How to get into Downe House School

Aliya Mrochuk

July 27, 2016

What you need to know about registration, exams, admissions and more to get into Downe House School.

Downe House School

Type: Independent boarding and day school for girls, ages 11 - 18

Day Fees:
£8,480, per term
Registration fee: £100
Deposit (refunded when pupil departs): £2,000

Boarding Fees:
£11,720, per term
Registration Fee: £100
Deposit (refunded when pupil departs): £2,000

Current Head: Emma McKendrick

About Downe House School
Located near Newbury, Berkshire, Downe House was originally founded in 1907, in the old estate of one Charles Darwin. The school has grown extensively over the last 60 years, and has embraced founder Olive Willis’s vision of exemplary education for girls with a modern edge.

Downe House School’s mission is to establish themselves as a “school where each individual within the community matters and where relationships between staff and pupils are normal.”
Downe Logo
Why is it so popular?
Downe House School is currently undergoing a period of transformation in line with their 10 Year Vision of excellence. In addition to surpassing students’ current 80% success rate of receiving a A* or A at GCSE, Downe aims to revamp their Centre for Learning to include a new library, art gallery, theatre space, learning cafe, auditorium and school shop.

How do I know if Downe House is right for me?
Downe House hosts several Open Days, during which parents can enjoy a welcome speech from Head, Emma McKendrick, as well as talks and tours put on by Downe House’s own pupils. These events are usually fully booked well in advance, so please contact the school’s Registrar to request an invitation or to register.

The next available Open Day will take place on 26th November, 2016. If your daughter’s prospective entry is within the next two to three years, Downe House also suggests that you book a private visit with their Registrar.

Admissions Policy
Once you’ve visited the school, Downe House invites parents to complete and return a registration form and the related fee (see Fees) to the Registry as soon as possible. Then, one year prior to entry, your daughter will be able to attend the Assessment Day for her age group, and sit the following exams and interviews.  

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What are Downe House School interviews and examinations like, and how can I do well?
The admissions process for 11+, 12+ and 13+ girls begins with your daughter’s Assessment Day, one year before her proposed entry, during which she will be asked to complete a series of non-academic tasks (such as in theatre, games, and technology), interview with the Head, and sit for an academic activity. If Downe House feels your daughter will thrive at their school after her Assessment Day, she will receive a placement offer conditional upon her Common Entrance or Academic Scholarship results.

If your daughter is entering in 16+, Downe House asks that you complete and return her registration form with the appropriate fee (see Fees) before 31st October, the year prior to entry. In November, your daughter will then sit two papers (one of her choice and one general), interview with both the Head of Sixth Form and the Head of the school, and provide a reference and her academic record from her current school. If she is successful in all her interviews and examinations, she will be offered a placement at the school, conditional upon seven I/GCSE grades at a B or above, and including (preferably) two A* or A grades in the subjects she intends to study in Sixth Form.

For nearly all entry levels and subjects, you and your daughter can find (or request from Downe House School themselves) sample papers or an exam resource centre that will assist your daughter in becoming more comfortable with the admissions process. Downe House believes that girls are better able to show their strengths if asked to also perform in non-academic areas, so the trick to doing well in your examinations and interviews is quite simple: in the words of Alastair Humphrey’s, “Do what you love, and do it well.”

For more information and important dates, you can visit Downe House School here.     

Best of luck!

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