Ascham School and the Dalton Plan

Emily Heng completed Year 12 at Ascham School in 2019 and is now studying a double degree in Applied Medical Science and a Master of Nursing at the University of Sydney. At Ascham, Emily was a highly valued member of the student body—not only was she Co-Head Boarder but she also excelled in her academic studies and co-curricular activities. In this blog, Emily explains how being a student of the Dalton Plan at Ascham has been one of the keys to her success—both at school and now as a first-year university student.

“Now that I have graduated from school, I am so grateful to have completed my schooling years under the Dalton Plan. It has been extremely helpful in preparing me for my university studies. The vigorous structure of the Plan allowed me to grow immensely as an individual to become much more organised, independent, resilient and confident in myself. It encouraged me to take responsibility for my actions through giving me the power to control my education and reach out for help whenever I need it. The support is always there, but it is what you do with it that affects your growth and maturing as a student. The Dalton Plan helped me through my Senior School years when I had the opportunity to take up various leadership roles, where being organised and confident is key. It assisted me in my preparation for the HSC and beyond, as my resilience allowed me to continue my studies and keep working harder.

Under the Dalton Plan, I was able to gain fundamental time management skills through being taught to organise my own studies to allow for reasonable one-on-one time with my teacher, and complete my work on time and at my own pace. These skills have now allowed me to adapt to university more easily—choosing the right units of study, planning my timetable to cater for other commitments, and allowing me to have time with my tutor. It ensures that not only am I completing all of my work but that I am doing it at a high standard.

Though being quite similar, university lacks the structure and support that high school has. However, luckily the three-pillar structure of the Dalton Plan (Assignment, Lesson and Study) teaches Ascham students to take responsibility for their own learning. I often find that other students have struggled with this aspect of university and that they’re weeks behind in their work, as no-one is there to keep them on track.

The Dalton Plan has conditioned me to have a sense of drive and purpose, as I always want to be constantly busy. This has definitely benefited me in times such as this global pandemic, as I have found myself pushing to learn more things in lockdown (such as guitar and sign language) while others have used their time to just marinate in the moment. This drive has given me the motivation to learn more and do more with my life. Further, the plan has definitely conditioned me to be a lot more self-reliant and confident, which has been helpful even just in everyday life and independently living out of home (for things such as job applications).

Studying under the Dalton Plan definitely prepares students for life beyond the school gates. It equips young women with the ability to be proactive in their learning, which other schools do not offer. The smaller-sized classes and Study period structure allows students to form a personal connection with their teachers, so that they can get the best support they need, when they want it. There is no spoon-feeding, which encourages girls to take initiative and be independent and responsible, giving students transferable skills that they can apply to their life in university or in the professional workforce.”

More information about the Dalton Plan can be found on the Ascham School website:

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