Key Stages 3 - 4

the Secondary Academy (Aged 11-16)

The Secondary Academy at GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail demonstrates performance at a consistently outstanding level and has a deeply embedded set of strongly held values and traditions understood and lived by all the staff, students and parents involved with The Academy. We hold the understanding that every child should be afforded the opportunity to break the glass ceiling when it comes to achievement, and we are proud to offer a variety of pathways to our students that aims to draw the very best progress and attainment from them.  

Gemma Thornley

Secondary Principal


A very warm welcome to the new academic year at Wellington Academy - Al Khail. I am absolutely delighted to be here with you as we embark on an exciting year of growth, excellence and aspiration...


Secondary Academy Overview

During their time in Secondary, students work towards significant curriculum standards to ensure they are ready for their GCSE or ASDAN examinations at the end of Year 11, and then further education Post 16 with A Level or BTEC pathways on offer. Our expert staff understand that the essential link between aspirations, motivation and independent learning is critical, and we have a developed a consistent pedagogy that allows the development of thinking skills, collaborative learning and an encouragement for students to take part in a variety of formal and informal curriculum choices.   

Leadership and student voice is also encouraged and we want our students to be able to take personal responsibility for making the right choices throughout their time here at The Academy and as a result of the mutual and reciprocal trust between staff and students, our positive behaviour management systems are at the heart of all we do.  

We strive to work in full partnership with parents, sharing information, progress and achievements throughout the year to best support student learning in school and at home. We have three formal parents’ evenings across The Academy year; however, we have an open-door policy and encourage parents to meet teachers frequently to discuss progress and next steps in learning.   

We are a truly inclusive school where no child is left behind. Furthermore, we are outward-looking both in terms of the way we are keen to learn from others and we are constantly looking to challenge our staff and students to strive for excellence both academically and in the enriched curriculum.



Explore the Secondary Curriculum

  • Year 7 to Year 9 (Aged 11-14 years)

    Our Key Stage 3 Curriculum provides uninterrupted continuation from our Key Stage 2 Programmes, and a very clear progression pathway for our Key Stage 4 courses, including GCSEs, IGCSEs and BTEC Level 2. We place high value on our curriculum being balanced and stimulating, fostering an academic culture which encourages students to become independent enquirers and thinkers, learners who read widely, challenge and question. 

    We aim to develop character in our students by ensuring our provision, both curricular and extra-curricular, fully engages them in their learning, and that students are confident in developing and applying a range of skills which will ensure they can further their knowledge and enthusiasm across the academic, artistic, cultural and sporting disciplines. 

    The following subjects are taught at Key Stage Three:  
    Islamic Studies  
    Moral, Social and Cultural Studies  
    Social Enterprise 
    Physical Education  
    Design Technology  

    Students also undertake impartial and independent Careers Guidance, Entrepreneurship, Cross-curricular Studies and Personal, Social and Health Education. All students are encouraged to participate in wider learning opportunities through the many clubs, societies and curricular group projects. Students are given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, and can enjoy wider artistic, sporting, and cultural events, including day and residential trips to complement in-school learning.

    We would like to share with you our curriculum overviews for each year group. These documents will provide you with detailed information about what your child will be covering over the academic year for each subject.

    Key Stage 3 Curriculum Year 7

    Key Stage 3 Curriculum Year 8

    Key Stage 3 Curriculum Year 9

  • Years 10 and 11 (Aged 14-16 years)

    During Year 9, students have the opportunity to choose four option subjects to study at GCSE, IGCSE and BTEC Level, alongside a number of core subjects. Unless special dispensation has been sought, all students have to take the following compulsory subjects:

    English Language  
    English Literature  
    Moral, Social and Cultural Studies 
    Physical Education (non-examined)  
    Islamic Studies (for Muslim students only)  
    Arabic as a First Language (for Arab passport holders only)  
    Arabic as a Second Language (non-Arabic students to year 10) 

    In addition to this, there are a range of options from which the students select four additional subjects to study. Those students who may commence their GCSE studies with a low level of English may opt for Directed Study. This is a non-examined subject but provides the students with additional time and support for their other GCSE courses and English language development.  

    The option subjects include:  
    Business Studies  
    Media Studies  
    Computer Science  
    Physical Education  
    3D Design  
    Design Technology - Product Design  
    Design Technology - Textiles  
    Design Technology - Food Preparation and Nutrition  
    ASDAN International Award  
    BTEC Level 2 Sport 
    BTEC Level 2 Creative Media 

    Examination boards based in the UK and used by GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail are AQA, EDEXCEL and Cambridge. GCSE qualifications are based in most instances on final examinations at the end of Year 11, which mean that coursework is reduced to the absolute minimum.  

    Key Stage 4 Curriculum Year 10

    Key Stage 4 Curriculum Year 11

  • 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 and half-termly House 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, House Captains, School Council Representatives, Wellbeing Champions and Young Philanthropists. Each week, we also celebrate student success and those children who have received the most House Points. 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.


    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.

    Success Criteria

    Success criteria is a set of features a teacher wants to see in a child's activities throughout a lesson or project that evidences the learning has been successful. Identifying Success Criteria ensures that teachers and students know what is expected and sets the standard of challenge. Based on the context/subject of the learning, Success Criteria can be presented in a variety of ways including, rubrics, checklists, examples, models, or a set of instructions. Success Criteria also supports the personalising of learning by sharing what success will look like to each individual student.

    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.

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




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