Downe House

| Boarding | 11-18yrs

Type: Senior
Founded: 1907
Entrance Procedure:
Parents can register their daughter at any time from Year 6 onwards but no later than June in the year prior to entry. Girls are then invited to an Assessment Day in September/October in the year prior to entry at which each girl has a personal interview with the Headmistress and girls are invited to sit scholarship exams as appropriate. An early opportunity to secure an offer for our 13+ entry point is offered from Year 6 (two years in advance) Entry is also possible in Year 7 (one year earlier) and our standard 13+ route remains at Year 8. Places will still be offered subject to Common Entrance or an equivalent assessment 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.
Fees per term:
£13,050 (2020-2021)
School Visits: Families are welcome to visit Downe House by appointment or by attending an Open Morning. Either way we aim to offer a bespoke visit tailored to your daughter's interests with opportunities to meet key members of staff, talk to current pupils and of course, have a good look around the campus. Register for an Open Morning on our website

Head's Up

‘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 and 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. It is our aim that girls should be fully prepared for life beyond Downe House and leave us with the confidence to take up places at top universities in the UK and overseas and then move on to embark successfully on the widest range of careers across the globe. Downe House is a very special place and I hope that I, the staff and girls, will have the opportunity to meet you and show you everything that is achieved by the girls on our beautiful site.’

Emma McKendrick

Inside Scoop from a current parent

Downe House has an excellent reputation for producing happy, kind, and well educated girls, both from an academic and social perspective. The school focuses on getting the best out of every girl, focusing on their individual strengths, whilst at the same time encouraging them to participate in activities outside their comfort zone, whether in the theatre in front of large audiences, on the sports pitches, or charity trips and exchange programs abroad, just to name a few. As a result, the school consistently sees the girls leave as thoughtful and driven individuals, who have the social and academic skills and awareness to succeed at the highest level. As a father of 3 girls, 2 who are still at Downe House, and all 3 who are very different to each other, I couldn’t be more impressed by the school; academic work ethic is incredibly high across the year groups, but it never seems to detract from the social aspects of school life, and the school is constantly working to instil the importance of kindness, friendship and balance. As a result it’s not surprising that girls tend to leave with friends they stay in touch with for life.
You can also not fail to be impressed by the staff, especially the headmistress, Mrs McKendrick. She knows every girl’s name and seems to know everything about them (and us as parents!). She is one of the most impressive women you will have the pleasure to meet. She is not just focused on academics, but also on doing what is right for each individual girl, and takes a personal interest ensuring that happens (demonstrated by the fact that she seems to appear at every single event whether music, drama, dance or on the sports fields, and is always available to speak to the parents and girls).

As Parents, We Love...

  • Academics: Downe House instils an incredible work ethic across the years, and, as a result, as a parent you feel that your child will achieve the best possible grades they are capable of, with most going on to their first choice universities.
  • Balance: Academic success is incredibly important, but at the same time the school focuses on developing the girl’s social skills, and the tight school community gives them great confidence.
  • As a parent you can ask for little more than seeing your girls try their best and be happy – Downe House provides the perfect environment for this.

Our Children Love...

  • Friendship
  • Academic Choice: Girls are able to choose the subjects they most enjoy and will thrive at – whether that be English and Maths, or Drama and Art
  • The school has the facilities and support network to allow individual girls to maximize their potential whether in the class room, sports pitch, theatre or anywhere.

School Highlights

Innovative yet traditional, academic but with an exceptional range of co-curricular opportunities, day and boarding with a family-friendly approach, Downe House values, challenges, supports and educates every girl as an individual to ensure that when the time comes to leave the school, she is the best version of herself she can be and believes that she can achieve anything. At the heart of our ethos is that every girl is an individual and a Downe House education is very much tailored to the girl rather than trying to make a girl fit a mould. Our aim is to provide an education which enables each girl to discover and develop her abilities to the highest possible level whether that be in Dance and Drama, on the lacrosse field, in Computer Science, Chemistry or Russian. The bonus of the family friendly boarding and day model is that it meets the needs of families with diverse circumstances, precisely because we are willing to go the extra mile to understand and accommodate individual circumstances and to make sure that we fully support each girl and her family in the right way for them.

So many things make the difference at Downe House:
The term spent in France by all Lower Fourth girls
Our far-reaching Global Schools’ Exchange Programme with 16 partner schools across six continents which is open to all Fifth Form girls
The Elective Programme which provides ‘super-curricular’ academic enrichment to stretch and challenge able girls
A holistic and inclusive approach to wellbeing through the ‘Finding Balance’ programme
The 3-step Pastoral Care system which tailors the care for each individual girl and is expertly designed to meet the very different needs of girls at each stage of their teenage development
The World Ready programme which equips girls with the skills and self-knowledge they will need to embrace every career or life opportunity in the wider world.

Downe House maintains a strong alumnae network through regular reunions and an online network. Current girls benefit from the DH Links programme which connects them with global alumnae and parents at regular workshops and networking events providing invaluable careers-based knowledge, guidance and practical support such as 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.

Contact Us

Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG18 9JJ
01635 204701

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: