Academic rigour is not just about grades, entrance tests, exams or university placements – although these are the welcome result of academic rigour. Academic rigour is a process and is about culture, the environment and the conditions that provide opportunities for all students to be engaged, challenged and supported. Dulwich College (Singapore) is an academically selective school with an emphasis on a rich, well-rounded education including sport, music, the performing arts and a wide range of other co-curricular activities. We believe education has to be as flexible, creative and adaptive as our increasingly complex, ever-changing world. This is why we equip our students with the character to stand up and stand out, now and in the future.
Learning is effective when it is personalised, relational, has a clear purpose and when it is adapted and applied. Following an enhanced English National Curriculum with an international perspective, the approach is to bring out the best in every student from DUCKS (early years Pre-Nursery – Year 2; age 2-7), to Junior School (Years 3 – 6; age 7- 11) to Senior School (Years 7 – 13; age 11-18). The curriculum is designed to equip students to meet and exceed the end of year expectations of equivalent year groups in the UK.
In DUCKS, the focus is on educating the whole child and progresses from Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in Pre-Nursery, Nursery and Reception to an enriched version of the English National Curriculum (ENC) in Years 1 and 2. The aim is to strike a balance between student self-guided exploration and explicit teaching of core competencies, particularly in reading, writing, phonics, maths and Mandarin, ensuring that children are able to meet developmental milestones and achieve their academic potential. Above all, the focus is on developing confident and happy children with a zest for life and a love of learning.
As children move through the Junior School the structure of the timetable changes in line with their developmental age. All children receive banded learning for mathematics and Mandarin, but remain with their class teacher for most lessons up to Year 5. In Year 6, in preparation for the transition to Senior School, children are taught by different subject teachers for each area of the curriculum. The College also prepares students returning to school in the UK or elsewhere for success in 7+, 11+ and common entrance examinations.
The emphasis in Junior School is not only on deeper learning and the mastery of academic content, but also on developing critical thinking skills and an academic character that inspires self-motivated learners and long-term success. The goal is to foster the long-term retention of valuable knowledge, concepts and skills and the ability to transfer what has been retained into different contexts and situations.
The approach in Senior School is to not only develop subject proficiency and skills, but also lifelong, transferable skills such as research, communication, thinking, social and self-management skills. This ensures students can take ownership of learning in school and life beyond, as well as developing a lifelong love of learning. In Years 7 and 8 the curriculum has been designed to develop individual subject-based skills and build knowledge and understanding to provide a strong foundation for the IGCSE, IB programmes and beyond. Dulwich College is the only school in Singapore to offer a 3-year IGCSE (International General Certificate of Education) programme which commences in Year 9, with a number of core and optional IGCSEs to choose from. Students then move onto the IB (International Baccalaureate) in the last two years before university.