Secondary School

Welcome from the Head of Secondary

The Horizon International School Secondary Department is a successful and thriving part of the HIS community. We are entirely student-focused and over recent years have demonstrated this through consistently improving academic results that put us in the league of the top British Curriculum schools in Dubai.

Whilst student achievement at GCSE and A-Level is a highlight of our journey, our key academic strength is the progress that all students make against their measured potential; put simply, students consistently make better than expected progress in Horizon International Secondary School. As a boutique school we focus on the individual; personalising the learning of our students, giving individualised attention and providing bespoke pathways where necessary. We may be small, but we are also mighty.

One key reason for our high academic success is as a 2-3 form entry we are able to personalise the learning for our students and ensure that all our students in every year group maximise their potential. Our students enjoy the smaller class sizes as they go through the school, stating the individualised attention as a key to their success. The student–teacher relationships are key to success and all our teachers go above and beyond to support and challenge students.

As well as being able to support every student academically, the pastoral care and wellbeing of our students is of highest priority; we believe that students meet and exceed their potential only through a focus on the whole child. School is about more than just exam results and our school values of Ambition, Happiness, Respect, Positivity, Kindness, Diversity, Resilience and Honesty ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves.

There is more to our small school than meets the eye. We welcome you to visit our school to find out exactly what we mean when we say everyone counts, everyone contributes, everyone succeeds.

The Curriculum

We aim to draw upon the best elements of the English National Curriculum, combined with the depth and range of subjects that are appropriate to an international school in Dubai.

The aim of our curriculum is to challenge and inspire all learners to develop their skills and nurture values through a love of learning so that they can responsibly embrace the diverse challenges of tomorrow. It is our intention that students achieve a place at their first choice university.

Our assessment philosophy aims to focus on what is important: students are able to view assessments as opportunities to learn and develop, not as opportunities to be judged. Or, put simply, students take responsibility for their own learning – they know what they need to be able to do, what they can currently do, and what they need to improve on. The impact of developing engagement with their own assessment capability at an early age will be two-fold:

  • Academic success: maximising of potential in high stake public exams (GCSEs and A-Levels)
  • Learning skills success: developing a wide range of learning skills in our students which supports their application to learning

Parents will receive regular reports at appropriate times in the school year and will have the opportunity to meet with their sons and daughters’ teachers. We actively encourage all students and parents to attend Student-led Conferences which enable students to take responsibility for their own learning as they grow in ‘assessment capability’.

Years 7-9

The curriculum is designed to give students a broad and balanced exposure to a wide variety of subjects and to develop their learning skills. All students study the following subjects:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Science
  • Arabic
  • French or Spanish
  • Geography
  • History
  • UAE Social Studies
  • Islamic Studies (for Muslim students)
  • Music
  • PE
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Design and Technology
  • ICT/Computer Science
  • Moral Education

We also offer the ASDAN programme for students with special educational needs.

Years 10-11

We offer a range of GCSE and IGCSE subjects examined by Pearson Edexcel, AQA, Oxford International AQA and Cambridge International Education. Students will take up to nine GCSEs dependent on their prior levels of attainment and experience of the British Curriculum.

The core GCSE curriculum is made up of the following subjects:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science (Double Award)
  • Islamic Studies (inc. compulsory MOE curriculum)- Muslim students only
  • Arabic (inc. compulsory MOE curriculum) - Arab passport holders only
  • Global Citizenship (non-Muslim students only)

To encourage a balanced curriculum, students choose a maximum of three optional subjects which are based on the interests and demands of the year group.

In addition, all students take UAE Social Studies, core PE and Moral Education.

We also offer alternative pathways for students who cannot access a full GCSE curriculum. This is organised on a one to one basis, personalised to the individual student and is undertaken through the achievement centre.

For further information please see the Key Stage 4 Prospectus below:

10 Key facts about Secondary School:
  • We consistently deliver outstanding personal development and support as acknowledged by the DSIB
  • We are a school that offers a bespoke mix of 22 curricular subjects and over 30 extra-curricular clubs
  • Our specialist facilities support a wide range of subjects, such as sciences, arts, food, sports and music
  • The leadership of the school is consistently rated "very good" by the DSIB
  • The latest of our many student-led initiatives in support of the wider community generated AED 22,000 in proceeds
  • All A-Level students have been admitted to their first-choice university, with one student earning a scholarship for academic excellence
  • 100% of A-Level grades were A*-C
  • All of our 2019 GCSE grades are on average 1.5 grades higher than CAT4 ‘Most Likely Grades’ (MLG)
  • In English Literature, 93% of students achieved a 7-9 grade (A-A*) and one of our students achieved the top mark in the whole world for Science
  • 45% of all our 2019 GCSE grades were 7-9 (A-A*) – an outstanding achievement considering that based on CAT4 predicted grades, just 3% of all grade should have been 7-9