The Curriculum

Downe House is renowned for providing an outstanding education. Most importantly, we offer an inspiring range of subjects, and the freedom and encouragement to show initiative and creativity in curricular and co-curricular pursuits.

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A curriculum to encourage and inspire

Our curriculum is designed to offer pupils a seamless learning journey from Nursery to Year 13. Pupils benefit from the structure of the UK National Curriculum combined with the creativity and track record of the Downe House UK academic programme. We recognise the importance of Arabic Language, Islamic Studies and Social Studies and ensure that these subjects are embedded within our core curriculum.

Our curriculum prepares girls for IGCSE and A Level examinations, taken in Year 11 and 13 respectively, and opens doors to their exciting and ambitious futures.


The curriculum in Pre-School–Year 2

Learning in Pre-Prep begins with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, centred around play-based learning, where our youngest children develop important cognitive, communication and social skills. These years help lay the important foundations, which will serve pupils through their education and beyond.

Pupils develop basic numeracy and literacy capabilities and begin to apply their learning to real-world experiences.

In Year 1, pupils commence the Key Stage 1 curriculum, designed to enhance their creativity and interest in learning, while developing core skills. Pupils learn through varied and interactive activities and enjoy the excitement that each new day brings.

In these years, pupils begin to develop all-important skills in reading and writing and start to work with numbers to complete basic calculations. Beyond this, the curriculum enables pupils to explore new subjects for the first time, developing their breadth of knowledge.

Prep School

The curriculum in Years 3–6

In Prep School, learning is engaging and creative. The enhanced Key Stage 2 curriculum is designed to ensure that pupils develop skills across a range of subject areas and feel inspired to challenge themselves further.

We encourage pupils to develop new academic interests, through the broad curriculum on offer, while ensuring that they develop the core competencies needed to access more challenging curriculum material in later years.

From Year 5, the curriculum is purely led by subject-specialist teachers for all lessons. This model ensures girls progress to the Key Stage 3 curriculum with a greater level of academic independence and deeper subject knowledge.

The curriculum in Years 7 and 8

The curriculum in Years 7 and 8 is designed to give as much variety of educational experience as possible, while also advancing core skills. Girls are encouraged to collaborate and integrate creativity into their work as they explore new topics and ideas.

In Years 7 and 8, the programme is underpinned by an enhanced UK Key Stage 3 curriculum balanced with Arabic, Islamic and Social Studies.

The curriculum offers intellectual challenge and balance with a view to providing as broad of a range of future opportunities as possible. It also lays the foundation for the IGCSE programmes that will start in Year 9.

Downe House Muscat Science

Senior School

The curriculum in Years 9-11

Years 9 to 11 are the IGCSE years, with pupils able to tailor their academic programme to their interests and talents. IGCSEs are internationally recognised and highly reputable qualifications, which ensure depth and breadth of knowledge, skill and understanding before further specialisation in Year 12.

In selecting their IGCSE options, pupils will have been granted the opportunity to craft their own broad and balanced curriculum with the support of their form tutor and subject teachers. All pupils will complete examinations in core subjects including English, Mathematics and the Sciences, alongside optional subjects, which will pave the way for their A Level choices. Arabic, Islamic Studies and Social Studies remain integral parts of the curriculum.

The curriculum in Years 12 and 13

The curriculum in Years 12 and 13 is designed to prepare pupils, not only for A Level examinations, but for life beyond Downe House Riyadh.

A Levels are a globally recognised qualification that facilitate entry into the world’s leading universities. Pupils typically select three A Level subjects to study. Our A Level curriculum is academically rigorous and designed to recognise and reward depth of learning. In addition to the A Level subjects girls are examined on, they continue to prioritise their Arabic, Islamic Studies and Social Studies learning.

Our timetables are structured to provide girls with a greater level of independence in their learning. Having selected subjects that they are passionate about, pupils are afforded the time to read around their subjects and gain a deeper understanding of the subject material that they will be examined on.

All this takes place within a context of substantial support from our staff. Girls are allocated a new form tutor when they start Year 12. In addition, subject teachers ensure that students have the academic support network they require to fulfil their potential.

Secondary Curriculum (Grades 11 - 12)

Education will be demanding and challenging but there is no reason that it cannot be enjoyable and, of course, immense fun too!

Mrs Emma McKendrick, Headmistress, Downe House UK

Admissions Enquiries

Admissions Enquiries

The best way to find out more about Downe House Riyadh is to arrange a call with our team.