About Downe House

About us

Our founder, Miss Olive Willis, set out to create a school that would be different. Downe House is grounded in this tradition but maintains a clear focus on the future.

About Downe House

About us

Our founder, Miss Olive Willis, set out to create a school that would be different. Downe House is grounded in this tradition but maintains a clear focus on the future.

The difference is Downe House

Disillusioned by the independent education that existed for girls at the time, our founder, Miss Olive Willis, held the strong belief that a school should meet the needs of young women by valuing and prizing individuals and engendering a strong sense of community.

She believed that excellence, excitement and enthusiasm for the world around should be hallmarks of that school community, that teachers should not be placed on pedestals and that girls should not be expected to rush around in a feverish attempt to behave like boys.

Consequently, Downe House was established as ‘a school where each individual within the community matters and where relationships between staff and pupils are normal’.

Our values have not changed since the school opened in 1907; kindness and respect for others are as valuable today as they were when the School was founded. Downe House’s aim has always been to enable, encourage and prepare girls to play a full and positive part as citizens of a global community and as outstanding women of the future.

Wander around our calm, collected, extremely happy boarding school environment and you will see that those founding principles are very much in place today.

Our Headmistress

Meet the Headmistress of Downe House, Mrs Emma McKendrick.

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Why choose Downe House?

We understand that choosing a school for your daughter is a complex process. Find out what makes a Downe House education stand out and the reasons why you should choose us.

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History

Did you know that Downe House was founded in 1907 in the home of Charles Darwin in Kent and moved to Cold Ash in 1922?

Find out more about our history.

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Location

Get directions to Downe House RG18 9JJ. We are located on a 110-acre site in the village of Cold Ash in West Berkshire with excellent transport links just two miles from the M4 and A34 and under an hour’s drive to Heathrow Airport.

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Visits & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House, is to come and experience it for yourself – arrange a visit or join us for one of our Open Mornings?

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