Primary school at the academy


The Primary department at GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail, provides outstanding Primary learning for children between the ages of five and eleven. Across the school, from the Foundation Stage to Secondary, we follow the National Curriculum for England. This includes the Primary National Curriculum for England. It is our belief that Primary is the phase where children really develop their interests, hobbies, passions and opinions. Our core aim is for children to broaden their horizons and skills across a wide range of subjects, whilst developing 'soft' skills like teamwork, critical thinking and independence through the Learner Profile.


During their time in Primary, children work towards yearly Curriculum Standards to ensure that they are well prepared to transition to the next year group and ultimately our Secondary School. Our teachers carefully plan and prepare engaging activities which motivate and inspire children to learn. We personalise learning for every child, supporting and extending learning for unique abilities. Children learn best through carefully planned units that connect subjects, are linked to real life and provide opportunities for problem solving. Teachers set open ended-tasks, ask probing questions and continuously challenge students thinking.

Ben Cooper

Primary Principal


At GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail, we provide high-quality, personalised learning experiences for children across the school, including in Primary. We believe that children learn best when they are provided with opportunities to problem solve, apply their learning to real life and think deeply about skills and concepts. In Primary, children make meaningful links between subjects to ensure learning remains relevant. Our small class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities and outstanding teaching team allow for every child to aspire, create and excel. We place high emphasis on physical development and well-being across the school, recognising that successful learning relies on children feeling safe, valued, healthy and happy in their environment.


Primary School Overview

We strive to work in full partnership with parents, sharing information, progress and achievements throughout the year to best support children’s learning in school and at home. We have three formal parents’ evenings across the school year, however we have an open-door policy and encourage parents to meet teachers frequently to discuss progress and next steps in learning. We also offer regular opportunities for parents to ‘drop in and join in’ with learning in the classroom. 

Innovative Teaching Approaches – The Academy Difference

‘Inspiring future leaders through creative teaching and learning.’  

As a leading school in Dubai, it is important that we take learning into the 21st Century. That is why we have adopted innovative teaching approaches that support all learners and ensure that they are prepared for the real world.  

  • Key Questions 

    Unlike most schools, lessons at the Academy begin with a Key Question which hooks children in their learning and allows them to discuss, evaluate and debate the answer to the question. By the end of each lesson, the children can answer the key question at a deeper, more detailed level.  

  • Chilli Challenges

    In every lesson, children are also presented with a ‘Chilli Challenge’ which provides a variety of learning tasks set at different levels. Children are offered the opportunity to self-select their starting challenge to ensure every child has a personalised learning experience.  


Explore the Primary Curriculum 

The English Primary National Curriculum is split into two Key Stages: Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2) and Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6). The Academy's Curriculum includes both the National Curriculum of England and the UAE Ministry of Education Curriculum.  

  • Core Subjects 

    The Core Subjects are the basis for all other learning and are more formally assessed each year. 


    The National Curriculum for English develops student’s understanding of the English language. Children develop skills around the four areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. In KS1, children will develop a deep understanding of Phonics before applying these in the four areas. 


    The National Curriculum for Mathematics develops a broad range of skills encouraging children not just to become fluent with mathematical strategies but to reason mathematically and solve problems. Mathematics is broken down into the following topics: Place Value; Number; Calculations; Shape and Space; Measurement; Data Handling; and Algebra. 


    The National Curriculum for Science aims to ensure that all students develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics. Students will also develop understanding of the nature, processes, and methods of science through different types of science inquiry that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them. Lessons ensure all children are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future. 

    Arabic A (specialist)

    Our specialist Native Arabic curriculum mirrors our English curriculum and from a young age children develop skills around the four areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Children attend Arabic A specialist lessons four to five times a week, depending on the age of the child. 

    Arabic B (specialist)

    Our specialist Arabic curriculum mirrors our Modern Foreign Language curriculum and from a young age children develop skills around the four areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Children attend Arabic B specialist lessons three to four times a week, depending on the age of the child. 

    Islamic (specialist) 

    For our Muslim students, our specialist Islamic curriculum provides children with an opportunity to develop their understanding of Islamic values. Muslim children attend Islamic lessons two to three times a week, depending on the age of the child. 

    Social Studies

    Children will access the Social Studies UAE Ministry of Education Curriculum, which is related to the building of personalities, instilling the values of national identity, and the practice of good citizenship, which in turn develops a sense of belonging within the school and local community. 

  • Foundation Subjects 

    Connected Curriculum 

    The Connected Curriculum ensures Foundation Subjects are delivered in a connected and thematic way in order to provide exciting, engaging and motivating learning opportunities. 

    Each Learning Journey has one or two key projects which offer opportunities to deepen students' understanding of that subject area. For example, when exploring the key question: What does it mean to be a hero? Year 5 students discover Ancient Greece in History and Modern Greece in Geography to innovate the modern-day Olympics in Design and Technology. 

    Connections between subjects are clearly mapped, whilst providing adaptability and flexibility so that the lives and cultures of learners and their communities can be distinctively embedded. Importantly, the Connected Curriculum ensures a balance of thematic and discrete teaching with an emphasis on both knowledge and skills. Connected Curriculum includes the following subjects: 


    The Academy's Geography education inspires pupils’ curiosity and fascination of the world and its people. Teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time. 


    Our History education helps children gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. Teachers inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching equips pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Our lessons help pupils understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as developing their own identity and identifying challenges of their time. 

    Design and Technology

    Our Design and Technology curriculum allows children to use their creativity and imagination to design and make products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. Pupils learn how to take risks, becoming resourceful, innovative, enterprising and capable citizens. Through the evaluation of past and present design and technology, they develop a critical understanding of its impact on daily life and the wider world.  

    Art and Design

    Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. The Academy's Art and Design lessons engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they will be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of Art and Design. They should also know how Art and Design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation 


    Computing equips our students to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology safely to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world. 

    Moral Education

    The UAE Ministry of Education Moral Education Curriculum is divided into four core areas:  

    • The Character and Morality curriculum is centred around developing each student as honest, tolerant, resilient and persevering individuals.  
    • The Individual and the Community curriculum ensures that children understand a true citizen is one that takes care of themselves in addition to caring about the good of society and participating actively to make things better.  
    • Civil Studies ensures that whether a student was born in the UAE or moved here with their family, it is essential to understand the fundamentals of how the UAE was formed and how it is governed today.  
    • Culture is an inherent part of a society and the programme wants to highlight UAE’s shared human culture that encapsulates the traditions and symbols that help define who we are. 

    Physical Education (specialist)

    The Academy’s high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically demanding activities. It provides opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect. Our state-of-the art PE facilities enrich the curriculum for students from FS1 to Secondary.

    Music (specialist)

    Our specialist Music lessons provide an opportunity to develop a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. The high-quality music education at WEK should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon. 

    French (specialist)

    Weekly specialist French lessons provide an opening to other cultures. Our high-quality language education fosters children’s curiosity and deepens their understanding of French speaking cultures. Our teachers enable pupils to express their ideas and thoughts in the French language while providing opportunities for them to communicate for practical purposes. The Primary Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Curriculum is broken down into the following areas: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. 

  • Enriching the Curriculum at The Academy

    At the Academy, as part of our well-being programme, our twice-weekly enrichment sessions allow children to develop interests and skills beyond the statutory curriculum and include activities such as gardening, cooking, yoga, social groups and drama. These activities place a high emphasis on developing positive and trusting relationships with peers and adults. We also give all children regular opportunities to showcase their learning through weekly class assemblies, parental engagements and special events in our auditorium. Developing student’s confidence in themselves is extremely important. 

  • Extra-Curricular Activities at The Academy

    Our after-school extra-curricular activities (ECAs) support academic, social and physical development. Our ECAs include clubs such as: Sports and Exercise, Creative Writing, Cooking, Design and Construction, Robotics, Coding and Performing Arts. 


Frequently Asked Questions

  • When does the school day start and end? 

    The school day begins at 7:50 am for primary students. We offer a ‘soft start’ to the day with classes opening at 7:25 am to welcome students before registration and give time for students to settle into class and prepare for the day.

    Year 1 to Year 4 finish at 2:45 pm every day, while Year 5 and 6 finish at 3:00 pm from Monday to Thursday. On Fridays, all students finish school at 12:00 pm.  

    Extra-Curricular Activities take place Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:15 pm until 4:15 pm. 

  • Do I need to provide lunch for my child? 

    We have a school cafeteria where food can be purchased via a ‘Student ID Card’ which is uploaded with money via a website. The cafeteria is open for students at break and lunch times. We offer a range of healthy foods across the week. Alternatively, you may choose to provide a packed lunch for your child. Lunchtime is an important part of the day for our children, where positive social development and etiquette is encouraged and valued. 

  • What are the class sizes in Primary? 

    Years 1: Class capacity is 25 students 

    Years 2-6: Class capacity is 27 students 

  • How many adults are in each Primary class? 

    Our small class sizes ensure that all children experience personalised learning to enable them to quickly meet their next steps. There is one Teacher and one Teaching Assistant in every class from Years 1 to 4. In Years 5 and 6, there is one Teacher and a Teaching Assistant shared between two classes. For our younger students, our Teaching Assistants accompany children to their specialist lessons with specialist Teachers.  

  • Do you offer digital learning in Primary? 

    Yes. All Primary classrooms have interactive touch screens to support learning across the curriculum. Children in Years 1, 2 and 3 have daily access to iPads and electronic programmable devices. Children in Years 4, 5 and 6 are asked to bring their own Apple iPad from home as part of our Bring Your Own Device Scheme which transitions into Secondary School. 

    Digital learning is integrated into all areas of learning to ensure children can apply their digital literacy in all contexts. However, children’s well-being is extremely important and so teachers closely monitor to ensure that there is a balance between digital and ‘unplugged’ activities. Technology is only used when it will enhance learning and not to replace other learning opportunities. 

    E-Safety is at the forefront of all digital learning with regular e-safety lessons and events forming part of our Connected Curriculum lessons. 

  • Do you offer a bus service? 

    Primary students have access to the bus service at the beginning and end of the school day, and also after ECA activities. Our Teaching Assistants and Bus Conductors accompany children to and from the bus daily, ensuring there is always an adult-to-adult handover. CCTV, GPS tracking, live updates and ‘sleeping child’ checks are some of the key safety features on board our STS buses. For more information about our School Transport Service please click here.  


Explore All Our Curricula

  • Foundation Stage

    Early years learning for children between the ages of three and five. 

  • primary

    Primary School

    Primary learning for children between the ages of five and eleven.

  • secondary

    Secondary School

    Key Stage 3 and 4: Years 7-11

  • sixth-form

    Sixth Form

    We offer A Level, International A Level and BTEC International qualifications during Post 16 education.


Next Steps

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