Junior Alleynian 2023


represented Kent, and most wonderfully, Emre B was chosen for the England U11 squad.

n Four years ago, I spoke to you about having attended my school reunion and how it had been a wonderful occasion. Still, I was horrified to hear that a significant number of my peers had not wanted to return to school 30 years on as they had not had the same positive experience I had. I vowed then to try to create a school, which would foster such a positive experience that everyone would come back to a future school reunion. Two examples this week give an inkling of what Dulwich can give as the Year 6s move on today. On Tuesday, it was the New Parents Evening for those joining the Junior School. I congratulated the parents on having reached this point of their admissions journey after what must have been a good deal of time, possibly up to four or five years in some cases. Later in the evening, a new dad came up to me and challenged me on this figure. He said that he had been in the Junior School, one of the first in the new building, around 20 years ago. He said that his journey to get his son to come to Dulwich had started then, and so for him, it was 20 years since he conceived of getting his child into the College. Then, to repeat that devotion, I was in the Junior School late last night doing reports when a group of men came up from the Old Boys event, which was happening in the Auditorium, to play patball! They stayed on the court for over an hour until it was pitch dark. The competitiveness, focus and skills were all still there! As we look back on the year, I hope that your experiences at the Junior School will mean you’ll look to return here in the future and maybe bring your children through this superb education. Over the course of the year, academically, we have had a superb year. We were awarded the greatest number of Lower School Scholarships (12) that we have ever had. Our Great Exhibition Projects pushed the boundaries of what Year 6 children can learn and become experts in. These included racism in sport, the gender pay gap, electric vehicles and fusion or fission. Our Symposium on Empathy was a huge success as ever too. I should mention that our maths provision has seen great success in maths challenges. We placed 3rd out of 20 schools in the Year 5 maths challenge at Royal Russell, all the boys took place in some national competitions (First, Primary and Junior Maths Challenges), and all of the results were higher than ever, e.g. 31 into the bonus round of the PMC and of the 6 boys who achieved the highest award in the UKJMC between Year 5 and Year 8 – four were from Year 6. Finally, we have had a very successful year with the introduction of Ipads across the whole school, and we look to continuing to embed those skills and knowledge over the coming years. We have continued to develop our co-education programme with JAGS and Sydenham High with teambuilding events, an Eco- workshop carousel, a debating event and a Top of the Form quiz. We hope to deepen and extend that further next year. The House system and competitions continue to be a cornerstone of Junior School life. Some of the highlights this year include the House History competition developing the boys’ family trees, full House Music and House Dance competitions for the first time and finally, this term, a totally inclusive version of a House Tennis competition in which all could participate if they wanted. This week, we have had the Super-Sized House singing competition, which represents so much about what is great about a DC education – ambitious, inclusive, creative and huge fun! Chess has had a super year, with the U11s coming 1st and 3rd in their zonal round before narrowly missing out on qualifying at the National Semi-final competition for the finals. Three boys

Each of the year groups has undertaken many trips and workshops throughout the year to embed, enrich and consolidate their learning. Some of the highlights include the Year 6s travelling to Wales for the first time in March, as well as to the west end for Newsies and Legoland for some end-of-year fun. Year 5s have been to the Tate Britain and the Cutty Sark, whilst the Year 4s have been to a Classical music roadshow and the Year 3s to the British Museum. Free Learning is at the heart of DC education, and we have participated in whole College weeks around themes of sustainability, refugees, mental health, anti-bullying and identity. We also had our wonderful Book Week, which was probably the best ever. We had five authors, an amazing 500-word story competition as well as many other events. Music has gone from strength to strength this year thanks to the input of our dedicated music teacher, Ms Wilcox. We have had the biggest orchestra ever, more quartets, more children having individual music lessons (over 50%) and many successes in whole College music competitions. In Drama, once more, all the boys participated in their whole year group productions and got their time to shine at the front of the stage with the dance, songs or lines. The model having multiple leads is really in line with our inclusive ethos. In Sport, such an important part of so many boys’ lives here at Dulwich, there have been individual team successes in all the sports (esp. Swimming, hockey, football and cricket). Charities and Service Learning are at the heart of our provision to develop the boys as kind and empathetic citizens of their local and global community. This year, we have continued to develop this aspect of our curriculum with the Year 3s supporting Guide Dogs, Year 4 the foodbanks of an Asylum Seekers project, Year 5 the local residents of Dulwich Alms Houses and Year 6 with the refugee project AFRIL where several boys helped organise their Sports Day. All of this has been possible thanks to our superb staff. They make the school what it is. They are a superb team, and they inspire me and the boys every day with their professionalism, dedication and hard work. In terms of leavers, we do not have, for the second year in a row, any of our teaching staff leaving us this summer, which is wonderful. We do say goodbye to Mrs Benest, who has wonderfully helped our Learning Support department, and we wish her well in her relocation to follow her husband’s new role. We do say a partial goodbye to Mr Lyons-Donegan, who moves to a full-time PE and Games role in the Senior School. He joined us two years ago as a Graduate Assistant Teacher, and has since completed his PGCE this year. He has been a brilliant teacher with all the year groups and a consummate caring professional in all aspects of PE and Games. We are so glad he is not going far, and we’ll still benefit from his humour, organisation and knowledge. So, to end, well done to all the boys this year and especially to the Year 6s as they move to the Lower School. I stand here today to give you an open invitation to come back in 2043 to play patball on our courts. I hope you can come!

Dr Griffiths June 2023

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