Dulwich College Review, Ranking, Fees, And More

Nestled within the heart of the United Kingdom, Dulwich College stands as a beacon of educational excellence. This comprehensive review delves into the core of Dulwich College, unearthing its esteemed reputation, academic rankings, and insightful details about its fee structure. As we embark on this exploration, we’ll unravel the institution’s rich history, academic prowess, and the unique offerings that have cemented its place as a distinguished educational establishment.

Dulwich College

Table of Contents

Key Features of Dulwich College

  • Boarding: Yes
  • Local authority: Southwark
  • Pupils: 1,401; sixth formers: 474
  • Religion: Church of England/Christian
  • Fees: Day £24,693; Boarding £48,324 – £51,546 pa
  • Ranking: 39

Dulwich College Results

2023: 92% 9-7 at I/GCSE; 64.8% A*/A at A level.

2022: 93% 9-7 at I/GCSE; 82% A*/A at A level (95% A*-B).

At Dulwich College, a thriving academic culture is underpinned by a profound commitment to fostering a genuine love for learning. Rather than fixating solely on achieving top grades, the college’s teaching and learning process is rooted in the belief that education should be a journey of exploration, inquiry, and intellectual curiosity. 

Certain subjects consistently excel at both GCSE and A-level. The sciences, English, maths, history, and art have established a reputation for outstanding performance. A-level choices reveal a strong penchant for mathematics, followed closely by physics, history, economics, and chemistry. Students achieve impressive A* grades in chemistry, English literature, geography, Latin, and further mathematics.

The foundation of Dulwich College’s teaching approach is a commitment to free learning. The college encourages independent exploration, where students research new topics on their own before engaging in thoughtful discussions during “flip” lessons. This approach empowers students to take ownership of their education and fosters a deep understanding of the subject matter.

To preserve the spirit of mixed-ability learning, only maths and languages are set for different levels. This approach is rooted in the belief that pigeonholing students through setting can limit their growth potential. Students pursuing greater intellectual challenges between Years 7 and 11 can enrol in the scholars’ programme, designed to provide stimulating academic opportunities.

Language education at Dulwich College is robust and inclusive. French, Spanish, Chinese, and Latin are taught in the lower school, with additional languages like German, Italian, and ancient Greek introduced later. The diverse offering extends to languages like Japanese, Arabic, Russian, and Turkish, providing a rich linguistic landscape.

The sixth form offers distinctive academic pursuits, including the innovative Dulwich Diploma, which encourages A-level depth paired with the breadth akin to the International Baccalaureate. Students embark on independent research and produce 2000-word essays, nurturing critical thinking and exploration. Whereas a unique A level Plus programme enables cross-departmental electives, while subject extension classes, such as ‘further physics’, encourage broader engagement.

Beyond traditional subjects, liberal studies flourish alongside girls from JAGS and Sydenham. Students delve into modern poetry, bookbinding, Italian cinema, and ballroom dancing, nurturing creative expression.

Boarding Experience in Dulwich College

Dulwich College boasts a vibrant and diverse boarding community that plays a significant role in the institution’s fabric. One of the key strengths is the successful integration of overseas boarders with their day counterparts. This harmony is evidenced through a range of engaging social activities that foster camaraderie. Notably, fun-filled events such as Chinese New Year dinners offer a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and shared celebrations.

Dulwich College’s boarding houses, which are conveniently located on campus, provide a sense of community and belonging. These modernised period houses are adorned with photographs commemorating the achievements of the college’s Old Alleynians (OAs) in various sporting endeavors, creating an inspiring atmosphere for the current generation.

The accommodation, while modest in some aspects, is well-suited to the needs of ambitious teenage boys. The rooms offer a comfortable environment conducive to both focused studying and energetic recreation. Ensuite bathrooms provide convenience without distracting from the primary pursuit of academic excellence and camaraderie.

Common rooms within the boarding houses are lively hubs of activity, equipped with amenities to facilitate relaxation and bonding. Large screens transform movie nights into cinematic experiences, fostering shared moments of entertainment. Table football and other engaging diversions provide avenues for friendly competition and leisure. The presence of toasters allows students to prepare simple, comforting snacks, contributing to a sense of autonomy and comfort.

A notable addition to Dulwich College’s boarding options is the introduction of flexi-boarding, catering to the evolving needs of students and their families. This flexible approach allows students to blend their boarding experience with the demands of their academic pursuits and extracurricular activities, offering a balance that aligns with individual preferences.

Extra Curricular Activities in Dulwich College

Dulwich College stands as a testament to the profound impact of a well-rounded education, where the arts, music, and co-curricular activities intertwine to nurture students’ talents and passions. This commitment to holistic development has driven the college to continuously refine its offerings, fostering an environment where voluntary participation is driven by genuine enthusiasm and dedication.

The theatrical realm thrives with an impressive array of offerings, from London theatre excursions to an annual cascade of drama festivals and performance showcases. The diverse repertoire, ranging from thought-provoking puppetry addressing pertinent issues to high-energy productions such as Guys and Dolls and Grease, reflects a commitment to both artistic depth and crowd-pleasing entertainment.

Artistic exploration extends beyond the stage to the sophisticated art department, where academic rigour converges with contemporary innovation. A harmonious blend of traditional hand drawing and modern technology underscores the college’s artistic pedagogy. The light-filled studios brim with exuberant classes, where students delve into film, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and canvas work. The results, consistently thoughtful and often thought-provoking, mirror a commitment to nurturing individual creativity.

The musical landscape at Dulwich College resonates with harmony and accomplishment. A remarkable 45% of lower school students embrace musical instruments, with each musician celebrated regardless of their level. From aspiring beginners to National Youth Orchestra leaders and principal performers at prestigious venues like Glyndebourne and the ENO, the college’s musical journey reflects inclusivity and excellence.

Debating, a powerful tool for cultivating influential voices, holds a pivotal role in the co-curricular tapestry. The college’s debaters tackle issues of global and local significance, honing the art of meaningful influence.Interestingly, Dulwich College has a proud tradition of producing world-class debaters who excel in major tournaments and often earn positions in the England team.

In the realm of sports, Dulwich College’s expansive playing fields provide a canvas for athletic exploration. Beginning with skill-building in Year 7, students are exposed to a spectrum of sports, including rugby, football, hockey, and cricket. Whether it’s skiing, rowing, squash, or cross-country, the college offers an array of opportunities for students to discover and pursue their sporting passions.

Admissions Process: Entering Dulwich College

Dulwich College’s admissions process embodies a commitment to nurturing well-rounded individuals who combine academic prowess with a passion for co-curricular engagement. While not ultra-elite, the college maintains a high academic bar, targeting the top 15% of students who bring diverse strengths to their educational journey, fully embracing the enriching co-curricular offerings.

For entry at the age of 11, Dulwich College draws from a pool of candidates, with approximately half of the 75 boys hailing from the Dulwich College Junior School, while the remainder are admitted from a mix of primary schools and preparatory institutions. Admissions are determined through the school’s own entrance exams and interviews, ensuring a holistic assessment of a student’s potential and suitability.

At the age of 13, the college predominantly welcomes students from preparatory schools, further broadening the diversity of perspectives and talents within the student body. This stage marks a pivotal transition, where students are guided towards embracing the academic rigour and co-curricular vibrancy that define the Dulwich College experience.

For those seeking entry into the sixth form, the college sets a minimum entry requirement of 14 points, with a clear expectation that candidates will achieve even higher. This rigorous criterion underscores the college’s dedication to fostering intellectual excellence and preparing students for the challenges of advanced studies.

GCSE results hold a pivotal role in the admissions process at the sixth form level. Candidates are expected to include English and maths in their GCSE repertoire, highlighting a foundational grounding in these core subjects. Furthermore, a grade 8 attainment in the three chosen A-level subjects is an integral component of the admissions criteria, ensuring that incoming students possess a strong foundation in their intended areas of study. For candidates whose first language is not English, the admissions process incorporates an English as an Additional Language (EAL) exam. 

SEN Support

The school has an SEN unit that can support pupils in many different ways. This includes developing reading comprehension and spelling skills, personal organisation, study and revision strategies, and social skills. 

Dulwich College Testimonials and Reviews


My work has brought me to this college. My first visit on a real English college, one that has lot of history behind. Beautiful architecture, plenty of green grounds: football field, rugby. Today is Saturday, no students around, so this place it feel really peaceful now, although the south circular gets right by the front entrance, it makes me feel like I’m outside of London.

Peter Vautier

My son is here, and I am really impressed by the professionalism of the staff. Things happen, things go wrong but the staff do their utmost to protect the children and address any issues that arise. There is an emphasis on growing the boys as well rounded individuals as well as academic performance which I think is missing in some of the other top schools. There are a lot of after school clubs which the kids can join which allows them to learn stuff outside the curriculum too. The grounds themselves are absolutely beautiful which I think is important when your son lives in the inner city. The school meals are amazing and free for the first two years. I think my son liked them a little too much at first, but the sports programme helped keep that in check. Finally, I was a bit worried about snobbery, but from what my son says, there’s very little of that going on there.

Michael Sempala

Great place. Has Great scenery, beautiful flowers, very clean. Service was splendid

Chris Higham

Best school. Great people. Lovely teachers. Immense surroundings

Frequently Asked Questions about Dulwich College

Pupils from the College join the most competitive of universities across the word, including Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, and Yale and Berkeley in the USA, and thereafter enter all the major professions with a high number choosing to work in engineering, the health services and the law.

The College has also produced Bishops, Archbishops, leading scientists, actors, film directors, entertainers, politicians, a Governor of the Bank of England and eminent members of the judiciary.

This all boys’ school is based in London with impressive architecture and rural character. It has been a popular location for filming (Harry Potter, Tomb Raider, The Importance of being Earnest).

Dulwich College International (which is owned by Education in Motion), owns and operates a network of schools with more than 9,000 pupils that includes the Dulwich College International Schools and High Schools in China, South Korea, and Singapore.

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