Dulwich College Suzhou: Inculcating Entrepreneurial Education in Bright and Young Minds

“We create the best schools in the world so our students make a positive difference – guides the decisions we make as a family of schools. We use the strength of our network to continue to pioneer and innovate in all aspects of the organization – from curricula and educational spaces to events and technology”.

Located in Suzhou Industrial Park, China, Dulwich College Suzhou is a private international school in China. As the third school to join the Dulwich College International (DCI) network of schools, Dulwich College Suzhou opened its doors in 2007 and is majorly contributing to the world of education for more than a decade.

The College has an enrolment of approximately 1000 students from the age of two to the age of 18, with over forty different nationalities represented in their diverse student body.

The Inception story

Since the early 2000s, the goals of Dulwich College International have evolved into a Vision and Purpose guided by three pillars, underpinned by their motto, Detur Pons Mundo – Building bridges to the world.

Dulwich College, the founding school in London, was the first British independent school to take its practices and ethos to Asia. The founding College has produced leading scientists, actors, film directors, musicians, sportsmen and writers.

The school community consists of more than forty nationalities; the members respect every culture and encourage their students to do the same. The school offers various cultural activities not only to their students as a part of the curriculum, but also to the parents to share and learn from each other. The biggest event of the year is Founder’s Day, where everyone is invited to participate in a day full of international homemade cuisines, cultural performances, art exhibition and fun games. Parent association – Friends of Dulwich, hosts regular weekly activities such as cooking classes, language exchange workshops and speaker series to promote the learning of cultures among their parent community.

About the Founder

Nearly 400 years after Elizabethan, actor Edward Alleyn founded Dulwich College, a boys’ school in London. In 2003, British lawyer Fraser White and his wife Karen Yung began looking for a school in Shanghai that would provide world-class education to their three young children. They wanted a challenging and ambitious educational structure that would prepare their children for the future, moulding them into confident and well-rounded young people. Beyond academics, they wanted a school community with the open-mindedness and doughtiness bred of international experience, a strong co-curricular program and the grounding provided by venerable British educational traditions.

Their search came up short. A serendipitous meeting with Graham Able, the then Master of Dulwich College in London, resulted in the idea of opening an international Dulwich College in Shanghai.

Distinct Academic Programs

Dulwich College Suzhou educates children from age 2 to 18. The primary teaching language is English with a Dual Language approach in Mandarin and English in DUCKS (ages 2 to 7 years).  Children up to age five follow the Early Years Foundation Stage, and from Year 1 to Year 9, they begin the National Curriculum of England and Wales, which is enhanced to meet the needs of their international student body. In the10th year, they begin the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education), a rigorous two-year course that requires students to take a broad range of subjects covering mathematics and sciences, English and foreign languages, along with the humanities. It culminates in exams at the end of 11th year, and prepares students well for the two-year International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) starting in the 12th year.

Recently, the International Baccalaureate students at Dulwich College Suzhou celebrated an average points score of 38.8, a record best ever for the DCI group and one of the highest averages in the world.  Five students gained a maximum of 45 points, with 47% of the Class of 2018 achieving 40+ points. In addition, an impressive 14 students gained a highly respected Bilingual Diploma.

Rainbow of Offering

The school wants their students to challenge themselves and venture beyond their comfort zones by giving them opportunities to participate in trips to domestic and international destinations. This allows their students to experience a wide range of cultures in a learning environment that the classroom cannot always provide.

The school strongly believes in delivering a holistic education, one offering opportunities for students to excel academically in their fields of interest while also developing skills needed in their later life. Students’ engagement with communities, both inside and outside the College, broadens the experience and promotes a sense of social responsibility. The students have opportunities to take part not only in a variety of after school activities in sports, performance and the creative arts, but also in plays, trips, and sustainability projects.

A number of DCI schools and colleges have embraced STEAM curriculum, called SE21 in honour of the founding school’s London postcode. The “S” in SE21 stands for STEAM, the “E” for Entrepreneurship and Environmental sustainability, and & 21 for the 21st century skills developed in their approaches to learning framework. However, given that many schools around the world have some form of STEAM program, the school is aware of the importance of approaching the agenda in an innovative way. The school view is that an effective STEAM agenda must be more than simply activities, programs or spaces. They believe it is only through establishing a transformative learning culture that students are able to develop skills and dispositions to successfully engage in life beyond graduation.

Words of trust

“I believe my experience at Dulwich College Suzhou has helped me, not only pursue my dream, but also get into my first choice University. I wrote my extended essay in Physics, on the concept of forces affecting an aeroplane and wind tunnels. The resources at Dulwich College Suzhou allowed me to make use of the Design Technology Lab when building my wind tunnel and aeroplane wing, a great faculty that allowed me to enhance my essay-writing skills and confidence and a very supporting graduating class.”

-Nicole C. ‘17

Aviation Business Administration major

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

“Dulwich College Suzhou offered me various ways to develop my soft skills in economics, such as tutoring younger students, being the head girl and participating in the Stanford leadership online course offered to students across the DCI network in China.”

-Sarugi ‘17

Economics and Management major

University of St. Andrew

“Dulwich College Suzhou is great in the sense that we are very small in class size and hence all of us has a lot of access to our counsellors. I could go up to my counsellor almost a couple of times per week or any time whenever I had a new idea to discuss with him. The counsellors here are very supportive in the sense that they don’t tell you what to do, instead, they guide you in the right direction. Essentially, you are taking your own lead in what you want to do here. “

-Lyndsey K. ‘18

Science Engineering major

Stanford University

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