Dubai English Speaking College
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The Curriculum


Whatever your academic ability or future career aspirations, we have an academic pathway for you here at Dubai English Speaking College Sixth Form. This booklet provides you with the information relating to the range of educational pathways that are available in the Sixth Form at DESC.

The courses that we offer are designed to enable all of our students to formulate a suitable programme of study according to their ability, individual interests and future goals. We offer a number of pathways in the Sixth Form, including traditional academic GCE Advanced levels, a more vocational BTEC route, a combination of A level and BTECs, and a Foundation Year consisting of Level 2 courses.

GCE Advanced Level

We offer Advanced (A) levels in the majority of subject areas. The A level courses and newly re-structured Linear A levels have now all been reformed. The A level grade is determined by examinations and assessment at the end of the two-year course in Year 13.

As a result, we have reviewed the structure of A level courses and have made a decision that it will no longer be compulsory for students to complete AS examinations at the end of Year 12.  Instead we will introduce our own rigorous mid-course assessment process, which will form the basis of the students’ predicted grades and will act as an indicator of A level performance in the same way that the AS results currently do.  The benefits of this approach are that:

  • Students will receive far more actual teaching time as there will be no need for mock examinations in January of Year 12
  • We can remove the study leave period currently needed in the summer term so that teachers will be able to teach A level content throughout Year 12
  • Departments can structure their courses to give all students the best chance of success in their A level examinations
  • Disappointing AS examination results do not have to be declared to the universities
  • It reduces the financial burden on parents with one less set of examinations to pay for

As a result of this, certain subjects will be structured as two-year courses only. If a student opts for one of these subjects, it will not be possible to attain an AS grade at the end of Year 12. These subjects are:

Art / Art Photography

Drama & Theatre Studies / English Literature

Further Mathematics / Geography

Government & Politics / History

Music / Music Technology

AS Level Mathematics

The remaining A level subjects will cover enough AS content in Year 12 to allow students the option to sit the AS examination at the end of the year if desired. Please note, AS examination entries will need to be officially requested by the end of the first term.

Arabic / Biology / Business Studies

Chemistry / Computer Science / Economics

English Language / French / Information Technology

Mathematics / Mathematical Studies (AS only) / Media Studies

Philosophy / Physics / Physical Education

Psychology / Spanish

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

We also offer the EPQ for those students who are interested in extending their knowledge of a specific subject. It provides an opportunity for students to extend their abilities beyond an A level syllabus, and to prepare for university or their future career. The EPQ also provides additional UCAS points as it is worth half an A level, improving a student’s chances of gaining a place at University.

BTEC Diploma/Vocational Courses

In addition to subjects available at Advanced Level, we are pleased to offer BTEC National Diplomas in a range of subjects. These qualifications involve a different approach to assessment, where instead of terminal examinations, there is an ongoing assessment of coursework. This educational pathway may be a more suitable Level 3 course for some students, with the resultant grades having an equivalency to A levels in regard to UCAS points.

BTEC/Vocational courses are typically two-year courses with no option of discontinuing the subject at the end of Year 12 with a qualification. Our courses are as follows:

  • Applied Science (1 A level equivalent)
  • BTEC – Hospitality (1 A level equivalent)
  • BTEC – Entrepreneurship & Enterprise (2 A level equivalent)
  • BTEC – Sport (2 A level equivalent)
  • BTEC – Travel & Tourism (2 A level equivalent)

Foundation Year Course

DESC has a commitment to ensure an appropriate academic pathway for all of its students. Any student who struggles to gain the minimum entry criteria necessary to access Level 3 courses in Year 12 (5 GCSE subjects at grade C or level 4 and above), will have the opportunity to join the Foundation Year course. 

This course includes the following qualifications:

  • BTEC Level 2 – Extended Certificate (equivalent to 2 GCSE grades) in either Business Studies or Sport
  • BTEC Level 2 – Certificate (equivalent to 1 GCSE grade) in ICT
  • Re-sit classes for GCSE English Language and Mathematics
  • Individual mentoring sessions with a Personal Tutor
  • Study Skills and Careers Coaching

For more information, please contact