Deira International School

Student Guidance and Pastoral Care

The school's set of guiding principles enables us to promote a safe and supportive school community for our students.  Protecting children is everyone's responsibility and at DIS we want to create a non-threatening environment for all students, devoid of aggression, violence and all types of bullying.

In our school Aims 2 and 3 we have acknowledged that students will have a safe, secure and supportive learning environment.  We believe students' safety and wellbeing are enhanced when students feel connected to their school, have positive and respectful relationships with their peers and teachers, and feel confident about their social and emotional skills. 

Please find listed below some important student information for the academic year 2015-16.

Secondary School Student Expectations Guide 2017-2018

Student Representative House Council

The inaugural DIS Prefect & Student Representative Document

The DIS Student Representative Council team exists to provide opportunities for students, Years 5-IB2, to address the interests and concerns of students and to develop leadership skills. The SRC meeting takes place on Wednesdays of each week from 11:50 until 12:35.  Plans are put forward, debated, and voted on. Minutes are recorded. Fundraising and charity work are undertaken by the SRC in conjunction with Mr Hare. SRC representatives take an active role in the School Council and have voting rights.It is very important that we provide an effective student leadership practice with opportunities for students to:

  • have input to rules and procedures, establishing learning goals and tasks, suggesting how to work.

  • investigate and respond to issues of survival and quality of life, solve real problems, create real products.

  • experience cooperative and collaborative learning, peer support, community linkages, mutual respect.

Skills for Life


Childhood has changed dramatically since the beginning of the 20th century. The traditional nurturing many children received by parents, grandparents and extended family, who taught them important life skills has been largely eroded away by the power of mass media and exposure to an ever changing range of Hi-Tec information technology. This force has now become so powerful, that for many students, it is the most important source of information, advice and role models. This change can clearly be seen throughout the world and even in the structural and societal community of Dubai itself.

To become a self-reliant, flexible and global citizen of tomorrow, there are expectations and continuous pressure on families, schools and other institutions to provide opportunities for students to participate and make meaningful contributions in our rapidly changing society. To ensure the full development of our students, Deira International School, Secondary, has designed its own Skills for Life (S4L) curriculum, within the framework of Arabic culture, Islamic beliefs and the economy of Dubai.

Our Skills for Life curriculum is a sequential and progressive programme and is designed to respond to a changing world faced by our young people and their families today. By teaching appropriate skills and behaviours, students will develop global competencies and have guidelines for self-discipline, responsibility, good judgement, and respect for self and others.
We will help students develop self-awareness, confidence and a sense of responsibility; and to enjoy healthy and fulfilling lifestyles. We will also guide students towards making independent, informed decisions, and to develop appropriate skills to deal with the many difficult issues that confront young people today. While skills for life are embedded throughout our secondary curriculum, this programme will be taught specifically as a weekly lesson within the timetable.

In an international community, living and working with others naturally encourages students to develop their awareness of citizenship. Throughout this curriculum we have endeavoured to encourage links with our local community, outside organisations and individuals, and by our students supporting the wider community through our Community, Action and Service (CAS) and the Model of United Nations programme.

In preparing for life in the 21st Century, the Skills for Life programme will be closely linked to the DIS Vision, Mission, School Aims 2 & 3, our Learn, Explore, Teach, Exceed, (LETS) core beliefs, and the IBO Learner Profile. Using these as our success criteria, we have identified four areas of study. These are:-

  • Personal Challenges and Solutions.

  • Achieve and Succeed.

  • Country Citizenship and Culture.

  • Today’s Choices, Tomorrow’s Futures.

Preparing for life in the 21st Century

To be successful today it has been recognised by the workplace that there are some skills and values that are required for most careers. By using our sequential and progressive S4L programme, we hope to develop the following skills to prepare our students for the 21st Century: -

Students will be encouraged to develop: -

  • flexibility and to adapt to a variety of situations

  • the ability to devise and implement solutions

  • strong communication skills

  • knowledge of how people behave and how society works

  • independence and initiative

  • enthusiasm and motivation

  • team work and people skills

  • a willingness to develop

  • global awareness

Important values for healthy development

DIS has stated in School Aims 2 and 3 that we want our students to grow up to be healthy and productive global citizens. In fulfilling this requirement, our S4L curriculum has incorporated a clear set of values that need to be supported and modelled by teachers, and embedded throughout the lesson delivery. Our values emphasised in the Skills for Life programme are: -

  • self-discipline

  • a healthy lifestyle

  • respect for self and others

  • commitment to family

  • tolerance

  • kindness

  • responsibility

  • honesty

  • courage

  • service for others (CAS)

  • caring for the environment

Successful Implementation

To make the Skills for Life programme a success, it will be important that all staff members support its implementation and value how it will contribute to a positive Secondary School climate. Heads of Departments, Heads of Year, and senior managers need to give recognition to the tutors for taking responsibility in delivering the programme and by taking an active interest in positively responding to improved student, personal development.

The implementation of the S4L curriculum will ultimately be the responsibility of every tutor, guided by the Head of Year and supported by the Skills for Life Coordinator. The Scope and Sequence is spirally mapped with lessons organised under the following headings: - Personal Challenges and Solutions; Achieve and Succeed; Country, Citizenship and Culture; Today’s Choices, Tomorrow’s Futures. To be known as the PACT programme.

All lessons are supported with electronic resources, the student planner, and are divided into teaching units. Learning and teaching delivery is flexible to allow for individual teaching styles and to complement identified student year group needs. Where possible, lessons are linked with whole and secondary school initiatives. e.g. National/International Day, Healthy Lifestyle week, examinations and CAS activities.

To raise the profile of S4L, the lesson will be delivered on Monday, Period 1. This will encourage students to practise a skill or apply new information within a meaningful and relevant context throughout the rest of the week.

Assemblies held at the end of every month will reinforce the programme by celebrating achievement and encouraging student leadership. Audience etiquette and voice projection will also be included in the S4L programme to improve active participation, listening skills and behaviour.

Lesson Delivery

All lessons should follow the DIS ‘Outstanding Lesson’ guidelines. Students will be aware of the learning objective(s) and the body of the lesson will encourage students to be active learners. Discussions and activities within the class need to enable students to make connections from their current knowledge to form new skills and values. The content, approach and pace should be designed to meet the needs and age of the students. An atmosphere of tolerance and respect for differing viewpoints and opinions will also need to operate within each tutor classroom. Open-ended questions, respectful responding and personal reflection should be considered as important teaching strategies. 

While this subject will not be levelled, assessment must be integral within the lesson. Suggestions such as reflective journal writing, Portfolio entry, peer assessment, teacher observation, student/teacher conferences, unit tests, if appropriate, are but a few suggestions. Reporting to parents will include an effort and Skills for Life application grade.


The School will encourage HoY’s and tutors to avail themselves of, and use a range of personnel and community resources that will make the programme more relevant, interesting and interactive. Within the school we have a highly supportive medical team, career and guidance counsellors and they should be used to support the programme. Students, at appropriate year levels, will be encouraged to participate in CAS programmes, the Model of United Nations, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, outdoor education and career fairs. 

Skills for Life (S4L) Outline 2015-16


Learning Pathways

The Learning Pathways Department supports students who have special educational needs. The department is responsible for the identification of students, assessing their needs and establishing appropriate support in-class and in small groups

Learning Pathways staff work in partnership with parents across both primary and secondary schools, to support the students.

At times, Learning Pathways staff may consider that an external assessment would be in the best interests of the student.  A meeting would therefore be arranged with parents in which the child’s needs would be discussed, the next step identified and preferred external agencies would be recommended.

Across the primary and secondary schools, alongside in-class support, students are also supported in small groups to address individual literacy, English Language, numeracy and social skills.

In the secondary school, students are given advice when deciding their options for iGCSEs. Assessments for access arrangements are available and where appropriate, the department will make a case to examination boards for students to be granted, for example, additional time, the use of a laptop or a reader.

SEN Register - students receiving support for their special educational needs will be placed on the SEN Register.

If you have any questions, please contact the Learning Pathways Department.


Sarah Thomas


 Sarah Hodgson   

Head of Department


        Learning Support Coordinator, Primary School         


If you have any 'special educational needs' questions, please contact us at:


School Counsellors

DIS is concerned about the welfare and safety of all its students and works to create an ethos in which pupils feel secure and listened to.

Every student is recognised as an individual with rights and responsibilities. All staff care for and treat students as they would if they were their own.

Counsellors are actively promoting student well-being and are able to be contacted at any time.

 Secondary Counsellors may also be contacted at :

University and Careers Guidance


The University and Careers Service at DIS has many resources to help advise students and parents about Higher Education and beyond.

The school can support you in a number of ways:

  • Student and parent counselling sessions

  • IGCSE/IB course guidance

  • SAT/ACT advice

  • Application support

  • Personal statement and essay reviews

  • Interview practise

  • Provision of academic transcripts

  • Academic recommendations

  • Organisation of college visits and fairs

  • Information on summer schools

  • Gap year advice

  • Introduction to the Futurewise scheme

If you would like to discuss anything relating to university or careers, you can arrange a meeting with Mrs Thomasson, the University and Careers Counsellor.

How to contact Mrs Thomasson:

In person: University and Careers Office in M16

By email:

Transcript Request

If you require a transcript to assist you in your transition to a new school or university, please complete the Transcript Request Form.

Completed forms can be returned to the Secondary Office or emailed directly to the University and Careers Counsellor on

Please be aware that transcripts can take up to 10 days to be prepared (not including delivery time).

If you have any questions regarding transcripts, please contact the University and Careers Counsellor using the email address above.

University and Careers Newsletters

University and Careers Newsletters

Policies and Procedures

  • Deira International School
  • Dubai Festival City, P.O. Box 79043, Dubai, UAE
  • +971 4 232 5552
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