The inordinate number of prestigious writers who have emerged from Dulwich over the years is a testament to the importance of English both within and beyond the curriculum. Our founder, Edward Alleyn, was an associate of William Shakespeare during one of the most inspired periods of literary history and enshrined his love of the written word in his instructions to the College to teach, ‘wryting, reading and grammar’ as core subjects.
All pupils take English and English Literature at GCSE and a significant number continue with Literature to A level. We view reading as central to the development of creative, informed and independent thinking, and so boys are introduced to a wide range of texts, from key works in the English literary canon to contemporary writing, world literature and non-literary and media texts. In short, our aim is that Dulwich College boys encounter the very best that has been written, and that they are challenged and inspired by the language and ideas they find there.
Writing is equally important for accurate, imaginative and confident self-expression. In addition to regular debates, discussions, play-readings and talks, boys are encouraged to explore ideas and develop their literary skills by contributing to South Circular, an annual volume of short fiction, poetry and essays published by the English Department, and The Alleynian, the College’s annual magazine. When they find acquiring the core skills required by English more challenging, teachers liaise closely with Learning Support and dedicated EAL specialists.
The department is equipped with its own screening room, where film can be experienced in an appropriately immersive environment, and boys are introduced to drama both actively within the English curriculum and through links with the Edward Alleyn Theatre. Outside the classroom, the department organises theatre trips, writing workshops, meetings with established authors and various societies, including LitSoc, Gothic Society and Afro-Caribbean Culture Society.