All pupils choose four subjects to study in the Remove Year, and every subject follows an A level course apart from Classics, where the Cambridge Pre-University (Pre-U) course is followed.
Typically, pupils take two or three AS modules in each subject at the end of the Remove year, thereby qualifying at AS level, and a further two or three at the end of the Upper Sixth, thereby qualifying for the full Advanced level. There is also an extensive academic programme beyond the classroom to complement and extend the curriculum described here, and we encourage Upper School boys not only to be involved in these, but also to lead them.
All Upper Sixth leavers are eligible for the Dulwich Diploma, which looks to offer the best of A level with the breadth and commitment to learning beyond the classroom of the International Baccalaureate. There are three component areas: academic study; engagement beyond the classroom; and preparation for life after Dulwich. Our desire for boys to develop in these three areas is reflected in the curriculum and opportunities we offer to them in the Upper School.
Breadth with choice
There are no prescribed subjects, nor any prescribed packages of subjects; all pupils can choose four subjects in the Remove year according to their interest and aptitude. Some pupils may choose to continue with all four subjects in the Upper Sixth, and all pupils taking Further Mathematics continue with four subjects. The range of examined subjects available at the College for advanced courses has evolved over the years and we are confident that we can meet the interests of our pupils from the wide range of challenging subjects we offer and in which they will thrive.
The General Studies Programme
In addition to their four chosen subjects, all pupils follow a General Studies programme in the Remove year. Three lessons a week are provided for this programme and it offers a number of different opportunities:
We believe that there is much beyond their A level syllabuses that boys should learn and understand. Short Courses are designed either to stimulate an intellectual enthusiasm for a new, and often unusual, subject or to broaden awareness of particular global issues. Some short courses later in the year will also offer time for boys to gather with others interested in the same subject area. Pupils can also opt to study AS Chinese or take the Advanced level IAM ICT award as one of their short courses; and those who are fluent in another language are expected to complete an AS and A2 level in that subject.
All boys new to the College whose first language is not English are required to take an English test when they arrive. If support is needed, boys are required to take the English as an Additional Language (EAL) course throughout the Remove year as one of their Short Courses. This leads to the IELTS qualification, which a number of universities now require from EAL pupils.
The Lecture Programme
As a key part of the General Studies programme, visiting speakers give lectures to the whole year group regularly during the year on a wide variety of subjects; these can range from wildlife conservation to blindness, or from Van Gogh to a survivor’s account of a Nazi concentration camp. These are intended to enrich the curriculum for every pupil, irrespective of his chosen subject combination, and we make good use of the proximity of central London to draw the best informed, interesting and accomplished speakers.
An Introduction to Critical Thinking and Philosophy
A single lesson each week is given to this programme, written by teaching staff at the College. It covers the analytical and reasoning skills that boys can then use both in their A level courses and in writing their extended essay (see below). The ability to argue logically and critically is an important skill, and boys will find this particularly useful at school, at university and beyond.
AS Level Critical Thinking
AS Critical Thinking is offered as an extension to the our Introduction to Critical Thinking and Philosophy to around sixty boys each year. We give preference to pupils who have distinguished themselves across the board at GCSE and to those contemplating applying for Medical School on leaving the College, but it is also possible for others to start the AS course in Year 13 if they have missed this opportunity. Those taking the AS course in the Remove also attend a scholarship seminar during one lesson each week.
The Extended Essay
Once boys return from their AS exams in June of the Remove year, they are expected to research and write a two thousand word essay. The essay provides an exciting opportunity for them to go further academically in a direction of their choice; they can go deeper into a chosen subject specialism, cross boundaries with an inter-disciplinary enquiry, or study a non-school subject, probably one that they plan to read at university.
Each pupil’s essay will be assessed by a subject specialist on the teaching staff, as far as possible. This teacher also offers one to one feedback to the pupil during the planning and writing stages; this provides an experience similar to that of an undergraduate with a tutor, thus giving each pupil a flavour of work at university as well as preparation for a university interview. The essay is assessed using criteria drawn from university mark schemes and the ability to reference sources properly is particularly important.
In the Upper Sixth year, a Liberal Studies course is provided for all pupils and this provides a rewarding, non-examined contrast to A2 studies. The courses are run in conjunction with James Allen’s Girls’ School. Some courses cover areas of learning which are felt to be important but which would otherwise not be provided for, while others allow the individual to develop and pursue particular interests or skills, of either a practical or an intellectual nature. Pupils choose two courses from those on offer (which can change from year to year). We hope that they will all gain a broader view of society and develop an intelligent, well-informed, enthusiastic response to the world around them.