The Primary Academy (aged 5 to 11 years)

The Primary Academy at GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail, provides outstanding Primary learning for children between the ages of five and eleven. It is our belief that Primary is the phase where children really develop their interests, hobbies, passions, beliefs and opinions. Our core aim is for children to broaden their horizons and skills across a wide range of subjects, whilst developing a belief that they can not only exist in this world but help shape the future of it through a social entrepreneurial mindset and skillset.

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 Academy Overview

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. 


Explore the Primary 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, Moral and Cultural 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. 



  • projects 4 Change 

    As part of our Social Enterprise vision, Foundation Subjects are delivered through our Projects 4 Change lessons. Subjects are delivered in a thematic and meaningful way. Each Project offers opportunities to deepen students' understanding of that subject areas while also proving learning with a purpose and outcome. Importantly, Projects 4 Change ensures a balance of thematic and discrete teaching with an emphasis on both knowledge and skills.


    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 and Robotics

    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.  


    The wellbeing of all our students is crucial in enabling them to reach their true potential. GroWell is a differentiated wellbeing curriculum designed to ‘grow’ wellbeing, supporting and strengthening children’s development to becoming resilient, positive and empowered young people. Lessons have a focus on developing children’s emotional intelligence and in deepening their understanding of themselves as learners. As a school, we have weekly allocated lessons within our timetables, from FS2 to Year 6. During these allocated sessions, students will focus on the five key areas of wellbeing; Self-awareness, Self-management, Relationship skills, Responsible Decision Making and Social Awareness. These lessons ensure that individual student’s wellbeing needs are supported. Children have the opportunity to focus on different situations and scenarios, and develop their understanding of how to manage emotions through sharing their opinions. The aim is to equip children with the necessary tools to lead purposeful lives.


  • Specialist Lessons

    The Primary Academy offers a range of additional specialist lessons taught by teachers who are trained and qualified in specific subjects: Arabic, Islamic, Music, French, Spanish and Physical Education, including swimming. In addition to developing specific knowledge and skills, specialist lessons play an important part in personal, social and emotional development at this young age, as children develop relationships with a range of adults across our specialist facilities.  

    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. 

    Physical Education

    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.


    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 and Spanish

    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. 


  • Enrichment

    Our school day is structured to enable a full extra-curricular programme to be delivered. Participation in extracurricular activities takes equal importance alongside academic performance. Through participation in these events, students enrich their school days. In addition to physical development and the exploration of interests, students learn the thrill of challenge and competition, the importance of concentration, the spirit of teamwork and a sense of accomplishment. We provide a rich extra-curricular programme that supports students’ all-round development, providing opportunities for them to develop their talents. Students may choose from a wide variety of activities, including both individual pursuits and team building.

    Extra-Curricular Activities

    A rich and varied program of extra-curricular activities ensures that a wide variety of students interests are catered for, with a mix of academic, skills and physical activities on offer run by the school staff on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3pm – 4:15pm.

    External Trips

    Throughout the Primary School, educational visits are planned to enhance, develop and extend our curriculum. Such experiences are filled with exciting challenges, engaging hooks for projects and memorable learning moments, planned to enthuse a lifelong love of learning. From visiting the Emirates Bio Farm to Ecoventure camping excursions, all of our trips are aligned with the curriculum to promote hands-on learning in the real world.

    Internal Experiences 

    Throughout the academic year and during year group topics, students are provided with a range of exciting learning experiences through the curriculum. Lesson hooks are an engaging way to grab students' attention when introducing a new topic. Parent celebration events are held at the end of each topic, with students showcasing their learning. All topics present students with a range of new experiences, ranging from delving into the prehistoric times of the Stone Age to immersing themselves into the cultures of North and South America.


    Weekly Year Group Assemblies take place in our school auditorium and are an opportunity for the whole year group to come together in order to celebrate things that are important to us and our school community. Each week, our assemblies are based on a different theme, exploring ideas such as British Values, the Sustainable Development Goals and our Values, Attitudes and Attributes. The assemblies are delivered by many of our student leaders including the Head Boy and Head Girl, School Council Representatives, Wellbeing Champions and Young Philanthropists. Each week, we also celebrate our ‘HPL Learners of the Week’ and those children who have received the most House Points, the ‘Big Hitters’. It is also an opportunity for us to get together as a community to celebrate and acknowledge cultural and heritage events of the UK, UAE and those of our home country. Our Music department also feature in our weekly assemblies with songs linked to current curriculum themes. 


    All children are given the chance to take part in a number of school performances over the academic year. Each year group take part in one performance per year which is delivered as a showcase for parents. As a Primary School, we acknowledge and celebrate a number of cultural events throughout the year with student performance taking center stage. These include events such as: National Day, Diwali, Winter Concerts, and Year Group Topic Celebrations. At the end of the academic year, all children can audition for our End of Year Production working alongside professionals from ArtsEd. A number of roles are available for children including on stage and backstage including stage hands, costumes and make up. This whole school production is showcased during a number of performances both during and after school.


    The Drama department at The Academy have some incredible partnerships and performing arts opportunities available to students. Recently, we launched our new Elite Performing Arts Program where successful students will be coached and trained by professionals from Urdang International and United Dance Organisation DXB (UDO DXB). Students can audition to be a part of our elite teams and if successful, they will receive bespoke, professional training. An example of this is our Elite Acting Up Theatre Company, and successful students are entered for their LAMDA qualification. LAMDA Speech & Drama classes are drama lessons leading to exams set by the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. These exams are designed to develop the skills necessary to communicate dramatic text to an audience. This is just one of the fantastic opportunities in which students will develop interpretative skills, technical skills and knowledge of the performance process. 

    Student Leadership

    Each year group provides opportunity for student leadership. These help students develop important skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. It also allows them to take an active role in their education and school community. Examples of our student leadership roles in primary school include elected student council members, digital leaders who help with technology-related tasks and initiatives, eco-warriors who work on environmental projects, and playground leaders who help to create a positive and inclusive play environment for their peers. By participating in these leadership roles, students can learn to be responsible, confident, and capable leaders, which can benefit them both in and out of the classroom.

    Music Tuition

    Private Vocal and instrumental lessons are provided through our external instrumental provider Center for Musical Arts (Additional Charge). These lessons take place in the WEK Music Department during the school day and there are many different instruments available. 

    ESM After-School Clubs

    As well as internal ECAs, The Academy works alongside ESM to offer a broad range of additional coached activities from external providers. These take place throughout the week after school within our school facilities. (Additional Charge)


  • Innovative Teaching Approaches

    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.  

    Teaching Principles

    The Academy draws upon our Teaching Principles in order to highlight the key features of effective teaching and learning. These principles were agreed by The Academy teaching team and are formed from the following:
    Research on how the brain acquires and uses new information
    Research on the classroom practices of those teachers whose students show the highest gains
    Findings from studies that taught learning strategies to students

    Learning Intentions

    Every lesson begins with a Learning Intention. This Learning Intention is created by the teacher and describes clearly what the teacher wants the students to know, understand, and be able to do as a result of learning and teaching activities. This provides a focus for students within each lesson.

    Learning Steps

    Learning Steps are shared to break down the learning process within a lesson. Sharing Learning Steps with students supports them to understand the key milestones that will take place within the lesson to assist them in understanding the new learning.

    Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

    Pupils from Year 3 onwards are asked to bring an iPad as part of our commitment to enhance the learning experience delivered in the classroom. The school uses a number of educational apps which allow children to personalize their learning experience, as well as giving them access to a wide range of cutting-edge digital resources. The use of technology is to supplement the provision given by the class teacher and is never used as a replacement.


  • Online Platforms


    CENTURY is an AI-powered online learning platform that tailors study materials to the needs of every child. CENTURY learning ages range from Year 3 to Year 13 and focus specifically around English, Maths and Science. As CENTURY is an AI platform, it is able to develop an individual education plan for each child. Every individual path, as it is referred to in Century, is different in order to challenge all students across all ability groups.


    Seesaw is an online learning platform that enhances student engagement. Teachers can empower students to create, reflect, share, and collaborate. Students “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. It’s simple to get student work in one place and share it with families.

    Purple Mash

    Purple Mash is a whole curricular, online resource that supports teachers with challenging subject areas or topics, whilst encouraging children to love learning through exciting and engaging online activities.

    Timestables Rockstars 

    Times Tables Rock Stars is a carefully sequenced programme of daily times tables practice. Each week concentrates on a different times table, with a recommended consolidation week for rehearsing the tables that have recently been practised every third week or so. This format has very successfully boosted times tables recall speed for hundreds of thousands of pupils over the last 8 years in over 16,000 schools – both primary and secondary – worldwide.


    NumBots adopts the best teaching practises to take children from counting on their fingers, to adding and subtracting two digit numbers. NumBots supports KS1 students in developing understanding, recall and fluency in mental addition and subtraction, so that they move from counting to calculating.


How To Think

Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs)

As a World-Class High Performance Learning School, we ensure that students are actively involved in the learning process and develop the mindset, cognitive knowledge, and practical strategies on how they can support themselves to be successful. The ACPs identify 20 ways of thinking (grouped into 5 categories), shared through student-friendly language, associated with high performance. The ACPs are implicitly embedded within the teaching and explicitly shared and focused on with students when appropriate. Regular opportunities within lessons are provided for students to engage, explore and develop these, while house points and awards are given to students who demonstrate development and dedication in these areas.

  • Meta-cognition
  • Self-regulation
  • Strategy planning
  • Intellectual confidence

  • Critical or logical thinking
  • Precision
  • Complex and multi-step problem solving

  • Intellectual playfulness
  • Flexible thinking
  • Fluent thinking
  • Originality
  • Evolutionary or revolutionary thinking

  • Connection finding
  • Generalisation
  • Imagination
  • 'Big picture' thinking
  • Seeing alternative perspectives
  • Abstraction

  • Automaticity
  • Speed
  • Accuracy

How to Behave

Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs)

At GEMS Wellington Academy Al Khail, we promote and nurture a positive learning environment. Our aim is that our students are responsible, resilient and respectful global citizens.

As an accredited World-class High Performance Learning School, the Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs) associated with HPL are embedded in our daily practice. We strive for all students to be hard working, agile and empathetic in everything that they do.

  • Practice
  • Perseverance
  • Resilience

  • Enquiring
  • Creative and enterprising
  • Open-minded
  • Risk-taking

  • Collaborative
  • Concerned for society
  • Confident


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How are parent's updated on their child's progress?

    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. 

  • 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 7:15am 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 Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 pm until 4:15 pm. 

  • Do I need to provide lunch for my child? 

    Parents have three options for snack and lunch. They can provide their own packed lunch from home. They can pre-order a packed lunch from our catering company, Slices. Alternatively, you can allow children to purchase their own lunch with Slices with either cash or adding money to their student ID.

  • 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.  

  • How much technology is used in lessons?

    All Primary classrooms have interactive touch screens to support learning across the curriculum. Children in Years 1 and 2 have frequent access to iPads and electronic programmable devices. Children in Years 3, 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.

  • When using BYOD or technology, how do you keep my child safe online?

    As a National Online Safety Certified School, we value Online Safety Education for the whole community. It is important that schools, parents and carers work together to take an active role in teaching children about online dangers and how to act safely when using the internet. E-Safety is at the forefront of all digital learning with regular e-safety lessons and events forming part of our Projects 4 Change lessons. Our Wi-Fi access also has very strict filters to ensure children are protected from inappropriate online content.

  • Do you offer a bus service?

    Primary students have access to the bus service at the beginning and end of the school day. School buses leave the campus at 3:15pm Monday – Thursday and 12:15pm on Fridays. 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