DESC students in Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) follow a broad and balanced curriculum designed to keep their options open and develop the essential skills to prepare them for GCSE study.  The GCSE subjects offered at Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11) are designed to enable all of our students to formulate a suitable programme of study according to their ability, individual interests and future goals.

In line with UK statutory requirements each DESC student will study the core subjects of Maths, English and Science to GCSE level, as well as a further 3 Option subjects from a suite of 19 courses.

At DESC we believe in allowing our students to choose without the limitations of ‘subject blocks,’ thus creating a personalised curriculum for every student.  DESC students select their GCSE subject choices for Year 10, in January of Year 9. 


Each of our subjects are listed below.  Please click on the individual subject links to view videos giving full details on each course. To assist students and parents in the decision-making process, we have produced a GCSE Options Guide that contains information on each of the GCSE courses that are available from September 2024.

Core Subjects

English Language & English Literature 

Core PE (non-GCSE, not examined)


Muslim students:  Islamic Education (non-GCSE, not examined)

Double Award Science “Trilogy”= equivalent to 2 GCSEs or Separate Sciences = 3 GCSEs

Non Muslim students:  G.R.O.W - Getting Ready for the Outside World (non-GCSE, not examined)


Arabic A (Arab passport holders) 

Arabic B (all other passport holders with optional GCSE qualification)

Moral, Social and Cultural Education (Year 10 only, not examined) 

*Students who have registered at DESC using an Arab passport are required by UAE law to study the Ministry of Education Arabic course, known as Arabic A, for three hours per week*


DESCareers, led by Miss Reidy (Head of Information, Advice and Guidance) supports and guides Year 9 students in choosing their GCSE subjects. As part of their careers journey, all students in Years 9-13 at the College have a Unifrog account. This platform is a one-stop-shop which gives students unlimited access to a wide range of resources to support with careers and university research. Some of the functions available to students include:

  • Psychometric testing based on interest, personality, and skills. These assessments help to increase student’s self-awareness and guide them in selecting subjects for GCSE and post-16, degrees, and careers pathways.
  • Massive online open courses (known as MOOCs) which can be used to supplement learning outside the curriculum.
  • Regular webinars with careers, industry, and university experts across the globe.
  • Articles, podcasts, and other media presentations which students can filter according to the subjects they are studying and their personal interests.

In Year 9, Unifrog is launched with the students during tutor time as part of their Career Conversations week. Students begin by completing the psychometric testing, the results of which are recorded in their Character and Careers Conversation Journal. Form tutors then use this to structure their 1:1 Careers Conversation and refer any students who need further support to Miss Reidy. Future focused careers lessons also take place during GROW lessons where the use of Unifrog is further embedded. Additionally, the annual British Careers Week, which takes place during term 2 is another excellent opportunity for students to engage with and explore future careers pathways.