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Situated in a magnificent Victorian mansion surrounded by 60 acres of idyllic parkland, it’s just five miles from Bristol. Traditional but progressive is the enduring vibe. Parents value highly the ‘manners’ and ‘morals’ that the school prioritises – our guides held every door for us. ‘Shaking hands, looking at you in the eye, please and thank you, knowing how to use a knife and fork – these things matter in life and the school knows it,’ said one firmly. Old fashioned play too – skipping ropes, making daisy chains, ‘children are encouraged to be children.’ The progressive aspect comes from…

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since September 2020, Debbie Isaachsen (40s). Epitomising authentic leadership, she is one of the nicest, most genuine heads we’ve met. Heaps of humility, empathy and drive. Struggles to remember a time when she didn’t have her sights firmly set on teaching, her teddies having been her earliest charges; even at boarding school, she’d regularly pop down to help teach in the pre-prep. Ambitious too – ‘I knew early on I wanted to be a head.’ Attended the college of St Mark and St John, then part of the University of Exeter, and also has a master’s in educational leadership from Buckinghamshire. Moved to Bristol for the job from Bucks where she grew up and was head of Heatherton School, part of the Berkhamsted Schools Group. Before that, was head of the lower school and...

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Special Education Needs

At The Downs we try to cater for the needs of all the children. In doing so we offer about 45 (50) lessons a week of learning support in numeracy and literacy. Some of the children supported have been assessed as dyslexic or dyscalculiac, others have been identified as needing some help from their teachers. We offer help to any reasonably bright children as long as we have the facility to do so; if after assessment, we feel they need some support, we will not offer a place unless we have the space in the allocated (5) lessons a week. The Learning Support we offer is of a very high quality; indeed it is excellent, however, we do not 'market' the department.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty Y
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

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