Dulwich college Singapore- Y1 lessons half in mandarin? And how does lunch work?

(38 Posts)
caramelgirl Mon 04-May-15 07:23:19

Very specific queries, would be v v grateful if you have children there and can advise.
I viewed Dulwich in the easter holidays. Was told that half of all lessons are delivered in Mandarin for Y1, how does this work in practice? Total immersion during those lessons. Or is it a "good intention" rather than a strict guideline?
Also the tour guide was a bit vague as to the practicalities of lunchtime, sounded like y1 would take themselves to the cafe, choose their own food etc.. How much supervision is there?
Thank you very much in advance. Just realised it is 12 weeks until Move Day and we are still so vague on so much!

caramelgirl Tue 05-May-15 20:40:37

londonmoo , I saw (from the Brit school Singapore thread) that your boy is Y5 at Dulwich. Please could I ask if you have any thoughts on the amount of mandarin in younger years? They say 50% which sounds amazing. Is that the case afayk?
Or anyone else who could give any input?
Also what are Sodexo like for school meals, or does everyone take in a packed lunch?
Thank you!

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 06-May-15 14:42:25

Are you on Facebook - if you join Real Singapore Expat Wives you'll get instant answers to these questions (I can't help as my kids don't go to Dulwich but we do have Sodexo as our school canteen provider and the meals are okay but way too big for my kids (Reception and year 2). We always send packed lunch.

caramelgirl Wed 06-May-15 14:49:14

Thank you, will do. Not announcing move yet on FB or elsewhere (annoying work politics) but will try joining with a different ID.

londonmoo Wed 06-May-15 15:06:19

Hi there caramel,

I'm much better at older year group questions to be honest, having only one kid and him being in Y5 - BUT I can say that the smalls really learn loads of Mandarin. All the signs in the infants block are in Mandarin as well as English. Lots of the work that is up is in Chinese characters. Reports from parents are that the kids learn much quicker at that age and can chatter away, often, at the dinner table.
Finally, during our school's grand opening last month (late one, was a huge 2-day party), a group of infants from all nationalities (but possibly mainly British) sang to all the VIPs and the whole school, in perfect and fluent Mandarin. The local area's (Singaporean) Mayor was here to do the ribbon cutting and she said it was presented beautifully.
It is just a great place for learning Mandarin at a young age, yes. Can wholeheartedly say that. For exactly how long they are learning it each week I can't comment, but in general - it works. Hen hao!

londonmoo Wed 06-May-15 15:09:03

Aha, are you on the Real page now, then saltedcaramel? Nice to see/hear something of you.
As for Sodexo, they seem fine to me, but I think the meals for smalls are slightly different to those for older kids simply because the older children tend to choose their own. I've a nasty feeling my son has pizza and chocolate brownies every single day [makes note to go online and ban pizza].
Sodexo do a nice curry buffet for some of the parent/school functions we have like pub quizzes and big school parties.

caramelgirl Wed 06-May-15 19:18:51

Ooh v helpful. Thank you. Am poised to email on Friday to see if any spaces have opened up for Y1. Eeek, wish me luck.
And good news re Sodexo curry nights too (selfish mother)

londonmoo Sat 09-May-15 04:56:18

Oh. Have since heard that Sodexo not as highly rated as I thought, but parents are in talks with them and are on the case. It's quite a proactive school...

TakeMeUpNorthMountain Sat 09-May-15 22:23:29

caramel girl, may I ask what the feedback was re year 1 places? We have paid our application fee and submitted all docs but still have no confirmation of a place. We've been advised that there are "short waiting lists" for the year groups we are applying for.

caramelgirl Mon 11-May-15 13:00:05

Yup, we have short waiting list line too. I am becoming a bit desperate, ten weeks until we would move and we still don't know if we will move at all.
Work has suggested she goes to Eton House as a holding step. I won't move if she has to be bounced around. Aaargh, this is frustrating!
Hope you have better luck!

SoonToBeNewSingaporeMum Mon 11-May-15 19:14:04

Hello Ladies,
Just to join your discussion here.. We also applied to Dulwich (without viewing it just based on the website and the name!) and didn't get in sad we were told that the waitlist is too long to realistically expect anything for August 2015 start.. So.. We went for Dover (again without vewing it!) I was so disappointed about Dulwich that even the whole move started to look like a bad idea BUT i spent the entire day reading about Dover (i know i should have done that before I applied but i was getting desperate lol) and looks like they are making great improvements since the purchase - new headmaster - new libraries - mandarin will be taught every day (my main initial concern with Dover and the selling point of Dulwich) - new ECS introduced - and finally and very importantly new arts/music/drama programme, a colaboration with Juilliard! So hey how bad can it be? Well at least I hope it is going to be great!
PS and re facilities.. dover is already looking amazing in comparison with our tiny central London school where kids are being bussed to the parks/swimming pools etc...

MyFriendsCallMeOh Mon 11-May-15 22:04:47

I am a huge fan of Dover court, having been a parent there for 5 years. It's made huge improvements since we were there too, and we decided our little ones didn't need huge theaters, kayaking pools and climbing walls much before senior school anyway, it was more the feel of the place.

A quick word about mandarin.... My dd1 studied it for5 years, aged 3 to 8. She could write a bit and speak. Then we moved to Houston and she had to start French and Spanish at school. We carried on with private mandarin tutoring at home for a year. However, homework for school became more onerous and learning three foreign languages was tough. She especially didn't see the point of mandarin any more and, apart from her teacher, didn't have anyone to practice with (it's pretty unusual here). We regretfully decided that she could drop mandarin, that was a year ago and she remembers very little. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't get too hung up on mandarin, esp if you are in Singapore for a short while and unless you have real possibilities of continuing it in your next posting. Of course, the cognitive benefits of learning foreign languages from a young age are not to be underestimated!

londonmoo Tue 12-May-15 14:46:53

So sorry, keep missing the questions here. I really am not sure about Y1 places and wait lists. What I do know is that we were on a 2-year wait list for Tanglin prior to Dulwich opening up. Wait lists are an expat-life thing - they exist, and it's a pain, but it's just OneOfThoseThings. They're self-perpetuating, a school gets a reputation for being good, gets full, wait lists start, school gets annoying reputation for having wait lists, blah. Dover is undergoing lots of movement and it has always suited the majority. We were there for two years. I prefer Dulwich but I know tons of people who are very happy to stay at Dover. As SoonToBeNew said, in comparison to London school situation we're all in a bed of roses out here. An embarrassment of educational riches.

caramelgirl Thu 28-May-15 20:21:40

takemeupnorthmountain , we are at a bit of an impasse Dulwich wise.
How about you? Any progress?

Clueless2727 Fri 29-May-15 13:31:05

Hi, first time I've been on this site for a long, long time. I've got 2 kids at Dulwich, one currently in year 4 and one in reception. Love it. Don't know if still relevant, but with regards to how enlgihs/mandarin programme works for younger kids is the TA speaks a lot of mandarin, so in group activities the teacher give instructions and then the mandarin teacher will then come along and say same thing in mandarin and she always gives instructions in mandarin, get water bottkes out of bag, go get hats etc, pretty obvious stuff. They also have structured mandarin lessons. Know there have been a lot of applications especially in year 1, but that is the year that you can no longer go to a singpaorean kindagarden so popular year. There's currently 5 classes in reception and it's going up to 8 in year 1. Also heard a lot aboubt dovercourt as lots od dulwich parents had kids there before and they say that they've heard very positive thinkgs about what is happening there.

caramelgirl Fri 29-May-15 15:09:01

Really helpful information, thank you! I didn't listen enough at the tour, obviously, and thought it was one class per year.
Gives me a bit more hope...

caramelgirl Sat 30-May-15 15:07:28

So is it a pyramid type school shape atm? 5 classes for reception but then 8 for y1 and then less as you progress up the school?
I thought only about 600 pupils in total?

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sat 30-May-15 15:17:58

They had 900 students last August when they opened, aiming for 2500 in total, growing each year.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sat 30-May-15 15:19:11

Dover court has about 650 students.

caramelgirl Sat 30-May-15 15:55:35

Thank you. And also for your previous advice re: Mandarin which I showed to my husband but failed to thank you for.
It is very tricky doing this at a distance! I keep second guessing myself and which school would suit her best.
Tho' atm I would probably take anywhere half decent which would make me a firm offer!!

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sat 30-May-15 20:27:39

It is really tricky, we picked Dover court when we were living in the UK, dd was 3 and we didn't get a recce visit. We did have a good contact within the admissions offices at a couple of schools and were able to call or email with niggling questions though, sometimes this can help. It's not an easy decision but I do think that of the top half a dozen british based schools in Singapore, there's probably not much to pick between them, they're all really good and it probably comes down to gut instinct.

caramelgirl Sun 31-May-15 08:36:57

Ah, I have a teacher contact at Dover Court. May follow up there as well. Feels interminably long as a process. And have been surprised by how universally impotent the educational consultants seem to be (IME and my friends', please do tell me if you have a good one!!).
I keep trying to remember that we all just went wherever the nearest school was really.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Sun 31-May-15 13:40:25

Never had an educational consultant, just looked on expat forums (not mumsnet at the time) and picked a school in the right location for housing (depended on dhs office location) that had a good reputation and happy reviews online. It was easier as dd was nearly 4 so didn't need to be in school so we knew we could pull her out, keep her home and shop around if necessary.

Clueless2727 Thu 11-Jun-15 13:28:56

I think you need to visit a school. We picked a school that looked fab on paper, but when we visited it, I didn't like it. Apologies for above post, think I was on my phone, hence all the typos. Yes school has a lot more children in infants than higher up and it's growing rapidly so my son's going from 5 classes in reception to 8 classes in year 1 and daughter in year 4 has 4 classes, but will go up to 6 next year. Have heard that other schools in singapore have struggled when expanding so quickly, but dulwich was up and running straight away, you'd never know it was a new school. Seems very well run. Speak to admissions about availability.

caramelgirl Thu 11-Jun-15 14:29:39

Thanks yes, we visited Dover, Dulwich and Tanglin. Am now a familiar name with the admissions offices at Tanglin and Dulwich, sigh...

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