Awards Winner Banner inner page


DLD College London is recognised for its unique space in the independent education sector as it innovates and leads new ways of delivering education and pastoral care, while striving to create unique learning opportunities for its students.

The school has been extremely successful in a number of different Independent Education awards, most notably in the Independent School of the Year Awards in the 2020/21 academic year, winning the much coveted Boarding School of the Year and also receiving the accolade of the Special Judges’ Award for Independent School of the Year.

The successes listed below are in recognition of the effort the school puts in to providing the Gold Standard of education, offering the best in urban boarding, supporting students at the highest levels with their personal development and wellbeing, and creating extraordinary young adults who it is hoped will go on to change the world.

Awards Category Result
Academic Year 2021/2022
Boarding Schools’ Association Awards 2022 Supporting International Boarders Finalist
Best New INDEX Initiative (inclusion & diversity excellence) Finalist
Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) Awards 2021 Excellence and Innovation in Mental Health and Wellbeing Winner
Excellence and Innovation in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Finalist
Excellence in Pupil Personal Development Finalist
Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2021 International Student Experience Finalist
Academic Year 2020/2021
Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2020 Boarding School of the Year Winner
Special Judges’ Award – Independent School of the Year Winner
International Student Experience Finalist
Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) Awards 2020 Innovation in Pupil Voice Winner
Boarding Schools’ Association Awards 2021 Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award Winner
TES Independent Schools Awards 2021 Wellbeing Initiative of the Year Highly Commended Finalist
Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools Boarding School Mental Health Award Gold – 1st school in the UK to receive this award
Academic Year 2019/2020
TES Independent Schools Awards 2020 Boarding School of the Year Finalist

In addition to these awards, DLD College London is also featured in the Good Schools Guide, Tatler Schools Guide and is a Talk Education Top 250 school.

BSA Awards 2021 | Winner in the Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award category

BSA Awards 2021 Finalist - Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award

The Boarding Schools’ Association annual BSA Awards 2021 are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements, hard work, and dedication of schools and individuals in boarding.

DLD College London is the Winner for the Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award which recognises the work that we have been doing to develop the character of the students, aimed at increasing self-awareness and allowing development of the students as leaders.

This award celebrates schools that have embedded initiatives that provide supportive environments and programmes that enhance self-esteem, strengthen the school community, and activities that promote healthy choices.

The full results details can be read on the BSA website here:

Wellbeing & Mental Health Initiative Award Finalists

  • DLD College, London
  • Dulwich Prep Cranbrook
  • Marlborough College Malaysia
  • Sherborne Girls

TES Independent School Awards 2021 | Highly Commeded Finalist for Wellbeing Initiative of the Year

DLD College London was announced as the Highly Commended Finalist by the Judges for the ‘Wellbeing Initiative of the Year’ award, at the highly-respected 2021 Tes Independent School Awards. The most outstanding institutions that the independent sector has to offer have been recognised in the finalist shortlist, with the leading co-educational boarding and day school commended for its outstanding pastoral systems and proactive welfare provision.

At the Westminster Bridge-based school, the wellbeing team, consisting of the Senior Vice-Principal (Pastoral), Head of Wellbeing, School Nurse, Matron, Counsellors, Life Coach and Head of Neurodiversity, all work together with the Student Council Wellbeing team to progress and implement an enriching programme of training and events, allowing students to develop an understanding of how their mind, body and spirit impacts on their overall sense of wellbeing.

Commenting on the shortlisting, Principal Irfan Latif said, “At DLD College London, the wellbeing of our school community is of utmost importance – its part of our culture, our DNA. We are very proud to be shortlisted for this much-coveted award in recognition of the many pioneering programmes put in place to enable our students to flourish both at the school and beyond.

“We strive to develop the next generation of leaders to take their place in a diverse and challenging world. We endeavour to ensure that all DLD students live and study in a supportive and safe community, building their own self-awareness so that they can take care of themselves both physically and mentally, and lead others in the future.”

Tes editor Jon Severs said: “After a difficult year for all schools, it is an honour to celebrate the Tes Independent School awards, not only to celebrate excellent practice but to ensure that practice is shared far and wide.

We received an unparalleled number of entries this year, which is testament to the great work all have done during the pandemic. The schools that have been shortlisted should be proud – it’s a remarkable achievement.”

ISOTY Awards 2020 | WINNER of Independent School of the Year | Special Judges’ Award

DLD College London was awarded the Special Judges’ Award for Independent School of the Year 2020 in October 2020.

The Special Judges’ Award, created this year, was announced by the Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Schools’ Council, Julie Robinson, in recognition of DLD’s student wellbeing and urban boarding provision. They recognised DLD College London as being a school that is “brimming with energy” and  one which “offers something really special in the sector for its students, combining old and new approaches to education”.

The Independent Schools of the Year Awards are organised by Independent School Parent Magazine and are recognition within the Independent Education sector of the excellent provision of education and pastoral support that we provide to our students.

A full transcript of the awards announcement is below.  The award ceremony can also be viewed online here.

Special Judges’ Award Announcement

Julie Robinson – CEO of ISC

What a joy it is to come together through these Independent School of the Year Awards to celebrate the great things that schools have achieved, in the face of adversity. It has been a trying time on many fronts and 2020 will be remembered as one of the toughest years in global history, yet schools continue to make a positive difference.

Independent schools have demonstrated their customary adaptability and innovation in the face of international crisis. We’ve been forced to reassess what is really important to our communities and find new ways of working. We’ve been forced to reinvent the delivery of face to face communications, just as we are today. School communities in many cases have led the way and have become worthy examples of excellence in online learning and community support. As we have seen in this years’ winning entries, our schools have reacted by resetting relationships, finding creative solutions, and they’ve been outward looking, coming together and sharing their work, connecting with the wider world for which they prepare pupils. They’ve built kindness in the face of adversity and developed social conscience. Despite the harsh pressures and uncertainties bearing down on schools this year, many of which continue, our schools have triumphed as beacons of hope and positivity. Caring for young people, supporting the local community, these are surely priorities even more so this year. And the school that wins this final prize, will represent all that is good about independent education in a most memorable year.

With congratulations to all nominees, finalists and winners today, its now my honour to announce two final awards.

The first, a special award, made this year by the judges to a school which we felt was brimming with energy and offering something really special in the sector for its students, combining old and new approaches to education. It has been recognised as a winner in one of our other categories today and we felt as a judging panel, that it deserved particular recognition for student wellbeing and urban boarding.

The winner of the judges special award is DLD College London.


ISOTY Awards 2020 | WINNER of Independent Boarding School of the Year

DLD College London was also announced as joint winner of the Independent Boarding School of the Year 2020 in October 2020.

Together with Elstree School, the judges felt that we represented the astonishing breadth of great boarding in the UK, including innovative Sixth Form boarding in the heart of London and flexible family style prep school boarding.

The Finalists were:
Bryanston School
DLD College London
Elstree School
Rugby School
Sherborne Girls
West Buckland School

The Independent Schools of the Year Awards are organised by Independent School Parent Magazine and are recognition within the Independent Education sector of the excellent provision of education and pastoral support that we provide to our students.

ISA Awards 2020 | WINNER of Innovation in Pupil Voice Award

Leading the Way for Innovation in Pupil Voice… Award-Winning Success for DLD College London

DLD College London is delighted to be awarded another prestigious national accolade, the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) Award for ‘Innovation in Pupil Voice’.

As a leading independent boarding school we have been recognised for our pioneering work in empowering students to have a strong voice in the life of the school. The judges were impressed by our commitment and innovation of the students’ input and the emphasis that we give to our core values of Tolerance, Respect and Kindness.

The annual ISA Awards, a highly-regarded award scheme, celebrates success in its Members’ schools and recognises the breadth of quality and provision in independent education across the country. The award for Innovation in Pupil Voice looks for schools who encourage their pupils to be involved with the day to day running of the school, going above and beyond to promote a substantial input in school-wide decision making.

Principal, Irfan Latif, commented on the success, “It is another tremendously proud moment for DLD College London, as we celebrate winning this much-coveted award for ‘Innovation in Pupil Voice’. Our students and staff have been on a remarkable and challenging journey over the course of the year, and this award is testimony to their hard work in ensuring that we place our students at the heart of everything that we do, empowering them to make the school a better place for all.

“With over 550 ISA member schools and only three selected for the Final, this is an exceptional achievement for our school. Well done to our entire DLD College community for making this happen – that’s now four awards this year!”


Our entry can be read here:

ISA Award for Innovation in Pupil Voice

Over the course of the year, DLD College London students have been on a remarkable journey, ensuring that their voice was central to our ongoing initiatives and events that are happening both inside and outside the school. Earlier in the year, after an inspiring talk delivered by Jo Ruxton from the charity Plastic Ocean UK, the student body was inspired to pledge and fund an initiative against single-use plastic. It provided water containers for each member of the community, which led to the petitioning and creation of hydration stations around the school to facilitate this new student-led initiative.

Most recently, the student response to the COVID-19 outbreak displayed excellent leadership and empathy when they first decided to create huge posters in support of key workers and NHS staff, displaying them in the school windows opposite St Thomas’ Hospital. The initiative then evolved to children from around the UK sending their own NHS rainbow posters, that the new hospitals were unable to accept, which our students and staff collated, laminated and added to the gallery in the windows, with over 4,000 pictures displayed to date. This led to the school becoming a ‘Beacon of Hope’, which the students had directed, organised and actioned. During this time, their sense of social responsibility and sense of positive impact was central to their journey in support of those who supported the UK. Both of these projects came from the students and focused on their voices being heard inside and outside the school.

DLD College London was recently praised for the mentoring programme that the students organise in school. The student mentoring system focuses on several training opportunities. Each student is trained in safeguarding, in counselling skills, in teaching English as a Second Language, in coaching and finally in Mental Health First Aid. Once the students have trained in these areas, they receive the DLD Mentoring Award, allowing them to not only support the students in our setting but also to take these skills into their future environments. They can break stigmas and support those around them to not only perform to the best of their ability but also to get the very best out of those that they will help.

The investment we make in the students is also evidenced by our Student Council, which has eighteen members who are all trained in leadership over the year, including specialist training from a leadership expert and then an ongoing coaching course. The aim is for the students to understand some of the key principles of leadership and to then apply these in the work that they do in the school. We invite students to be part of a wide number of leadership meetings in the school including Senior Leadership Team and Health & Safety meetings as well as regular meetings in faculties and departments to discuss the current student perspectives. All these measures are there to prepare the students for life outside in a work environment. The new 2020 Student Council’s video sets out their goals and priorities for the coming academic year, reflecting the breadth and depth of involvement that they take within the school. It can be viewed on the DLD College London YouTube Channel here.

All of our students are encouraged to engage with the local community to ensure a full experience of living in London through a number of different projects, including working at the local city farm and the local food bank. Students have also been involved in campaigns for the local community centre, have supported children’s charities and raised money for our school charity the Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
“It is fantastic to have DLD College London engaged in supporting projects across our community… connecting them to their local community, and supporting those in need, whilst at school.” Steve Chalke MBE of the Oasis Charitable Trust.

One of our key aims is to develop an understanding of Mental Health for all students and we have trained over 40 students in the Mental Health First Aid Youth qualification since 2018, aiming at destigmatising mental health concerns. This is an incredibly important point, as students arrive here with varying levels of acceptance of speaking and sharing their challenges. We are ensuring that the perception of education is not solely on academic grades but also, just as importantly, an understanding of themselves and others.

The students are central to the feeling of acceptance within the school, with a continued commitment to celebrate difference and encourage understanding of the varying ethnicities, nationalities and cultures represented. This was very apparent recently with the death of George Floyd and the strength of feeling expressed by the students supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. A special video was recorded by the students in response to this to share with the community with the message of taking responsibility to better educate ourselves and plans for sharing of resources. Throughout the school year, the students celebrate several events including the Lunar New Year, Nowruz, Russian Christmas, Thai New Year, Ramadan (with students attending a local community Iftar at a local centre), Yom Kippur and other religious events. Other notable events such as Black History Month, Remembrance, VE Day and International Women’s Day, are also celebrated, and these demonstrate the international-mindedness and openness that these student-led events offer each other. Each year we hold a DLD International Day when students present their own countries to the rest of the student body through food (specially curated menus in our Global Kitchen dining room), music and dress. All events offer students an insight into the importance of our fundamental values of respect, tolerance and kindness, demonstrated through the engagement and adoption of these values through the student’s voice.

Boarding School Mental Health Award - Nov 2020

DLD College London has been awarded a Gold standard for its outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision, the first school to receive this in the UK. The Boarding School Mental Health Award is delivered by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools.

This award recognises the wide range of activities provided by the school to boost the wellbeing of pupils and staff, including a dedicated Wellbeing centre in the heart of the College, a peer mentoring programme, a team of counsellors and the School Life Coach.

In addition, it acknowledges that DLD has also been at the forefront of developments in training staff and students in Mental Health First Aid and Coaching, more recently working with the Children’s Sleep Charity to train staff to support the student body – the first school in the UK to have developed such an initiative.

On achieving this much-coveted award, the school has been identified by the Boarding School Metal Health Award Lead Coach/Verifier, Tracy Shand, as, “In essence, a community that shares and cares to shine a light for others to follow in boarding mental health.”

DLD College London Principal Irfan Latif said: “I am extremely proud of the students and staff. This establishes and reaffirms DLD College London as a leader in the independent education sector in mental health and wellbeing. We are delighted for the whole community and will continue to strive for excellence both in the school and beyond.”

A focal point of the school’s mental health and wellbeing provision is the work of the wellbeing team within the school, ensuring that each student has proactive measures in place to safeguard them and improve their overall sense of wellbeing.

Irfan Latif said: “The effect of the pastoral systems that we have adopted in the school has allowed a more proactive approach to the wellbeing of pupils and staff.”

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead. The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK’s education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

Professor Damien Page, Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-school approach to mental health, it’s a recognition of the school’s commitment to improving the life chances of children. We’re truly proud to have worked with DLD College London in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”

TES Independent School Awards 2020 | Finalist for Boarding School of the Year

DLD College London was nominated as a finalist at the 2020  Tes Independent School Awards, heading the list of nominees in the prestigious ‘Boarding School of the Year’ Category.

These awards are recognition for the sector’s innovation and hard work and of sharing the very best stories the sector has to tell. Competition in 2020 was high with an unparalleled number of entries this year, all of which were first rate according to the Tes editor.

“The schools that have been shortlisted should be proud – it’s a remarkable achievement.”

Even though we did not triumph on the night, DLD College London is exceptionally proud of the staff and students who make the school the special place it has been recognised for.

The list of finalists were:

DLD College London
Felsted School
Heathfield School
Hurstpierpoint College
Rugby School
Shrewsbury School
Wellington College
Wilds Lodge School