world.
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 (our teachers have a combined amount of A Level experience of over 500 years), 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.