Downe House


About the School

Head Teacher: Emma McKendrick
Founded: 1907
Gender: Girls
Type: Senior, Sixth Form
Ages: 11-18yrs
Day/Boarding: Full Boarding
Number of Pupils: 588
Fees per term:
£13,050 (2019-2020)
Religious Affiliation: A Christian Ethos / Church of England – we welcome all faiths
Entrance Procedure:

A selective School, Downe House invites candidates to an assessment day in September/October in the year prior to entry* and conditional offers are made shortly thereafter.

*An early opportunity to secure an offer for our 13+ entry point is offered from Year 6 (2 years in advance) Entry is also possible in Year 7 (1 year earlier) and our standard 13+ route remains at Year 8. Places will still be offered subject to CE in Year 8 – but parents, pupils and Prep Schools can get early offers for places and added security at a much earlier stage. The assessment procedure remains the same at whatever entry point.

The Headmistress, personally interviews every single candidate.

School Visits: Register via our website

Useful Dates

Term dates:
Autumn Term: 3rd September - 11th December 2019
Spring Term: 7th January - 27th March 2020
Summer Term: 21st April - 1st July 2020

Open days:
23rd November 2019
18th January 2020
21st March 2020
25th April 2020
13th June 2020

Contact Details

Address: Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG18 9JJ
Telephone: 01635 204701
Email: registrar@downehouse.net
Website: www.downehouse.net

School Highlights

This year saw the opening of the Murray Centre – which has changed the dynamic of the school and sees students of all ages and staff enjoying this unique new facility which combines all the best features of life at Downe House – learning, academics, creativity and social spaces. The Building has been shortlisted for a RICS Architectural award.

The expansion of our innovative Global Exchange Programme sees us partner with 17 schools around the world – this offers reciprocal benefits for both girls and staff, and is unique to Downe House. We place immense value on preparing girls to play their part in the world and the development of our Global programme is central to the school.

Our Musical Highlight was Senior Choral being crowned Barnardo’s ‘Senior Choir of the Year’ at the Royal Festival Hall in 2018 – inspired by their success, Polyphonix, a 33 strong, non-auditioned choir, entered the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition again and, for the second year running – Downe House were overjoyed to be judged the winning choir. It is a fantastic way for the school to celebrate the centenary of the Choir which was established in 1919.

Lacrosse: We had nine competitors in seven different national teams in the World Lacrosse championships in 2017. Two pupils have earned national selection, with one representing England in the U20 European Championships and another joining the Wales U19 Lacrosse squad as goalie.

Drama: In a new partnership with Trinity College London, we have become a registered Arts Award Centre to provide Upper Fourth (Year 9) girls with the opportunity to work towards achieving the National Arts Programme Bronze Award by the end of the year. The structured programme aims to develop drama skills, ignite creative thinking and foster an appreciation of the Arts.



Head's Up

“Joining Downe House will be the beginning of an exciting and fulfilling journey where girls in our care can expect to be challenged and supported in equal measure.

I believe that as a school, we have a responsibility to provide our pupils with as many opportunities as possible – academic, co-curricular and pastoral – to allow every girl to grow, develop and to discover, and build on her individual strengths.

A full boarding education provides us with two precious commodities, time and space. These, coupled with excellent teaching and pastoral care, ensure that we are able to offer a broad curriculum, an outstanding range of activities and first class individual care.”

Emma McKendrick


Inside Scoop

Behind the scenes access from the schools themselves with unique parent reviews

A Parent's Perspective

We looked at a number of schools and narrowed it down to Downe House and Stowe but single sex won out and we are delighted with our choice. Our daughter is really flourishing- she was at a local primary school, so we were anxious about the transition but Downe has nurtured her from the moment she arrived this year. The boarding staff have been amazing and the information given to parents is excellent; even though our daughter is boarding fully, we feel we know exactly what is going on in her life.

To be open-minded, take risks and to have a go at everything! The girls are pushed, we have no doubt but this is just encouraging them to be the best that they can be to fulfil their potential and it is not just about the academics. Downe girls thrive in the classroom but also on the sports field, on stage and socially too.

The attention to detail for every individual is remarkable – our daughter has been encouraged at every opportunity to try her hand at things – the individual is certainly nurtured at Downe. The pastoral care is unparalleled – it is such an inclusive school and we love the emphasis on mental fitness and wellbeing as well as support for girls to push themselves to be the best they can be.

As Parents, We Love...

  • Mrs McKendrick is a legend! She is the perfect Headmistress.
  • The pastoral care and attention to detail shown by all staff towards our daughter – no girl could slip between the cracks.
  • The amazing range of co-curricular activities to keep the girls active, engaged and always trying something new.

Our Children Love...

  • Her Housemistress and dorm.
  • The chance to try all sorts of things – especially Sport and Drama.
  • The food!

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