Why choose Downe House?

We understand that choosing a school for your daughter is a huge decision and that your daughter’s interests, talents and needs will look different to those of another girl. Downe House’s modern and flexible approach provides an enriching and practical option. 

There is no such thing as a ‘typical Downe House girl’

When a girl joins Downe House – whether as a boarder or a day girl – we provide an environment that both supports her development and celebrates her individuality. There is no such thing as a ‘typical Downe House girl’.

What girls do have in common however, is that they are challenged academically and are given as many opportunities as possible to become the women that they want to be. We encourage and support girls as they identify and develop their academic strengths, and we provide almost limitless opportunities to become accomplished musicians, actors, athletes, artists – wherever their talents and ambitions take them.

Downe House girls excel, and they do so because they enjoy what they do. As one parent said, ‘we couldn’t be more thrilled.’

Be kind, work hard, aim high

We want to ignite a love of learning and be sure that when your daughter leaves Downe House, she will believe that there is nothing she cannot achieve in the world.

Of course, academic results matter greatly to us and we expect girls to aspire to excellence in all they do, both in the classroom and beyond. However, we place equal importance on equipping every girl with a well-established work ethic and a core set of traditional values, skills and beliefs that will allow her to flourish in today’s rapidly changing world.

With only girls in the classroom, in the science labs, on stage and on the sports field, both intellectual and physical confidence can grow without any stereotyping or gender-weighted expectations.

A flexible and modern approach

Downe House offers a flexible approach to suit the individual needs of our pupils and their parents. From September 2025, girls will have the choice to join us as full boarders, flexi boarders or day girls – see below. All our pupils will have full access to our busy and broad extra-curricular programme during the evenings and weekends, including breakfast, lunch and supper. Families who are based in London will benefit from a regular bus service which leaves London every Monday morning, returning on Saturdays.

Full Boarders stay 7 nights a week in their Boarding House with the option to go home on Saturday afternoon after their commitments are met.

Flexi Boarders can stay up to 4 nights a week in their Boarding House (normally Monday to Friday nights inclusive, with an option to go home mid-week if they wish); the number of overnight stays can be adjusted each week.

Day Girls have access to all day, evening and weekend activities but do not stay overnight. Separate day-girl facilities are provided for day girls in the Upper School; in the Lower School and Sixth Form, day girls are integrated into our boarding Houses.

A global outlook

There are so many things that make the difference at Downe House. For girls in the Lower School, it includes up to a term spent in France by all Lower Fourth girls. The Upper School and Sixth Form have the opportunity to take part in our far-reaching Global Student Exchange Programme with 16 partner schools across five continents. Not to mention our Elective Programme which provides ‘super-curricular’ academic enrichment to challenge and stretch able girls.

Our Headmistress

Meet the Headmistress of Downe House, Mrs Emma McKendrick.



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.


Tours & Open Mornings

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.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
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