Secondary School | Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai

Dear Secondary School Students, Colleagues, and Parents,

It is a privilege to welcome you to the learning community that is SISD. Learning is at the heart of all we do: as a school we strive to improve every day in the pursuit of excellence.
The Secondary Years are a key time for young people. It is here that the foundations for the future are consolidated and where identity evolves.  At SISD, we seek not just to accompany students on this path, but also to help them savour it. Without enjoyment, learning remains flat and lacks inspiration, the source of creativity. We hope you enjoy learning more about our IB community here.


Luke Osborne
Head of Secondary School

Secondary School is a key time for young people. It is here that the foundations for the future are consolidated and where identity evolves. At SISD, we seek not just to accompany students on this path, but also to help them savour it. Without enjoyment, learning remains flat and lacks inspiration, the source of creativity.

As one of the leading secondary schools in Dubai, SISD accommodates students from Grade 6 to 10 (Grades 11-12 opening in September 2018 and 2019 respectively). Watch this video to discover what an MYP education looks like.

Designed to promote academic excellence, it will be a stimulating space offering unique facilities.

The Secondary School at SISD encompasses Grade 6-12. Students in the Secondary School follow the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) from Grade 6-11 and the IB Diploma Programme from Grade 11-12.

  • Middle Years Programme: The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme is a holistic programme in that it requires students to develop depth of knowledge across a broad curriculum. The MYP is organised around three main principles: multilingualism, intercultural understanding and holistic learning.
  • Diploma ProgrammeThe two year International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme allows students to develop an excellent breadth and depth of knowledge. The Diploma (DP) is a truly international programme developed in consultation and collaboration with educators from around the world.

View our Curriculum for more information on the programme structure.

More comprehensive information on each subject can be found at:

  • Language and Literature
  • Language acquisition
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Design
  • Moral Education

In the MYP, subject group objectives correspond to assessment criteria. Four criteria (A,B,C & D) are each marked out of 8. The criteria are subject-specific and detailed later in this Handbook. The levels generally represent performance as follows:

Criterion Levels (A,B,C,D) Descriptor
1–2 limited
3–4 adequate
5–6 substantial
7–8 excellent

The total marks from 32 can then be converted to an indicator of a grade for that subject:

Subject Grade Descriptor Marks /32
1 work of very limited quality 1–5
2 work of limited quality 6–9
3 work of an acceptable quality 10–14
4 good quality work 15–18
5 generally high quality work 19–23
6 high quality, occasionally innovative work 24–27
7 high quality, frequently innovative work 28–32

Teachers award an Effort Grade to help students, parent and colleagues understand better students’ prospects in that particular subject.

Effort Grade Descriptor
A a positive effort that is likely to improve grades (or maintain a 7)
B an effort that will have little impact on reported grades
C an inadequate effort that may result in lower grades

Ensuring that our students are equipped for future success is central to our school life. Our College Counselling Team will guide and support our students as they prepare for life beyond our school. With specialists from English, French and German speaking countries, the counselling team provides structured information and guidance across a range of further education options. In close collaboration with the Head of Secondary School, class teachers and parents, our students begin their preparation at the start of Grade 9, researching courses, universities and entry requirements. They are encouraged to define their goals for the future and challenged to think broadly about their future aspirations. Throughout this process, our counsellors are there to challenge and support decision making and are available to meet with both students and parents.

  • IB Admission to International Universities: The IB Diploma is accepted in 75 countries in over 2000 universities. The IBO has a search directory on its website ( although they advise students to check directly with each university for the recognition policy.
  • IB Admission to Swiss Universities: Most Swiss universities require 32 of 42 points (without extra points) and have additional HL subject requirements. ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne require 38 of 42 points (without extra points) and have stringent HL and SL subject requirements. Please check with the respective university for their recognition policy or go to for further information.
  • Swiss Baccalaureate admission to International Universities: There are two types of Swiss Baccalaureates, the ‘Federal’ as well as ‘Cantonal’. The Federal Swiss Baccalaureate diploma allows students to study at international universities. Please check with the respective university for specific admission requirements.
  • Swiss Baccalaureate Admission to Swiss Universities: Holders of a Swiss Baccalaureate do not have to take part in an admission process (except for medical studies) if they wish to study at a Swiss university.
  • IB International Recognition: Universities and colleges benefit from recruiting and admitting students from IB programmes in a range of ways, with IB programmes developing the knowledge, skills and disposition students need to be successful throughout their university careers. Every university in the UK now accepts the IB Diploma. IBDP students regularly enter toptier institutions. In the US and Canada, the IBDP and Course Certificates (Higher Level) are increasingly recognised, with many universities conferring credit or advanced placement of up to one year for them. As a result of their time in the IB, students develop: time management skills and a strong sense of self-motivation, a keen interest in civic engagement, notable academic ability, strong research and writing skills, critical thinking abilities and an international outlook. Research suggests, for example, that IB students are more likely than their peers to complete their undergraduate degrees and pursue graduate work; and that they are more likely to be engaged in various aspects of university life. According to the research, IB students are strong on: student leadership activities, working with university faculty on research projects, finding opportunities to study in other countries, tutoring other students , taking part in voluntary and community service and completing internships.