Dover Court International School

Dover Court International School (DCIS) is an international school in Singapore. Founded in 1972,[9] the school delivers the English National Curriculum and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program to 1650 students between the ages of 3 and 18. Over 60 nationalities are represented in the school,[10] with the majority of teachers coming from the United Kingdom. In 2015, Dover Court International School registered with the Committee for Private Education of Singapore and since April 2014[9] has been part of the Nord Anglia Education group of schools.[11]

Dover Court International School
Dover Court International School Logo.png
Dover Court International School logo
301 Dover Road

Coordinates1°18′20″N 103°46′37″E / 1.30558°N 103.77695°E / 1.30558; 103.77695
Former nameDover Court Preparatory School (1972-2014)
FounderMr Ernest E. Alliott
PrincipalMr Christopher Short [1]
Age range3-18 [2]
EnrollmentApproximately 1650 (2019)[3]
Average class size22 students [4]
HousesJurong, Kranji, Newton, Ubin [5]
Color(s)Teal, white          
Athletics conferenceACSIS, FOBISIA [6]
AccreditationIPC: International Primary Curriculum, IB World School, CIS: Council of International Schools, Edexcel, FOBISIA [7]
PublicationThe Doverian (first published as 'The Yearbook' in 1974) [8]


Early historyEdit

View of Dover Court Preparatory School Main Building (c. 1970s).
Class at Dover Court Preparatory School (c. 1970s).

Dover Court International School was established in 1972 as Dover Court Preparatory School by Mr Ernest E. Alliott. The brainchild of his wife Margaret Alliott, the school supervisor, Dover Court Preparatory School was established out of a shortage at the time of school places for children under the age of 13.[12] The campus was established in April 1972 on Dover Road, in the former Officer’s Mess of the Royal Corps of Signals, constructed by the British military in 1952.[13] Following the British military withdrawal from Singapore in 1971, the land was repurposed and the former mess was renovated into classrooms fit for 450 students. [12] The crest of the Royal Corps of Signals can still be seen in the Primary School building - one of the original buildings from the former military base.

Crest of the former Dover Court Preparatory School, Singapore.

Dover Court Preparatory School was first registered with the Ministry of Education of Singapore in 1972, owned and managed by International Preparatory Schools (Pte) Ltd, later known as Dover Court Preparatory School (Pte) Ltd. Both the school and the company were founded by Mr Ernest E. Alliott, who previously had been a British Government Headmaster in Singapore.[14] Mr. Alliott was the author of the series of textbooks “Ways to Mathematics” published by Longmans in the early 1970s.[15] He was also a dedicated educator and was a well-known and active participator in educational research and development on the international scene at the time.[16]

Ernest E. Alliott - Founder of Dover Court.

He later noted in a letter to parents and colleagues in 1989:

"The development and growth of land and buildings into a fine school is achieved only when the sum of its parts is viewed constantly as infinite. [...] My grateful thanks to all of you for your support and continued efforts to make Dover Court one of the finest schools of its kind in South East Asia".[14]

In its early years, Dover Court Preparatory School was both a day and boarding school.[17] The boarding house - the first of its kind in Singapore, operated by a boarding housemaster and housemistress, a matron and other staff, primarily accommodated students from ASEAN and neighbouring countries.[18][19] Boarders took part in a wide variety of activities, including sports and excursions.[20] Boarding, which continued until at least the early 1990s, was later discontinued.[17]

Dover Court soon became one of the largest expatriate preparatory schools in Singapore.[21] With the expatriate community in Singapore growing, Dover Court Preparatory School expanded in the 1980s to cope with the demand. With a growing number of students on its waiting list, a three-storey building, which now houses the secondary school and Department of Supportive Education, was built.[22] This became known as the Ernest Alliott Foundation Block.

Students at Dover Court Preparatory School, Singapore (1977)

Department of Supportive EducationEdit

Under Dr Maureen Roach, principal from the 1990 to 2015, the school also developed its department for supportive education. In 2014, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her services to education in Singapore.[23] The Department is staffed by psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists and teachers with qualifications in special needs. A great benefit extolled by the school's founder Mr Ernest Alliott is the inclusivity and integration of students with disabilities into main-school activities at Dover Court.[24] The school is still known in Singapore for its inclusive approach to learning and the Department of Supportive Education is extensive and well-regarded.[25][26][27]

21st CenturyEdit

In April 2014, the school changed ownership from the Alliott family to Nord Anglia, becoming part of the Nord Anglia Education family of schools.[11][28]

The school underwent an extensive refurbishment project during the 2014 summer period. In September 2014, the school changed its name from Dover Court Preparatory School to Dover Court International School, and in 2016, Christopher Short was appointed Principal.[29] In recognition of the school's history, the tie worn by secondary boys at DCIS still features the colours of Dover Court Preparatory School, with stripes of green and yellow.

Students at Dover Court Preparatory School, Singapore (1977)


Following the change of ownership, Dover Court International School has continued to achieve considerable success and recognition. In January 2018, the school was awarded the Outstanding Senior Leadership Team of the Year prize at The British International School Awards.[30] In September 2018 Year Group Leader Ms Monica Dolan was announced as the winner of the Future Leaders Category at the British Chamber of Commerce's 19th Annual Business Awards.[31] Dover Court International School was also awarded the UK Impact in Singapore prize by the Chamber the following year.[32] [33]

Dover Court International School started with just 25 students and has over the years had a steady pattern of growth and development and the current number of students is approximately 1650 after enrollment for 2019.[34]


Catherine J. Hamilton - First Principal of Dover Court.

The following individuals have served as Principal of Dover Court since its establishment in 1972:

Ordinal Principal Term start Term end Term length
1 Mrs Catherine J. Hamilton[35] 1972 c.1975* 3 years
2 Mr Eric Cooper[20] c.1975* 1980 5 years
3 Mr James Watkins 1981[36] 1990 9 years
4 Dr Maureen Roach OBE 1990 2015 25 years
5 Dr Neil Hopkin FRSA 2015[37] 2015 1 year
6 Mr Christopher Short 2016[29] 2020 4 years

*Based on archival information.

School termsEdit

As a British international school, Dover Court International School follows the academic year of the northern hemisphere. There are three terms each academic year, each with a half-term break: [38]

  • Term 1 (previously Michaelmas Term)[39] - Mid-August until early December.
  • Term 2 (previously Hilary Term) - Early January until late March.
  • Term 3 (previously Trinity Term) - Mid-April until late June.[38]


Dover Court International School is located on Dover Road in Central Singapore. The school sits on a leafy green site of over 12 acres in the educational district of Dover, near several other educational institutions.[17] The campus has been refurbished in recent years and has extensive outdoor facilities, including a running track, a grass football pitch, basket- and netball courts, a six lane 25 metre swimming pool, a shallow learning pool, a sensory garden and several playgrounds.[40] The school hall, known as the 'Cooper Hall', where assemblies, concerts and other events are held, was named in memory of former Principal of Dover Court, Mr Eric Cooper.[20] The school comprises specialist suits for science, music, design technology, art drama, a combined radio and TV recording studio along with therapy suites. Its new Secondary building opened in August 2019.[41]

Aerial view of Dover Court International School, Singapore


Dover Court International School teaches the English National Curriculum, adapted for an international setting. Nursery and Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage. Key Stage 1: Year 1 and 2, and Key Stage 2: Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 follow the English National Curriculum along with the International Primary Curriculum. Students in Year 10 and 11 sit the iGCSE and in the Sixth Form the International Baccalaureate is offered.[10]


All Primary School students have daily Mandarin lessons and in Secondary School the students are able to choose between French, Mandarin and Spanish.[10]

Nord Anglia EducationEdit

Through Nord Anglia Education, Dover Court international School is part of a network with 60 schools across the globe and the students are able to connect and learn with 50,000 NAE students as part of the Global Campus programme. The STEAM subjects at Dover Court International School are supported by a collaboration with MIT.[42] The school also offers a music curriculum developed by The Juilliard School. In early 2015, the Juilliard - Nord Anglia Performing Arts Program was developed by Juilliard in collaboration with Nord Anglia Education.[43] This enabled Dover Court International School's students to be a part of the first 10 schools to pilot the program alongside other schools in Washington, Prague, Shanghai and Thailand, among other cities.

In 2018, Dover Court International School partnered the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) to launch a science, technology, engineering, and maths program that took students on a tour to Jet Aviation.[44]

House systemEdit

Dover Court International School is divided into four houses, aimed at promoting teamwork and participation. Students represent their house both on the sports field and in class, earning house points. House Captains, representatives of their year group, are elected to lead each house, from Upper Primary and above.[45] The current houses, named after neighbourhoods in Singapore, are:

  • Jurong (Red)     
  • Kranji (Purple)     
  • Newton (Yellow)     
  • Ubin (Navy Blue)     

Former housesEdit

The former school houses were based on the names of historical explorers - Armstrong (after Neil Armstrong), Columbus (after Christopher Columbus), Cook (after Captain James Cook), and Hillary (after Sir Edmund Hillary). These houses then fell into disuse until the new house system was unveiled in 2018. [45]



Dover Court International School has several competitive sports teams: football, netball, basketball, rugby, touch rugby, swimming, cross country, athletics, indoor cricket and Gaelic football. DCIS is part of the Athletics Conference Singapore International Schools, ACSIS[46] and participates also in international sports events through the Federation of British International Schools in Asia, FOBISIA.[47]

The artsEdit

Dover Court International School has an active music department with a school orchestra and several choirs, together with the drama department annual musicals are produced. In May 2018 a group of students won the Best Drama and Best Special Effects awards in the 2018 Across Asia Youth Film Festival (AAYFF) with the film "War Photographer".[48][49] The film, "The Clutches of the Curtain",[50] created by the same group of students, also won the Special Effects award at the 2019 Across Asia Youth Film Festival (AAYFF). [51]

There are annual residential trips for all year groups from Year 3 and above, as well as opportunities to participate in expeditions to the Swiss Alps and Tanzania.[52] Students also participate in the United Nations High Level Politician Forum in New York, a Global Orchestra for Nord Anglia students held at The Juilliard School and in annual STEAM workshops at MIT.[53][54]


A key event on the Dover Court calendar is its annual United Nations Day - a celebration of the school's rich cultural diversity among students and staff. In its early years, this was conducted in cooperation with Dover Court's then sister school, Singapore Preparatory School, Katong[55] - also owned by International Schools (Pte) Ltd.[56] While the day has taken on many forms over its almost half-a-century history, a constant fixture of the event is the 'Parade of Nations', in which students parade in front of parents, wearing in their cultural dress.[57] It was noted in an article about the 1984 Dover Court United Nations Day by the acting representative from the United Nations High Commission in Singapore that the students "represented the true spirit of the UN".[55]

It was also described in an article in The Straits Times in 1982 by then Principal Mr J. Watkins of United Nations Day:

"The school is like a mini United Nations, with pupils from every possible creed, a multitude of habits, cultures, customs and eating habits have come together -- and all in complete harmony. Perhaps there's a lesson here for the politicians. If the UN could conduct itself as peacefully as the pupils in this school, wars will cease to exist".[58]


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  10. ^ a b c "Dover Court International School | British School Singapore | Nord Anglia". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Conference Call Schedules, School Openings, and Contract Update - Analyst Notes on Nord Anglia Education, Advisory Board, ITT Educational Services, Scientific Games and Convergys". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  12. ^ a b The Straits Times (28 March 1972). "A junior International School for children of expats". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  13. ^ Dover Court International School (2018). "Dover Court International School Prospectus" (PDF).
  14. ^ a b National Library Board (1989). "Dover Court Preparatory School Year Book 1989". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  15. ^ National Library Board. "Ways to mathematics / E.E. Alliott, S.A. Adair". National Library Board. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  16. ^ Dover Court Preparatory School, Singapore (22 January 2012). "Historical Note". Retrieved 21 May 2020.
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  19. ^ The Straits Times (25 January 1978). "Firemen's prompt arrival saves Dover Road school". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  20. ^ a b c National Library Board (1980–1981). "Dover Court Preparatory School yearbook, 1980-1981". Retrieved 20 May 2020.CS1 maint: date format (link)
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  23. ^ "New Year Honours 2014: list in full". 30 December 2013. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
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  26. ^ "Special Education Needs in Singapore? Dover Court International School DCIS Expands Its SEN Provision". Sassy Mama. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
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  30. ^ "News Post". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  31. ^ "19th Annual Business Awards Winner: Monica Dolan for Future Leaders". Archived from the original on 2 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
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  33. ^ Johnson, Holly (10 October 2019). "Singapore's leaders celebrate 20th British Chamber of Commerce Awards". The CEO Magazine. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
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  36. ^ National Library Board (1990). "Dover Court Preparatory School Year Book 1990". Retrieved 20 May 2020.
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External linksEdit