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What says..

In an area bristling with good schools, this one stands out for combining breadth and rigour with fun and forward thinking. Learning by doing is par for the course and, more than that, teachers are encouraged to always have an eye on what will make these pupils stand out in future workplaces. ‘The world is changing and so must we,’ insists head. ‘It’s not about what facts you can remember and reel off, but how you can apply it, use it and debate it.’ Talk of ‘future skills’ and ‘strengthening flight paths’ normally sends us running for the hills (managerial/marketing speak isn’t our thing) but…

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What the school says...

Downsend is an innovative independent school, nurturing children to achieve, now and in the future. Downsend inspires young minds.

Our approach is academically rigorous, broad, balanced and vibrant. We stretch ourselves to provide every young person at Downsend with opportunities academically, in the arts, in the sporting arena and through our extensive enrichment programme.

We achieve this by:
• Providing a nurturing environment;
• Finding areas where each child can succeed and gain confidence;
• Offering excellent all-round education for examination success;
• Looking to the future and ensuring our pupils embrace everything it has to offer.

We have:
• Happy and well-motivated children;
• First-rate facilities for Sport, ICT, Art, Design Tech , Food Tech - including a £5m Creative Arts Centre (launching 2021),
• A vibrant, welcoming community;
• A vast range of forward thinking extra-curricular activities and extended day care;
• A dynamic holiday clubs programme outside normal term time, offering 50-week care.
...Read more

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2013, Ian Thorpe BA MA (50s). Previously four years as headmaster at Chinthurst School and before that head of junior school at City of London Freemen’s, preceded by stints all over the place, from Caterham Prep, where he was deputy head, to Witham Hall (deputy head and housemaster). Married to ‘very patient’ wife, a teacher at Caterham, attended by two sons. A former grammar school boy, he’s bright, jovial and energetic (looks exactly like sportsman he is, PE his main degree subject at Exeter). If there was a prize for the head that made us laugh the most, he’d certainly make the shortlist; also breaks record for mentioning wellbeing the most times. Hats off for both, we say, especially as our last meeting was via Zoom during the pandemic when both laughter and...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

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