Middle School

The Middle Years Programme

The Middle Years Programme encourages learners aged 11 to 16 to make practical connections between their studies and the real world, preparing them for significant success in further study and in life. The MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathize with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning.

The programme empowers learners to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers, being able to perform at the highest levels in areas of study and life.

The Middle Years Programme (MYP) aims to provide holistic education and to show the impact of each individual on the world around them. Its goal is to constantly place learning within a context and to make explicit the relationship between various disciplines. It is designed for learners aged 11-16 and at WAA the MYP covers Years 7 – 11.

The Unique Learner 11 -18 years

Middle Years Programme  IGCSE/GCSE   IB DP IB CP – BTEC L3 

Language A – English Construction – English Lang/Lit

English 1st Lang
English 2nd Lang
English Literature
Language & Literature
Language Acquisition – MFL 
Language & Literature
Language Acquisition – MFL 
Mathematics Mathematics/Further Mathematics Mathematics Mathematics
Sciences – Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Studies  Biology, Chemistry, Physics  Sciences – Biology, Chemistry, Physics Sciences – Biology, Chemistry, Physics
 Language Acquisition – MFL  Arabic & French Individuals & Societies – History, Geography Individuals & Societies – History, Geography
 Physical and Health Education  

Physical Education

Sports Studies
Arts & The Electives – Visual, Performing & Music  Arts & The Electives – Visual, Performing & Music
Individuals & Societies History, Geography Sport Science Sport, Performing Arts, Business Studies, ICT
Design & Technology – ICT, Computer Science Design & Technology – ICT, Computer Science Extended Essay  
Arts – Visual, Performing & Music, Dance Drama, Music, Dance CAS/TOK  

The MYP organises teaching & learning through 8 subject groups:

Subject Groups Subject Disciplines
Language & Literature English, Arabic
Mathematics Mathematics Standard and Mathematics Extended in G9 & G10. Option of extended Mathematics as of Grade 9.
Language Acquisition Arabic, French
Design Design (with units focusing on both Product & Digital Design)
Sciences Integrated Science (with units in Biology, Physics & Chemistry)
Individuals & Societies  

Integrated Humanities (including units that focus on History, Politics, Economics, Geography)

To comply with the Ministry of Education of the UAE, WAA also offers Islamic Education, which is taught explicitly, within the Individuals and Societies subject group.

Physical Health & Education Physical health related knowledge, aesthetic movement, team sports, individual sports, international sports and activities
The Arts Visual Art, Media, Music, Drama, Dance

Programme Overview

Our curriculum is designed to help our students ask challenging questions, learn how to learn, establish their own identity and develop a global perspective.

The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is designed to build upon the knowledge, skills and attitudes developed in the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and also to prepare students to meet the academic challenges of the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and the IB Career-related Programme (IB CP).

The programme promotes interdisciplinary study that helps students make important connections between academic subjects. Integrated teaching and learning helps students analyse complex issues and develop the mental habits they need to participate in our increasingly interconnected world.


  • Holistic Learning

    The Middle Years Programme (MYP) supports students to build confidence in managing their own learning by doing, and connecting the classroom to the larger world. Learners develop an understanding of global challenges and a commitment to act as responsible citizens. GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi students have opportunities to:

    • develop their potential
    • explore their own learning preferences
    • take appropriate risks
    • reflect on, and develop, a strong sense of personal identity.
  • Concept and content-driven curriculum

    Concepts are big ideas that have relevance within specific disciplines and across subject areas. MYP students use concepts as a vehicle to inquire into issues and ideas of personal, local, and global significance and examine knowledge holistically. They invite reflection on local, national, and global communities that are relevant to our students.

  • Personal Project

    The Personal Project is a compulsory, culminating project completed in the final year of the IB Middle Years Programme. It is an opportunity to explore a topic that is of interest to each student, to develop Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills, further and to create something unique. Students begin the Project during Year 10 and complete it during Year 11.

  • Service as Action

    Service as Action is a requirement of the MYP programme. It means taking part in activities which benefit others. Activities should benefit individuals or a community. These activities can take place in or out of school, and the activities can be done individually or as part of a group. Student should reflect upon these activities and show evidence of their participation.

    Service activities go beyond doing for others. These activities engage students with others in a shared commitment towards the common good. Meaningful service requires the understanding of a central issue, such as poverty, literacy, or pollution; and the issue proves the need for the service. Additionally, meaningful service involves interactions with others, which establishes students’ understanding of the rights and respect of everyone involved.

  • Continuous Assessment

    MYP assessment standards are consistent around the world. The MYP assessment model is based on four criteria. Teacher’s structure varied and valid assessment tasks so that students can demonstrate achievement according to objectives defined by the IB. Tasks are always assessed against these established criteria, not against the work of other students.

    The IB provides a rigorous framework for assessment, and student work is evaluated according to criteria that clearly reflect the holistic philosophy of the programme. Self and peer assessment are integral parts of the process.

    The MYP e-Assessment is being introduced to allow students in the middle years to demonstrate key skills and be awarded the IB MYP Certificate. This will improve the way we monitor our student’s educational progress and prepare students for key milestones.

    The MYP also encourages teachers to assess the students’ Approaches to Learning Skills (ATL), including how to succeed in written examinations.

    Typical MYP assessment tasks include open-ended, problem-solving activities and investigations, organised debates, tests and examinations, hands-on experimentation, analysis, and reflection. MYP assessment is carried out internally by teachers, according to the criteria defined by the IB, and uses rigorous moderation practices to ensure consistency. However, certain components are also externally marked and moderated by IB examiners, such as the Personal Project. The MYP assessment criteria across subject groups can be summarised as follows:


      A  D
    Language and literature  Analysing Organising Producing text  Using language
    Language acquisition
    Comprehending spoken and visual text Comprehending written and visual text Communicating Using language
    Individuals and societies Knowing and understanding Investigating Communicating Thinking critically
    Sciences Knowing and understanding Inquiring and designing Processing and evaluating  Reflecting the impacts of science
     Mathematics Knowing and understanding Investigating patterns Communicating Applying mathematics in real-world contexts
    Arts Knowing and understanding Developing skills Thinking creatively  Responding 
    Physical & health education Knowing and understanding Planning for performance Applying and performing  Reflecting and improving performance 
    Design Inquiring and analysing Developing Ideas Creating the solution Evaluating
    MYP Projects Investigating Planning Taking action Reflecting
    Interdisciplinary Disciplinary grounding Synthesizing Communicating Reflecting

  • Training and development

    All GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi staff are fully qualified teachers, and receive regular internal and external training on the MYP framework and assessment, as well as from other expert providers at the forefront of educational pedagogy.

  • Enrichment Programme

    GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi has a weekly programme of hundreds of possible activities that take place across each day. Such as:

    • INNOVATION: State-of-the-art innovation studio offering students with access to robotics, AI, AR and VR technology.
    • MOVEMENT: Swimming, Basketball, Football, Cricket, Rugby, Netball, Tennis, Athletics, Dance, Yoga, Gymnastics, Ballet, and much more.
    • CONNECTION: A dedicated language hub with French and Arabic taught in the curriculum from Year 2, and French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic and Quran Stories.

Neil White - Head of Secondary

Neil White has been with GEMS Education for the past eight years, having joined GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi from its then sister school in Singapore, where he spent seven years as Early and Primary Years Principal. In his current role of Head of Secondary, Neil is a key member of the Executive Leadership Team.

With close to two decades’ experience as a school leader, Neil has worked across both the primary and secondary divisions of large international schools and has held a variety of positions, including Curriculum Coordinator, Middle School Vice Principal and Head of Primary. His diverse experience has allowed him to support students of all ages across a continuum of learning.

As a lifelong learner, Neil holds a bachelor’s (Hons) degree in Science Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Management, specialising in Leadership, Policy and Change, from Monash University in Australia. He is currently undertaking the National Professional Qualification Headship (NPQH).

Neil is passionate about the value of an IB education and has been a member of the International Baccalaureate Educator Network for 14 years, which has seen him lead teacher training as a workshop leader and as a visiting team member for IB school accreditations, as well as support new schools in their implementation of the IB programme as a school consultant.

Neil has considerable experience using data to build on potential and increase student achievement. He is also ideally placed to support GEMS World Academy in its High Performance Learning journey, supporting students through the provision of limitless opportunities.

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