Are you registering your son for the 11 plus at Dulwich College? Find out everything you need to know about the admissions process, and how to help your child succeed.
Dulwich College is an independent day and boarding school for boys in Dulwich, south London. Recently celebrating its 400th anniversary, it has come a long way from educating 12 scholars, now priding itself on offering a diverse community of boys the best in academics, co-curriculars, and pastorally.
The school’s key objective is to ensure all pupils realise their academic potential while learning how to work together and lead through providing sporting, cultural and charitable engagement. They also aim to ensure all students feel equally valued in a supportive community that encourages a sense of social responsibility. Dulwich College is a competitive school, which is no surprise considering its excellent exams results and university admissions. In 2019, 84% of GCSEs achieved at Grade 9, 8 or 7 (A*-A), while 36% achieved at Grade 9. In the same year, 63% of A Levels were achieved at A* or A. Of the 2020 leavers, 10% went on to study at Oxbridge.
Dulwich College is known for its high academic and sporting standard. Despite that, it does not have the same “hothouse” reputation of private boy’s schools such as St Pauls or Westminster. Instead, Dulwich gets the best out of every boy, whatever his ability or interests.
As it is a larger school, every boy tends to find his tribe and is able to surround himself with like-minded people who will lift each other up. This is something Dulwich College actively encourages from the moment boys join the school in Year 7, by organising a slew of team building activities and even a trip to Wales in the first half term. Dulwich College prides itself on this wide and varied intake, fostering a socially, culturally and economically diverse community. In the future, it aims to have 50% of its pupils receiving financial assistance in the form of bursaries and scholarships. In 2020 it awarded 197 means-tested bursaries to boys.
The main entry points at Dulwich College are 7+, 11+, 13+ and 16+. There are over 1,450 boys aged 7 to 18, and a further 240 children at DUCKS, the co-educational kindergarten and infant school. Dulwich College considers co-curricular activities vital to a well rounded education, thus, it prides itself on its varied and exciting co-curriculum programme that enables every boy to find something to inspire him. The school is known for its passion and excellence in sport. All the boys are encouraged to find something they enjoy, regardless of ability, there is even a G rugby team!
The enthusiasm for sport is clear through their excellent facilities, offering a Sports Centre equipped with a sports hall, gym and swimming pool, and 70 acres of grounds, and the Dulwich College Boathouse on the Thames. Rugby, football, cricket, badminton, water polo, cycling, triathlon, volleyball and horse riding are only a few of the sports offered to boys.
Dulwich College offers an extensive art program, housing professional standard productions at the fully equipped Edward Alleyn Theatre. Productions are staged in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe Theatre, and boys regularly perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A thriving hub of music, Dulwich has over 50 instrumental ensembles and choirs with 650 music lessons taking place every week. Every boy is encouraged to participate whatever their ability or stylistic preference. Boys are also welcome to get involved with the various charity and House Events that fill the days at Dulwich College.
£7,082 per term for day students from Years 7 to 13. Termly borders’ fees are £14,782, while weekly boarders’ fees are £13,859. An acceptance deposit is required upon entry of £1,850 (£3,700 for boarders). This is refunded in full when the pupil leaves, barring any balance owed to Dulwich College.
Due to current Covid-19 guidelines, Dulwich College is unable to invite prospective parents and students to in person Open Days. However, they have provided a virtual tour that you can attend on the website and an introductory video from staff and pupils.
Registration for 2022 entry to Dulwich College opens on the 20th of April 2021. Registration for entry typically opens in the April when your child is in year 5 and closes in early November of their Year 6. UK based applicants pay a registration fee of £150. This is £300 for those applying overseas. They waive this for those receiving a Pupil Premium.
At 11 plus, Dulwich College admits around 125 boys into Year 7. Only 70 places are available to outside applicants, as 55 places will be reserved for the junior school. Dulwich College usually receives anywhere between 600 and 1,000 applications at 11 plus, however this is subject to change. Thus, odds of securing a place can fluctuate anywhere between 1 in 10 to 1 in 20. Dulwich does not give priority to siblings of current students. Places are offered on the basis of the candidate’s performance in the entrance exam, their interview and a report from their current Head.
Up until last year, Dulwich College invited all applicants to sit an entrance exam in January. This consisted of a Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning exam, an English exam, and a Maths exam. The school writes the papers itself. The English exam lasts 60 minutes, plus 10 minutes of reading time and assesses applicants reading comprehension and creative writing skills. The Maths exam lasts 60 minutes and tests arithmancy and problem-solving skills. Dulwich College provides specimen papers for Maths and English on its website – applicants should be aiming to achieve around 70%. In terms of CAT scores, Dulwich College aims to admit boys who are scoring a minimum of 120.
Last year, rather than just one exam, applicants were invited to sit a Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning exam in November 2020. Based on the results of this exam, 300 boys were invited back to sit the Maths and English exam in January 2021. This places even more importance on your child’s Reasoning proficiency. The exam process for 2022 applicants is following the same structure.
Often, children are not taught Reasoning at primary school. This is an important discipline that plays a big part in 11+ success. Children will have a natural ability level at Reasoning, but practice definitely helps, and confidence grows with familiarity. If you want an experienced third party to help you stay on track with your preparation, our specialist 11 plus tutors with significant Dulwich College entrance experience can help.
Tailored tutoring could be the key to helping your child to stand out – from academic support to exam technique, our tutors can work with your child to provide them with the knowledge and self-confidence to tackle the exam.
Dulwich College invites the 160 boys who performed the best in the exam to be interviewed. The interviews usually take place in mid to late January. Dulwich College interviews are generally more relaxed and informal, with a focus on providing a friendly atmosphere for the child. However, this does not mean you can skim on interview preparation as it is still vital. Dulwich is known for its confident, well-rounded boys who can express themselves – this is what the interviewers are looking for.
Interviews usually involve some general academic questions. Your son may be asked to read a passage then answer questions based on it or perform some mental maths. This is another opportunity to showcase academic strength. Previously, Dulwich College has asked problem-solving questions to see how boys think and test their critical and lateral thinking skills. They will ask about hobbies or special interests. This is because they want to see if your son is the right fit for Dulwich College. Teachers want to know how he can contribute to the school community, so your child should be honest, speaking passionately and enthusiastically.
While the tone of Dulwich College interviews is more relaxed, it is still extremely important to be prepared. Boys must speak clearly and confidently and answer the specific question given – not meander around the point. It is key that while your son is prepared, he doesn’t come across as rehearsed. The teachers are aiming to have a conversation – not listen to prewritten answers.
The thought of an interview can be quite daunting for some boys who find it harder to express their views. So, every year Mentor runs individual and group sessions to build confidence. Focusing on interview prep and what to expect, we encourage children to develop answers and present their best self.
Many of our tutors have great success securing scholarships and are experienced with pushing the boundaries of learning for exceptional students. All applicants at Dulwich College are automatically considered for an academic scholarship. These range in value, from covering 10% to a third of the school fees. Scholarships are awarded to those who perform exceptionally well on the entrance exam and interview.
Scholarships are also available in Music for 11 plus, with scholarships in Sport and Art are available in Year 9. You need to submit your application for a music scholarship by November along with your registration form. Music Scholarships are worth up to a third of the tuition fees. In addition, successful candidates will receive instrumental tuition on two instruments, one of which must be an orchestral instrument.
To guarantee your son the best chance of admission to Dulwich College, offer him some additional support from one of our tutors. Many of our tutors are experts in the 11 plus and with bespoke one-to-one tuition, they can help children to achieve success. Typically, each cycle our tutors help 5-6 boys secure a place at Dulwich College with 1-2 of those achieving an academic scholarship.
With more than 40 years of experience in tutoring children to gain admission to some of London’s most competitive independent schools, we at Mentor have a wealth of knowledge on how best to prepare your son for entry to Dulwich College.
Over 80% of our tutors are qualified teachers, so they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject, the syllabus and the most effective teaching methods. Many have been heads of department, head teachers or examiners and all come with a wealth of experience and a great track record of success. All have up-to-date DBS certificates and references. Wherever possible we will match your son with a tutor who has has taught at Dulwich themselves.
For more information on our tutors’ unique approach to testing children in preparation for exams, contact our team.
Address: Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, London, SE21 7LD
Telephone: 020 8693 3601
Local Authority: Southwark
School’s Unique Reference Number (URN): 100861
Age Range: 0-19
We have many experts on entrance to Dulwich College and can guide you through the entrance format during Covid-19 measures. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help your son gain admission at 11 plus, or for further information on admissions into the top London schools.