School Handbook | Private Secondary | IB Diploma | SISD

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.


Megan La Caze
Head of Secondary

As one of the leading secondary schools in Dubai, the Secondary School of SISD accommodates students from Grade 6 to 12.

We are a truly international school, with students from over 75 different countries. While many parents select our school for our impressive bilingual and IB reputation, we understand that education is about much more than academic success.

We offer an extensive range of after-school activities, academic and non academic extension opportunities and student leadership options. Students undertake the IB MYP in Grades 6-10, and then we offer three distinct pathways for Grades 11 and 12 students – the IB Diploma Programme, the IB Careers-Related Programme, and the IB Diploma Courses.

Our emphasis on the IB Learner Profile ensures that students develop a love of learning that will support them throughout their lives. I am proud to say our children leave us with a sense of confidence, an array of soft-skills, a long term love of learning and an awareness of the world that is inspiring.

We also have two boarding houses on campus, and these are an option for students from age 11+.

Watch this video to discover what an MYP education looks like.

Watch this video about MYP eAssessment at SISD

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, the IB Diploma Programme and the IB Careers-Related 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.
  • Swiss Baccalaureate : In Grades 6 and 7 students are to attend preparatory classes. These two years in our so-called hybrid classes (German-English bilingual, IB combined with Swiss Baccalaureate Curriculum) lay the foundation for a successful Swiss Baccalaureate education.
  • 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.
  • Career-Related Programme The programme leads to further/higher education, apprenticeships or employment. Find out more about the CP at SISD

Download the School Handbook

View our Curriculum for more information on the programme structure.


International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP)

MYP subjects offered at Swiss International Scientific School:

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

More comprehensive information on each subject can be found at on the International Baccalaureate official page .

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

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 quality1–5
2 work of limited quality6–9
3 work of an acceptable quality10–14
4 good quality work15–18
5 generally high quality work19–23
6 high quality, occasionally innovative work24–27
7 high quality, frequently innovative work28–32

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

 For more information on Taught Subjects and Assessment in the MYP, download our Secondary School Handbook

Find a detailed guide of our MYP options here.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP)

DP subjects offered at Swiss International Scientific School:

  • Group 1 (Language & Literature): English A, French A, German A
    • Language A Literature Standard Level (SL) school-supported, self-taught (SSST)
  • Group 2 (Language Acquisition): French B, French Ab Initio, German B
  • Group 3 (Individuals & Societies) : History (in French), History (in English), Business Management, Global Politics
  • Group 4 ( Experimental Sciences): Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Systems & Societies
  • Group 5 (Mathematics): Mathematics Applications and Interpretation
  • Group 6 (Arts/Electives): Visual Arts, Music OR a second subject from Group 3 or Group 4

More comprehensive information on each subject can be found on the International Baccalaureate official page.

Find our IBDP/CP options booklet here.


  • DP subjects in Groups 1-6 graded on a scale from 7 (highest to 1 (lowest)

(Passing grades: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3; Failing grades: 2, 1)

Click here for the courses offered under each subject group and information about course selection.

  • TOK and EE graded on a scale from A (highest) to E (lowest)

(Passing grades: A, B, C, D; Failing grade: E)

Conditions for the award of the IB Diploma

  • Minimum of 24 points in six DP subjects
  • Minimum of 12 points in three Higher Level (HL) subjects
  • Minimum of 9 points in three Standard Level (SL) subjects
  • Minimum of grade D in Theory of Knowledge
  • Minimum of grade D in Extended Essay

Maximum point scores attainable:

From six subjects: 42 points

From TOK & EE (combined): additional 3 bonus points

Possible overall maximum point score: 45 points

Conditions for the award of the bilingual IB Diploma:

  • Minimum of a grade 3 in two Group 1 languages
  • Minimum of a grade 3 in a Group 1 language AND minimum of a grade 3

in a Group 3 or 4 subject, studied in a different language.

 For more information on Taught Subjects and Assessment in the DP, download our School Handbook


International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (CP)

The Career-Related Programme is a framework of international education that incorporates the values of the IB into a unique programme addressing the needs of students engaged in career-related education.

Students have to choose 3 subjects (1 HL, 2 SL)*

  • CP Core:
    • Personal & Professional skills
    • Language Development
    • Service Learning
    • Reflective Project (in English, French or Spanish)
    • BTEC Business, Hospitality  or Sports

*Recommended subjects for Hospitality and Business pathways: Maths AI, Business Management and a language.

The programme leads to further/higher education, apprenticeships or employment. Find out more about the CP.

At SISD, qualified English as Additional Language (EAL), French as Additional Language (FAL) and German as Additional Language (GAL) teachers provide specific English, French and German support from KG1 to Grade 9 to learners who face challenges in accessing curriculum due to language barriers.

  • Grades 6-9: English, French and German support in bilingual streams; English support in E+ stream; EAL support program for beginners in English

The Arabic Department offers support classes for Arabic A and Arabic B starting from Grade 1 to Grade 9:

  • To students who joined the school with no prior knowledge of Arabic (Arabic A/B)
  • To students who need extra support to achieve better results in one or more of the Arabic Language skills (Listening- Speaking- Reading- Writing) 

For details on the organisation of Language Support in Secondary School please download the Language Support Policy.

English as an Additional Language Program (G6-9)
SISD offers a personalised EAL (English as and Additional Language) Programme for new joiners from non-English speaking learning environments in Grades 6-9. Our EAL Programme is designed to substantially improve the student’s English proficiency to fully integrate the academic content of the challenging IB curriculum.

For details on the structure of the EAL Programme at SISD please download this document.

Mother tongue

Learners in Grade 6-10 who are not required to attend Islamic Studies can choose to use that time to develop their mother tongue, if other than French, German, English or Arabic.
An external provider offers (at extra cost) 2 sessions of 40 mn / week  of Italian, Spanish and Russian mother tongue lessons. Mandarin available upon request.

To learn more, contact Headway Institute+ 971 4 362 53 13

Latest MYP Results – 2022
Congratulations to our MYP eAssessment graduates on their wonderful achievements for 2022:

  • Percentage of students who achieved more than 35 points : 72.22%
  • Percentage of students achieving a bilingual certificate : 41.63%
  • Highest score : 52 points
  • Average SISD point score – 41
  • World Average point score – 28
  • Average Grade Rate – 5.09

Latest IB DP Results – 2022
Congratulations to our IB DP graduates on their first ever examined results

  • Percentage of students achieving a bilingual certificate : 50%
  • Highest score : 40 points
  • Average SISD point score – 33
  • World Average point score – 31
  • Percentage of scores above 30: 66%

The Beyond Borders and Boundaries programme is an opportunity for SISD staff and students to extend themselves outside of the classroom through skills development activities, team building and community and service engagement tasks. Participants develop themselves as global citizens by gaining unique cultural, personal, interpersonal and environmental experiences not accessible in a standard classroom set up. All Middle School staff and students will participate.As part of this programme, our students have participated in trips to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Turkey and Cambodia.



SISD students are accepted by some of the world’s most prestigious universities.

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 the IBO website 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.