Secondary School | Best International School in Dubai


At The Aquila School, we nurture our pupils from the onset to ensure they love coming to school. We understand that between the ages of 14 and 19 educational effort has a large impact on preparing pupils for later life and work. Therefore, we offer our pupils an all-round supportive environment to allow each and every one of our pupils to shine and amaze themselves in everything they do.

When pupils enter year 10, they begin their Key Stage 4 programme of study. Careful planning and preparation is required to ensure each pupil follows a course that best suits his or her needs, which in turn allows them to make as much progress as possible. In Key Stage 4 our pupils are exposed to a broad and balanced curriculum that enables and prepares them to naturally progress into Key Stage 5 (Year 12 and Year 13).

In years 10 and 11, pupils work towards a range of IGCSE qualifications in which they improve their academic, creative, personal and sporting skillsets.  Each IGCSE qualification is structured to ensure equitable coverage of knowledge and skills with an incremental challenge.  Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is sequential, builds on prior learning and gives opportunities for pupils to revisit and consolidate learning so they are fully prepared for their external examinations.

Our teachers provide timely, incisive and formative feedback on all pupil work – this ensures any misconceptions or gaps in learning are identified and this information is used to plan lessons to accelerate progress.  We also have formal assessments in years 10 and 11 using previous IGCSE exam papers.  This allows our pupils to develop skills of resilience and independence in an exam setting.  At each stage of assessment, pupils are given detailed, personalised feedback with next steps allowing them to reflect and engage with their learning.

We work in collaboration with families and during Year 10 and 11, we offer a number of opportunities for families to come to school and support their child in preparing for their IGCSE qualifications.

What will pupils learn during Key Stage 4?


All pupils must follow a ‘core’ curriculum including mathematics, science and English along with Ministry of Education Arabic for native Arabic speakers and Islamic Studies for Muslim pupils.


In addition, pupils choose four optional subjects, with support and guidance from staff and families.

Compulsory non-examination subjects:

Pupils also study Moral, Social and Cultural Studies and participate in physical exercise in order to promote a healthy mind and lifestyle. In Year 10 non-native Arabic speakers also study Arabic.

GCSEs and International GCSEs

GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) mark the completion of secondary education in the UK and consists of a number of examinations and qualifications for pupils aged between 14 and 16 years old. The IGCSE is the ‘international’ version of the GCSE qualification and is available in many countries around the world, providing pupils with a gateway to further academic study in the UK and beyond. Whilst providing an international perspective, IGCSEs retain the same qualities of its UK equivalent. At The Aquila School in addition to encouraging our pupils to develop a sense of international-mindedness and global awareness, we select the right course to ensure our pupils have the most success.

All GCSEs and IGCSEs are linear in nature with final external examinations taking place at the end of Year 11. Examinations assess topics studied throughout both Year 10 and Year 11.

Depending on the examination board chosen by teachers in collaboration with the pupils, some of the GCSE and IGCSE courses use a variety of assessment methods. Some have an element of coursework or internal assessment (known as the controlled assessment) which is prepared in class but completed under examination conditions in school. Although the amount of coursework varies from subject to subject, all of it requires pupils to work independently over a period of time. It is essential that pupils manage their time effectively from the start of their courses to avoid a build-up of coursework deadlines.

BTEC Level 2 and alternative pathways

As a school, we offer a range of level 2 BTEC qualifications as well as alternative pathways, such as ASDAN qualifications.

BTECs are work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of pupils. They provide a practical, real-world approach to learning without sacrificing any of the essential subject theory.

ASDAN programmes and qualifications are widely recognised by educators for providing an engaging curriculum that empowers pupils through personalised learning and choice. The courses are designed to motivate and enhance learners’ confidence, self-esteem and resilience. In addition, learners develop core skills in teamwork, communication, problem-solving, research and self-management. Pupils undertaking ASDAN courses also develop character traits such as confidence, self-esteem, resilience and ambition.