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Dulwich College (Singapore) Review

Built on the foundations of a highly respected British independent school, Dulwich College (Singapore) offers an enhanced UK curriculum with a dual language approach to Mandarin, a choice of the IBDP or IBCP, an exciting STEAM initiative, and a global creative arts programme. But, as one of Singapore’s most expensive schools, it all comes at a very high price.
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4.6 out of 5 based on 80 reviews
At a glance
School type
International
School phase
All through
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No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
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Availability 2022/23
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Annual fee average
SGD 41,000
Annual fees
SGD 30,630–47,730
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Ultra-premium
Status
Open
Principal
Nick Magnus
Owner
Education in Motion (EIM)
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Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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Dulwich College (Singapore)
School type
International
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
No rating
Curricula taught
Availability 2021/22
hourglass_empty
Availability 2022/23
No data
Annual fee average
SGD 41,000
Annual fees
SGD 30,630–47,730
Price band help
Ultra-premium
Status
Open
Principal
Nick Magnus
Owner
Education in Motion (EIM)
Community
Main teacher nationality
United Kingdom
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Built on the foundations of a highly respected British independent school, Dulwich College (Singapore) offers an enhanced UK curriculum with a dual language approach to Mandarin, a choice of the IBDP or IBCP, an exciting STEAM initiative, and a global creative arts programme. But, as one of Singapore’s most expensive schools, it all comes at a very high price.

In a surprisingly short time, a place at Dulwich College (Singapore) has become much sought-after. In part this has just been because of the shortage of supply in Singapore, but in fairness this is a college that also offers more than just a brand name, although its links to one of the UK’s most highly respected independent schools – Dulwich College – will certainly appeal to many.

Located in western Singapore, Dulwich College (Singapore) is a National Curriculum for England school for 2 to 18-year-olds. The curriculum ticks all the boxes for a British education with its offering of IGCSEs, the IB Diploma Programme (and the IB Career-Related Programme from August 2022), house-based tutor groups, and more than 300 extra-curricular activities. However, as well as being deeply rooted in British independent school traditions, Dulwich College takes a very global approach to education with its dual language curriculum from early years, STEAM initiatives, and collaborations with its global network of sister schools.

In the College’s own words,

“It is an international school with British independent school ethos and values, which draws upon 400 years of excellence and tradition from Dulwich College.”

The College is an international school with a strong British independent school ethos. It’s a school for the ambitious and the talented, and for the student who thrives in a competitive environment. There is certainly a place in Singapore for a school such as this (although it now faces competition from the recently opened NLCS (Singapore), another selective school that is also unashamedly academic.

It delivers an interesting and diverse education that stretches and challenges students of all ages – and has several programmes in place to champion students’ potential in all areas. For example, the Ignite! programme creates opportunities for high performers to thrive and excel across the curriculum – not just academics, but the arts and sport too.

The school opened its doors in August 2014 with 880 students (pretty good going for the first year) and has grown to more than 2,000 students, its capacity. It’s the newest addition to the family of Dulwich College International (DCI) schools, which includes colleges in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Seoul, Singapore, and Yangon, as well as two high schools in Suzhou and Zhuhai, primarily for Chinese students. The schools operate in partnership with Dulwich College, the group's founding school in London.

With its network of 10 international schools in Asia, Dulwich College (Singapore) is one of the biggest brands of British public schools overseas. In line with its mission of ‘One College with Many Campuses’, the Singapore-based College works with its international peers to offer students opportunities in academia, sport, and the creative arts that go above and beyond the curriculum.

The College adds,

“With the growth of our network, students can transfer from one DCI college to another with minimal disruption to their academic progress. Students can continue their education exactly where they left off, and families can feel comfortable moving within a network of colleges united by a common academic ethos and philosophy.”

Dulwich College (Singapore) aims to be closely connected to Dulwich College in London, an academically selective all-boys’ school. The Deputy Master from Dulwich College inspects the College annually to ensure “we uphold the Dulwich reputation for excellence”. Students who graduate from Dulwich College (Singapore) become International Old Alleynians and members of the prestigious Alleyn Club based in London.

The general feedback from parents is that Dulwich offers an academically rigorous curriculum as part of a balanced education that offers some exciting opportunities in sport and the arts. Expectations are high, teaching quality is excellent, but fees are expensive and parent communication could be improved.

According to our Parent Survey, 65% of parents think that the fees represent good value for money given the quality of the school offering. Students look forward to going to a school here (69% compared to the Singapore average of 66%) and 69% of parents think their child has a tremendous sense of belonging at the school, which is a sign that the school is creating an environment where students, of all abilities, should flourish.

87% are satisfied with the level of academic performance, but the main criteria for choosing this school is happiness (56%). 87% of parents that responded said they would recommend this school to other parents. This is above the average for schools in Singapore (85%).


Outdoor play for junior students

The curriculum

Dulwich College (Singapore) guides children on a learning path that is steered towards a Western higher education. All teaching at its DUCKS, Junior, and Senior schools follows an enhanced form of the National Curriculum for England. As well as the core subjects, there is a strong emphasis on specialist teaching in subjects such as science, art and design, music, geography, history, ICT, PE, and PSHE. One of the College’s strengths is its dual language approach to teaching Mandarin in DUCKS. 

The school’s curriculum is strongly British in character and follows the national curriculum, and this continuity allows students to enter or re-enter the UK education system smoothly. It aligns the school with top tier UK independent schools in the UK and international schools in Singapore with its breadth of subjects and specialist teachers from early years.

The College says,

“As an internationally-minded school we believe in the importance of our young people acquiring confidence and competence in languages other than English.” 

In keeping with Dulwich College tradition, the early years centre for children aged 2 to 7 (toddler to Year 2) is endearingly known as DUCKS. In the Foundation Stage, teaching follows the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and children learn through “purposeful play combined with a focus on learning to read and beginning to write in both English and Mandarin”. Key Stage 1 students then move onto an enhanced version of the National Curriculum for England.

DUCKS has a purpose-built early years building with age appropriate facilities; there are 720 students in DUCKS and class sizes are 16 in Nursery to 20 in Reception, where there are eight classes.

DUCKS immerses children in a dual language environment, and each class is taught by at least one native English-speaking teacher and one native Mandarin-speaking assistant teacher. As the College says, “our aim is for our children to be confident and competent in both languages”. 

Dulwich College (Singapore) was the first international school in Singapore to introduce Forest School, which is accredited by the UK's Forest School Learning Initiative (FSLI), into its DUCKS Early Years programme. The school says that its Forest School "allows children to develop and apply academic skills, build emotional resilience and learn to manage risk through self-initiated interactions with nature.".


DUCKS students have their very own bike track

The Junior school for Years 3 to 6 continues to offer an enhanced English curriculum that “develops international mindedness”. From Year 6, specialist teachers take lessons in subjects including music, art and design, and ICT. Students have daily Mandarin lessons, which teach Mandarin as a native language, second language, or foreign language; these lessons also use art, music, and drama to teach students the local culture and traditions.

The rigour of the Junior curriculum sets students up well for the challenging secondary curriculum where IGCSEs start in Year 9 as part of a three-year programme. It is also designed to prepare students for taking the 11-plus and other UK public/grammar school entrance exams.

The Senior school is open for Years 7 to 13; from Year 9, students follow the IGCSE syllabus followed by the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in Years 12 and 13. Dulwich College (Singapore) offers an enhanced range of topics in the curriculum, which “aligns us with the expectations of top independent schools in the UK”. 

From Year 7, students choose a modern foreign language (French, German, or Spanish) and continue to study Mandarin. Students study their IGCSEs over a three-year period, rather than the traditional two, from Year 9 here; this is a year earlier than most UK schools. From Years 9 to 11, all students study maths, English literature, English language, physics, chemistry, and biology, and have a choice of four other subjects.

The College says that the extra year for IGCSEs, “allows for the development of core skills across the curriculum that will allow our students to learn to the best of their ability, while leaving time for important enrichment activities to be integrated into the learning experience”. It’s an interesting approach to secondary education that recognises the importance of research, self-management, thinking, communication, and social skills – and prepares students well for the IBDP in Sixth Form.

“We aim to develop confident, thoughtful, and outward-looking young people who have a passion for learning by delivering a rigorous academic programme. We believe that successful students are not defined solely by their attainment in tests and exams.”

“High potential learners” are stretched and “challenge is championed” across the school. There’s a huge choice of CCAs for to provide enrichment (choir, techsperts, maths club, yoga, mindfulness or sports clubs from as young as two); various opportunities to lead (student council, house captains etc); and curriculum enrichment focusing on entrepreneurship, public speaking, coding and more.

Dulwich College (Singapore) will be offering the following IBCP options from August 2022:

Business and Sustainability. Offered in partnership with the Sustainability Management School (SUMAS), an accredited business school in Switzerland. The business programme will be delivered via eLearning from the faculty at SUMAS. Students will learn alongside other IBCP students from around the world, and be mentored by teachers at Dulwich College (Singapore).

Performance and Production Arts. This course will be delivered in partnership with the University of the Arts London (UAL), and the school will build on its links with the RSC and ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association), as well as local theatre companies such as the SRT (Singapore Repertory Theatre).

Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communication. This course will be delivered in partnership with the University of the Arts London (UAL).

Sports: This course will include a BTEC International Level 3 Diploma in Sport and explore areas such as the sport and active leisure industry in Singapore, health and wellbeing, and sports anatomy and physiology.

Engineering: This course will include a BTEC International Level 3 Diploma and explore areas such as engineering product design, computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing processes.

Digital Technology. This course includes a digital skills programme which is delivered through eLearning from faculty at technology education company, BSD.

The school is also offering the IBCP in Sports and Engineering.

From Year 9, students are guided by a dedicated team of university counsellors to prepare them for further education and guide them in their choices for university. 

The College offers activities outside the curriculum such as music and drama festivals, and sports tournaments, as the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award.

For such a large school, class sizes remain small – between 16 and 20 in DUCKS, 22 from Years 1 to 10, and 18 in Years 12 and 13.

STEAM

As well as following the traditional teaching methods that public schools such as Dulwich College UK are well-renowned for, this Singapore campus is taking an increasingly fresh and dynamic approach to education. This is most evident in the launch of the SE21 initiative, which focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Maths).


Design and technology workshop

It’s an exciting time for students, as phase one robotics, coding, CAD/CAM, graphic design, film, digital, and virtual reality are all added to the curriculum. Based on SE21 initiatives at other Dulwich College International (DCI) schools, you can expect to see DUCKS students designing teddy bears, junior students producing them using 3D printers and sewing machines, and senior students marketing them through links with local businesses.

Sport and the creative arts

Dulwich College (Singapore) has a reputation for its sporting prowess, and it produces some stellar sporting talent. The key sports played and taught here are football, rugby, touch rugby, netball, basketball, athletics, tennis, badminton, swimming, gymnastics, cricket and hockey.

The school is both inclusive and competitive. Students can compete at the highest level of school sports in various local and international tournaments, while others can play simply ‘for enjoyment’. To ensure that all students have access to sport, regardless of their ability, Dulwich fields as many teams as is needed to give everyone a chance to play. To ensure that it remains one of the top schools for sport in South East Asia, it will select only the very best for its A and B teams though.

The school recognises that competition is key to any sporting programme. Students can take part in the Dulwich Olympiad every four years in London (a celebration of sports, drama, music and art across the Dulwich family of schools), as well as the Dulwich Junior Games at Dulwich College in Yangon, Myanmar. It also competes in external competitions such as ACSIS (Athletic Conference of Singapore International Schools) and FOBISIA (Federation of British International Schools in Asia).

Dulwich College (Singapore) invites students in Years 9-11 to participate in a Student Athlete Support Programme (SASP), which gives them access to individual training programmes across a variety of sports. Offered to “student-athletes with the potential to develop”, SASP focuses on physical conditioning, lifestyle, cognition and technical training. It has been designed to support to students with both athletic and academic aspirations, and students are reviewed annually.

High-performing sports students can further develop their skills through Ignite!, Dulwich’s performance development programme. Ignite! focuses on physical development, lifestyle management, technical and tactical progression and cognitive support in sports as varied as basketball, netball, football, golf, gymnastics, equestrian, swimming, triathlons, tennis, rugby and touch rugby.

In Senior School, students can study Physical Education as a GCSE option (Years 9 to 11) and Sports & Exercise Science at IB level (Years 12 to 13). In August 2022, the school will launch the IB Career-related Programme with a sports pathway (a BTEC International Level 3 Diploma in Sport). It is the only international school in Singapore to offer this.

According to our Parent Survey, 58% of parents feel that Dulwich is in the Top 3 Singapore schools for its sport offering; 74% feel that sport is fully inclusive here, 16% say there are different teams for different abilities, and 10% feel it is very selective; and 69% say that the quality of education is better than that offered in their home country. 


Indoor sports hall

Dulwich College (Singapore) unleashes student creativity in many ways. The school introduces the concept of performance in the early grades; there are specialist music lessons from the age of four and, in Junior School, every student is given an instrument which they can take home and taught to read music. Arts continue through the curriculum with options to study the arts at IGCSE and in the IBDP.

In August 2022, Dulwich is introducing the IBCP in performing arts, in partnership with UAL (University Arts London) – this will be a unique offering for Singapore’s international students.

Highlights on the calendar include resident workshops by the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Shakespeare Company, which culminates in the Dulwich Shakespeare Festival.

Once again, Dulwich College (Singapore) works with its family of DCI schools to offer students more than you’d expect from an average school. There are various annual events, hosted by a different DCI school each year, that encourage competition between students at each campus: Junior students take part in the annual D’ Oscars film-making festival, which culminates in an Oscar-style awards evening; the MADD Festival celebrates music, art, drama, and dance; the  Dulwich Festival of Music, offers students workshops with professional musicians and culminates in an evening concert; and the list goes on…

The school’s commitment to incorporating the arts into its core curriculum is further emphasised with its investment in the SE21 Hub (opening from 2023), which is dedicated to STEAM facilities and creative learning spaces – “locations for pitching ideas, phase one robotics, coding, CAD/CAM, graphic design, film, digital, and virtual reality. 

One of the school’s strengths lie in the wide variety of opportunities it offers students to develop skills in the arts, whether a student enjoys visual art, theatre, dance or music, whether they are beginner or advanced. It offers opportunities to the most committed (the Ignite! development programme in music and the performing arts); to those who want to lead (a student music council gives students experience in organising, producing and directing student-led whole College music events); and to anyone who wants to simply have a go.

According to our Parent Survey, 63% of parents rate the performing arts at this school as being in the top 3 schools in Singapore, and 53% of parents rate the fine arts at this school as being in the Top 3 schools in Singapore.

Beyond the classroom

Learning at Dulwich College (Singapore) extends far beyond the classroom walls, and the College offers what it describes as various enrichment opportunities to encourage students to “try new things and discover new talents, while developing existing interests and skills”.

There is an extensive programme of more than 200 co-curricular activities, including academics, sports, performance, and community service. All students are expected to sign up for at least one service project every year, ranging from the delivery of food parcels and student mentoring, to fixing broken wheelchairs and fundraising for a partner school in Cambodia. In terms of outdoor education, there are annual trips for all, including both residential trips and sports, music, and drama trips.

The College has embraced the traditional English public-school house system, which is seen in the camaraderie, team spirit, sense of community, and belonging that students have throughout the school; this really shines through in the Senior school when students are placed in house-based tutor groups. It also encourages leadership and teamwork from a young age; for example, Year 7 students support DUCKS children as they arrive at school, Year 8 students mentor their junior peers, and all students from DUCKS upwards can be elected to be on the student council.

“Our house captains, student counsellors, community action groups and ambassadors lead, inspire, and listen to their peers, enabling all students to actively contribute to College improvement projects.”

The community spirit is enhanced by the Friends of Dulwich Committee, which sees parents act as class reps and organise social and charitable events.

Results

Average score Pass rate Highest score Top scorers 40 points plus 35 points plus 30 points plus Bilingual diploma
39.7 100% 45   54%      

The IB cohort of May 2021 achieved what the school described as "a phenomenal average point score of 39.7" (last year's was 37) and 100% pass rate. 100% of students obtained their first choice of university for 2020.

"They managed multiple deadlines, balancing study with commitments to CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), leading and being role-models for other students in the College, all whilst navigating an uncertain world (and a global pandemic!)."

The school's first IB cohort of May 2020 celebrated a high average score of 37 and pass rate; one in three students obtained an average of 40 points. 34.45% of students scored 38-plus points and 68% achieved 37-plus points.

The Year 13 students who applied for entry in 2020 secured placements at top universities in the UK, Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Read our roundup of Singapore's 2021 IB results here.

The campus

Located close to several popular expat neighbourhoods, the Dulwich College (Singapore) campus is a five-hectare site in Bukit Batok, western Singapore. As you’d expected from this successful family of schools, there are state-of-the-art facilities and classrooms on a beautifully landscaped, purpose-built campus.


The Alleyn Theatre in the College's Performing Arts Centre

Each school has its own dedicated building; shared facilities include libraries, three swimming pools, sports fields, rooftop gardens, gymnasiums, three dining rooms, and two coffee shops. The jewel in this College's crown is its performing arts centre, which has three theatres, science and IT labs, music and art rooms, and four design and technology workshops.

A classic red telephone box adds to the British charm of the College and gives students and parents somewhere to call a taxi.

Dulwich College (Singapore) has just started work on a new SE21 Innovation Hub. This seven-storey, hub will include a 400-seat multi-purpose auditorium, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) workshop to accommodate its SE21 initiative (STEAM and Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century), a professional teaching kitchen, film and media suites, three additional black box theatres, IT rooms, another gymnasium, tennis courts and a sports science laboratory. Due to open in September 2023, the hub will also include a dedicated IB library, workspaces, study rooms and social areas for its college students. 

Admission and fees

Dulwich College (Singapore) is a selective school and it only enrols students “who are likely to thrive in the College’s academic programme”. Assessments include an online CAT test for Years 3 and above in English, maths, and non-verbal reasoning, as well as a short essay; for Year 2 and below, there is a playroom-based assessment.

Dulwich College is one of Singapore’s most expensive schools – if not the most expensive. Fees for 2021 are $36,930 for Year 1, $43,960 for Year 7 and $47,730 for Years 12-13.

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

Dulwich College (Singapore) is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:

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