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Free Learning

Our philosophy of Free Learning permeates every aspect of College life, enriching and nurturing intellectual curiosity in students of all ages.

At its heart, Free Learning is education for education’s sake. It is learning that extends beyond and is free from a syllabus and free from examination. It aims to create well-rounded global citizens for the future who can solve problems creatively and collaboratively and answer questions through the lens of multiple disciplines.

“Free learning is about the joy of learning a discipline, and the synergies between disciplines, in all its richness, depth and complexity.” Dr Cyrus Golding, Head of Geography

Free Learning happens in the classroom, at events and as part of our Senior School, Junior School and DUCKS co-curricular programmes, which includes our Union of Societies a space for students to explore and develop their interests, supported by the expertise of teachers.

In the classroom

In lessons we are always looking for that ‘moment’, the spark that ignites intellectual curiosity and brings the subject to life. It often begins with a question, a connection made by a pupil, the teacher expertly picking up the thread of enquiry and building this into the scaffolding of learning. By being continual free learners themselves, teachers facilitate a steady flow into the classroom.  

"Free Learning has given me essential respite from the rest of my studies because it allows me to think creatively beyond the classroom. The freedom and opportunities to sculpt how you learn has not only broadened my appreciation and understanding but my perspectives as a human being." Daniel, Year 13

Beyond the classroom

Pupils are challenged to think for themselves through our Scholarship, Advanced Electives and Liberal Studies programmes.

The Upper School Symposium is an annual event with key note speakers and seminars that, Dr Joe Spence notes: “have entered the Dulwich consciousness. It provokes our Sixth Formers to engage in debate with their peers, their teachers and eminent guest speakers about themes and topics they have not considered in such a way before. Intellectual awareness is piqued and ideas explored without the inevitable constraints of the examined curriculum. It’s been heartening to hear, every year, of boys whose university or career plans have been changed or challenged by the experience of a symposium. This is what education is all about”

The Junior School Symposium too is an established annual event in the curriculum with teachers from the Junior and Senior Schools and outside providers ensure a range of challenging, thought-provoking sessions for Dulwich, JAPS and Dulwich Wood Primary School pupils.

In addition, a vast range of opportunities for students to enrich and broaden their understanding of their chosen subjects is enjoyed through College Outings and Expeditions.

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