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Downside School

What says..

The academic life (and it is academic) of the school is bound up with the Benedictine idea of transformation, so the journey is as important as the destination. Downside is not a school which delivers 21st century education through technical wizardry or fabulous facilities but through rigorous and intellectual teaching. We liked the translation of prayers into Spanish and students seemed happily immersed in a French listening exercise through headphones, but the biology lab we saw .....

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What the school says...

Founded in 1606 Downside is one of England's oldest and most distinguished Catholic schools. Outstanding examination results are the priority. Everyone is encouraged to aspire beyond their academic expectations and the School has a thriving academic life with all pupils going on to leading universities in the UK, the USA and Europe.

80% of Downside pupils are 7-day-a-week boarders and 40% of its pupils are from overseas. Weekends for boarders are busy with a full programme of activities. The School provides outstanding pastoral support for all pupils and has long been known for its strong sense of community. Downside offers an exceptionally wide choice of co-curricular activities to its pupils. All boys and girls are expected to participate; there are extended time slots for activities, clubs and societies, drama, music and sport on every weekday afternoon and a huge range of activities also take place outside the formal co-curricular times. The School is particularly renowned for the quality of its STEM provision, drama, and music. Performing arts facilities are excellent.
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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2018, Andrew Hobbs BA (mid 50s), previously deputy head. A product of Worth Abbey, not unlike the school he now heads, Mr Hobbs read classics at Cambridge before a couple of years teaching at Hurstpierpoint, 16 at Canford, where he was also in charge of cricket and rugby (he is a rugby blue), before arriving at Downside in 2008 as deputy. He took the helm as acting head after a difficult period for the school but went through a rigorous selection process to get the top job. ‘I always wanted a school with a purpose at its core,’ he told us – ‘and at this point, Downside needed continuity.’ That purpose is to educate children ‘for eternal life, not just till the age of 18,’ as he puts it - and ‘our results...

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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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Special Education Needs

Downside has long experience of supporting pupils with mild Special Needs, especially dyselxia and dyspraxia. Pupils must be able to cope with with a mainstream academic curriculum, within which they can receive additional one-to-one support.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

Who came from where

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