Sport at Dulwich College (Singapore): the winning formula

Academic and sports education go hand in hand at Dulwich College (Singapore)

Learn more about why the sporting programme at Dulwich College (Singapore) is so unique as featured in a recent article in the British Chamber of Commerce’s ‘The Orient’ magazine.

“In my judgment, physical fitness is basic to all forms of excellence and to a strong, confident nation.” – Robert Kennedy 1925-1968, 64th US President.

The thoughts of the late Robert Kennedy are very similar to those practiced now at Dulwich College (Singapore). Sports and physical education are part of the DNA of the College, helping students achieve excellence in all areas.

There have been many academic studies in the recent past which have finally disproved the myth that taking part in sport occurs at the expense of attaining well academically. In fact, taking part in competitive sport and leading a healthy lifestyle is fundamental in developing excellence in all areas; an approach which Dulwich College (Singapore) is proud to be driving. An article in the Daily Telegraph last year highlighted that “Children should not stop playing sport in the run up to exams as it has no impact on results”. Harvard Medical School recently published an article stating that “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills”. And John Ratey's book “Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain” underlines the direct link between active healthy living and improved cognitive function and positive behavioural change. The place of sport and quality physical education in schools has never been more relevant for young people.

The sports programme at Dulwich College (Singapore) is based on the long-term athletic development of the individual, with specific focus given to every single student throughout their time at the College. Particular focus on the Early Years and Junior School fundamental movement patterns, and developing games for understanding results, is a strong foundation for each individual. Through the Senior School, students are exposed to a cleverly engineered and well balanced approach to training and sport for all. High performing students are then nurtured through the Student-Athlete Support Programme (SASP), providing extensive support in the four key pillars of technical and tactical support: individual health and fitness plans, cognitive support and training and lifestyle mentoring to support their academic futures. At Dulwich College (Singapore) sports and academic excellence are dove-tailed to ensure the student achieves in all areas. Early morning training sessions help students to focus in class and instil discipline and positive behaviour patterns which are then transferred into the classroom.

The College has created an environment where sports staff assist students to participate at whatever level they aspire to, recreationally, as well as supporting those who endeavour to play sport at an elite level; there are pathways available for all. It is the attention to the individual and the positive development of intrinsic behaviour values that makes sport at Dulwich College (Singapore) so unique, popular and to date incredibly successful for the whole community, improving not simply sports results, but behaviour, respect and academic attainment across the board.  Demonstrating commitment through both ongoing resource investment and providing students access to a notable range of state of the art sporting facilities, it is the personalised approach which is the core of the sports programme.

The College recognises that competition is key to any sporting programme and there is a vast array of opportunities, both local and global, which ensure students have maximum exposure to fixtures and competitions at all levels. As part of the Dulwich network, students take part in the Dulwich Games, a celebration of sport for students in the Junior School. Every four years, the Dulwich Olympiad enables Senior School athletes to compete in iconic venues around the world, against all the Dulwich Colleges. Students can take part in the FOBISIA Games as well as other international tournaments and sports tours for all individual sports, with local leagues and competitions a weekly occurrence within ACSIS (Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools) and also against local schools.

In only five years Dulwich College (Singapore) is already seeing the results of its investment, celebrating outstanding achievements in all sports, notably leading the ACSIS Season One leader board, winning 10 championship shields. 76 squads represented the College in the first season of sport, led by a coaching team in excess of 80 personnel.  This enabled over 800 students to represent the College in the local ACSIS leagues, and two thirds of the squads finished in the top 3 of their respective leagues. Success came across the board, from participation in Year 3 to high performance in the Upper Senior School; all students have performed consistently well.

Regardless of the level of sporting ability, Dulwich College (Singapore) works with students to make them the best that they can be, focusing on developing attitudes and behaviours, not simply training skills and tactics. It is the attention to the individual and the positive development of their intrinsic behaviour values that makes sport at Dulwich College (Singapore) so unique.