Our aim is to open the minds of our pupils to a world enriched with literature. We want to share with them an array of texts from the traditional to the contemporary, from poetry to play and to encourage curiosity and a lifelong love of reading, developing the imagination and creativity of our pupils.
Pupils are given daily lessons where they gain the skills to have a confident and well-mastered voice, both on paper and spoken. With a spacious and well-stocked library at the centre of the school and every section having access to their own library, our pupils know that reading is an integral part of their daily life. An abundance of enriching literature-based activities are run yearly such as writing competitions in school and in the national community, visiting authors, family book club, Shakespeare workshops, book weeks, Ted talks, just to name a few. On the journey from Nursery through to Year 8 a high standard of writing, reading, speaking and listening is developed. The English department is proud of its contribution to magnificent examination results year on year, including numerous awards from some of the top schools in the United Kingdom. But arguably more significantly, expectations are high for all pupils throughout their Prep journey. Whether taking ‘a stroll through the deep, dark wood’ or wondering whether ‘maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us’, we look forward to inspiring your sons, and daughters in Nursery, to grow a love of English that will journey on with them throughout their lives.
At Dulwich Prep London we create a supportive and stimulating learning environment to enable pupils to thrive and really enjoy the subject of mathematics. Pupils are encouraged to take risks and make mistakes and support each other on their mathematical journeys through the key stages.
Our Maths curriculum is based on the national curriculum as well as the ISEB syllabus, it is then tailored to meet our pupils’ needs. Children are initially taught in form classes until the end of year 4, they are then taught in sets by specialist maths teachers.
The Maths department is very experienced at preparing pupils for a vast array of 11+ and 13+ examinations including scholarship, common entrance and leading London day school examinations, providing pupils with excellent preparation without being overzealous in our approach.
Our teaching methods are traditional with a modern twist. We are firm believers that technology, when used correctly, can have a big impact on pupils’ development. Confidence and resilience are developed through carefully chosen resources and question selection. Lessons are dynamic, purposeful and maintain a sense of fun.
Pupils are both engaged and challenged at Dulwich Prep London. We aim to support a student’s curiosity and creativity to become a problem solver and lifelong learner, keen to know more about the world around them.
We follow the ISEB syllabus, tailoring the concepts to the students’ needs, with a focus on investigative skills. Students are taught in classrooms up to year 4, covering a wide variety of topics. From Year 5, the boys are taught by specialist Science teachers in fully equipped, purpose-built labs.
In years 3 and 4 students will use iPads to record their experiments and upload videos. From year 5, Science is paperless, we utilise many applications to supplement and improve the learning of the boys.
We have made partnerships with local schools and the community. Boys are treated to talks from scientists and trips to lectures and museums. Our students are encouraged to share their knowledge through a STEAM day at Key Stage 2. Where the students dress up as scientists or their focus and recreate experiments for their peers. They are also treated to live experiments from a visiting scientist.
At the end of the year, the Year 8 boys invite Year 3 and 4 students to our labs where they are taught a range of topics and also present their Science projects to visitors in a science fair.
Studying a foreign language at Dulwich Prep London provides the boys with an opening to other cultures. With over 30 nationalities at school, we also want to make sure the boys get an opportunity to share their experience and their culture with their peers.
The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) department gives our pupils opportunities to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills through the study of language. To express themselves with increased confidence, independence, and creativity, which in turn encourages the boys to be resilient when facing challenges.
Through the teaching of a wide variety of topics and grammar, the MFL curriculum intends to support the wider school curriculum through a cultural exploration of the Francophone and Hispanic world and culture. We use a combination of traditional methods and new strategies and resources to ensure that our boys are engaged and excited by their lessons.
We are one of the few London prep schools offering our children in Year 1 to Year 5 the opportunity to embrace two languages: Spanish and French. At the end of Year 5, the boys choose, with the guidance of their teachers, to continue either French or Spanish.
Is there a more relevant subject in the current state of global affairs? Geography at Dulwich Prep London aims to spark a critical understanding of the physical and human relationships that play both a constructive and destructive role on our Planet.
In Years 1-4, Geography is delivered in conjunction with other humanity subjects in a component called Topic. ‘Intrepid Explorers’ and ‘Ancient Egyptians/Greeks’ are examples that are used to teach geographical content like global locations, map reading and weather and climate.
In Year 5 to Year 8, the boys benefit from specialist geography teachers delivering specific geography lessons. Our scheme of work is based on, but not exclusive to, the CE and scholarship examinations and thus covers the main themes required for these curriculums.
The department runs a Geography trip to Iceland for the boys in Year 7. This covers a huge amount of the curriculum from tectonics to geomorphology to green energy.
We are proud that Geography is consistently a favourite with all year groups.
Some popular topics with the boys include map skills, plate tectonics, geomorphology, economic activities and settlement as well as population and transport.
In addition to knowledge, Geography lessons embrace growing vital geographical skills such as analysis, interpretation, comparisons and contrasts and fieldwork.
History, as a humanity subject, focuses on our shared human and school values of love, justice, courage, humility, gratitude, honesty and self-discipline. Through the study of the past, we hone our social conscience to actively seek a more just world today and tomorrow. We nurture passionate and compassionate Historians, exploring the diverse experiences of humans across time and place.
History is taught in thematic topics from Year 1 to Year 4, for example, ‘Intrepid Explorers’ and ‘Ancient Egyptians/Greeks’. In Years 5 to 8, History is taught as a discrete subject, through enquiry topics such as ‘UK Developing Democracy’ and ‘From Slavery to Freedom?’ The History curriculum progressively prepares students for Common Entrance and Scholarship examinations.
We are critical, reflective and creative thinkers, developing our History conceptual skills of chronology, cause and consequence, change and continuity, significance, interpretation, diversity, debate, analytical essay writing and to question evidence such as ‘fake news’ and ‘stories’.
History is brought to life through ‘memorable moments’ that appeal to a range of learning styles, such as audio-visual clips, props, performing, debates, themed days, story-telling, trips and guest speakers.
Latin is introduced at the beginning of Year 6 and most boys continue with the subject until the end of Year 8. As well as building a knowledge of the language, boys are constantly invited to recognise the significance of Latin and of Ancient Rome in the shaping of modern European languages and cultures.
In the first few weeks, boys discover and recognise the many cultural and linguistic bonds between Ancient Rome and the modern western world, Britain in particular. The aim is to build an excitement and relevance around the subject whilst the boys begin to learn aspects of the Latin language itself.
By Year 8 each boy’s curriculum relates to his target school, his route of entry to that school and his confidence in the subject. We aim to get all boys to Level 2 Common Entrance whilst the most ambitious may reach a standard equivalent to GCSE.
Taught from Nursery to Year 8, Religious Studies at Dulwich Prep London covers a breadth of faiths and worldviews.
In Early Years, pupils gain an understanding of culture, faith and identity through assemblies and celebrations of religious festivals. Throughout Pre-Prep, boys strengthen their knowledge of Christianity, whilst pupils in Lower School are introduced to other world religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. Years 5 and 6 see a repetition of the study of different faiths at a deeper level. In Upper School, the focus shifts to Philosophy and Ethics, with an introduction to the likes of John Stuart Mill and theories such as Utilitarianism, among various other topics, such as Crime and Punishment.
In RS we encourage pupils to voice their opinion and share their beliefs respectfully, whilst teaching them to think about their thinking – to justify why they hold such worldviews. Pupils can reflect on the meaning of faith and celebrate other faiths, as well as learn from them. Each part of the Nursery to Year 8 curriculum lends itself to Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development, which is embedded throughout.
Computing aims to encourage boys to become confident digital learners.
The curriculum covers digital literacy, computer science and information technology. Boys use technology as a tool for learning across the curriculum. Through coding, they have the opportunity to develop their computational thinking and problem-solving skills. E-safety plays an important role and boys learn how to be safe online. There are various opportunities to engage in computing-related competitions throughout the year and pupils can attend Computing Clubs to develop their skills further. We have one computing suite which houses 20 desktop machines, Mac Labs in the Music department, and laptops and Chromebooks for use across the school.
We loan our pupils iPads for use across the curriculum. Boys share iPads in Nursery and Reception, and in Year 1 and Year 2. From Year 3 and up boys have a device each. All pupils use learning platforms, such as SeeSaw and Showbie, which allow pupils to upload files and access resources both in and outside of the school.
Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education (PSHCE) encourages pupils to become healthy, independent and responsible members of society. The curriculum is structured such that topics are built upon year on year in an age-appropriate manner and is taught through weekly lessons from Years 1 to 8.
Pupils are encouraged to play a positive role in the school and wider community, as well as developing good relationships with peers and staff. The programme promotes personal development by helping boys identify and manage risk, build their resilience and self-esteem, understand what influences their decisions and make informed choices, whilst communicating effectively in various scenarios. These are the necessary attributes required to thrive as individuals and also vital aspects in preparing for modern life.
The programme is centred around three core themes: Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. Pupils are given the opportunity to consider their attitudes, values and beliefs regarding the topics explored within these core themes. Developing skills, language and emotional strategies necessary to manage these issues in their lives, will engender confidence and a sense of responsibility in the boys.
Pupils are first introduced to Philosophy in Year 3, and continue to explore the subject through Years 4 and 5. Using a combination of the Philosophy for Children (P4C) and the Philosophy Circles programmes, we aim to increase purposeful communication and active listening while providing opportunities for the pupils to be caring, collaborative, creative and critical thinkers. Pupils are taught how to agree and disagree with an argument in a productive and respectful manner. They rehearse the skills of making their points of view understandable to others and building on one another’s ideas. They also learn to be comfortable grappling with a question that does not necessarily have a single, fixed answer.
Each week thought-provoking questions and issues are explored, for example:
Reasoning is taught from an early age at the Prep, starting with an integrated approach by including the discipline as part of the curriculum. As the boys move up to Lower School, ‘Thinking Skills’ become more embedded within the core subjects, English and Mathematics. Our pupils then progress to having one dedicated Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning lesson each week in Year 5 and one lesson each week in the Autumn Term of Year 6. Some boys in Year 8 also have a weekly Reasoning lesson in the Autumn Term. This provides valuable preparation for senior schools’ entrance examinations, which often require reasoning assessments or skills.
The Non-Verbal Reasoning curriculum focuses on the ability to analyse visual information by identifying patterns, shapes and sequences. Non-Verbal Reasoning is often linked to numerical skills which are also taught as part of our Mathematics curriculum.
The Verbal Reasoning curriculum focuses on the ability to understand and manipulate verbal information. Our boys are expected to think logically about language and have the competence to recognise different types of vocabulary and their contextual meanings. Verbal Reasoning forms part of our English curriculum and is also taught as part of our English lessons; in fact, perhaps the best way to develop Verbal Reasoning ability is through reading.
Pupils benefit from one double lesson of Art per week throughout the school year through to the end of year 6. In years 7 and 8 pupils come for Art lessons as part of a creative rotation for approximately 7 weeks during the school year, however we do very much recognise the need for able and passionate pupils to benefit from as much time as possible in the department in order to discover their full potential so other opportunities are provided outside of class time.
Art clubs are offered after school which provide an opportunity for pupils to develop their own personal projects or continue with extension exercises related to class projects. This is also a time when scholarship candidates can work on their portfolio pieces and receive additional guidance and support. In recent years we have had several pupils enter for Art Scholarships with a positive number of rewards being received at top senior schools.
Artwork is celebrated both online via the Dulwich Prep London website and onsite around the school. Displays around the Art department are regularly updated and rotated to showcase the most recent achievements, and official exhibitions are held in our gallery area located adjacent to the school Concert Hall.
At the Prep we offer boys from Year 1 to Year 8 the opportunity to gain cookery experience, whether through timetabled lessons, break time sessions or after school clubs. We recognise that involving children in food preparation from an early age has many benefits, like enhancing fine motor skills, and increasing focus. Cooking can also help children practise and understand various mathematical and scientific concepts, and improve their vocabulary. Furthermore, the experience of creating a meal builds self-confidence and lays the foundation for healthy and adventurous eating habits. The Cookery Suite is a modern, well equipped space and boys love creating delicious dishes with their partners when they visit.
Some examples of what the boys learn to make are:
Year 1 – Native American corn cakes and fruit skewers
Year 2 – Pumpkin fritters and country-specific specialities
Year 3 – Omelette
Year 4 – Stir-fry
Year 5 and 6 – 15-minute meals
Year 7 – Homemade bread, butter and jam
Year 8 – Potato & spinach curry with roti
Drama at Dulwich Prep London equips the pupils with valuable skills in empathy, communication and self-esteem through a lens of dramatic, social and historical contexts that both challenge and inspire. Taught from Years 1-8 there is a focus on kinaesthetic learning experiences through which pupils are able to engage in collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking and an enrichment of self-expression and the imagination.
In younger years pupils are provided with the foundational skills of Drama through structured play. An exploration of spatial awareness, role play, creating character through storytelling, language and listening skills forms the basis for students to flourish in a range of performance opportunities that are available to them at the Prep as well as reinforce the impact of learning in other subjects, such as English.
This is then further built upon in Middle and Upper School as pupils continue to extend their capabilities in ensemble, stagecraft, creating dramatic meaning and evaluating dramatic action, through the study of specific theatrical styles. Theatrical styles include Realism, Melodrama, Physical Theatre, Epic Theatre and Documentary Drama. This culminates in Year 8 with a 2 week-long intensive drama workshop in which the pupils create a live performance with a theatre professional. Underlying the subject is an ongoing study of key dramatic texts and practitioners that broadens their cultural perspective.
There is joy to be found in creative expression. Drama at the Prep aims for pupils to discover this joy as a means to deepen their learning practice as well as prepare them as well-rounded, confident young men.
Pupils study Design Technology (DT) all the way from Year 1 to Year 8.
They start by experimenting with structures, textiles and mechanisms with their class teachers and then come into the beautifully equipped workshop from Year 4, where they learn to use hand and machine tools with care.
In Years 7 & 8 pupils do DT in a Creative Rotation for 7-week blocks. Our projects include making felt, creating a thermochromic t-shirt, and designing and constructing a full-size chair in plywood.
We want our pupils to be real eco-warriors, thinking about the ‘6 Rs’ and think about using design to help tackle real-world problems such as the Global Sustainability Goals. They learn to work in teams, sharing and discussing ideas and developing really useful skills in critical thinking, creativity and collaboration which will also help them in other subjects and beyond.
We also offer exciting DT Clubs for years 5-8.
Music is a fundamental part of life at Dulwich Prep, with an emphasis on enjoyment at all levels throughout the school. Class Music is taught by specialists from the Nursery onwards, and we have excellent resources for performance, classroom teaching and instrumental tuition.
Over 700 individual music lessons are taught each week by a team of 40 highly qualified Visiting Music Staff, and we have over 20 performing ensembles which afford every boy in the school an opportunity to be involved in group music-making and school concerts.
The Music School is housed in purpose-built accommodation, including the recent addition of a fully-equipped music technology studio with iMacs, and we regularly perform in other venues such as Southwark Cathedral.
Our boys have an outstanding record of receiving music scholarships and awards to a range of senior schools.
Have a look at, and listen to, the film below to get a feel for the variety of music made by our boys.
All of our sporting efforts at Dulwich Prep London are driven by our school values, not results. We champion the ability to play sport creatively, with intelligence and passion, and we promote the skills and behaviours required for teamwork.
Through sport and physical activity, we aim to develop transferable skills and build the foundations for a lifetime of health and wellbeing. Participation in sport at the Prep helps to develop valuable skills for life – from adaptability and resilience to cooperation and mental agility.
The department strives to discover and develop the best in every individual, be that in PE lessons, Games afternoons, inter-school fixtures, tribe competitions, squad training or the plethora of clubs available to the boys. Our specialist team of staff teach across the entire school, from Early Years to Year 8.
Sport at Dulwich Prep London is for everyone, at all levels of ability and competition.