Frequently Asked Questions | The Aquila School Dubai


Can I tour the school?

We are delighted to be able to offer school tours Monday to Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. We occasionally arrange Sunday open days throughout the year. If you would like to book a school tour, please get in contact and we will happily arrange this for you and your family.
Please note an appointment is required to visit the school.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?

The Aquila School is a fully inclusive school representing children from all nationalities.

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?

Class sizes will be no greater than 26. There will be a number of learning assistants across the school.

Describe your school's approach to education and teaching?

We have appointed excellent class teachers from the UAE and the UK. When selecting teachers, we have been looking for the ability to make learning relevant and engaging so that children love coming to school and make as much progress as possible. We empower our teachers to choose the best methods to motivate the children while encouraging them to be creative and reliant learners.

Learning at The Aquila School is not dull; there is not a worksheet in sight and our teachers get the children actively learning not passively listening – from the very start of the lesson.

The children have access to a range of technologies to support their learning in all age groups. By combining technology and the arts underpinned by a focus on academic rigour, The Aquila School is truly unique.

Our core belief is in ‘amazing learning’, with meaningful enquiry-based learning at the fore, with our innovative curriculum which provides vocational, professional and technological opportunities. Designing, constructing and even deconstructing happens on a regular basis and we want children to find out for themselves how things work, how to fix them and how to rise to challenges. Through all of this, we do everything we can to make children love coming to our school and make as much progress as possible.

How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?

As well as PE and swimming being an integral part of the curriculum we will ensure that learning how to keep healthy both physically and mentally will be a key part of our curriculum. We will also have a number of community events such as fitness mornings, family football and cricket. The Principal even leads a weekly whole school aerobics session!!!

How do you promote healthy eating?

We actively promote healthy eating at school as we know that when children eat nutritionally-rich food they have more energy and approach their studies with more enthusiasm. Our children have the choice of home-packed lunches or can avail school lunches from our on-site school lunch provider. As our school grows, we will open our own canteen for our children.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?

A catering company serve hot and cold meals to children on site. There is also be a cafe in the reception area for families to use – The Parrot Café.

What would be the amount spent by a student for their lunchtime meal?

The exact amounts depend on the food chosen by the child but all of our meals are affordable. A sample menu and order form is available on our school app.

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?

Monday to Thursday: 

  • FS1 & FS2: 7:35 am to 1:45 pm
  • Year 1 to Year 6: 7:35 am to 2:45 pm
  • Year 7 to Year 11: 7:30 am to 3:25 pm


  • FS1 to Year 11: 7:35 am to 11:40 am

We also offer a range of clubs for wrap-around care, including breakfast club and sibling club.

Is there a school uniform?

Yes, our newly designed uniform is contemporary and European in style. We have made it practical for children learning!

Please advise on your discipline policy?

Positive relationships will permeate all aspects of the Aquila school. We use a positive approach to behaviour management based on the Jenny Mosely approach with rewards for exceeding our golden rules and sanctions for not meeting them. Every member of our community embraces the Four Cs -Courtesy, Consideration, Common sense and Co-operation.

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?

We ensure that families are fully informed of what their child is learning in school and how families can help at home through weekly newsletters and meetings for families. We also have regular family workshops in all areas of the curriculum.

We recognise that many children have busy lives. They will work very hard while at school, so we will not be setting excessive amounts of homework. We expect all children to read at home regularly to develop a love of reading. There will be a range of projects each term that children will be able to do at home.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?

Our teachers will be available for a quick word at the start and end of each day and to make an appointment if a longer discussion is needed. Formal family conferencing sessions will happen three times a year. Families will also receive regular snapshot reports throughout the year from their class teacher. 

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?


Which other languages are taught?

To enable cultural connections with other schools in the ISP family of schools we teach Spanish to children in Y3 and older.

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?

We support all children through quality first teaching and by immersing children in a language-rich curriculum.

Is Islamic Education/Studies for the Arab Muslim students delivered in Arabic for them?


Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for the Muslim students?

Yes, we have two prayer rooms.

What external examinations and assessments do you offer?

The Aquila School offers GCSEs in Years 10 and 11, and a decision will be announced in November 2023 with regards to the Year 12 and 13 curriculum. 

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

We are a fully inclusive school and ensure that all children are challenged to make as much progress as possible in all areas.

Do you have a learning support team in your school?


Does your school have expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?

Our inclusion team will be able to signpost families to a range of services.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?

The Aquila School believe family is the heart of learning and we wish to create a diverse and happy community of parents and children. We welcome parents to visit the school at anytime and encourage families to be involved in everyday learning, activities and events the school.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?

Yes, we have a governing board and there are family representatives on this board.

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?

Families are welcome to come and visit our Principal, Head of Primary and admissions team anytime during the school day – Monday to Friday. We offer a series of family workshops which guide families about our learning methods and a wide range of other topics. 

Does every student have the opportunity to attend The Aquila School?

The Aquila School is an inclusive school and open entry. All children are welcome to apply. In line with the requirements of the local regulatory body we are committed to being as inclusive as we can be. There is no formal assessment to enter our school- rather a dialogue and meeting with the child and their family.  We would only consider rejecting an application if the child’s needs were such that they could not be met in a mainstream school and/or their presence would significantly hinder the learning of the other children. In exceptional cases, the school may require the provision of a suitably-qualified Individual Learning Support Assistant, which would be employed by the family and approved by the school following school safeguarding, background checks etc.

What music opportunities are available?

Music is an integral part of the curriculum at The Aquila School, and all pupils have the opportunity to learn an instrument and compose music. They will also enjoy participating in performance groups including choirs and orchestras.

What extra-curricular opportunities are available to students?

An important part of The Aquila School happens beyond the classroom, where a student can immerse themselves in a world of creativity and activity. Whether it’s sport, music, debating or gardening, there is an abundance of extra-curricular activities to ignite your child’s passion.

How do I apply?

You can find the procedure for enrolments, including important dates, in our Admissions Process.

What are the fees?

Our current fee schedule, and detailed information about the different components and payment schedules, can be found on our Fees page.

Is The Aquila School affiliated with any other schools?

The Aquila School is part of the International Schools Partnership, a family of 56 schools within 16 countries. These links provide invaluable opportunities for cultural exchange, outstanding international learning connections, quality assurance and excellent governance.

Do you have a device policy?

All of our secondary pupils are required to bring their own device. We recommend a HP Surface GO laptop for our children. Please note that this must operate Windows 10 and not any other level of operating system.

FS and primary children have access to a range of devices whilst they are in school. These include Ipads, Chromebooks and Chromepads.

Secondary FAQs

How do you support pupils transitioning from primary to secondary?

The unique ethos, academic rigour and high levels of pastoral care established in the primary school ensures there is a smooth transition to the secondary school.  We have a comprehensive transition program for pupils in year 5 and 6.  This includes pupils attending lessons in the secondary school where they will explore and collaborate in specialist learning areas, such as design workshops, science laboratories and the learning hub.  Our current secondary pupils will lead assemblies and open day events to give our younger children a flavour of what to expect.  Pupils and families will also have the opportunity to meet secondary teachers and leaders to ask questions about developments in secondary.  

How do secondary pupils prepare for examinations when there is no formally set homework throughout primary?

When pupils are in year 10 and 11 and are preparing for international examinations there will be a lot of homework to do. Therefore, in year 7 and 8 we begin to introduce more formal homework so that pupils get used to independent study outside of the school day. However, we still wish to maintain the Aquila view that as pupils work so hard in school during the day they need time to relax and pursue other interests at home.

In year 7 and 8 pupils will receive regular reading homework to develop their reading skills and a love of reading plus homework in other subjects when relevant and purposeful.

Secondary pupils will be fully prepared for their external examinations. Every lesson will be focused on learning and mastering the knowledge and skills from the ENC and IGCSE qualifications. Pupils and families will have the opportunity to attend revision and guidance evenings where you will receive information on how to support your child at home.

What subjects will Aquila pupils study for in year 10 and 11?

Pupils will study a range of subjects for their qualifications. These may be IGCSEs, BTECs or ASDAN awards. Compulsory subjects are English, mathematics, science (all three sciences).  Pupils will also choose four subjects as their options, such as; history, geography, computer science, Spanish, art, DT, music, performing arts, environmental management or PE. All pupils have to study Arabic in year 10, but only native Arabic speakers continue to study it in year 11, 12 and 13.

How are secondary children assessed for their progress?

At The Aquila School, every lesson counts and pupils are learning all of the time. Pupils are assessed on every piece of work they complete against the knowledge and skills from the English National Curriculum or their international qualifications.  Therefore, teacher assessment is used as an ongoing assessment tool so teachers know where pupils are and what they need to learn right now, this is supported by checkpoint assessments at key times of the year.  Pupils in years 10 and 11 will have formal mock examinations to embed independence and resilience in an exam setting.   All secondary pupils will sit GL assessments at the end of the academic year. 

Which exam board (awarding body) does the school plan to use for GCSE / International GCSE examinations?

We plan to use Cambridge, Pearson Edexcel, AQA and Oxford AQA for GCSE and IGCSE specifications. Each teacher will select the best awarding body for their subject to ensure the course is relevant and suitable for our pupils and will allow them to demonstrate as much progress as possible. We will use Pearson for BTEC vocational qualifications and ASDAN and Pearson Edexcel to certificate our alternative and entry level qualifications.

My child is coming from a different curriculum; would they face any challenges adjusting to the British curriculum?

No. We have many pupils who have come from different curriculum schools and they make exceptional progress at The Aquila School. Our teachers and support staff are skilled in ensuring all pupils can fully access all aspects of school.  There would be individual conversations to discuss pupils wishing to join the school in year 11 though.

Your school mentions ‘amazing learning’ – can you give some examples?

Our talented and dedicated teachers are passionate in creating amazing learning opportunities so pupils love coming to school and make as much progress as possible.

Learning is engaging, meaningful and meets the interests and needs of children – pupil choice is important and they lead their own learning.

The curriculum is linked to the real world and is relevant for pupils to transfer their knowledge and skills to prepare them for the world of work.

Pupils learn through the application of knowledge and skills and learn through different contexts – open-ended investigations – problem-solving – role play – pair work – enquiry – all underpinned by academic rigour.

What do your secondary pupils do differently than in other schools?

Pupil choice is integral to our school.  Teachers cover the required knowledge and skills but pupils choose the content of the curriculum linked to their interests.  This ensures all pupils are motivated and eager to learn.   Our pupils also choose their extra-curricular activities (known as CAS – creativity, action and service) based on their interests.   All teaching staff deliver after school activities that our pupils learn and enjoy.

Our secondary pupils have a lot of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. These include leading assemblies, organising events for families and leading learning for our younger pupils.

Reading is prioritised in secondary.  Many of our secondary pupils read often and widely – most pupils read over one million words each academic year. 

The Aquila School is an ISP school with sister schools all over the world.  This means that our pupils will be able to access unique leaning opportunities.  We have plans to visit other ISP schools and will give our pupils the opportunity to take part in the ISP buddy exchange programme.  This will allow our pupils to use their learning in Spanish lessons to real life contexts. 

In addition, we make sure that our curriculum is as wide ranging and ‘hands on’ as possible, with pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 studying a wide range of subjects including; drama, dance, music, resistant materials, food technology, textiles, art, PE, swimming and CDMR (computing, digital media and robotics).

What does the average week consist of for a secondary pupil?

Pupils study a broad and balanced curriculum tailored to their interests and needs.   Secondary pupils learn in specialized and world class facilities, including the learning hub with thousands of books and the hydroponics farm where pupils grow and nurture their own produce to use in lessons.  Pupils love coming to school because their unique talents and interests are encouraged.

Is there any segregation in secondary?

No – we are an inclusive school and our secondary pupils are in mixed gender groups.

Do you segregate pupils based on ability/ level in secondary?

No – pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 are taught in mixed ability groups.  This is based on current educational thinking and our high expectations for all pupils.  Pupils in years 10 and 11 will also be taught in mixed ability groups but there will be some lessons such as mathematics and science which will be streamed based on the examination tiers.  

What is your policy on mobile phones in secondary?

As some pupils travel independently to and from school, pupils are allowed to have their mobile phones switched off (not on silent) in their bag during the school day, at their own risk.