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Downe House School

Downe House School

Downe House, Cold Ash, Thatcham, RG18 9JJ, West Berkshire

+44 (0)1635 200286



Downe House School
School type Girls' Boarding & Day
Founded 1907
Headmistress Mrs Emma McKendrick
Date Appointed September 1997
Girls Age Range 11-18
Number of pupils 593
Number of boarders 560
Day fees per annum £9,705 per term
Boarding fees per annum £13,050 per term
Average Class Size 15-20
Associations GSA, HMC, BSA

Downe House is an exceptional boarding school for girls aged 11-18 years with family-friendly boarding and day places. The School offers a unique blend of traditional values and a forward-thinking approach on a secure 110-acre woodland estate in rural West Berkshire, only an hour from London.

Whoever you are…Whoever you want to be…Be a Downe House girl.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical Downe House girl’ because we understand that every girl is an individual with her own interests and talents. Whether she is an artist and a scientist, an actress and an historian, a coding whizz and a photographer – she will be equally valued, supported, stretched and encouraged at every step of the way. What girls do have in common however, is that they are expected to aspire to academic success and are given almost limitless enrichment and cocurricular opportunities to identify and develop their strengths to become accomplished musicians, actors, athletes, artists – wherever their talents and ambitions take them.

So what is it that makes a Downe House girl? The answer is rooted deep in the Downe House DNA and its seven key characteristics – Collaboration, Resilience, Creativity, Aspiration, Compassion, Communication and Outward Looking. No matter what the girls go on to do beyond Downe, and the sheer variety of the career paths of our alumnae is testament to our ethos, they all carry the enduring imprint of the Downe House DNA throughout their lives.

Being a Downe House girl means much more than a set of outstanding academic results but of course they matter, and we are immensely proud of our consistently impressive exam results. In 2020, 95% of the grades achieved were A* to B (or equivalent) at A Level with A* (or equivalent) remaining at 46%. At GCSE, 90% of grades were at 9-7 and over 71% were graded 9-8 (A** and A*). However, we place equal importance on equipping every girl with a well-established work ethic and a core set of traditional values, skills and beliefs that will allow her to flourish in today's rapidly changing world. With only girls in the classroom, in the science labs, on stage and on the sports field, both intellectual and physical confidence can grow without any stereotyping or gender-weighted expectations.

The gift of time provided by a full boarding education enables girls to develop their interests and take on new challenges. They might stretch their imaginations in the arts, give back by volunteering at local charities, take on leadership or mentoring roles or broaden their outlook through attending lectures and other activities.

What makes Downe House special?

So many things make the difference at Downe House. The term spent at our school in France. The opportunity to take part in our far-reaching Global Schools' Exchange Programme with 16 partner schools across six continents. Our Elective Programme that provides super-curricular academic enrichment to challenge and stretch able girls and encourage enquiring minds. Our holistic approach to wellbeing through the 'Learning for Life' programme that gives girls the tools for life to care for themselves as well as each other. Our DH LINKS programme connects girls past and present with the alumnae network and our parents, who generously offer invaluable careers-based knowledge, guidance and practical support such as networking, internships and work shadowing opportunities.

We aim to ignite a lifelong love of learning and take each girl on an adventure in education to ensure that when the time comes to leave Downe House, she believes that there is nothing that she cannot achieve in the world.