Academic Enrichment

A Downe House education goes far beyond the academic curriculum and gives girls the opportunity to learn from a different perspective.

A culture of academic endeavour

At Downe House we aim to foster a culture of academic endeavour where enjoyment of learning is unlimited. All students have a wide range of choice and opportunities available to have their intellectual life enriched through stimulating and substantive academic endeavours. They are encouraged to take a lead in sharing their love of learning with their peers. Learning at Downe House goes far beyond the core curriculum and is part of the Downe House DNA. We equip girls with the tools and the confidence to delve deeper in to subjects that interest them, and to explore topics entirely new to them and that encourage them to be outward-looking and always questioning.  

There is a dedicated programme for academic award holders, The Scholars’ Programme. For Lower Fifth and Lower Sixth students, the Elective Programme, offers students the opportunity to go beyond the curriculum and explore new avenues of study with the aim of developing scholarly independence, intellectual flexibility and the ability to discuss complex ideas. These programmes run alongside departmental enrichment and the academic challenges offered by scientific, maths and linguistics Olympiads, debating, public speaking and essay competitions. Students are encouraged to be leaders, and there is a rich array of student-led societies, talks and publications, alongside mentoring opportunities. 

Mrs Maria Reichardt is our Director of Scholars and Enrichment. If you have any further questions, please do get in touch with her via email: reichardtm@downehouse.net

The Scholar's Programme

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The Scholar's Programme

The Scholars’ Programme aims to foster a culture of academic endeavour where enjoyment of learning is unlimited. Academic Award Holders have a wide range of choice and opportunities available to have their intellectual life enriched through stimulating and substantive academic endeavours, and they take a lead in encouraging and sharing their love of learning with their peers.

Click here to discover all the exciting opportunities that come with being an Academic Award Holder.

 

The Elective Programme

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The Elective Programme

The Elective Programme offers Lower Fifth girls the opportunity to go beyond the curriculum and explore new avenues of study with the aim of developing scholarly independence, intellectual flexibility and the ability to discuss complex ideas. This unique-to-Downe programme is comprised of a series of bespoke subject-specific modules designed to help inspire a lifelong passion of “learning for learning’s sake”.  

Click here to discover more about the Elective Programme

Academic Societies

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Academic Societies

Academic societies are an integral part of the academic enrichment programme at Downe House,  allowing students to explore particular interests in greater depth and to develop their understanding through listening and participation, and to broaden their friendship group across different year groups and different houses. Academic societies encourage students to develop confidence in public speaking through presentations, seminars and discussions. Often visiting speakers are invited to present.   

Phoenix Society

All Sixth Form girls are encouraged to participate in the Phoenix Society, which is a forum for presentation and discussion and sees Downe House regularly team up with partner boys’ schools including Radley and Eton. Subjects include in-depth research the students may be undertaking or simply personal hobbies or passions. 

Pupil Mentoring

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Pupil Mentoring

The Peer Mentoring programme is run by the Sixth Form and gives girls the opportunity to receive specific training to support younger students. Sixth Formers come down to the Lower School boarding Houses to meet up one-on-one with Remove and Lower Fourth students to help them settle into School life and help them with prep.

Lectures, Workshops & Debates

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Lectures, Workshops & Debates

Our lecture programme seeks to expand the girls’ horizons intellectually, spiritually, culturally and emotionally. In a challenging academic environment, we try to create an atmosphere of curiosity, interest and passion. High-calibre teaching is complemented by lectures, workshops, master classes and seminars on a vast range of subjects. 

Talks by well-known guest speakers from business, politics and many other facets of life encourage lively debate and provide a fascinating insight into the world we live in. We have been fortunate to host some really fascinating individuals for our Medley Lectures, including broadcaster, John Simpson, Presidente of the Disney Parks, Western Region and DH Alumna, Catherine Powell, Author, Simon Sebag-Montefiore and Mountaineer, Mollie Hughes. 

Professionals and company representatives regularly visit and talk to girls from the GCSE years through to the Upper Sixth to give insights into the world of work. The interactive talks range from providing a general overview of certain industries and career paths, to sharing personal stories which help to inspire and encourage the girls. 

Debating workshops run regularly for Sixth Form, and every year group is able to get involved with the annual House Debating Competition.

Radley Partnership

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Radley Partnership

Downe House and Radley College have enjoyed close relations for a long time. Recently, the pupils and staff at both schools have been collaborating on academic, co-curricular and social activities as part of a coherent strategy, which has led to a number of exciting student-driven collaborations.

Click here to read the full update on how we are building closer links between Downe House and Radley College.

Symposiums

Annual STEM and Humanities Symposiums are held to stretch some of the most academically curious LV and LVI pupils at Downe House and Radley.

Archival Study

Another exciting collaboration is between the two History Departments. Radley opened its extensive WW1 archive to Downe House girls and our own archivist at Downe House provided information about our alumnae’s and other local women’s contribution to the Great War effort. These sources enabled some excellent historical research which was conducted by teams of pupils from both schools. 

Academic Enrichment in the Sixth Form

Girls in the Sixth Form benefit from a wealth of lectures and other opportunities which are designed to equip them with insight and skills transferable to the world beyond Downe House. Enrichment opportunities include:

Click here to see the full-break down of enrichment opportunities available to pupils in our Sixth Form.

Pupil Publications

The following magazines are edited by Sixth Form students, with contributions from girls from all year groups. Click the cover to read the latest issue from each publication.

 

Academic News

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