The Master’s Welcome
Welcome to Dulwich College, an academically selective independent boys’ school in south London. It is a great honour to be leading the College through a time of rapid change. We have honed our virtual teaching and learning, and pupils and staff have been stretched and challenged.
Dulwich has a distinguished tradition of inspired teaching and genuine scholarship; it benefits from historic buildings and green open spaces in a delightful environment.
Pupils proceed from Dulwich to the most competitive of universities, in the UK and in the world, and thereafter into all the major professions, with a high number following careers in Engineering, the Health Services and the Law. But we are also alert to the changing nature of work in the 21st century; We expect our alumni to take up jobs in a range of innovative and creative arenas and to have more than one career.
The College has a long-standing reputation for producing some of the finest actors, musicians, sportsmen and writers; we foresee a future in which our students go on to engage in entrepreneurial, technological or cybernetic enterprises too. We believe that more and more will commit to work which will define them as community and service leaders.
Our primary duty is to ensure that all our pupils are engaged in good learning, both in the classroom and beyond it; both in working towards examined syllabuses and in their free learning.
Our principal objectives are:
- to ensure that all our pupils feel equally secure and valued;
- to offer academic challenges that enable each pupil to realise his potential;
- to provide sporting, cultural, charitable and adventurous engagement for all our pupils to enjoy and through which they can learn to work co-operatively and to lead;
- to nurture a supportive, diverse and inclusive community that encourages a sense of social responsibility.
It is also our responsibility to enable Alleynians to be thoroughly well prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
This is a challenging Mission Statement. My responsibility is to ensure that we fulfil our aims and build on our achievements. I am delighted to invite you to explore our website where you can take a virtual tour of the campus, discover more about College life and visit our page Equality and Respect where you’ll find details of our plans. Should you and your son wish to visit, please contact our Admissions team whose details you will find on the final page of this digital prospectus.
Dr Joe Spence
Bursaries & Scholarships
Edward Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift – the original name for Dulwich College – was established in 1619 and was a foundation for ‘12 poor scholars’, three drawn from each of four parishes. The College of God’s Gift also educated fee payers drawn from Dulwich Village (paying an admission fee of 2s and a quarterly fee of 6d) and Alleyn further established four boarding places.
Bursaries & Scholarships
From the outset there were clear foundation principles by which the College should be governed: sound learning; strong artistic pursuits; and good manners. We hope you recognise these in the College boys you meet today.
The other essential Alleynian attribute we still proudly uphold is our accessibility for what the founder referred to as ‘poor scholars’. In other words, that a full education might be available to all, irrespective of social background and financial resources. Our ambition is that we will be able to offer financial assistance for up to 50% of our pupils, whose parents are unable to meet the cost of the full fee. This academic year 197 boys and their families are in receipt of a means-tested bursary award.
Bursaries are available at the point of entry.
Scholarship is core to our identity and attracting the brightest local boys, boys from farther afield in London and beyond and boys overseas will mean we will continue to realise Edward Alleyn’s vision.
Alleynians are intelligent and enthusiastic; they are also incontrovertibly individualistic and from many different backgrounds – economic, religious and ethnic. It is this social mix that makes Dulwich College a special place – it is often remarked upon that College boys are down to earth, are able to fit in everywhere and can talk to anyone. If you would like to know more about our Bursaries and Scholarships, please get in touch with our Registrar.
The Dulwich Spirit
The Dulwich Spirit
Over its four centuries the College has established a tradition of inspired learning, genuine scholarship and free thinking. To a boy we might describe Dulwich College as a place where he can be what he wants to be, and to his parents, as a place to give their son a vision of the world.
Our heritage is rich with stories of inspiration, courage and resilience, yet while history is something to learn from, our boys have an openness to the future and how they might contribute to it. They feel that they are part of a family that helped explore, pioneer, discover and celebrate the world we have today. They want to give back what they receive. That is the Dulwich spirit.
We believe that mutual benefit comes from engaging in partnerships. Across the College pupils and staff voluntarily contribute their time and expertise to a wide range of community activities which are carried out under the umbrella of the College's whole-school strategic development plan.
In an average year there are more than 45 volunteering projects run as part of the College’s Community Action programme. These opportunities take place outside of the College, as well as within, but all opportunities fall under the headings of Educational, Social and Environmental.
We are thrilled that over 300 of our boys will actively engage with these opportunities. Examples of the kind of volunteering that will take place include: providing extra support for pupils at local primary schools and our partner school, City Heights; tutoring at homework clubs and Saturday Schools; visiting and helping residents at a number of local Care Homes; preparing food parcels at the Brixton and West Norwood Foodbank; and helping with gardening in Dulwich Park and West Norwood Cemetery.
Volunteers find the activities hugely rewarding; they play an important role in the personal development and wider education of the boys and forge important links with our wider community. Whilst the educational element underlying the importance of community engagement is conveyed across all age ranges of the school, the practical projects are available to boys in Year 10 upwards; the boys volunteer for approximately an hour each week during the first 2 school terms – either at lunchtimes, after school or on Saturday mornings.
Strong sense of identity
Each school has its own Head, as well as Deputies, Year Heads and Form Tutors who have daily contact with the boys in their care. These teams oversee the academic and pastoral welfare of the boys and ensure that close links are fostered and maintained between parents and the College. This structure enables many subjects to be taught in form groups and encourages a strong sense of identity within each school.
While the Junior School is very much part of the College, care is taken to provide boys with an environment appropriate to their age. Boys join Year 3 at seven years old and make increasing use of the College’s extensive facilities as they move through the school. We help the boys to achieve high academic standards while also nurturing their individual interests and encouraging their talents to blossom.
For information about DUCKS, our Kindergarten and Infants’ school of 230 girls and boys, please explore the DUCKS website and separate prospectus.
The Senior School
Pupils in the senior school are characterised by their enthusiasm for learning, an ability to embrace opportunities beyond the curriculum and to think creatively.
Everyone can try everything
Between 70 and 80 boys enter the Lower School in Year 7 (age 11+), joining around 50 boys from the Junior School. We provide a stimulating and stretching academic challenge while also ensuring the boys feel secure. During Years 7 and 8, all subjects are taught by specialist teachers and we place a strong emphasis on developing sound academic and organisational skills. Outside the classroom a broad range of co-curricular activities encourages boys to make the most of College life.
During their first term, Year 7 boys spend a week at the College’s Outdoor Centre in the Brecon Beacons where they get to know each other in a relaxed environment. Activities include climbing, caving, gorge-walking, waterfall exploration, mountain-walking and map-reading. This trip is hugely popular and lasting friendships are made.
“Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of a Dulwich education in the Lower School, where boys are free to discover new talents and to explore new ways of thinking. We provide a nurturing environment where boys learn how to be responsible, empathetic and to have a strong sense of their own identity.”
Head of Lower School
Discover, develop, achieve
There are around 620 boys in Years 9 to 11 and we welcome up to 85 new entrants into Year 9 (age 13+) to join those moving up from Year 8. The curriculum focuses on establishing a sound knowledge base and developing the boys’ study skills to enable them to fulfil their academic potential and to grow as rounded individuals. Boys usually study ten GCSE/IGCSE subjects in Year 10 and 11 and transfer to the Upper School at the end of Year 11.
“The Middle School Years are crucial in helping boys develop their identities both inside and out of the classroom. We encourage the boys to question everything, to be as empathetic as possible and strive for excellence in everything they do. These are the years when life-long academic passions are formed, co-curricular skills are developed, and friendships that last a lifetime are made.”
Head of Middle School
Each year approximately 40 new students enter Year 12 (16+) to join those moving up from Year 11. Pupils select three A level subjects in addition to electives in the A Level Plus and Liberal Studies programmes to provide an Upper School curriculum to deepen knowledge and prepare pupils for undergraduate study. In addition, pupils can opt to take the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or produce an Extended Essay for internal assessment, and pupils may also complete the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
There is something for everyone in the co-curricular life of the Upper School with many opportunities available in sport, drama, music, charitable and community work. Pupils are encouraged to engage with areas of interest and those which will help prepare them for life beyond Dulwich, and extensive support is also available through the application process for universities in the UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere.
The two years that pupils spend in the Upper School are challenging but rewarding, with the aim of building the personal and academic self-motivation and independence needed for life beyond Dulwich.
“The Upper School provides an inspiring environment to help all boys find their passion, build confidence, and to prepare to lead. The academic and co-curricular programme is personalised and challenging and designed for the demands of 21st century study and the workplace.”
Head of Upper School
The libraries at the College cater for the specific needs of different age groups, between them housing 32,000 printed and audio-visual materials along with subscriptions to more than 30 online resources and ebook libraries.
These resources support our ambition for all boys to develop into independent, self-motivated, life-long learners. The Raymond Chandler library is popular with enthusiastic Lower School readers and regularly hosts literary quizzes and author events.
The Wodehouse Library provides a comfortable space for quiet study, while the conversation area buzzes with discourse, debate and chess.
With borrowing available from the British Library, and College membership of JSTOR (the digital library) there is no area of learning which the boys cannot access, while the periodicals room, hung with paintings from the Dulwich Picture Gallery, allows the boys to read newspapers and periodicals in a traditional library setting too.
Education is lived, not just learned
Our philosophy is based on a commitment to teaching and genuine outward-looking scholarship. All our pupils are ambitious academically and we want each to find their areas of interest. Examination results are key, yet it is vital that boys also develop their own intellectual interests and learn to think confidently for themselves. Boys are curious and need space during their lessons and beyond to explore the questions their subject studies suggest to them. It is often in learning for its own sake, and in leading others, that the most significant progress is made.Free Learning
Each year we provide a cross curricular Free Learning Week that takes a different focus centred around a theme. The themes of recent years include Dulwich Political, Dulwich Linguistic, Dulwich Inventive and Dulwich Creative.
Other examples of free learning at the College include: Enrichment days, the Upper School Symposium; the Extended Essay; national and international competitions including Debating, the Spanish poetry recitation and translation competition, the Weizmann Safe Cracking competition and a plethora of music competitions; our extensive Union of societies and clubs; and the learning and debate we engender from important anniversaries, including LGBTQ+, Black Lives Matter, International Women’s Day, and Dulwich anniversaries such as DC I AM and those at the heart of the College’s 400th anniversary celebrations in 2019.
Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
Our wellbeing programme underpins school life. Designed to promote self knowledge and build emotional intelligence, boys learn about physical, creative and emotional wellbeing. The programme comprises six strands: emotional health, spiritual health, physical health, living in community, healthy living and preparation for the future.
Boys are prepared for the world of work, provided with mentoring opportunities and encouraged to get involved with local and international communities. They learn about friendships, healthy relationships and mindfulness, and are taught tactics to encourage resilience, handle stress and prepare for examinations.
The wellbeing team is extensive and includes Form Tutors, Heads of Years, Day House Masters, wellbeing teachers and co-ordinators, the College counsellor, the Chaplaincy team, and boarding and medical centre staff. These people form a far-reaching network of support accessible to all boys in the Junior, Lower, Middle and Upper Schools.
While we are a Christian foundation with our own Chaplain, the College values that its pupils are drawn from a wide variety of faith traditions.
Dulwich College pupils are reflective, curious and engaged with the world. Our aim is to nurture a supportive community that encourages a sense of social responsibility.
The Dulwich Campus
Set in 70 acres of leafy grounds with more than 1,000 trees, the College is a continually evolving campus. We are committed to providing stimulating learning spaces that are conducive to communal and independent thinking, reflection and socialising. The combination of our historic buildings with contemporary facilities creates a distinctive environment, providing many opportunities for learning, with indoor and outdoor areas that encourage innovation, initiative, the exploration of ideas and creativity.
The iconic Barry Buildings are home to the Wodehouse Library (after OA PG Wodehouse) and the Great Hall for assemblies and performance while The Laboratory and its auditorium for visiting speakers and events, brings together the twin cultures of the Sciences and the Arts, and is home to OA Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lifeboat, James Caird; both are central to the life of the campus.
“There is a sense that Dulwich is bigger than us. It is in the walls. There is a real pride that we are part of that. There is a sense that we are becoming part of that history.”
Co-educational opportunities at Dulwich
At Dulwich College pupils enjoy all the benefits of a single-sex education, with the additional opportunity of learning and networking in a co-educational environment.
From the Junior School upwards, College pupils enjoy a wide range of joint initiatives with local girls’ schools. The Young Enterprise Programme enables pupils to work in partnership with students at Sydenham High School, developing entrepreneurial skills and working as a team to set up a small business. Girls at Sydenham and at James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS) also have joint rowing training sessions at the College during the week and on the Thames at weekends.
There is a rich programme of activities with JAGS throughout the year, which is shaped by a group of Prefects from both schools. Pupils have the opportunity to collaborate regularly on academic matters, for example at the Junior School Symposium; the shared Free Learning afternoons in the Lower School; at collaborations days in the Middle School, where charity and service provide the source of inspiration; and through Liberal Studies courses in the Sixth Form, which take place in, and are delivered by teachers from, both the College and JAGS. In addition, these events are complemented by joint co-curricular activities, such as the Combined Cadet Force in Year 9; a variety of music concerts; Upper School Drama productions; and fundraising events organised by Prefects from both schools. All of these ventures are underpinned by a strong pastoral emphasis, where there is a focus on the positive interactions between the pupils from both schools, and the friendships which ensue.
A diverse range of year-round events, across a range of disciplines, is also offered with our sixteen partner schools as part of SSLP (Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnerships): this also affords our pupils many opportunities to meet other students across the borough and beyond.
A deep sense of social responsibility is rooted in our ethos and we are committed to a programme that reflects our responsibility to the environment, with practicable, enduring actions and measurable targets. Our aim is to progressively reduce our carbon footprint, achieving long term and lasting improvements that address core issues of sustainability and enhance bio-diversity across the whole College campus.
Prefects with particular responsibility for sustainability and pupil eco-reps in each year are energetic in championing environmental issues and leading behaviour change. They are encouraged to challenge and engage with senior management on environmental issues and there is a close collaboration between pupils and managers in developing initiatives that will work for the whole College – from small steps such as banishing plastic bottles on campus and building bike racks to encourage sustainable travel to school, to larger initiatives such as this year’s Free Learning Week which focuses on sustainability.
This symposium on sustainability will engage the entire community, further developing practices and processes as part of our accountability to defined targets. Our international schools are amongst the leaders in pursuing a truly integrated approach to the environment in education.
Our broad-reaching Sustainability Action Plan targets all areas of College life and activity; the first independent annual ESG Impact Report of the College reported favourably on the plans in place and the progress made.
We know there is much more to do but with consistent effort and clear monitoring of realistic actions aligned to the active engagement of the whole community, we are confident of continuing acceleration towards net zero goals and a cleaner, greener future for the school and wider community.
Pupils can board from age 13 in Old Blew and The Orchard. These beautiful period properties are located at the edge of the campus and give boys the opportunity to ‘leave for school’ and ‘come home’ to relax in the enormous gardens and common roous. Senior boys continue here with their extended family or move to one of the two on-site houses, Blew and Ivyholme. Younger boys share bedroous, typically with two or three in a room, while seniors have their own study bedroous.
Communal space is at the heart of each of our houses although it is the people that provide the pulse. Housemasters and boarding staff take considerable care with the wellbeing of every boy and work with tutors to ensure academic potential is fulfilled.
Our proximity to central London enables us to enrich our students with cultural events and social outings, and also makes travelling to and from home easy, whether it be via the airport or simply to another part of the city.
Every Dulwich boy is encouraged to try as many different sports as possible. Through sport we want to encourage all boys to lead a healthy and active lifestyle at the College and beyond.
Sport for All
An integral part of the school curriculum, we believe that Sport and PE have a direct impact on our boys’ wellbeing. From running a mile regularly to representing your country, the link between positive, resilient mind-sets and physical activity cannot be ignored.
The Sport and PE programme aims to unlock the potential of each student by providing opportunities and experiences to help them reach desired goals. Specialist teachers and coaches deliver at every stage and implement a curriculum to challenge each pupil.
The aim of the Sport and PE programme at Dulwich is to ensure a high-quality sporting experience for all pupils, leading to a lifelong involvement in physical activity and sport, regardless of level. There is support for those who play and aspire to play sport at a high standard through our High Performance Programme, and currently we have many Alleynians playing at an international level.
We organise over 2,000 fixtures each year, helping to generate a strong sense of community and pride in playing for the College.
The Creative Arts
Creative thinking runs through the Dulwich DNA and the creative arts provide the opportunity to excel.
Art at Dulwich College encourages all pupils to be curious, courageous and original. In doing so it enlivens and complements the academic life of the College in ways that exist beyond the art studios. It is important to challenge students beyond preconceived ideas of what it means to ‘do art’ – mixed media installation, cement and plaster casting, alongside digital and experimental film, are some of the experiences that Alleynians will explore at GCSE. ‘Break-out’ exhibitions operate in transient spaces, challenging students to problem solve, be flexible and take risks while learning to be artists.
Art exhibitions are central to the boys’ development: a combination of student shows and practising artists’ work further stretch and enrich boys’ experience and provide them with a deeper level of cultural free learning.
The teaching of Art at Dulwich College supports the idea that while many of our students will go on to pursue creative careers at art colleges or design and architecture schools, art itself naturally comes with its own exclusive portfolio of skills and attributes, be they practical, technically based or expressive. Along with problem-solving skills, critical and analytical understanding, these are transferable creative-thinking abilities, fit for purpose for the future of our students within the fast-changing world of the twenty-first century.
The Art Department prepares Alleynians to challenge, change and to be prepared to never stop learning.
“The arts define our culture, our identity and our national conversation.”
Sir Peter Bazalgette OA
Drama, Theatre and Dance
In the theatre, we encourage boys to be fearless and experimental with new performance concepts and ideas, fostering their instinct to play and invent. Drama & Theatre is very popular at GCSE and A Level, and external moderators often commend students’ work as being of the highest dramatic order. Our pupils have the opportunity to act, as well as to direct, design, build, and work technically within the creative team on sound, lighting and stage management.
Recent productions have been staged at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe Theatre and the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. Actors and technicians perform regularly at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Our Dancer in Residence has introduced skills way beyond the familiar and conventional in lessons, and in the rehearsal room, resulting in a thrilling new physical vocabulary from Year 3-13.
Careers in the creative industries
With a pedigree of OAs forging careers in the creative industries including Sir Peter Bazalgette, former chair of the Arts Council England and now chairman of ITV, Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, and UK Theatre award-winning director Ned Bennett, it is no surprise that many of our boys look to extend and explore their love of drama and theatre beyond what they have experienced at school.
We celebrate our reputation as “a renowned drama department”. The Daily Telegraph
Music is here for all the boys and it flourishes in both performance and the academic curriculum. As a large school we benefit from substantial numbers of boys committing to orchestras, choirs and bands, from string quartets to rock bands, from Chapel Choir to House choirs, from Baroque style to contemporary music technology. Our ensemble programme gives opportunity to all levels of ability. As many boys are Grade 3 to Diploma level in standard, we can be ambitious in our choice of repertoire and venue, with performances at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, King’s College Cambridge, St John’s Smith Square, The Hideaway, Pizza Express Soho, Cadogan Hall and Southwark Cathedral.
Our focus is specialist musical talent and potential, nurturing those boys who are highly gifted. Scholars are assigned a mentor from the Music Department staff thereby ensuring that development and progress is maintained. Our aim is to provide and teach Music Award holders a range of skills and techniques that will enhance their love of Music and enable them potentially to continue their studies beyond the College. Recitals, masterclasses, composing, history and analysis, harmony, Alexander Technique and conducting are all offered. A small number of fine stringed instruments are made available to boys as part of a Music Award where appropriate; state-of-the-art Music technology facilitates enable the study of ambitious and contemporary composition techniques. The College has an enviable record of entry to higher education including scholarships to Oxbridge, Russell Group Universities and the London Conservatoires.
Union of Societies
There are over fifty societies in the Union at the College and represent much of what is best here – enthusiasm, diversity, innovation – and provide a forum for boys of all ages to share their interests and ideas. Societies range from Astronomy to App Development, from Dance to Dismantling, from Classics to Comics. Although teachers are involved, many of the societies are run by the boys for the boys; they are the driving force. Many societies have become an integral part of College life, with boys playing a role far beyond the confines of a weekly meeting. Chess comes into this category as does Debating, with College teams competing successfully in national and international competitions.
A thriving House system offers boys from Year 3 the opportunity to take part in a wide range of competitive activities including art, chess, poetry, general knowledge, debating, sport, drama and music.
Activities and excursions
We encourage boys to take part in expeditions as well as community based activities such as the Combined Cadet Force, Scouts, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and Community Service. There are over 300 outings and expeditions each year, from cultural exchanges, to sports tours and educational trips.
“You feel ready to go into the world because the College does an excellent job of preparing you for the future.”
Almost all Dulwich students go on to higher education, the majority to the most competitive universities in the UK, to the US and to other global destinations, and thereafter into all the major professions, with a significant number working in Engineering, the Law and Medicine. Those who decide to enter the workplace after leaving have gained apprenticeships with EY, PwC and Rolls Royce. The College also has a long standing reputation for producing some of the finest actors, musicians, sportsmen and writers in the country.
The Higher Education team assists boys in planning for the future. Students take part in a scheme of work focussing on CV writing, employability skills and post-A level options. A vibrant international programme includes speakers from many top overseas universities, and specialist sessions support students in competitive applications, applying for apprenticeships, learning about the graduate job market and interview skills. Students benefit from the professional insight programme which draws on links with many external contacts, including Old Alleynians, who lend their expertise via advice and opportunities for students.
Careers and HE events are held throughout the year. The annual Courses and Careers Convention enables students and their parents to consult representatives from the major professions and over 30 leading universities. Our professional networking evenings bring together external sector specialists: boys with relevant career interests network with the professionals and establish productive links.
Founded in 1873, Dulwich College has a flourishing alumni association with some 10,000 Old Alleynian (OA) members living in more than 90 countries throughout the world. It seeks to foster mutually beneficial life-long relationships between OAs, the College and the wider community through social, sporting, and cultural events, and through professional networking opportunities.
Eminent OAs include explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, former Bank of England Governor Lord George, and authors PG Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler. More recent OAs include artist Jeremy Deller, cricketer Chris Jordan, England rugby players Beno Obano, Andrew Sheridan and Nick Easter, Olympic rower Kieran West, actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chairman of ITV Sir Peter Bazalgette and Director of the National Gallery Dr Gabriele Finaldi.
Connecting to a wider world
From the moment boys arrive at the College, our role is to help them develop the tools to face the challenges of life in the 21st century. We help pupils find their own answers during their time here. We prepare them in their transition from childhood to adulthood, part of which is ensuring they leave with a strong appetite for what comes after Dulwich College.
Within our community, a generosity of spirit is nurtured and the deep loyalty between Alleynians is matched by their interest in the wider world.
Edward Alleyn’s legacy has not only endured here for over four centuries but has, in recent years, spread overseas in the form of our international schools. This forward-looking partnership between Dulwich College and Dulwich College International offers our pupils the opportunity to forge a network of friendships, adding an international dimension to the significance of being an Alleynian in this global age.
Further information on all aspects of College life can be found on our website: dulwich.org.uk. Guidance on visiting the College, the registration process, boarding, fees, scholarships and bursaries is contained in Information for Applicants.
For enquiries regarding admission, including arranging a visit, please contact:
Entry into Year 7 and Year 9 (ages 11 and 13)
Mrs Sarah Betts, Registrar
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8299 9263
Entry into Year 12 (age 16)
Mrs Jo Foster, Upper School Registrar
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8299 9281
Entry into Years 3-6 (ages 7-10)
Mrs Polly Twisk, Junior School Registrar
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8299 8432
DUCKS co-educational Kindergarten and Infants’ School (ages 6 months to 7 years)
Mrs Emma Millett, Infants’ School Registrar
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8693 1538