Physical Education & Sports

The DESS PE Department provides an outstanding experience in Physical Education and Sport for every child at DESS. With a very proud sporting history and outstanding levels of success in competitions across the Middle East and internationally, Dubai English Speaking School is highly regarded as one of the top sporting schools in Dubai. 

As a department, we motivate children to develop lifetime habits to keep fit and healthy. Physical Education is a foundation subject in the British National Curriculum and our school uses the national scheme as its basis for curriculum planning. Within this programme DESS covers a wide range of physical activities including Gymnastics, Swimming, Invasion Games and Athletics. 

In each lesson, there is a diverse range of activities to challenge, enrich and motivate the children to continue their sporting journey into secondary school and adulthood. A progressive curriculum has been designed which builds on students’ prior learning and also allows them the opportunity to set their own targets to fulfil their personal learning journey. A main focus in the younger years is the development of core skills which, then with the addition of games awareness and tactics in the older year groups, allows them to become a well-rounded athlete with a strong foundation to build on in the future. 

The level of opportunities to represent DESS at all levels is vast, with A, B and C teams in many sports. This combined with our inclusive Physical Education programme, provides a platform for engagement which caters for all students of all levels of ability. 

Inter-school Sport also has a very high profile, with DESS consistently ranked as one of the top sporting schools in Dubai. This has been achieved through great determination, hard work and commitment to training by our students and highly skilled teachers and coaches. Significant parental support also contributes to the children’s achievements. Along with these fixtures and competitions, DESS also regularly take part in regional and international sporting events, where we can showcase the talents of our students.


The DESS Physical Education Department provides an outstanding Sport and Physical Education programme. From representing the school in the UK at the Council of British International Schools Games to receiving one on one support in addition to their PE lessons, all children benefit from having dynamic and enthusiastic teachers and coaches. 

Each member of the PE team is also tasked with an area of responsibility, which they specialise in. This allows for an unrivalled programme where students are nurtured and encouraged to achieve their very best in each individual sporting area. 

DESS has almost 20 additional teaching staff assisting with the sporting programme. Many of these class teachers and LSAs take the lead with sporting teams and are offered professional development and support to ensure that they are providing coaching sessions which are highly challenging and motivating for the DESS sporting teams. 

Talented Pupils 

In addition to the vast opportunities to represent the school in elite sporting events, DESS also looks to challenge and extend our talented pupils in all areas of sport through specially designed athlete programmes. Talent Identification Programmes are run throughout the year in conjunction with the sports development coaches at our secondary school, Dubai English Speaking College (DESC). A strong link is built through this programme with the High Performance Director at DESC. This programme allows our students to access world class facilities and coaches at DESS and DESC in order to develop into world class athletes in the future. 

Assessment Monitoring 

Our PE teachers assess children’s performance in PE and Swimming through a variety of different ways including observation, self and peer assessment in lessons. In addition to this, baseline assessments are completed for each activity to gain an understanding of the children’s initial abilities and are compared to final assessments to demonstrate progress. At the end of each unit of work, teachers make a judgement against specific assessment criteria created by the DESS PE Department and from adapted National Curriculum levels of attainment. 

Cool Kids and Sensory Circuits 

Two programmes are designed to enhance the provision for pupils who are not currently working at the average expected levels for their age group during Physical Education lessons. Cool Kids is aimed at FS2 and Year 1 children in order to give them additional support in developing their gross motor skills, whilst Sensory Circuits focuses on developing the KS2 students who need additional support. 

Tournaments and Tours 

DESS competes in a wide range of sporting tours and tournaments during the school year, within the Middle East and internationally. DESS has been crowned British Schools in the Middle East Champions 3 out of the past 4 games. The BSME Games includes Athletics, Swimming, Netball, Football and Basketball and is a fantastic test of a school’s depth and skills development in a mini-Olympics style competition. Recently, we also attended the Council of British International Schools Games in London, with DESS being crowned runners-up out of 18 schools. 

Additional Events 

Sporting opportunities are plentiful in Dubai and DESS is always keen to give the children opportunities to be a part of these. The Dubai Rugby 7s, Dubai World Championship Golf Tournament and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are just some of the unique opportunities that DESS children can attend or be involved in international sport. Visits from Olympic Gold medallists and international sporting teams also allow our athletes to see what it takes to compete at the highest level and strive to be their best. 

Hosting Events 

Our Festive Football/Netball and Spring Rugby/Netball tournaments are a highlight of the year as they showcase the sporting talent of 24 teams from across Dubai. DESS has hosted these tournaments for over 15 years and they are an integral part of the sporting calendar of Dubai Primary Schools. As one of the top swimming schools in Dubai, DESS also host a number of swimming galas during the year such as the Top 4 League Gala and numerous friendly and development squad galas. In addition to inter-school events, DESS has hosted BSME Games and BSME Football tournaments with teams from across the Middle East competing. 

DESS to DESC Transition 

The transition and links between DESS and DESC Physical Education Departments are often used to highlight the strong links between both campuses. Termly transition events and joint working are planned on a weekly basis during joint meetings between both Directors of Sport. DESS students attending Physical Education lessons, training sessions, specialist coaching opportunities and participating in through-school tournaments allow DESS students to be part of the outstanding programme at DESC and ensure a smooth transition to secondary school. DESC staff and students are also heavily involved with the DESS programme through specialist coaching, officiating at tournaments, assisting at sports days and events and work experience programmes. Both schools benefit from the wide range of liaison activities during the year and through these events a whole school spirit is developed and promoted, with DESS and DESC students showing pride in each other’s achievements. 

Sporting Success 

DESS has always historically achieved high levels of sporting success; however, with over 60 schools now taking part in Dubai primary schools sport, it has continued to be a powerhouse in Dubai school sporting landscape. DESS can proudly boast to be the British Schools in the Middle East Games champions for the past 3 years, plus runners up at the Council of British International Schools Games. In addition to these international events, the achievements of the DESS sporting teams within Dubai is exceptional. 

Sporting ECA Programme 

An extensive range of PE and Sport related extra-curricular activities (ECAs) are offered before school and after school with DESS PE staff leading these sessions. Morning sessions run from 7am – 7.35am; however, early morning swim squad sessions may begin at 6.45am at times during the year. The afternoon programme runs from 2.30pm -3.30pm, with inter-school fixtures taking place from 3.30pm - 4.30pm. These sporting ECAs provide a valuable opportunity for DESS students to take part in a wide range of sports and allows them to take part no matter what their level of ability. 

Parent and Pupil Engagement

The DESS PE Department operate an Open Door policy where parents are encouraged to come in to meet with the PE team regularly to give feedback on the programme. This allows the PE team to deliver an experience which parents and children love. Parent Sporting Forums are also held to allow parents to have a voice in the direction of PE and Sport at DESS. There is great pride from parents in the DESS sporting achievements and this is reflected in the high levels of attendance by parents at DESS sporting events. Students are also consulted regularly to find out their perspective on the Physical Education and Sport programme at DESS. Information is communicated to parents through the DESSC Parent Portal and the DESS website, which allows them to easily access information.   


Substantial investment over the past 5 years has ensured that DESS’s facilities are perfectly suited to primary school sport. Shading and re-surfacing of the swimming pool and court areas have made a huge impact on the quality of curriculum lessons and team practice sessions. The grass pitch is also a valuable teaching and activity space, allowing the children to safely take part in sporting sessions, including contact Rugby. The additional of an FS1 Learn to Swim Pool has also positively impacted the quality of our swimming provision, with our FS1 children in the pool from Term 1 onwards.

Student Leadership in PE

Students are given the opportunity to become Sports Leaders at DESS which is a responsibility not only within Physical Education lessons, but also within the school sporting community. Roles of these leaders include assisting with set up of PE lessons, assisting the teacher with tasks during the lesson and being involved with whole school events such as sports days and swimming galas. In addition to the Sports Leaders roles, Year 6 students also have the opportunity to become Sports Helpers in PE lessons. Year 6 students attend FS2 lessons and become role models for the younger children by running small group activities and assisting with managing the class. The benefits for the Year 6 students and the FS2 children are numerous and assist us to build a school community feel in PE lessons. 

Community Sport

DESS has a number of sports clubs run within the school community. There are a range of activities and skill levels so everyone can get involved and active.