Secondary School | Best International School in Dubai


The Aquila School currently offers secondary provision for pupils up to Year 9 and will grow to offer Year 10 in September 2022 (subject to KHDA approval). The Aquila School will grow by one additional year group per new academic year.

The ethos and high levels of pastoral care established in the primary school follow through to the secondary school, with young people’s ability to develop resilience, approach challenges positively, and work collaboratively for the good of the whole community being central to their learning.

Our secondary school teaching provides challenge whilst enabling our pupils to see meaningful links in their learning.


At The Aquila School, the curriculum in Key Stage 3 builds on the foundation of the earlier years in school and is the first step in preparing pupils for the public examinations they will take later in their secondary school career.  As such, in secondary, there is an increased emphasis on subject teaching, independent study, and research and the application of knowledge and skills to real-life situations.

Reading is prioritised throughout secondary to increase pupils’ use of vocabulary, enhance their cultural capital, confidence and to encourage discussion and debate so that pupils find their own voice and perspective. We also build on opportunities for cross-curricular links to allow pupils to transfer learning between subjects and be creative.

The Key Stage 3 (Years 7 -9) curriculum is ambitious, broad, balanced, inclusive and equitable for all children to ensure they make the most progress possible. Learning is purposeful and engaging and we make links to knowledge and skills from different subjects to pupils’ future ambitions and aspirations.

In Key Stage 3 different subjects will be taught by different teachers.  We teach the National Curriculum for England (NCfE), together with the Ministry of Education (MOE) curricular requirements, and themes will include teaching in the following subjects.

Subjects in Key stage 3 (Years 7 – 9):

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Computer science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Islamic Studies (for our Muslim pupils)
  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • UAE Social Studies
  • Moral Education
  • Drama

Our secondary pupils have the opportunity to explore and collaborate in specialist learning areas, such as design workshops, science laboratories and the learning hub, which are incorporated into day-to-day learning to enhance their learning experiences.


As a school we recognise that reading is not only a vital skill across all subjects but also an invaluable life skill too.  Lifelong readers are lifelong learners.

A focus on reading is directly linked to the national agenda – H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, stated: “Our goal is to make reading a daily habit that is deeply ingrained. It is the duty of relevant institutions to make this law a reality”.

The Aquila School is committed to raising children’s attainment and love of reading.  Our extensive reading provision includes ‘Accelerated Reader’, ‘Read Theory’ and two dedicated timetabled lessons for reading for pleasure for all children in Key Stage 3. This provision is led by a specialist English teacher with the knowledge and skills to challenge all children to make outstanding progress.  We also have a state of the art secondary library called The Learning Hub stocked with thousands of books, including an extensive range of Arabic texts.

Our focus and ambition are to build pupil’s reading skills and develop their confidence when accessing texts, whilst enhancing their cultural capital, broadening their vocabulary, encouraging discussion, debate and fostering a love of literature so they gain their own unique voice and perspective.

Key Stage 3 pupils also have opportunities to develop their leadership skills through the role of reading ambassadors for younger children.


When the children are in year 10 and 11 and are preparing for international examinations there will be a lot of homework to do. Therefore, in Key Stage 3 we introduce more formal homework so that pupils get used to independent study not during the school day. However, we still wish to maintain the Aquila view that as children work so hard in school during the day they need time to relax and pursue other interests at home.

In Key Stage 3, pupils will receive regular reading homework to develop their reading skills and a love of reading in addition to homework in other subjects when relevant and purposeful.


IGCSE Qualifications

Following the collaboration with families in year 9 alongside a detailed and robust options process, our Key Stage 4 curriculum is linked to the interests, aspirations and talents of pupils.  Our Key Stage 4 curriculum offer is broad and balanced including academic and creative subjects.  We have a strong Careers, Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) programme to prepare pupils for the next part of their education, employment and training. 

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.


IB Curriculum and Higher Level BTEC qualifications (Year 12 and 13)

We are passionate about providing a personalised education linked to the aspirations of every pupil. Our Key Stage 5 curriculum offer includes a range of academic pathways along with vocational and technical subjects.  We plan to offer  IB curriculum and Higher Level BTEC qualifications.  Pupils will be fully supported for the next part of their education, employment or training with a particular focus on gaining places at universities across the world.


Empowering children to make choices is integral to our work and this includes the provision of CAS activities. Therefore, we involve the children in deciding what activities are on offer each term. All of our teaching staff offer a weekly activity for all pupils. These activities are free of charge. A selection of paid CAS activities are available to pupils who wish to pursue other CAS opportunities. 

We will also offer the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and other opportunities to serve the local community in future years.