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.
Wellbeing at the College
A day in the life of DUCKS
Nathalie Coppin Head of Wellbeing
The Wellbeing Team
Beyone 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, pupils have approximately 100 hours of timetabled time specifically focused on supporting and improving their wellbeing. Pupils from Years 7 to 11 have one period of curriculum time per two-week timetable cycle set aside for the delivery of wellbeing. This is delivered by their Form Tutor. As well as weekly tutor time and assemblies, the Upper School pupils also have a series of lectures, talks and events to support the key topic areas for their specific wellbeing provision. 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.’ 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 pupils and parents and, in addition we have an on-site counsellor, the medical centre, the Chaplaincy team, a weekly drop-in service for pupils, a peer-led mentoring service, a Community Action Programme and activities supporting charitable fund raising. Pupils 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. Forest School 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 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 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 pupils 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.
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. 14. RULER At DUCKS we follow the RULER programme for explicitly teaching emotional literacy. Borne out of research from the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, the programme teaches children the language they need to be able to Recognise, Understand, Label, Express and Regulate (RULER) their emotions.
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.
Junior School We believe that a healthy sense of wellbeing is the cornerstone of creating curious, interested and interesting young people. The relationships fostered between the pupils and our dedicated staff are central to this, reinforced by the processes and subjects explored within Wellbeing lessons.
When pupils join the Junior School, we do all we can to ensure they settle in quickly, make friends and enjoy their new environment. They are assigned an older buddy who writes to them in the summer term before they arrive in September and the pair are given activities to complete together such as playing patball or reading in the library together. Wellbeing is part of the general practice of the school as a whole. Pupils are encouraged to nominate each other for a kindness leaf and these are announced by our Junior School Prefects as they are awarded in our Celebration Assembly. Around the school, we also promote a shared language for kind behaviour founded on two principles: the effect of others’ emotions and offering a ‘choice of consequence’, emphasising that pupils have control over their actions and decision-making. Wellbeing circle time is used to develop trust and empathy between pupils and teachers and it is a time to share issues that concern them as well as thinking about feelings
and managing difficult emotions. Sessions are planned in detail, covering relevant themes to promote pupils’ emotional literacy. Circle times are also valued as a vehicle to improve speaking and listening skills, extend powers of concentration and enhance relationships. It is also a time to encourage respect, value differences and to develop confidence and self-esteem. ‘ In the Junior School we have a Kindness Tree which was made for us by members of the Senior School. It takes pride of place in the hall - pupils nominate each other for a kindness leaf and these leaves are awarded in our Celebration Assembly and placed on the tree.’ The Wellbeing curriculum also promotes a sense of community and considers issues that affect it such as homelessness, human rights and pollution. Pupils work together to explore issues and identify actions so that they develop their understanding of their local, national and international community as responsible, caring citizens.
Lower School For many young pupils, the transfer from primary to secondary school can be very challenging. While those coming from the Junior School will be familiar with the College campus, pupils who join us at 11+ may have some feelings of apprehension about moving on from familiar surroundings. The Lower School prides itself on supporting pupils 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 pupils feel comfortable and safe at the College so they may fulfil their academic potential. Lower School pupils 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, pupils 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 pupils 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. Pupils 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. Pupils 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, pupils 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 pupils cope with the challenges presented by adolescence and puberty. At a time when pupils 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 help pupils in Year 8 to develop their leadership skills by running clubs and societies for other members of the Lower School. There is also a peer mentor system that assigns members of the Upper School to each Lower School tutor group. We 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 pupils 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, pupils in the Lower School cover a range of topics:
Living in community
Preparation for the future
Middle School As the pupils 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 settings of the Barry Buildings and The Laboratory are a great inspiration in all weathers!
pornography, internet safety, emotional health and drugs and alcohol. Pupils 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, immigration and gender equality along the way. They are taught the skills of mindfulness and readaxation 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 pupils consider careers and choices for their lives.
The larger campus also allows the pupils to find niches within which to develop friendships and hone skills. For many pupils, 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. Pupils 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 pupils at this time of their lives. As they enter the Middle School, pupils learn about the development of the teenage brain. They will be educated about healthy relationships, contraception, sexting,
Upper School It is our role to help pupils during their transition towards 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 pupils 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 pupils know they can turn to someone – be it a friend, Tutor, Chaplain, Head of Year or a counsellor – who is there to listen. Pupils are also given a ‘Looking after your mental health’ card to carry with them with tips and places to go for further advice. 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. There are assemblies, tutor periods and lectures throughout the academic year. Pupils have the chance to discuss important topics such as relationships, sexual health, mental health and tips for living away from home.
As well as a Wellbeing Prefect, some members of the Upper School are appointed as Digital Ambassadors. They support the delivery of digital awareness throughout the school and encourage pupils to consider how to manage their online identities in a safe, secure and controlled way.
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 pupils.
Boarding 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 pupils 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 Rocketry 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.
The Wellbeing Team
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 pupils, staff and parents of all faiths and none. It also oversees a number of religious and spiritual societies, including Christian societies, a Jewish 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 pupils to reflect on their own faith, to think about their own spiritual development, and to more deeply appreciate the faith of others.
Mentoring There are currently around 50 mentors in the Upper School, coaching pupils 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.
Medical Centre The medical centre is based in the centre of the campus and day pupils and boarders enjoy its safe, warm and friendly environment throughout term time. Staff ensure that pupils are treated, supported and listened to without judgement.
Counselling We have a counsellor at the College who is available free of charge for pupils to speak to whenever a need arises. Our counsellor is based in the medical centre and sees pupils 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.
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 pupils 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 pupils to make the most of school life. With more than 60 clubs and societies meeting regularly in the Senior School, the College tries to cater for all pupils’ 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 pupils 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 pupils 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 Action There are currently more than 15 volunteering projects run as part of the College’s Community Action Programme. Activities include providing extra support for pupils at local primary schools and our partner school, City Heights; tutoring at homework clubs and Saturday Schools; visiting and helping residents at Athol House, a local Leonard Cheshire Home; preparing food parcels at the Brixton and West Norwood Foodbank; and helping with gardening in Dulwich Park. Volunteers find the activities hugely rewarding; they play an important role in the personal development and wider education of the pupils and forge important links with our community. The projects are available to pupils in Year 10 upwards, with around 150 participants volunteering approximately an hour each week – either at lunchtimes, after school or on Saturday mornings. A number of Year 11 pupils also take part in ‘The Challenge’ during the summer following their GCSEs; this is a three-week programme in which pupils develop their own community projects while at the same time honing their own leadership and teamwork skills.
Careers The Careers Department is located alongside the Sixth Form and Higher Education teams in a purpose-built suite in the Lord George Building. Together they encourage and support pupils as they consider life beyond Dulwich. The provision aims to equip pupils to assess their options as they are made aware of the many opportunities on offer to them. Research skills are taught, guidance is provided and pupils are prepared to make informed decisions for their future education and long-term aspirations. Staff encourage pupil-led, independent learning; the objective is not to tell them 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, pupils 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 careers profiling (aptitudes and interests). Each pupil 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. This scheme allows pupils to research and explore their options and evidence their interests in a variety of ways including visits, lectures, taster days, conferences and work experience. This tailor-made provision, along with topical seminars, Networking events and the annual Courses and Careers Convention, is supported by our many external contacts.
Physical Wellbeing The College is proud to have developed an innovative Physical Wellbeing programme of study that identifies, unlocks and develops the pupils’ physical attributes. This underpins the intention to nurture in every pupil an enjoyment of being physically active, leading to the desire to engage in long-term and indeed life-long physical activity. We look to challenge pupils to make decisions based on morals as well as for goal orientated motivation; we aim to develop a culture of ‘do what is right, not what is right for me’.
these year groups, all our pupils again enjoy and benefit from a half term of swimming and water safety lessons. Dulwich College has an outstanding culture of participation in a range of physical activities, most notably traditional games. Provision for these is outstanding. It has a new, and genuinely innovative, PE programme. Neil Rollings (ICE Coach Education) From Year 3 onward, all pupils take part in termly physical testing. This is used to track and support their health and fitness progress during their time at the College. This allows physical education in Years 10 and 11 to be tailored to individual needs. Pupils will either work on developing their aerobic fitness, their anaerobic power and speed or their strength. For pupils who join us, or remain non or weak swimmers, we also offer the opportunity to develop in this area. There are strong cross-curricular links between our Physical Education programme and that of the College’s Wellbeing curriculum. There is a shared ethos that physical activity has a direct, positive impact on the pupils’ sense of wellbeing, whether it is running a mile or representing their country.
In the Junior School, in line with the Long Term Athletic Development Plan, we introduce pupils to an active start. This is achieved through structured units of work designed to develop essential fundamental movement skills and overall movement skills. This is delivered alongside dedicated weekly swimming lessons in Years 3 and 4 and two half- termly blocks of swimming in Years 5 and 6. During Years 7 to 9 pupils are introduced to the theory as well as the practical ability to train as individuals and teams. This is initiated in Years 7 and 8 with units of work on Stability, Cardio Vascular Endurance, Muscular Endurance, and Reaction Times. In Year 9, we progress this with units of work on Core Lifts and Training Methods. Throughout
The link between positive, resilient mind-sets and physical activity cannot be ignored. Physical activity also offers opportunities to develop socially, creates a sense of community, as well as providing pupils with an encouraging programme that can co-exist with their academic endeavours.
Creative Wellbeing Creativity can enhance personal and community wellbeing; help pupils to develop resilience and problem solving skills; be a way to meet new people with different perspectives and ideas; and be an encouragement to think about things differently. Creative Wellbeing often pushes us out of our comfort zones.
The College offers pupils many opportunities to explore their creative side — both through and beyond the curriculum. Activities and workshops revolve around both group activity and also the opportunity to explore our individuality through creating in isolation as well. There does not always need to be an outcome – pupils are encouraged to see it as a process and this helps with concentration, peacefulness and reflection whilst also creating challenges. The use of various materials and mediums provide different opportunities for engagement and expression. Many of the crafts are portable so the pupils are encouraged to continue the act of creativity wherever they are. Creative Wellbeing often requires pupils to focus
on a task that involves repetition and concentration. This also increases the ability to raise their spirits wherever they are and adopt a creative outlook to enhance their sense of wellbeing.
Pause for Thought To support anti-bullying, we undertook a survey across the senior school about pupils’ experiences of unkindness. The results were used to inform staff, shape our policies and have encouraged pupil-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 pupils to clearly perceive thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, sensory experiences and events as they occur; engaging their full awareness and senses enables 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 and pupils 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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