From September 2018, our new dynamic, intellectually stimulating and immersive curriculum, Dulwich Colours runs alongside Common Entrance in Years 7 & 8.
Freed from the confines of a final examination, fully endorsed by senior schools, we have designed a Humanities curriculum for the children of the 21st century.
Designed to be a combination of experiences, research and investigation addressing key questions, and cross curricular working along with direct study to support the children in developing their skills and expertise; Dulwich Colours will set the children on their way to becoming the Historians, Geographers, Theologians and Philosophers of the future.
Rich and responsive it will deepen each child’s knowledge, capture their imaginations and enable them to master the full compass of learning skills our rapidly changing society demands, and our senior schools want.
In addition, Dulwich International Colours joined our Certificate of Learning from September 2020.
We launched Dulwich International Colours for Years 7 & 8, a new way of teaching Modern Languages, based on understanding the language through the culture of the country. It joins our Dulwich Colours curriculum for Humanities, replacing the pressure of a final exam Common Entrance-style. The emphasis is on practical, collaborative work, harnessing the power of tech, encouraging speaking, all wrapped in a ‘give-it-a-go’ bow.
Awe and wonder are essential ingredients. From producing a digital travel brochure, designing an eco-city, demonstrating how to cook tapas, through to debating Christmas traditions in Europe, our children have not only impressed us with their language development and cultural awareness but inspired younger years with their creativity and confidence.
Children are able to design their own project briefs, based around their own interests – from sport through to Marie Antoinette. When surveyed in April 2021 79% of our children felt project work increased their creativity and bolstered their language skills (64%). Jasper, an art scholar, used video to design his dream house, estate-agent style. With the added benefit of empowering children to work independently and develop their language skills at their own pace, project work also allows us to support each child’s individual needs. Darcey found preparing mind-maps worked best for her.
86% of our children say project-based learning deepened their understanding of Spanish and French culture. Becoming a member of the Spanish Royal family to explain the family tree consolidated vocab. ‘I loved being Princess Leonor de Asturias’ Ruby.
We’ve seen a huge boost in our children’s confidence in their spoken language ability and breadth of vocabulary with roleplay taking a starring role in the new curriculum. Lucas transported himself back in time to the Barcelona Olympics, and Sophie amused us with her multiple personalities in a French restaurant.
Although plans for trips abroad were scuppered this year, when we were able to be together we maximised our school grounds and dialled up the group fun, away from screens. A treasure hunt was designed to help children understand the links between languages and Greek/Latin roots. Our afternoon reading sessions where senior children read fairy stories in French and Spanish to awe-struck Years 1-4 meant they were less afraid to make mistakes.
Modern Languages uptake in UK senior schools is at its lowest level in decades. We want to help buck that trend. We want our children to leave Dulwich with a burning passion for language as well as a real understanding of their place in a multi-cultural world. It’s early days for Dulwich International Colours but we’re very excited by the results. 91% of our Y7 children want to continue Spanish in Y9, 78% to GCSE and 60% to A level.