Junior School - High Potential Learners
In the Junior School, children build upon the academic, social and emotional foundations laid in DUCKS, as they continue to develop their passion and curiosity for learning. By the time your child leaves the Junior School, our aim is that they will have a deep conceptual understanding of the subject knowledge of the curriculum and that they are able to use and apply this, to solve complex problems and think critically. These skills, in addition to being reflective and having a learn-to-learn mindset, are how we define academic rigour.
We cannot wait until the Senior School to develop students in this way; academic passion, understanding and habits start from a young age. As a through-school, the Junior School has the benefit of drawing upon the expertise within our Senior School, to guide us in what makes the greatest difference to the long-term academic outcomes that determine futures.
To ensure that challenge is championed in the Junior school, our provision has three broad drivers: an assessment framework that drives academic learning and higher order thinking; an enriched curriculum that provides scope for extension, ownership and creativity; an additional, optional provision of clubs, competitions and leadership roles, that allow opportunity for every child to excel at something, beyond the taught curriculum.
Our Deeper Learning assessment framework has been designed in collaboration with the Senior School. Yearly summative judgements commit both teachers and students to ensuring that a conceptual understanding of subject knowledge is secure, that this can be used in a range of contexts, and that opportunities to develop problem solving and critical thinking are presented and taken.
We fundamentally believe that every child has the right to make progress from their individual starting point in each subject, rather than aiming to bring all children up to the same year group standard. To this end, the Significantly Above Expected judgement is reserved for those High Potential Learners who realise their potential, through hard work and application.
At the end of each unit of work in mathematics and English, there are short, focused End of Unit Assessments. These allow teachers to ensure that learning is embedded and to help students to identify strengths and next steps for improvement. These assessments are shared with parents to facilitate a continued dialogue and support at home.
Mathematics classes are banded, and teachers provide for high potential learners with individualised extension through more remote and complex problem solving, evaluation and analysis, within the topic being studied. Clear pathways for all learners of Mandarin ensure that teaching is targeted at each child’s proficiency level. From Year 5 onwards, children are guided in their choice of First, Second and Foreign Language pathways, towards IGCSE choices in the Senior School.
Our curriculum units provide scope for children to extend and challenge their thinking. We want every child to be excited and engaged in their learning. Additionally, each unit has a significant outcome that drives core academic and life skills that include written and oral communication and presentation, research, collaboration and critical thinking. Examples include: a design-thinking ‘Dragon’s Den’ entrepreneurial project; the integration of coding with Microbits into a sustainable design project to save water; a project to determine the location of the next Dulwich College in which students need to consider concepts such as population density, supply and demand and crime indices.
There is a progression in public speaking built into our curriculum that builds confidence in Years 3 and 4, and culminates in a persuasive speech competition in Year 5 and the Celebration of Speaking assessment in year 6. Shakespeare is built into the Year 6 English curriculum, consolidated in specialist drama lessons. Similar opportunities are built into the Mandarin programme.
Our curriculum is built upon a progressive conceptual framework. Subject knowledge is foundational to learning in the Junior School. However, through an understanding of subject knowledge, children are helped to identify the broader concepts or, ‘Big Ideas’ that connect time and place. They are then given an opportunity to explore these concepts in new contexts of their own choice. This agency in learning allows teachers to guide our High Potential Leaners to investigate, analyse and evaluate, and synthesise findings for presentation. This deeper conceptual understanding is what makes the difference between a good score in the IB Diploma and a great score.
Opportunities beyond the curriculum
Every child in the Junior School has the opportunity to excel in something beyond the taught curriculum. In addition to an extensive range of both inclusive and representative opportunities in sports, there is a rich provision of age-appropriate CCAs and competitions that are more academically focused.
The Junior School also has a dedicated staff member that coordinates Student Leadership. Each year, approximately thirty percent of students take on a leadership responsibility. This allows them to develop both a range of communication and collaboration skills, as well as an understanding that, even at such a young age, they can be an agent for change. Children evidence contributions to the College of this kind in a Personal Enrichment Portfolio (PEP).
CCAs and Enrichment
- Advanced Coding
- Advanced Robotics
- Chess for Advanced and Intermediate players
- LAMDA public speaking
- LAMDA acting
- 11+ School Entry Preparation
- Journalism and Mandarin Newspaper CCAs
- Hindi, Japanese and Spanish CCAs
- Dulwich Orchestra and String Ensembles
- UK Primary Maths Challenge
- FOBISIA Short Story Writing Competition
- Chinese Picture Book Competition
- Readers Cup (Reading Competition held across Singapore Schools)
- House Competitions- Chess, photography, coding, spelling
Leadership, Exceptional Development and other Opportunities
- Model United Nations
- Leadership Skills Day (Guest Speaker and workshops)
- Artist in Residence programmes (selected children)
- Performance opportunities with Royal Shakespeare Company and Vienna Boys’ Choir
- Music, Art, Dance and Drama Festival
- Dulwich Games
- Leadership roles in the areas of Academia, student voice and Community
Independent School Entrance
Our goal is to develop every child with the academic skills and mindset needed for success in the next steps in their academic journey. While we hope that children remain with us in our Senior School, we recognise that some international families may relocate during their children’s academic journey. In the same way that, as a College, we want children to have the very best choice of university upon graduation, we also want to support families who are relocating with entrance into the very best schools of choice overseas, for each child and family.
Students are prepared for returning to school in the UK, or elsewhere, for success in 11+ and Common Entrance examinations. Our approach to academic rigour, in addition to the wider opportunities both from within and beyond the curriculum, give our students a significant advantage, both in assessments and at interview. The interview carries a lot of weight at this stage and feedback from schools where Dulwich College (Singapore) candidates have gained places, indicates that they look positively on the fact that Dulwich students are not just academic achievers, but have character, a breadth of hobbies and interests, speak other languages and come from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Since opening, our academic and character references for children in the Junior School have resulted in 95 percent of students entering their first choice of school. In 2021, Year 3, 4 and 5 children relocating to the UK were accepted at Dulwich College in London, King Edward’s Bath, Stamford Junior School, Sunningdale, Berkhamsted Prep, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, Moreton Hall, Broomwood Hall, The Dragon and Claremont Fan Court.
At 11+ children have been offered places at St Paul’s Girls’, Highgate, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Fettes, South Hampstead, Bedford Girls’, Channing, Royal Russell, Cranford House, St John’s Leatherhead, Epsom College, St George’s Weybridge, Ardingly, Tormead, Downsend, Claremont Fan Court, Surbiton High, The Leys, Abbot’s Hill and Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School.
Several Year 6 students have also been pre-assessed for 13+ entry and have been offered places at Winchester, Westminster, St Paul’s Boys’, Haberdashers, Wellington, Marlborough, Cheltenham College, Dulwich College in London, Radley, Tonbridge, Canford, Eton, Charterhouse, Benenden, Wellington and Harrow.