Overview British Curriculum | Sunmarke School Dubai | British Education School Dubai

Learning Curriculum Overview


An Education for Life

Sunmarke is a pioneer in Positive Education school with our education extending well beyond the boundaries defined by the curriculum. Positive Education, underpinned by our outstanding teaching, permeates our whole school. In addition to critical thinking, creativity and academic excellence, we nurture achievement and leadership skills, positive emotions and supportive relationships so children become not only tomorrow’s innovators and leaders but also happier and healthier individuals.
We promote all-round spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development and preparing children for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life.


Sunmarke offers the National Curriculum for England, IGCSE, A level and BTEC (level 2 and 3) qualifications. From September 2019 the school will also be an IB World school and will offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma rogramme (IBDP), and the International Baccalaureate Career – Related programme, subject to accreditation and approval from the IBO.

BTEC qualifications are now available to students in Years 10-13, giving them an opportunity to develop their vocational skills through a practical approach and prepare them for future career paths. BTEC options include Business Studies, Creative Digital Media Production, Information Technology, Hospitality, and Travel and Tourism.

We recognise that formal qualifications (e.g. GCSEs) are not always the appropriate pathway for all learners. In response to this, we have introduced select ASDAN Short Courses, which accredit and validate the learner’s participation and progress in a subject, in the absence of a GCSE qualification. These courses can also be run alongside the GCSE curriculum as an academic intervention, to promote accelerated progress in that subject. For students with more complex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), we are piloting select ASDAN Preparing for Adulthood Programmes, which focus on personal and social development, as well as life skills for functional independence, and pre-vocational skills. Both the Short Courses and Preparing for Adulthood Programmes focus on hands-on, project-based, context-bound learning, with an emphasis on supplementary soft skill development, such as teamwork, problem-solving, communication skills, and self-improvement.

In this way, we will offer the best of both curricula – the structured framework, rigour and creativity of the National Curriculum, and the internationalism, breadth, and flexibility to pursue multiple career pathways in University of the IB.

Both curricula are the world’s most sought after and globally accepted school curricula. They are underpinned by a strong research-driven curriculum in Mathematics and English, as well as all the major subjects in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities, and provide students a strong educational foundation.

Structured Framework to Develop Core Skills

The National Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) are built on a structured framework that lay a strong emphasis on developing ‘multiple intelligences’, and ‘core skills’ and competencies such as critical thinking, problem-solving, enquiry, creativity and “learning how to learn”.

Both curricula encourage students to be active learners and to openly discuss and challenge ideas, and debate with their teachers and peers. Students work in groups as well as individually, resulting in a personalised learning journey.

Strong Attainment & Assessment

Both the National Curriculum and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) clearly define expected levels of student attainment in each year group. We set high academic standards with exceptionally rich learning programmes and our teachers inspire students to enjoy working to ambitious attainment levels extending their own capability.

Optimal Learning Environments

Class sizes are restricted to ensure ample opportunity for individual attention, but are also sufficiently large to ensure of the development of social skills and team and peer learning, and to create a healthy competition amongst classmates. As a result, each student gets the individual care required as well a creative and intellectually stimulating learning environment.

Seamless Progression from Primary to Secondary

We offer each student a personalised journey that taps his full potential as he moves seamlessly from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Primary School and then to Secondary School. 

Most students take personalised qualification pathways in IGCSE, A level and BTEC (level 2 and 3) qualifications. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), and the International Baccalaureate Career-Related programme, subject to accreditation and approval from the IBO.

BTEC qualifications are available to students in Years 10-13, giving them an opportunity to develop their vocational skills through a practical approach and prepare them for future career paths.

For students with SEND, a select range of ASDAN-accredited alternative learning pathways are being developed in Key Stages 3 and 4, to provide rich and robust opportunities for personal progress alongside functional academics for daily living. 

Key Stages

The National Curriculum is divided into several phases called “Key Stages”.

Grade Stage Age (years)
Foundation Stage Foundation Stage 3+
Foundation Stage Foundation Stage 4+
Year 1 Key Stage 1 5+
Year 2 Key Stage 1 6+
Year 3 Key Stage 2 7+
Year 4 Key Stage 2 8+
Year 5 Key Stage 2 9+
Year 6 Key Stage 2 10+
Year 7 Key Stage 3 11+
Year 8 Key Stage 3 12+
Year 9 Key Stage 3 13+
Year 10 Key Stage 4 (GCSE programme & BTEC programme) 14+
Year 11 Key Stage 4 (GCSE & BTEC exams) 15+
Year 12 (Lower Sixth Form) Key Stage 5 (A level & BTEC programme) 16+
Year 13 (Upper Sixth Form) Key Stage 5 (A level & BTEC exams) 17+
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