Dillon Diploma

“Her philosophy was that worthwhile things should be done for their own sake, and not just to meet some puny little target.”

John Lyon pupil

Whilst the 21st century has brought many new opportunities to pupils in education, there are an increasing number of challenges that pupils must face when they enter the wider world beyond school.

To address these challenges we launched the Dillon Diploma. This diploma is designed to enhance and develop students as individuals alongside their academic studies, giving them the ability to become more resilient to a variety of different future scenarios. The diploma is named after Alison Dillon, who was appointed by then Head Boyd Campbell as John Lyon’s first female teacher, serving as a Mathematics teacher between the years 1967 and 1985. She was truly inspirational and is fondly remembered by Old Lyonians for delivering lessons that went above and beyond the core curriculum. Thus, enabling students to gain places at some of the UK’s top universities as well as leading very successful careers.

Alison Dillon, 1985


The Dillon Diploma comprises six key modules, which each pupil will study over the first three years of their time in senior school. Each module contributes a new skill which will be developed between Year 7 and Year 9.

At the heart of the diploma are the eight school values. Pupils are encouraged to be ambitious, innovative, creative and strive for excellence in all the modules.

In reading, pupils will be challenged with studying academic articles and journals thereby improving their analytical and reviewing skills.

PSCHE will support this analysis through the study and discussion of complex and sometimes controversial issues that are faced by society. In doing so, pupils will be educated in how to properly form an argument which will help them in any future humanities subject.

To give pupils a competitive edge in technology, pupils will be given training in how to use the different programs that make up the Microsoft Suite. Fundamentals of each of the core programs, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, will be taught in addition to some of the more modern applications Microsoft has introduced. These skills which form the computer driving licence will enable pupils to participate more creatively in a world which is becoming ever more dependent upon technology for daily life.

The academic studies module exposes pupils to a series of different styles of learning with the specific purpose of enhancing and improving the range of techniques they can use in the core academic curriculum. These different techniques are designed to immediately enhance the standard of work they submit in their lessons and thus improve the potential of gaining higher grades in public examinations.

The final and unique part of this qualification is that pupils develop skills in leadership through a range of activities and subjects. Tips for leadership will be offered by tutors for each activity presented. Through a variety of different scenarios pupils will be judged individually on how well they use these skills to motivate and lead a team.

Consequently, pupils who complete the course will become more well-rounded individuals, equipped with a range of skills that will make them more resilient to challenges that they might face in the future, such as public examinations (including preparation for HPQ) and in their life beyond school. Moreover, pupils will become more independent and able to evaluate their own progress in future tasks.

Here’s what some of our qualifying pupils had to say about their experiences of the diploma:

“I have learnt about my imagination, independence, finances and business when we did the enterprise and time management.” – Sonish

“I particularly found the topic ‘organisation’ useful as it was very handy as I learnt how to organise myself in an effective and in a productive way. I also enjoyed the fact that I have learnt some useful study skills for the future at the school. Doing my independent study, I used lots of resources well to develop an effective presentation.” – Sumeet

“The Dillon Diploma has helped me a lot and there has been a lot of things that I have learnt that you wouldn’t have learnt in normal lessons, I have learnt stuff that we need to learn when we are older such as the rule of law and savings.” – Muadh