You could feel the buzz in the room.
On Wednesday the 14th of September 2022, Dulwich College Beijing parents got to meet the College leaders. DCB parents and school leaders alike were pleased to see each other and speak again in person.
Held in Beijing, DCB parents heard from the College leaders about both academics and school logistics. Parents had ample time to speak face-to-face with the Head of College, Heads of Schools, and directors about things that are important to them and their child/ren.
Event speakers included Head of College Anthony Coles, Director of Business Administration Rob Matheson, Head of Senior School Clare Anderson-Au, Head of Junior School Jacinth Gurdon, Head of DUCKS Tracey Francis, Deputy Head of Senior School (Wellbeing) Kevin Rossall, Director of Sport Hannah Marshall, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation Yosef Karasik, Director of Global Citizenship Samson Swanick, and Director of Performing Arts Mark Elshout.
Mr Coles gave an overview of Dulwich College Beijing, giving information about DCB leadership, governance structure, guiding statements as well as some exciting updates over the summer. In clarifying what Live Worldwise means, Mr Coles explained how DCB aims to teach students to be “worldly” and “wise” now and in the future, noting that, “We respect the local culture and want our students to understand what’s going on in the world” as well as to “make a positive impact”, resulting in them and their families feeling a sense of pride.
He also spoke about the importance of parent-school collaboration and communication, recounting how, “Research says that when there is interest from home, students do better.”
Finally, Mr Coles recounted some of the many things that DCB students have achieved over the last year. “What has changed is that more students have achieved 40 or more IB points over the last year,” said Mr Coles. 53% of the 2020-2021 graduating class achieved 40 points or above, whereas 58% of the 2021-2022 class achieved 40 or more points, and the Class of 2022 graduates achieved an average IB score of 39.4.
Other College leaders addressed key parts of what they do to benefit the DCB community in general, and students, in particular. New members of the team introduced themselves so that parents can know them better.
Mr Matheson gave an overview of over eighty campus renovations over the summer, including a new Junior School playground, student-requested back-supporting chairs in science classrooms, a new large-screen LCD screen in Wodehouse Theatre and 50 new solar lamps.
Ms Marshall gave an overview of the 2022-2023 DCB sports programme and her philosophy underpinning these programmes. “We are here for the whole child”, said Ms Marshall, emphasising how DCB sports help students develop skills, confidence, good character, and relationships.
An exciting new development for students this year is the new partnership with PacificPine Sports, which will allow DUCKS, Junior School and Senior School students to access “highly qualified and structured coaching” on weekdays and weekends through all three sport seasons.
Speaking on a vital topic for students, parents and staff, Mr Rossall introduced the whole Safeguarding Team, who help to ensure that student safety is number 1 across the school. “We put safeguarding at the very front of what we do.”
Safeguarding is integrated across DCB, including in staff recruitment processes and through the new iSAMS information management system. This system will allow student welfare to be monitored in a timelier way, helping to ensure that if safeguarding risks appear they can be effectively dealt with early.
Addressing technology and innovation, Mr Karasik described how his and his team’s work helps to “drive and advance learning.” He also introduced the group-wide D³ (Dulwich Digital Difference), which is a learning framework to use technology to further educational dreams. It will deliver a connected learning experience and benefit students, parents and staff. It will include the integrated web-based system iSAMS, which is already being used by Senior School students for checking their timetables. iSAMS allow all schools to “talk in the same language” regarding areas like student progress.
Working in the newly created Director of Global Citizenship role, Mr Swanick noted how a World Economic Forum research study said that the most important skill globally is “global citizenship.” He introduced DCB’s Global Citizenship framework, which includes Cultural Literacy, Sustainability, Diversity and Identity as well as Service and Interdependence. A key part of Mr Swanick’s role is to further integrate the framework within the College’s curriculum and equip students to “seek solutions.” Like other College leaders, Mr Swanick said that he welcomes conversations with parents and other stakeholders about global citizenship.
New Director of Performing Arts Mr Elshout introduced the school’s music program to parents and spoke about one of their goals, which is inclusion. He and his team are helping to make music more accessible to more students, such as adding more Year 2 ensembles. This will benefit students at different levels, whether they are planning to become a virtuoso or not.
They have also improved and upgraded performing arts spaces. “Positive learning environments are very important for learning,” said Mr Elshout.
Following the keynote presentations, Mr Coles answered questions from parents.
In the breakout sessions, Ms Francis, Ms Gurdon and Ms Anderson-Au answered school-specific questions. Questions big and small, short-term and long-term were addressed in an open way.
Dulwich College Beijing looks forward to continuing communicating with parents, and together we will support student development through dialogues and partnership.