The Master's Welcome

Welcome to Dulwich College, an academically selective and socially responsible independent boys’ school in south London, diverse in our social mix, breadth of talents, character and backgrounds. It is an exciting time to be here and a great honour to be leading the College through its 400th anniversary in 2019 and into the 2020s.

Dulwich has a distinguished tradition of inspired teaching and genuine scholarship; pupils from the College join the most competitive of universities, in the UK and around the world, and thereafter enter all the major professions, with a high number choosing to work in Medicine, Engineering and the Law. But we are also alert to the changing nature of work; we expect our alumni to take up a number of jobs not yet dreamt of: to have more than one career and to carve out career paths that would have been unimaginable in their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. Dulwich has a long standing reputation for producing fine actors, musicians, sportsmen and writers; many of our students now go on to engage in entrepreneurial, technological, cybernetic and innovative enterprises too. A sense of service and of “giving something back” to society is also a motivating factor for many.

Our primary duty is to ensure that all our pupils are engaged in good learning, both in the classroom and beyond it; both in working towards examined syllabuses and in their free learning. Our principal objectives are:

  • to ensure that all our pupils feel equally secure and valued;
  • to offer academic challenges that enable each pupil to realise his potential; all pupils to realize their potential
  • to provide sporting, cultural, charitable and adventurous engagement for all our pupils to enjoy and through which they can learn to work co-operatively and to lead;
  • to nurture a supportive community that encourages a sense of social responsibility;

It is our responsibility to enable Alleynians to be thoroughly well prepared for the challenges of the 21st century and this includes helping pupils set themselves independent challenges - and support others with their challenges. Another part of this preparation is service to the community and an appreciation of its importance. The relationships our diverse and outward-looking community of pupils, staff, parents and alumni build through our partnerships with schools and organisations in Southwark and beyond and through our international network of schools benefit the entire community.

During 2019 we have a thought-provoking programme of events for the pupils and alumni to celebrate our 400th anniversary and to look forward to the next 100 years; while we are glancing back to our heritage, we are also considering carefully what our legacy will be. At the heart of our Founder’s mission is philanthropy and it is our ambition that 50% of our pupils will, in the future, be in receipt of financial assistance in the form of either scholarships or bursaries. This year we aim to award 188 means-tested Dulwich College bursaries to boys and their families. The achievements of alumni who received, and pupils who are currently in receipt of, financial assistance is inspiring.

This is a challenging Mission Statement. My responsibility is to ensure that we fulfil our aims and build on our achievements so as to enable current and future Alleynians to be well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

I am delighted to invite you to read the most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) reports on the College.

Dr Joseph Spence
The Master

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Dr Joe Spence

Dr Joseph Spence has been Master of Dulwich College since 2009. He was Headmaster of Oakham School from 2002, having taught history and politics at Eton College, where he was Master in College (housemaster to the King’s Scholars) from 1992-2002. He was educated at the universities of Reading and London. Joe serves on the governing bodies of Windlesham House School and Blackbird Academy Trust. He jointly leads Southwark Schools Learning Partnership (SSLP), a collaboration of the senior maintained and independent schools in the borough. A trustee of The Art Room, Place2Be, the Inspiring Futures Foundation and the Mark Evison Foundation, Joe is also a playwright and librettist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.