4 Outstanding Post-16 Pathways Your Child Can Take Here in Dubai

The age of 16 is an exciting turning point for pupils in many educational systems. Students can begin to look towards their higher education and future careers. This age is also the time for learners to select the right qualifications, classes and extracurriculars to put them on the pathway to where they want to be.

In Dubai, there are several pathways your child can choose from the age of 16. In international schools, the various curriculums on offer provide a choice for students, depending on their skills, learning styles, and general situation.

Here we take a look at four outstanding options for post-16 education:

  • The IB diploma
  • A-levels
  • BTEC
  • A personalised pathway

Each option can open up excellent opportunities for career development and higher education once your child reaches 18 years of age. You will certainly find at least one pathway to suit your child.

4 Outstanding Post-16 Pathways Your Child Can Take Here in Dubai

1. IB Diploma Programme (DP)

IB (International Baccalaureate) is a well-regarded curriculum that runs from preschool through to age nineteen. The programme focuses on teaching students 21st century skills, promotes an understanding of global matters, and has a rigorous approach to academics.

At 16, pupils can choose to take the IB diploma, a two-year programme towards an internationally recognised qualification.

What is the IB Diploma Programme and how does it work?

Post-16 students choose six subjects to specialise in. The IB diploma aims to equip students with a broad and balanced education. Therefore, students select each of their six specialist subjects from a different group.

The six groups are:

  • Language or literature studies in their mother tongue
  • Language acquisition in an additional language
  • Maths
  • The sciences
  • The arts i.e. drama, music, visual arts
  • Individuals and societies, i.e., geography, history, politics, economics, etc.

In addition, in mandatory DP core classes all students study the theory of knowledge, take part in activities that promote creativity, action and service (CAS), and prepare an extended, self-directed essay on a subject of their choice.

How is it assessed?

The IB diploma assessments comprise:

  • Both internal and external assessments
  • Written exams in most subjects
  • Externally moderated coursework for some subjects plus the DP Core

At the end of the course, students receive a score out of seven for each of their subjects, plus up to three further points from the DP Core element. Pupils who score at least 24 points overall are awarded the IB diploma.

What are its benefits?

Universities and employers regard the IB diploma highly. This is because students who graduate from the IB programme demonstrate:

  • Excellent depth and breadth of knowledge in traditional academic subjects
  • Proficiency in at least two languages
  • Strong communication skills
  • A global mindset, strong empathetic skills, and an understanding of ethics

2.    A-levels

Another option for a post-16 qualification are A-levels. British curriculum schools in Dubai offer A-levels. The qualification is known for its academic excellence.

What are A-levels and how do they work?

A-level students usually choose four subjects to study in depth. Unlike the IB diploma, these subjects are a free choice. Students take one subject as an AS level after one year of study. They study the remaining three subjects for two years.

Good schools will also provide A-level students with enrichment opportunities outside their subject classes to bolster their university applications and CVs.

How are they assessed?

A and AS levels involve rigorous examinations, practical assessments and coursework. How exactly they are assessed varies from subject to subject.

A and AS levels are graded from A* to E, with A* being the highest.

What are the benefits they provide?

A-levels can offer your child:

  • The opportunity to delve deep into the subjects that interest them
  • The challenge and reward that come from diligent study
  • A world-renowned qualification
  • Opportunities for entrance to leading universities around the world, particularly in the UK

If a student is passionate about their subjects and is confident that studying these subjects at a high level will put them on the right path post-18, A-levels are highly recommended.

3.    BTEC

Taking a BTEC involves career-related study. BTEC stands for Business, Technology and Engineering Council.

What is a BTEC and how does it work?

Post-16 BTEC students focus on one work-related area only. Popular BTECs include business, engineering, sport, and health and social care. These are ideal for students who have identified an industry or sector they would like to work in.

A BTEC qualification combines practical experience with learning background theory.

How is it assessed?

A BTEC is divided into units. Regular assignments take place to assess each unit. There are no exams.

What are its benefits?

A BTEC can offer your child:

  • A qualification popular with employers
  • The opportunity to focus on areas of interest through elective units
  • Practical experience in their future career
  • A qualification recognised by universities, particularly those in the UK

4.    Combining pathways

For students who wish to combine the above pathways, or mix and match, some schools offer bespoke programmes.

How this works

The BTEC combines well with an A-level subject. Students can also create a career-related pathway by broadening their BTEC studies with elements of the IB diploma. It is even possible to combine all three of these pathways.

There are lots of possibilities for rewarding and interesting pathways. Perhaps your child would like to study an engineering BTEC but adores reading, so would also love to take A-level English. Perhaps your child has a flair for languages so likes the idea of the IB diploma but knows that the business BTEC would set them up well for their future career.

The benefits

Taking a combined pathway demonstrates:

  • Commitment
  • Not being afraid of a challenge
  • A passion for the chosen subjects

In addition, students will benefit from:

  • Reducing their exam load by combining one or two IB-diploma subjects or an A level with a BTEC
  • Elevating their university or job applications by demonstrating their ability to study academically as well as vocationally
  • Being able to study the subject areas they enjoy the most through a bespoke pathway

Where to find these pathways

GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai offers each of these four outstanding post-16 pathways.

Why not visit the school to find out more, or complete a GEMS online application to get your child started on this fulfilling next step in their education?

Also Read:  Building Strong Foundations: The Power of Early Childhood Education in Dubai


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