Secondary Departments
JESS Dubai

Secondary Departments

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.


The English Department seeks to develop in our students the ability to think critically and creatively, to express themselves with confidence and coherence, and to combine deep understanding with personal engagement in their responses to language and literature. The course is designed to promote excellent achievement within all three skills areas of speaking and listening, reading, and writing. As a result of their analysis of a variety of stimulating texts, our students develop a critical understanding of how meaning is shaped both in works from the literary heritage of diverse cultures, and in non-fiction. Our students’ own creative and transactional writing is developed through exploring textual models, and is underpinned by our strong focus on grammar and punctuation. Through a wide range of teaching and learning styles, the English Department fosters a creative approach to developing ideas, making connections and finding solutions, and promotes both independent enquiry and collaborative work. Challenging and enjoyable lessons give students of all aptitudes the opportunity to employ a range of communication strategies, which support their cross-curricular achievement and provide an excellent skills base for lifelong learning.

At Key Stage 4, students study both English Language and English Literature IGCSE. The high level of challenge and critical thinking sustained over this Key Stage supports a successful transition from IGCSE to the IB Diploma offered at JESS.


Throughout their mathematical education, all students will be engaged in activities that develop their JESS learner profile. The Mathematics Department encourages all students to become effective inquirers, critical-thinkers, and communicators, also helping them to become reflective risk-takers. We aim to set challenging but achievable targets for all students at all levels. The ultimate target is to promote independent student learning. Absolutely crucial to the success of these aims is the creation of a positive learning environment, in which students are able to take controlled risks in their attempt to improve their understanding.

We offer the Edexcel IGCSE Mathematics 4MA0 course. Accelerated students also sit an additional Mathematics qualification in Year 11 – either the IGCSE CIE Additional Mathematics 0606 or the FSMQ OCR Additional Mathematics 6993 examination. Mathematics is a compulsory component of the IB Diploma Programme.


The aim of the JESS Science department is to create future leaders in the field of science. Students at JESS cover a broad range of scientific concepts, facts, principles and theories, while also engage with and challenge the science the meet in everyday life. We are committed to encouraging our students to adopt a critical, questioning frame of mind, going ‘behind the scenes’ to understand the workings of Science and how it shapes their lives. The emphasis is on ‘learning by discovery’ and, as a result, practical work, investigation skills and ICR are the focal points of many lesson.

At JESS, Science is taught by subject specialists from Year 7 onwards. Students study iGCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics at Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 5, students choose between Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Systems and Societies as part of the IB Diploma.


Situated in the Middle East, the study of Arabic is pivotal to the JESS curriculum. The aim of the Arabic Department is to inspire JESS students to enhance their communication skills and competence in the Arabic language, as well as their appreciation of the Arabic culture. A balance of receptive (reading, listening) and productive (speaking, writing) skills are developed through communicative classes. Our Arabic lessons are centred around interactive learning and allow pupils to feel valued and confident in their acquisition of Arabic.

Arabic is delivered as both Arabic A and B options throughout all Key Stages. It is offered as a Key Stage 4 IGCSE option and Key Stage 5 IB Diploma option.

Art & Design

Art is not concerned with merely great artists, with genius or with prodigious skills. It is fundamentally, the outward form of an inward search. Anyone can join in. To participate in this search, on whatever level and with whatever ability, is to be a JESS artist. The most valuable aspect of Art is not always the final product but the search itself. Art has a vital role to play in developing creativity, sensibility and sensory motor co‐ordination in everyone. Our philosophy at JESS is that evolution is integral to a healthy, dynamic and thriving Art Department.

GCSE Art is offered at Key Stage 4 as an option for all students with a passion for developing their creativity. At Key Stage 5, the Art department delivers Art as part of the IB Diploma and also as a standalone BTEC.

Business Studies/Economics

Being situated in Dubai, JESS is surrounded by innovative world leaders in the world of Business. The main aim of the Business Studies and Economics department is to offer students the opportunity to develop an understanding and awareness of economic, social and business-related issues. Students taking Business Studies and Economics at JESS will, through an investigative and problem-solving approach, become critical thinkers, and be able to analyse and evaluate real-life case studies and recommend solutions to typical problems that arise in today’s economic and business world.

At Key Stage 4 we deliver the Cambridge IGCSE Business Studies course, and the Edexcel IGCSE Economics course. At Key Stage 5 we deliver IB Business Management, IB Economics, and BTEC Extended Diploma in Business.

Design & Technology

When it comes to innovation in design, no place is more inspiring for students than Dubai. In Design & Technology at JESS Arabian Ranches, our pupils follow a Product Design based curriculum which prepares them for life in a technological and consumer driven world. They learn to use current design and manufacturing technologies and consider the environmental and cultural impact of future technological developments on the world. We foster an appreciation of the need for environmental responsibility when making design or consumer decisions, enabling students to make informed choices. Design & Technology provides the opportunity to develop many other transferable skills through a range of problem solving ‘design-and-make’ projects through cross a curricular and collaborative environment.

Working within two fully equipped workshops, a Computer Aided Manufacturing studio and one Graphics / Computer-Aided Design room, pupils are presented with stimulating contexts that provide a range of opportunities to draw on and identify the needs of the local community and a wider world.

The department offers Design Technology at both Key Stage 4 GCSE and Key stage 5 as part of the IB Diploma.

Drama & Theatre Arts

Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion and the beginning of morality.

Ian McEwan

Studying Drama and Theatre builds confidence, emphasises teamwork, encourages creativity and supports communication and presentation skills. In an age of flux and in the face of an uncertain future, the transferable skills below, along with the emotional intelligence which is promoted by the subject, are increasingly important in the global workplace.

We seek at all times to undermine stereotypical and generalised assessments of people and to reinforce the nature of the individual. Respect for all people is fostered and recognised as a crucial starting point. The department aims to inspire creative and analytical thinking about the world in which we live, societies, cultures and the human condition. In embracing a wide range of exciting dramatic strategies and conventions, our students explore and investigate the issues most crucial to our times and those throughout history.

For keen performers there is the opportunity to be part of extra-curricular production work, whether that is a text based drama project, devised theatre or a large scale musical.


Welcome to the Geography Department at JESS. The department is lively and innovative and always strives to encourage and motivate students to attain their very best.

As geographers we believe that Geography is about the future and we encourage students to develop their thoughts and opinions. As well as covering a variety of topics students become proficient in data handling, questioning techniques, analytical techniques, and organisational skills all of which are transferable into other areas of the curriculum and eventually into the world of work.

The Department is aware that the world in which we live is likely to change more in the next 50 years than it has ever done before. Through our Key Stage 3 curriculum we hope to explain why this is so, and to prepare our students for these changes. Throughout Key Stage 4 we focus on the CIE (Cambridge International Examinations) IGCSE syllabus whilst at the same time fostering skills and independent thinking.

At Key Stage 4 GCSE students follow the CIE IGCSE Geography syllabus which investigates key themes of the natural, human and economic world. At Key Stage 5, Geography is a popular option on the IB Diploma programme.


‘Studying the people of the past can give you real insight into people alive now. It will help you understand how and why humans behave as they do when confronted with the crises of today. 'Unless you become a lighthouse keeper or a hermit you’ll need to understand other people with all their complexities. Knowledge of people is the greatest asset of all.’ The Historical Association, 2004 

The History Department aims to make the students at JESS see how many of the problems and strengths of their world today have their roots in the past and that that these roots still shape our behaviour today. In understanding their past, students will be better equipped to understand and make reasoned and ethical judgments about their actions today. 

The History Department’s ethos is centred around ‘active learning' and participation in the classroom. A wide variety of techniques are employed, from film making to essay writing, to ensure this. This approach means that our students regularly enjoy stimulating and challenging lessons, making History a very popular subject at JESS. 

The IGCSE Edexcel History syllabus builds upon and develops the skills that have been nurtured at Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 5, students may select History as part of the IB programme.

ICT & Computer Science

The Secondary ICT and Computer Science department at JESS aims to provide students with the necessary skills and provisions to use ICT in all aspects of their daily lives and work, as well as the option to study either ICT or Computer Science as a specialist subject at both GCSE and IB level. There are three dedicated ICT labs each equipped with 24 desktop computers and subject specific software such as Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Access, Balsamiq, Python, Scratch, Kodu, as well as school wide software such as Microsoft Office 2016. 

At Key Stage 3, ICT and Computer Science are taught together as a discrete subject. At Key Stage 4, students may opt to study wither iGCSE Information and Communication Technology or GCCSE Computer Science. As part of the Key Stage 5 IB Diploma, ITGS (Information Technology in a Global Society) is on offer for students.

Islamic Studies

Assalam o Alaikum. Peace be upon you.

The Ministry of Education requires all Muslim pupils to attend Islamic Studies classes throughout their school life. Islamic Education at JESS is a unique and hands-on experience. We seek to foster responsibility, critical thinking and compassion in the future ambassadors of our ummah. We want to instil in our students a deep love and respect for the Quran and the prophetic tradition while inculcating global citizenship. We believe in student leadership and this is our opportunity to make a difference!

We want to empower and enable the future leaders of the ummah. With this end-goal, our curriculum objectives are heavily influenced and inspired by the vision of the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates. Having said this, our curriculum has a distinct 'JESS' flavour and the overarching themes of compassion, independent inquiry, reflection, communication, risk-taking and open-mindedness are intertwined with Islamic values. 

Modern Languages

The aim of the Modern Foreign Languages Department at JESS is to enable pupils to become confident and independent language learners. We offer both French and Spanish. Students are encouraged to develop their language skills through a variety of activities that involve listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each lesson is planned to allow pupils to feel valued and confident to participate in class activities, ensuring that the language learning process is a positive and enjoyable experience. As well as improving the students’ understanding and application of grammar, the department also aims to develop an awareness of different countries, cultures and people.

Students may choose between French and Spanish iGCSE at Key Stage 4 and as part of the Key Stage 5 IB Diploma.

Moral Education

Moral Education is a compulsory subject in the UAE across all schools. Moral Education is being launched during the current academic year 2017 to 2018 and rolled out across the whole of the UAE. Although in its inception, Moral Education will be delivered to all students across both Primary and Secondary Schools by 2018. JESS has always delivered a strong Social and Moral Education through its thorough PSHE programme, Mentor Time and assemblies; the new initiatives in the UAE allow us to build upon this and place our learning in a UAE context.

The Moral Education programme is composed of four pillars:

  • Character & morality
  • The individual and the community
  • Civic studies
  • Cultural studies

These will run throughout all year groups and show a progressive knowledge and understanding of the associated topics, with each year building on the knowledge of the previous one.

There is a strong focus on a holistic school environment with links to family, the local community and the global community. Aiming to raise students’ awareness of themselves and others. Underpinning all of this are: Moral values, thinking learning & communication skills, qualities of character and interpersonal & societal competencies. It is therefore not only a curriculum about knowledge, but also about skills for life.


The Music Department at JESS exists to allow students to Create, Express and Explore.  Our very inclusive programme of study allows access to music for all our students.  Regular performances both inside and outside the school fosters a love for music-making beyond the classroom alone.  At the same time, we challenge all experienced musicians to become better than they imagine they can be.  We regularly hold masterclasses and workshops delivered by internationally respected musicians. In the past year alone, visitors have included Atarah Ben Tovim MBE (flute), David Willison (Piano), Anna Pym (Violin) and Members of the Welsh National Opera.

A music technology room, equipped with 24 iMac computers linked to M-Audio controller keyboards running the latest versions of programs such as Sibelius and Logic Pro. We also have several large multi-purpose teaching rooms, fully equipped with a variety of classroom instruments, including keyboards, percussion and electronic instruments; a balcony for open-air performances; a spacious recital room equipped with Yamaha grand piano for public performances and Masterclasses and an Auditorium with Yamaha concert grand piano for public performances.

Music is taught to all students from Year 7 to Year 9. At Key Stage 4, students may select to embark on the GCSE Music course. At Key Stage 5, Music is offered as part of the IB Diploma programme.


The Psychology department at JESS aims to enhance students learning on both a personal and academic level. On a personal level, we aim to teach students, not only gain a better insight into their own feelings, emotions and behaviours, but also to understand and empathise with other people’s perspectives as well. At an academic level, we aim to teach our students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the core biological, cognitive and sociocultural theories of behaviour and to develop sound analytical thought.

The department is staffed by a dedicated and motivated team with a passion for Psychology, who strive to instil that same passion in their students.  Lessons are interactive, lively and challenging.  Staff encourage students to talk freely and earnestly about relevant topics and facilitate that learning in the right direction. 

Students may select to study Psychology iGCSE at Key Stage 4 and as part of the Key Stage 5 IB Diploma.

Social Studies

Social Studies is a compulsory subject in the UAE and is therefore delivered in all schools. JESS Secondary has embraced Social Studies since its launch in 2015 and has developed a successful and innovative curriculum during this time.

Social Studies is taught up to and including Year 10 at Secondary School level. JESS has always delivered a strong Social and Moral Education through its thorough PSHE programme and the new initiatives in the UAE allow us to build upon this and place our learning in a UAE framework. Each student up to Year 10 receives one dedicated lesson per week of Social Studies.

Throughout the key stages there are 6 components:

  • Geography
  • History
  • Economics
  • National Education
  • Communication & result presentation
  • Evaluation of sources and use of evidence

All lessons embrace the technology available at JESS such as Surface Pros and computer suites as well as using valuable resources such as the library and Lecture Theatre. There is a strong emphasis on critical thinking skills and opening our students’ minds to challenge and creativity.

Sports Science

iGCSE Physical Education

JESS has an established reputation for sporting excellence and continues to be one of the UAE's leading sporting schools. JESS prides itself on producing over 75 competitive teams and numerous individuals across a wide range of sports and abilities.

Our aim is to create sportsmen and women who are confident, calm under pressure, coachable, respectful and physically conditioned. In the team sports we want all our players to be fast thinkers, have fast feet and fast hands and have a high work ethic. We want players to be versatile; attackers can play as defenders and defenders as attackers. Everyone could play everywhere. As such our style of play is high intensity, entertaining, risk taking, cavalier (at times) and the team ethic is never to give up. This transfers into individual performance sports such as Swimming, Cross-Country, Multi-Discipline and Athletics. JESS Athletes understand the importance of training and preparation. Success might not always happen, but the willingness to work hard and to improve always is the aim. Effort is simply the most important element of anything any boy or girl does when training or representing JESS.

After participating in Key Stage 3 Games, students may opt to study iGCSE Physical Education. At Key Stage 5, we offer both the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences and Sports, Exercise and Health Science as part of the IB Diploma.

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.

Learning Resource Centre

The aim of the Learning Resource Centre is to provide students with the environment and information literacy skills to access information and develop ideas that are fundamental to their development as independent, self-motivated and effective lifelong learners.

The LRC occupies two floors, serving the Primary and Secondary schools. Materials that will enrich and support the curriculum are provided, taking into account the varied interests and abilities of the students, as well those which will meet their recreational needs. At present we have over 22 000 resources in the two LRCs, including books, Overdrive eBooks and audio books, and DVDs. The LRC subscribes to electronic databases such as Britannica Online, Newsbank and EbscoHost as well as a wide range of magazines. The number of resources is increasing on an annual basis.