Preparing our young people for a fast-changing global world full of opportunity, as well as challenge, is a key task for all schools. Many of our students will have opportunities to work overseas; a large number will work for international companies and very few will not have international colleagues, customers or clients. It is essential therefore (and hugely enjoyable!) to prepare our students proactively for the wider world of which they will be a part. Their path to success will require many skills and personal attributes including empathy, tolerance, the ability to work hard and lead, but also to work collaboratively and with integrity.
Most important is that our students have a strong sense of self-worth balanced with humility which gives them the confidence to take on the challenges they will face and embrace the opportunities they have.
This has in fact been the long-held view of Downe House, and our founder, Olive Willis, who believed that excellence, excitement and enthusiasm for the world around us should be the hallmarks of a school community. Downe House is a UK boarding school, proud of its traditional values and its international outlook, which includes celebrating the large cultural mix of nationalities represented in our community of staff, girls and parents. Special international days to explore the culture of, for example, India, China, Italy and Australia, are a regular feature of the School calendar.
Providing a cornerstone for girls to understand their place in the world is a key driver behind our school in France, Veyrines. Veyrines, is dynamic, exciting and inspiring, yet its ethos is firmly rooted in the values of Downe House. Each year, our Lower Fourth (Year 8) girls spend an entire term experiencing life in the heart of the Périgord Noir, with every member of the year group taking part in this great adventure, which becomes a highlight of their education at Downe House. This unique opportunity gives the girls the chance to achieve beyond their own expectations both academically and through their contribution to the school and wider community in Veyrines.
We place real value upon this awareness of the world which is why our Higher Education and Global Initiatives Department is a vital part of what we offer. Not only does it support the girls in making the right career and university choices, but the team has developed an extensive Global Schools’ Network providing access to a very special experience for our pupils. The network is made up of sixteen Partner Schools across five continents, offering highly individual international exchange opportunities for girls in the Fifth Form (Year 10) to immerse themselves in life at schools in countries which include South Africa, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, India, Spain or Germany and in return, girls from those partner schools join us to experience UK boarding school life at Downe House.
The Global Schools’ Exchange Programme offers a very rewarding experience for girls to really experience the life of a community a long way from home, to explore the cultural differences and often to make lifelong friendships. It is equally valuable for us to welcome girls from schools all over the world to integrate into our community – such a challenge offers huge social, cultural and educational benefits for everyone involved.
There is no substitute for experience when it comes to being a confident young woman, and our term at Veyrines and our Global Schools’ Exchange Programme really does give our girls a first-hand taste of what to expect from other countries and their cultures. Such opportunities ensure girls leave us ready for their world.
The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.Discover