Exploring Your Child’s Primary Subjects at a British School in Dubai


If you are considering enrolling your child between the ages of five and 11 in one of the top British schools in Dubai, they would be entering the Primary department at this stage. To help you better understand what to expect, here is an overview of the British curriculum and the subjects your child will be taking during these crucial years.

The British Curriculum

The British curriculum, more officially known as the National Curriculum for England, is currently being taught in some 150 countries worldwide. This broad and balanced educational system offers the major sciences, arts and humanities subjects and is delivered with a liberal approach. 


The rigorous British curriculum is structured in a way that enables students, parents and teachers alike to monitor progress at every stage so that they can better work towards helping a student achieve their set academic goals.

Here are a few key features of the British curriculum:

  • First established in 1988
  • Provides a wide-angle view and is student-centred
  • Offered by hundreds of international schools worldwide
  • Comes with regular national benchmarking
  • Culminates in iGCSE, AS, A-level and BTEC certifications
  • Recognised and welcomed by universities across the globe

The British curriculum promotes and inspires creativity and independent critical thinking, which help equip students with valuable life skills. As they progress, students learn to engage in discussion and debate, develop inquisitive research abilities, and gain a more open, global perspective. This level of education helps prepare young children to face and adapt to the challenges of a continuously evolving world.

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British curriculum schools in Dubai offer the following departments:

  • Early Years Centre Foundation Stage (for children between the ages of three and five)
  • Primary Academy (for children between the ages of five and 11)
  • Secondary Academy (for children between the ages of 11 and 16)
  • Post-16 or Sixth Form (for preparing students to journey into Years 12 and 13)

Primary Subjects in Dubai’s British Curriculum Schools

The period in a child’s life between five and 11 years old is thought to be when they discover and truly develop the essential aspects that shape their character – things like their interests, hobbies, opinions, beliefs and passions. 

As such, Primary students are provided opportunities to solve problems, build and express their understanding and opinion of specific issues, and apply their skills and knowledge in a wide range of situations. These offer unique learning experiences that help them make real-life decisions and face different situations with confidence and integrity.

To gain an idea of the kind of education your child will be receiving from a Dubai school following the British curriculum, here are the important subjects and activities offered by one such reputable institution:

1. Core Subjects

  • English, Maths and Science

As with any other school, these three subjects form the vital learning foundation that helps students progress to more advanced fields of study. 

  • Cultural, Social and Moral Studies

Under the Social Studies UAE Ministry of Education Curriculum, primary students learn about practising good citizenship, developing a national identity and working positively with their school and local communities. 

2. Foundation Subjects

These subjects are taught in a thematic method to build a student’s knowledge in these areas while also training them to connect it with meaningful purpose and outcomes in real-world settings.

  • History and Geography

The British curriculum teaches students about important events in Britain’s past, influential historical personalities that played a part in critical events, and what changes have occurred throughout the centuries until now. Likewise, geography cultivates students’ curiosity about the world, its people and different environments found all over the Earth.

  • Art, Design & Technology

These subjects inspire students to play with their creativity and imagination to craft something out of materials, solve dilemmas using available resources, and develop a creation to serve a unique purpose.

  • Computing & Robotics

With these subjects, Primary students learn to combine their knowledge and skills in maths, science, technology and design to understand the digital world further and try their hand at programming to get systems working. Children will be able to develop essential digital literacy that enables them to competently use information and communication technology for present and future processes, services and competencies.

3. Specialist Lessons

These additional subjects help students develop specialised skills and knowledge that contribute to their well-rounded character, emotional and social development.

  • Languages

Dubai British curriculum schools teach Native Arabic, as well as Islamic for Muslim students, so that they can hone their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

The Primary Modern Foreign Language Curriculum also allows children to learn European languages such as Spanish and French. Not only will students be able to express themselves through these languages, but as with Muslim and Islamic language lessons, they will get a glimpse into these varying cultures and learn how to engage in practical conversation in real-life settings eventually. 

  • Music 

Qualified Music instructors help students engage with different types of music, learn to play instruments, compose pieces, and cultivate a love for this universal language.

  • Physical Education

In addition to nurturing academic excellence, Primary school also aims to engage students in physical activities. Performing physical fitness exercises and competing in sports are just as important in building character as these cultivate values such as fairness, respect, teamwork and good sportsmanship.

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4. Extra-Curricular Activities

There are plenty of enriching life lessons that a child simply cannot learn inside a classroom setting. Primary education includes various non-academic activities that allow them to explore their interests, interact with classmates in fun pursuits, and gather new individual and group experiences. 

  • External Trips

Excursions to destinations that offer lessons in alignment with the academic curriculum are always fresh and welcome opportunities to learn something new. Likewise, activities like camping bring students together to accomplish tasks, discover each other’s skills, and collaborate to complete challenges and achieve goals.

  • Clubs/Organisations

Getting together with like-minded individuals to bond over a shared passion is a healthy way for students to express themselves and nurture new friendships. Joining clubs enables children to showcase their knowledge and capabilities, engage in group activities, and hone skills.

  • Performances

School performances allow talented students to shine, whether onstage or behind the scenes. Coming together to create an entire production teaches students the value of each role and rewards them with a sense of achievement from witnessing the fruit of their efforts.

Your choice of school during the crucial period of child development from five to 11 years old can determine how well your child discovers their unique skills, abilities, interests and passions, among others. Enrolling them in a British curriculum school in Dubai can be a big step in the right direction toward ensuring that your child can create, aspire to achieve their goals, and excel in the path they choose.

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