Welcome At Dulwich College, we are committed to providing a holistic education for all our pupils and see our academic and pastoral work as interrelated and complementary. We believe it is vital that, alongside achieving their academic potential, our pupils learn skills and have experiences that enable them to thrive and flourish during the school day and away from the College. All five schools at the College are committed to promoting wellbeing, which is provided in a range of age-appropriate ways, from circle time in the Infants’ and Junior School to the peer-mentoring scheme run by Sixth Formers for younger pupils. There is also a programme in place for boarders. The ability to balance various and considerable demands on our time, while finding space for reflection and remaining well-balanced, intuitive and flexible in our thinking, is a key 21st-century challenge and skill. We wish our pupils to be emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy; able to make sound life choices, to engage productively with the community and be well prepared for life beyond Dulwich. Our pioneering Wellbeing Programme and extensive support for pupils underpins school life and the intention of this publication is to illustrate just how this is achieved.
Mrs Sarah Griffiths Head of Wellbeing
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Wellbeing at the College
A day in the life at DUCKS
The Wellbeing Team
Beyond the Curriculum
Pause for Thought
Wellbeing at the College
Pupils develop physical and emotional wellbeing at the College and our programme has been designed also to promote self-knowledge and build emotional intelligence. It comprises six strands: emotional health , spiritual health , physical health , living in community , healthy living and preparation for the future . Throughout their time at the senior school, boys have approximately 100 hours of timetabled time specifically focused on supporting and improving their wellbeing. Boys from Year 7 to 11 have one period of curriculum time per week set aside for this subject, led by a team of around 30 Wellbeing teachers, while boys in the Upper School have a Wellbeing carousel that operates during Form Tutor time. Form Tutors further down the school also play a major supporting role. Our programme covers an extensive range of topics including; friendships, bullying, mindfulness, resilience, financial literacy, campaigning, sexting, pornography, mental health, domestic survival, sexual health and careers. We are working increasingly with parents in our quest to encourage a greater sense of wellbeing – from regular parent forums to the DC Wellbeing twitter feed (@WellbeingatDC), which parents are invited to follow. ‘An integral part of a Dulwich Education is a pupil’s wellbeing; successful academic work and pastoral care are connected and complementary. Our focus on Wellbeing aims to help pupils be emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy with the ability to make sound life choices, to engage positively with the community and be well prepared for life beyond Dulwich.’ Dr JAF Spence, The Master In addition to the formal Wellbeing Programme, we have structures and people in place to provide support. Our Form Tutors and Year Heads are often the first point of call for boys and parents and, in addition we have an on-site counsellor, the medical centre, the Chaplaincy team, a weekly drop-in service for boys, a peer-led mentoring service, a Community Service Programme and activities supporting charitable fund raising. Boys are supported and guided as they make decisions about the future by our Beyond Dulwich team.
Living in community
Preparation for the future
A day in the life at DUCKS The wellbeing of our children and parents is considered at every step of the way at DUCKS Kindergarten and Infants’ School.
2. Settling In Saying goodbye at the start of the school day can be a difficult time for our youngest children. A friendly welcome from staff and children alongside enticing, interesting and varied classroom activities can make it easier. The morning routine helps, too. Adults quickly learn the best ways to make each individual child feel welcome.
1. Breakfast Club Children who come to school early for breakfast are welcomed by friendly faces and given the opportunity to enjoy a sociable meal with friends. Children are encouraged to choose for themselves, help themselves to their own breakfast and help each other, too. 4. Orchard In the orchard, children have the chance to enjoy nature in all weathers. Activities are child-initiated and teamwork is encouraged. Small, achievable tasks allow children to grow in confidence as they begin to take more risks in their play. The uneven ground, climbing logs and minibeasts are all part of the adventure.
3. Assembly A time to reflect, to think of others, to celebrate achievements across the curriculum, the daily assembly is a very important part of our school routine in the Infants’ School.
5. Key Person In the Early Years, all our children are assigned a Key Person, who takes the lead in looking after them at DUCKS, gets to know them particularly well and plans activities to meet their interests and developmental needs. It is hugely reassuring for our youngest children to have one staff member they feel especially close to, and the bond they develop is special and significant.
5 6. Special Books A strong link between home and school is important for children’s confidence and wellbeing. Children know that the staff at DUCKS are interested in their time at home, and that parents are interested in what they do at school. Parents and children together record exciting events in the Special Book and these are shared in school. As the children get older, they present these to the class, talking to their friends about their experiences and answering questions. This is a great opportunity for us all to listen to each other, value each other’s experiences, and strengthen the connection between school and home. 6
10. Sleep Time Rest is so important for healthy bodies and minds and many of our youngest children need their naps. In the Kindergarten, they go to rest in the sleep room; in the Nursery, they head to the cosy corner if they feel tired.
12. Golden Rules At DUCKS, we follow six golden rules to keep our school a happy place: we are gentle, we are kind, we are honest, we listen, we look after property, we work hard.
Role Models As part of their Community Service Programme, older College boys visit DUCKS to referee football matches, help in classrooms and read to children. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, one of our three-years-olds answered, “A College boy like Brodie!”
11. Circle Time A chance for everyone to have their say, speak aloud in front of their peers and take turns, circle time is an excellent way to discuss the issues that are on our children’s minds. It may be that we need to discuss events in the playground, the news or ideas that feature in our termly Wellbeing or RE topics. Everyone has a voice, and everyone’s contribution is valued.
13. Fruity Tea At DUCKS, mealtimes are sociable occasions. We work hard to encourage and help to develop good table manners, sociable conversations and respect for one another. In the Infants’ School, the staff on duty give out ‘fruity tea tokens’ whenever they see examples of good behaviour at lunchtime, and the table with the most tokens each week is treated to fruity tea with the Head of DUCKS in her office.
9. Ducks of the Week In Friday’s achievement assembly, ‘Duck of the week’ is awarded to children from each class who have done something particularly special. Not only are their achievements celebrated in school but their picture is also featured in our weekly newsletter for parents.
14. Story Time Our children work hard all day and story time is an important time for calm, quiet and listening.
8. Playtime Provision Some children want to run around and let off steam, others want to chat with their friends, some need a quiet space to reflect at playtime, so the DUCKS playgrounds offer spaces to engage in a variety of different activities. The staff on duty give support and will join in or intervene if needed, but children are encouraged to make their own fun at this time, resolve disputes themselves when they can, look after each other and work together.
7. Sticker Books For KS1 All our children are given reward stickers for effort and achievement in all areas, but our older children collect them in sticker books and save up to earn a certificate, medal or trophy, which they are presented in assemblies.
We believe that a healthy sense of wellbeing is the cornerstone of creating curious, interested and interesting young men. The relationships fostered between the boys and our dedicated staff are central to this, reinforced by the processes and subjects explored within Wellbeing lessons. Junior School
The Friendship Tree; Bees buzzing through the friendship leaves mark acts of kindness shown by one Junior School boy to another.
feelings; nurturing ourselves; peer power; celebrating differences; and saying goodbye. The 45-minute sessions are planned in detail for each year group to show progression and to promote boys’ emotional literacy. Circle time is used as a vehicle to improve speaking and listening skills, extend powers of concentration and enhance relationships. We also see it as a time to encourage respect and value of other’s differences, develop confidence and self-esteem, and to support the boys as they learn to be kind, not only to each other, but also to themselves. ‘In the Junior School, we have a friendship tree – boys can nominate each other for a friendship leaf to put on the tree and these leaves are awarded in our celebration assembly and placed on the tree.’ Circle time helps to establish a sense of community and is a time to have fun, too. Well-chosen resources are used to support it and these may include a talking object, games, puppets and collaborative reward charts.
When boys join the Junior School, we do all we can to ensure they settle in quickly, make friends and enjoy their new environment. Boys are assigned a Year 6 buddy, who writes to them in the summer term before they arrive in September and the pair are given a checklist of things to achieve in their first few days of term, such as learning the rules of patball or reading a book to each other in the Library. The whole school has a team-building day in the second week of term. Wellbeing is part of the general practice of the school as a whole. Boys can nominate each other for a friendship leaf to put on the friendship tree and these leaves are awarded in our celebration assembly and placed on the tree. Around the school, we also promote a shared language for correcting behaviour founded on two principles; the effect on others’ emotions, and offering a ‘choice or consequence’, emphasising that boys have control over their actions and decision-making. Wellbeing circle time is used to develop trust between pupils and teachers and is a time to share issues that concern them. The following themes form a rolling programme throughout the year: why we are here; praise and criticism; personal power; the power to choose; thinking about feelings; managing difficult
For many young boys, the transfer from primary to secondary school can be very challenging. While those boys coming from the Junior School will be familiar with the College campus, boys who join us at 11+ may have some feelings of apprehension about moving on from familiar surroundings. The Lower School prides itself on supporting boys through this initial period of change, and then preparing them to deal with adolescence, and its associated challenges.
In Year 7, our primary aim is to help boys feel comfortable and safe at the College so they may fulfil their academic potential. Lower School boys are generally taught in form rooms and this helps them to quickly establish a sense of community and belonging. At the start of each day, boys can expect to be greeted personally by their Head of Year, and friendships that were established during the team- building days at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term are cemented when each class spends a week at the Dulwich Outdoor Centre in the Brecon Beacons. For many, this trip is a highlight of their time in the Lower School. It helps to develop self-confidence, perseverance and tenacity when faced with difficulties – life skills that are just as important as the academic skills learned in the classroom. We deliberately encourage a broad curriculum, which exposes boys to a wide range of emotions and situations, so they are able to develop their sense of empathy and tolerance. This is achieved through the delivery of a diverse curriculum that explores themes of race and identity, including day trips away from the College, to Neasden Temple for example, and free- learning days that involve other schools within the community, such as Year 7 Spanish Day in association with City Heights and Dulwich Prep London. Boys take part in a comprehensive programme of Wellbeing lessons, which are held weekly. Initially, these lessons focus on personal relationships, making
friends, discrimination, tolerance and anti-bullying but then expand to include healthy eating and living, puberty and exploring human rights and what it means to live in a democracy. Boys are encouraged to develop their emotional literacy and a six-week resilience course, including keeping a gratitude diary, encourages this. In Year 8, wherever possible, boys remain with the same Form Tutor they had in Year 7. In this way, we continue to provide the continuity and consistency necessary to help boys cope with the challenges presented by adolescence and puberty. At a time when boys are experiencing significant emotional and physical change, we provide them with a stable environment in which they can safely explore and develop their own identity and sense of independence. We encourage boys in Year 8 to use their recent experiences to help the new Year 7 cohort to settle. We help boys in Year 8 to develop their leadership skills by running clubs and societies for other members of the Lower School. We also encourage them to continue to take part in as many co-curricular activities as possible, so they might find a particular area in which they can specialise later during their time at the College. Finally, we encourage boys to reflect on their experiences in the Lower School, so that they are then able to manage, independently this time, the transfer to the next stage of their life at Dulwich in the Middle School.
As part of the six strands of our Wellbeing Programme, boys in the Lower School cover a range of topics:
Living in community
Preparation for the future
Hobbies and interests
Calm and focused
Personal responsibilty Revision techniques
Teasing and bullying
Gratitude and optimism
Sleep and concentration
Coping with failure
Understanding your brain
As the boys grow older, the scale of the Dulwich campus gives them the space, both literally and metaphorically, to grow up – room to kick a ball around on the Tank Fields, chat to friends in a Cloister or watch cricket from the Clump. Environments matter and the majestic setting of the Barry Buildings is a great inspiration, in all weathers!
and drugs and alcohol. Boys progress through the school with lessons about campaigning, equipping them to engage with their local and global communities to effect change in a positive way, while engaging with difficult topics such as racism and immigration along the way. They are taught the skill of mindfulness to aid concentration for examinations and as part of their toolkit for good mental health. In Year 11, we educate about financial literacy as well as helping boys consider careers and choices for their lives.
The larger campus also allows the boys to find niches within which to develop friendships and hone skills. For many boys, their time in the Music School, Library, Theatre, PE Centre and Archive are as formative as their principal lessons, and with a large school there is an easy overlap between these many worlds. Boys are also helped to become more independent and mature through their working relationships with staff. We know that adolescence is a difficult time for many young people who are simultaneously coping with hormone, body and brain changes whilst establishing a personal identity, engaging in a multitude of co- curricular activities and preparing for their first public examinations. Our Wellbeing Programme for the Middle School is designed specifically to meet the needs of the boys at this time of their lives. As they enter the Middle School, boys learn about the development of the teenage brain. They will be educated about healthy relationships, contraception, sexting, pornography, internet safety, emotional health
It is our role to help boys during their transition from boyhood to adulthood, ensuring they are equipped with the skills and virtues to navigate life beyond the College.
There is a great deal of pressure to conform to the will of the group but our hope is that a Dulwich education will give boys the strength and courage to become reflective individuals – prepared to stand up for what is morally right even if that might come at some personal cost. Young people are under so much pressure to achieve that the expectations can be very daunting. The Upper School provides a supportive environment where boys know they can turn to someone – be it a friend, Tutor, Chaplain, Head of Year or a counsellor – who is there to listen. The Wellbeing Programme in the Upper School is designed to inform and challenge. There are academic sessions that offer practical advice on
developing independent study skills, and research sessions relating to careers and finance. Boys also have the chance to discuss important topics such as relationships, sexual health, mental health and tips for living away from home.
The boarding house is more than just a place to stay during term-time, it is a home, albeit a second home, and it is essential that it feels like this. Wellbeing support for boarders is therefore extensive and the team comprises senior staff, Housemasters, Tutors, the Matrons, the Chaplain and those who work in the medical centre, as well as the other boys.
In addition to the daily pastoral support, junior boarders benefit from a timetabled Wellbeing Programme, while the senior boarders’ programme runs in conjunction with the Upper School Wellbeing curriculum. This focuses on aspects of welfare more specific to boys of this age. Supporting the daily work of the Housemasters and Tutors, visiting speakers and senior members of staff deliver a series of evening sessions on subjects such as healthy eating, the importance of sleep and coping with stress. Boarders also have their own careers’ consultant who supplements the work of the Careers’ department. A boy’s success can be measured in many ways; there are objective achievements such as academic grades, university offers, participation in sports teams, drama productions or a musical performance, a contribution to the Union, a visit to the Poultry society, the running of a charity event or even participation in the Duke of Edinburgh award. But what underpins this are the more subjective elements; a sense of belonging, happiness and engagement, both mental and physical.
‘In addition to the daily pastoral support, junior boarders benefit from a timetabled Wellbeing Programme, while the senior boarders’ programme runs in conjunction with the Upper School Wellbeing curriculum.’
The Wellbeing Team
Medical Centre The medical centre is based in the centre of the campus and day boys and boarders enjoy its safe, warm and friendly environment throughout term time. Staff ensure that boys are treated, supported and listened to without judgement. Chaplaincy While we are a Christian foundation with our own Chaplain, the College values the fact that its pupils are drawn from a wide variety of faith traditions. The Chaplaincy plays an important role in the pastoral care and wellbeing of the College, providing a spiritual and moral framework through chapel services and assemblies. The Chaplain regularly takes assemblies and advises on spiritual matters, supporting boys, staff and parents of all faiths and none. It also oversees a number of religious and spiritual societies, including Christian societies, a Jewish society, a Hindu society and an Islamic society. The Faith society oversees these different groups, and promotes interfaith discussion within the College. The Wellbeing Programme provides opportunities for the boys to reflect on their own faith, to think about their own spiritual development, and to more deeply appreciate the faith of others. The Chaplaincy assistant, a newly qualified graduate, offers informal drop-in advice and support sessions.
Counselling We have a counsellor at the College who is available free of charge for boys to speak to whenever a need arises. Our counsellor is based in the medical centre and sees boys for one-off sessions or for a series of appointments. Through the opportunity to talk openly, freely and confidentially with a counsellor about difficulties and the feelings these can arouse, counselling supports wellbeing by encouraging personal insight, confidence and self-esteem, assertiveness, an ability to cope better in difficult circumstances and emotional awareness of self and others. It can also help improve relationships, communication, conflict resolution, help clarify confused thoughts and feelings and so aid personal development. Upper School, coaching boys in the Middle School. The intention is for mentoring to become an entirely peer-led operation. Mentors are allocated a form with whom to build relationships and there is also a self-referral system where mentees can opt in to the process. Mentoring There are currently around 50 mentors in the
The Wellbeing Team at the College is extensive and includes Form Tutors, Heads of Year, Day House Masters, Wellbeing teachers and co-ordinators, the College counsellor, the Chaplaincy team, and boarding and medical centre staff. These people form an essential and far-reaching network of support accessible to all boys in the Junior, Lower, Middle and Upper Schools.
Beyond the Curriculum
Co-curricular activities Outside the classroom, a broad range of co-curricular activities encourages boys to make the most of school life. With more than 50 clubs and societies meeting regularly in the Senior School, the College tries to cater for all boys’ individual interests and needs. These societies are driven by the students and can range from the academic to the altruistic. A society offers a student the chance to find and join people with similar interests, as well as another chance to befriend people in different year groups. The sheer number of sports teams ensures that boys who want to represent the College can do so and House Big Side and Little Side competitions ensure competition is available to all. The range of orchestras, ensembles and choirs enables students to play with other musicians and the increasing profile of music technology is opening yet more avenues to those with musical interests. Inter- house drama competitions ensure that all boys can
get involved in drama, with some being selected for the casts of College productions. The atmosphere that prevails within the Edward Alleyn Theatre, the PE Centre, the Music School or the Art & DT studios make these ideal places for many to find their niche and a little peace during a busy school day. Community Service Some 200 students in the Middle and Upper Schools take part in our Community Service Programme. Students have a choice of 18 different projects, so each dedicates their time and efforts to a cause that is most meaningful and worthwhile for them. Current projects range from supporting local schools, including schools for children with special educational needs, or maths and literacy tutoring at Dulwich Hamlets Primary School, to entertaining and socialising with residents at local care homes. A link with Brixton and West Norwood Foodbank has been established and small groups of Upper School students volunteer at the service on Saturday
decisions for their future education and long-term aspirations. Young alumni testify that this assistance in unlocking their potential and in enabling them to progress at any given stage has been invaluable in the competitive environment they enter following their A Levels. The objective is not to tell boys what they should do but to provide them with the tool kit they need to discover how to proceed and to succeed. To this end, boys participate in Careers education, as part of Wellbeing lessons and form tutorials in each year group, and the module in Year 11 is run alongside career profiling (aptitudes and interests). Every boy then proceeds to a career guidance session with an external adviser before consulting with in- house Careers advisers as they participate in our Professional Insight Programme – the scheme that ensures boys research and visit potential employers as they explore their interests. This tailor-made provision – along with topical seminars, Employer Encounter Events and the annual Courses and Careers Convention – is supported by our many external contacts.
mornings. Students enjoy becoming part of small dedicated teams and developing their social skills in unfamiliar and sometimes challenging contexts, for the benefit of others. Community Service encourages students to develop working relationships and friendships across age ranges and social divides. It instils the values of commitment, dedication and responsibility while supporting the young, elderly and most vulnerable in society. Careers The Careers Department is located in a purpose- built suite in the Lord George Building and is staffed by three dedicated Careers staff and the Higher Education team, who together encourage and support students as they consider life beyond Dulwich. The provision aims to equip boys to assess their options as they are made aware of the fast-changing environment with its many opportunities and challenges. Research skills are taught, guidance is provided and boys are prepared to make informed
In the College’s 2014-19 Strategic Development Plan, we replaced the title of ‘pastoral care’ with ‘wellbeing’, signalling our commitment to holistic education. As a community focused around wellbeing, we will continue to assess new ideas and processes to further enhance our programme.
Pause for Thought To support anti-bullying, we undertook a survey across the senior school about boys’ experiences of unkindness. The results were used to inform staff, shape our policies and have encouraged boy-led assemblies on topics such as homophobia and lessons on snitching/reporting.
Rarely do we find ourselves sitting with nothing to do, no emails to read, no videos to watch and no one to text, and this is having an effect on our brains and on our stress levels. We are considering ways to encourage ‘commas and full stops’ in our busy school day to give boys time for reflection and a little quiet. Our Quiet Room is one area that can be used for refuge and peace and we hope to add more spaces for reflection. Building on the emotional literacy encouraged throughout the schools, we are teaching the technique of mindfulness to pupils in the Middle School. Mindfulness, an awareness of ourselves and the world around us, can improve emotional wellbeing, using techniques such as meditation, breathing and simple movement. It allows boys to clearly perceive thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, sensory experiences and events as they occur, engaging their full awareness and senses, enabling them to manage better their emotions. Learning to focus on the present also has an immediate, universal benefit for studying and the exercises act like a toolkit that can be dipped into for the rest of our lives.
Boys are regularly encouraged to provide a ‘pupil voice’. They are included on interview panels for new staff, are representatives on school councils and their feedback is welcomed. We also have a Wellbeing Prefect who liaises with staff on wellbeing issues. A healthy community nurtures all its members, and we have invested in staff wellbeing, conducting a College- wide survey designed to audit our current position and make changes where possible to promote and enhance staff wellbeing through techniques such as mindfulness and coaching. With modern technology providing us with ever more ways of occupying our time, our lives have become fuller and perhaps busier than ever before.
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