Key Stage 1


Key Stage One is a two-year phase, covering the 5 – 7 years age range.

As your son or daughter moves from Early Years to Key Stage One (KS1) in Durham School Dubai, a more formal approach to lessons begins. A lot of the learning is still taught through play, especially in Year 1. 

The learning environments are well resourced and maintained providing the children with a range of multi-sensory activities.   All classrooms have interactive whiteboards to support the children’s learning. Display areas celebrate the children’s work across all curriculum areas.

The students have a dedicated outdoor area to allow curriculum activities to take place outside of the classroom alongside activities that keep them fully occupied at break time. There are two breaks during the school day.  During the break times, the children get the opportunity to play and to eat their snack.

Phonics Programme by Little Wandle

At Durham Dubai we use a structured approach to teaching children how to use phonic sounds in their reading and writing, with the aim that children become fluent readers and accurate spellers.

We teach early reading through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised systematic, synthetic phonics programme.

When children join us in FS1 they are first introduced to our Little Wandle programme, laying the foundation for phonics. Children partake in short daily sessions incorporating a variety of activities and planned games to develop an awareness of sound and to develop the focused listening and attention skills which are both vital for sound awareness and early reading. As the year develops children are also introduced to oral blending through engaging games and when developmentally ready children begin learning phase 2 sounds and start their phoneme journey.

As children progress to FS2 children will have a daily phonics lesson of 30 minutes which follows the progression from the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds progression document and this continues in Year One and Year Two (and thereafter where necessary) to ensure children become fluent readers.
In FS2, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.

Children make a strong start in FS2: carefully structured phonics teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term following a specific format of revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress (please click here for the programme progression document). Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will also learn tricky words during these sessions.

Our early reading lessons in FS2, Year 1 and Year 2 link with the children’s phonic skill level and decoding ability. Children read from closely matched phonetically regular books to support them in developing reading fluency, comprehension and understanding thus gaining confidence in their reading ability.

During each academic year, parents in FS1, FS2, Year 1 and Year 2 are invited to Phonic Workshops to introduce the teaching approach and to develop their understanding of how they can support their child at home.

We assess all children from FS1 (where appropriate) up to Year 2 every 6 weeks as part of the programme to identify any gaps in learning and to check and monitor progress. Where gaps are identified, rapid catch up sessions are put in place by specifically ‘Little Wandle’ trained teachers and teaching assistants to bridge gaps whilst building confidence as quickly as possible.
In addition to this, here at Durham Dubai we opt for children to take part in the UK Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1. This check is designed by the Government to assess how well children in the UK have mastered the skill of using phonics.

For more information and to find out how you can further support your child please see the Little Wandle website parents section and visit the documents below:

Learn More

Key Stage 1 curriculum

A smooth transition takes place between Foundation and Key Stage One. Students in KS1 follow the English National Curriculum. We have adapted this slightly to ensure our curriculum is culturally engaging and teaches skills for our students to become global citizens. The structure of the curriculum is as follows: English, Mathematics, Science, Arabic Language and Islamic Education (for Muslim students) are the core subjects in addition to the foundation subjects of History, Geography, Design Technology and Art.

Subject specialists deliver art, design and technology, computing, music, French and PE and swimming programmes.  Links across the curriculum are made wherever possible and all activities are planned and delivered to maximise first-hand experience and respond to differing learning styles. Role play continues to be used as a way of developing expressive language skills; role play areas change regularly in classrooms and central areas.

Wherever possible, children are taken out of school for activities that support and enrich the curriculum, for example, the Y1 students may visit a local science museum where they get the opportunity to engage in many ‘hands on’ practical activities.  Y2 students may visit a local wildlife park as part of their study of animals in the local environment. Parents are regularly invited into school to join assemblies and celebrate their children’s’ achievements. The children have great fun preparing for this through songs, actions, dancing and some speaking parts.  Similarly, visitors with special skills and experience are invited into class to further enrich the curriculum.

Read, Write Inc. will be used as a basis for the teaching of phonics but other schemes may be used to ensure an individual approach for our children. The ‘Oxford Reading Scheme’ will be used as the core scheme for reading and this will be extended through inclusion of books from other schemes to provide depth and breadth. Our Mathematics will be broadly based on the White Rose scheme. However, give full autonomy to our talented and experienced teachers when planning engaging lessons for our students.

Key Stage 2


Key Stage Two, is a four-year phase from Y3-6, (7-11 years old). In some curriculum areas the Key Stage 2 timetable will run parallel to the KS3 Secondary school timetable, this allows more specialist teaching in Upper KS2. The learning environments are well resourced and maintained providing the students with a range of multi-sensory activities.  Display areas celebrate the students’ work across all curriculum areas.

The students have a dedicated play area featuring a range of facilities, as well as a playing field providing opportunities to participate in team games.

Key Stage 2 curriculum

KS2 students will continue to follow the Oxford Reading Tree for reading, however, during KS2, they will become free readers.

We continue our exciting thematic curriculum throughout Years 3-6. All subjects, including Science, History and Geography, are taught through themes, however, the themes become more in depth and more subject focused.

We will be following the UAE Ministry of Education Curriculum for Arabic Language, Islamic Education and Emirati Social Studies. This will be supported with additional Arabic reading schemes and songs.

Wherever possible, the students will benefit from out of school visits and activities to support and enrich the curriculum. Specialist teachers will be leading in Art & Design, languages, Music, PE and Swimming and Computing.

We welcome prospective parents to come and view our wonderful school with your children. Please call the main school office and our staff we be delighted to assist you.