Key Stage 4 Curriculum

7600546 Mohammad Shah Ali
Head of KS4 - Mohammad Shah Amran Ali

In Key Stage 4 at Deira International School, all students study the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) programme of study.  Science, Art and Psychology are assessed with the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). These subjects are traditionally assessed through formal, external examinations in the summer term of Year 11. There may be additional components of assessment taken in some subjects during the two-year course.  This is a globally recognised qualification and takes two years to complete, with examinations at the end.

At DIS we are committed to ensuring that all our learners between the ages 14 to 19 acquire and develop the necessary skills, experience and qualifications needed for university and the world of work. When students start Year 10 they enter Key Stage 4 of the British National Curriculum. These years are very important and, with the help and support of both home and school, students can achieve their full potential.

In keeping with UK educational practice, we aim to offer a broad and balanced curriculum for students of compulsory age.

5 GCSEs at grades A* – C are often used as a benchmark of reasonable attainment for students of average ability, with many expecting English Language and Mathematics to be included. GCSEs are undertaken over the two years of Key Stage 4, i.e. Years 10 and 11. Many GCSE courses have an element of coursework known as Controlled Assessment which is prepared in class and at home but completed under examination conditions in College.  Tasks are marked by our teachers then externally moderated by the examination board.  All controlled assessments must be completed before examinations can be undertaken. Examinations will take place at the end of the two years of study in the final term of Year 11.

This is according to regulations issued by the UK Government. Further information can be found at:

Compulsory Subjects

All students study the following subjects:

  • GCSEs in English Language and English Literature
  • GCSE Mathematics (one of 2 pathways)
  • GCSE Science (one of 2 pathways)
  • Core Physical Education (PE)
  • National Studies: comprising Social Studies and Moral Education
  • Islamic Education or Cultural Studies
  • Arabic passports holders study Ministry Arabic

This leads to 5 (I)GCSE’s for all students and the possibility of up to 7 (I)GCSE’s for accelerated Mathematics and Science students.

In addition, students will choose four Option Subjects from those listed below (one must be a language so that students meet the entry criteria for the IBDP pathway).

Click on the image below for the GCSE-BTEC Options Booklet

IGCSE Options_Jan_2024_Page_01
IGSCE Options Booklet 24-25

  Arabic A (First Language)


  Arabic B


  Art and Design


  Business Studies


  Computer Science

  Maths Additional

  Design and Technology



  Physical Education



  English Language


  English Literature

  Science Combined Trilogy


  Triple Science Biology, Chemistry, Physics


  Travel and Tourism

Students at Deira International School typically study between 9 and 11 GCSEs. 5 GCSEs at grades A* – C are often used as a benchmark of reasonable attainment for students of average ability, with many expecting English Language and Mathematics to be included. We set aspirational and realistic targets with our students which ensure that the vast majority achieve well in excess of average attainment
Some exams have tiered papers. The terms “Core” and “Foundation” tiers are used to describe exams in which the highest grade that can be gained is a C or 5.  “Extended” and “Higher” indicate that grades A* to E or 9 to 3 can be achieved.
The current grading scale is gradually being replaced by a numerical scale of 9 to 1. Grade 9 is equivalent to an A*, grades 5 or 4 are equivalent to a C, grade 5 will be classed as a ‘strong pass’ and 4 will be classed as a ‘standard pass’. Grade 0 is equivalent to the old U grade.

For more information on the 9 to 1 grading system, please visit

Useful Websites, Further Reading

AQA Examination Board

Cambridge Examination Board

UK University Applications and Courses Guide

Choosing Subjects

Choosing Subjects

Careers Website

Higher Education options in Europe