Primary Specialist Teaching
JESS Dubai

Primary Specialist Teaching

JESS Dubai
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One of the strengths of our school is its specialist teaching. All the specialist subjects are all taught by teachers in a space designated to that subject area.

These teachers are experts and lead practitioners in their respective fields and the learning and progress made in these areas is exceptional. The specialist teachers deliver their respective curricula and also provide a wide variety of co-curricular activities to complement their subject.


Arabic is the fifth most spoken language on the planet with over 250 million native Arabic speakers. In the UAE, Arabic is a core subject and is compulsory from Year 1 through to Year 9. However, students at JESS enjoy learning Arabic from Foundation 1 onwards.  Our Arabic Learning Assistant works collaboratively with the Early Years team to successfully incorporate Arabic into the children's play.  There are two curricula: one for native Arabic speakers and another for non-native Arabic speakers. Students spend many hours learning Arabic whilst on their JESS journey and the positive attitude of parents, students and teachers towards learning this complex language will ensure that our aspirational aim of having children achieve an Arabic GCSE is well within their grasp

Foundation Stage

Pupils are introduced to Arabic via an Early Years philosophy i.e. learning through play.  An Arabic teacher will play alongside the pupils and introduce them to the basic sounds of the language.  As the pupils move into Foundation Two the pupils will additionally experience more class sessions in the form of stories, songs and early phonic work.  Arabic as a first language students will receive weekly focused support.

Key Stage One

Pupils begin to study Arabic more formally in Year 1. During Key Stage One pupils will concentrate on the sound and lettering of the alphabet using a variety of resources to help them become increasingly familiar with the written and oral forms.  Arabic as a first language pupils will receive extra provision as per government guidelines.

Key Stage Two

From Year 3-6, a more topic based curriculum is introduced in which pupils learn a variety of vocabulary in context from numbers and colours to food and classroom items. Pupils are taught how to read and write words to reinforce their reading and writing skills with the aim of giving a sound base of Arabic on which to continue into Year 7.  Arabic as a first language pupils will receive extra provision as per government guidelines.


The aim of the Library is to provide an environment in which the students can obtain information and develop ideas that are fundamental to independent, self-motivated and effective lifelong learners.

Each class is timetabled to visit the Library once each week. During this time, the children may listen to a story, work on their information skills or share ideas on books and authors. They also choose a book or audio book to take home. A range of laptops and iPads are also available for use.  Classes also visit at other times to use the research facilities, and Key Stage Two children can visit at break time.

The Library is staffed by dual qualified teacher librarians and operates ‘Oliver’ which is a web based library management system offering full text searching for fast, efficient and powerful retrieval of information. A team of Library Monitors selected from Year 6 also help in the upkeep of the library, and assist with shelving and issuing books to younger students in the school. All children from Year 3 upwards are taught to use OLLY, which allows children to manage their own loan accounts and enables them to renew loans, reserve books and search for a book that they would like to borrow. Accelerated Reader, an online comprehension system plays a significant part in Key Stage Two lessons.


A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

Foundation Stage

The computing experience is delivered in the comfort of their familiar environment and through touch-screen computers and iPads in the central area. Students are introduced to basic computer skills and terminology while using interactive programs.

Key Stage One

Children receive one Computing lesson per week delivered by a specialist teacher alongside the class teacher. Throughout each scheme of work children learn to use technology purposefully to create, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content. They also learn to use technology safely and respectfully, as well as learning the technical basics of computing by creating and debugging simple programs and applying logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs.

Key Stage Two

Children receive one Computing lesson per week in Y3-6.  All lessons are delivered by a specialist teacher. Children develop their computational thinking throughout Key Stage Two by learning:

  • how to use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly
  • how computer networks operate
  • how to design, write and debug software
  • how to use different search technologies
  • how to apply logical reasoning when predicting the behaviour of programs
  • how to select, use and combine a variety of software on a range of digital devices to accomplish given goals.

Technology in use at JESS

Across the primary school children have access to a range of technology including mobile devices and the internet. Such technologies have provided an opportunity to transform and enhance learning throughout all subject areas.

Foundation Stage

In the Foundation Stage a bank of iPads are frequently used by children during both lessons and free flow time.

Key Stage One

A total of eleven iPads are allocated to every class from Years 1-3 to support and transform daily lessons.

Key Stage Two

Children in Years 4, 5 and 6 have the opportunity to participate in an optional Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. This enables children to personalise their learning and improve their organisational skills.

Islamic Studies

It is a Ministry of Education requirement that all Muslim pupils attend Islamic Studies classes from Y1-6.  Pupils are taught a full and broad curriculum including knowledge and faith.  Lessons are taught separately to those who speak Arabic as a first language and to English speaking pupils.

At JESS, we foster creativity and independent enquiry in Islamic Education.  The sunnah of collaboration and supporting each other is very much a way of learning here at JESS.  Lessons take place in the Islamic Centre which is equipped with a tranquil space dedicated to ablution facilities and prayer rooms.


Our Music Department gives all our children the opportunity to gain confidence, skills and a love of music. The curriculum is wide and varied, teaching the children the key elements of music through performing, composing and listening activities and drawing on music from a range of different genres and cultures.


In Key Stage Two the children generally receive their music hour in one block. In Y3 the children receive 1 lesson per week of flute or clarinet tuition during the school week.  Pupils are introduced to the keyboard and are encouraged to develop any other instrumental skill they may gain in individual lessons within the class band. They learn to distinguish all the different musical elements in a range of musical styles and learn to compose their own music using these skills. Key Stage Two children all perform in the Festive Concert and also have the opportunity to participate in a full musical production in costume.

IT in the Music Department

IT plays an important part in the music curriculum and children in the primary school use music technology for listening, creating and for recording their work. Software packages such as GarageBand, Sibelius and Groovy Music are used in the classroom. The school recording studio is also used to record class performances and compositions.

Group and Ensembles

The school has a main and chamber choir which meet weekly to rehearse for concerts and productions. They sing in unison, and 2 and three parts.  A school orchestra also meets weekly as well as brass, string and wind ensembles.  Where possible, it is expected that all those participating in our extensive instrument lesson programme will attend one of the music ensembles and/or orchestra which are offered as part of the activity programme.

Peripatetic Teacher-Centre for Musical Arts

The school offers individual and group lessons on a variety of orchestral, band and rock instruments. The lessons, which are provided by a team of specialist visiting music teachers, greatly enhance and support the work of the music department and the musical life of the school.

Lessons are currently offered on the following instruments:

  • Flute/piccolo
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • French Horn
  • Tenor Horn
  • Trombone
  • Tuba Violin/Viola
  • Cello
  • Classical Guitar
  • Electric Guitar
  • Bass Guitar
  • Drum Kit
  • Piano
  • Voice

Students are encouraged to work towards Trinity and ABRSM exams and to participate in school music groups where possible.


Physical Education

The aim of the Physical Education department at JESS Arabian Ranches is to provide high quality physical education to enable students to maximise their performance across a wide range of physical activities and sports. We aim to provide all pupils with the up to date methods, specialists and facilities to enhance our pupils learning and performance.


The Physical Education department currently consists of 4 dedicated primary specialist teachers who are supported by a wider team of primary staff and secondary PE specialists and coaches.  All our staff were trained and have taught in the UK for several years prior to working at JESS. As well as a comprehensive physical education programme based upon the English National curriculum we also offer an extensive Games schedule.  Swimming, Rugby, Netball, Athletics and Football are our core sports in which we compete against other Dubai and international schools.  However, we also offer cross country, aquathlon, basketball and cricket depending on the season.  The various Dubai schools’ leagues are competitive and wide ranging and JESS involves itself as much as possible in order that all pupils who wish to do so may represent the school in sporting activities.  JESS also competes internationally in events such as the IAPS and COBIS games.

External Coaches

Additionally, the PE department has established relationships with M&S Sports (swimming), Elite sports (football) and Apollo Perellini (rugby) whereby our pupils benefit from extra, expert coaching. Whenever possible JESS hosts professional teams such as the South African Rugby 7s Squad, who use our facilities and assist in the coaching of our pupils via extra training sessions and seminars.

The Oasis

Within the JESS community, there will be many pupils whose individual learning style requires curriculum adaptation and specific, targeted tuition. This includes children who are more able, gifted and/or talented as well as those for whom learning presents some challenges. The staff within The Oasis aim to work with the children, their parents, their teachers and any outside specialists to ensure that each child fulfils their true potential in an environment in which diversity is respected.

Additional Learning Needs

The Oasis is a department within the school which identifies and supports students with learning differences.  The team will act in a consultancy role to work with class teachers/specialists to ensure all students have access to quality first teaching. Where students do not make age appropriate progress, despite high quality teaching, The Oasis team will implement appropriate support, which may include extension/enrichment activities, assessment of need, selected individual targets and action plans. The overall purpose of The Oasis is to develop, in students, the learning skills necessary to access the wider curriculum, to help extend the most able and to raise each student's confidence and self-esteem.