Our digital commitment

Our mission is to ensure our girls leave School ready for the world. Whether as innovative higher education students, as trailblazers in the workplace or as interconnected global citizens, we know that technology will play a vital role.

 

 

Our commitment to digital development

Our commitment to digital development is at the very heart of our education and School life. Everyone at Downe House shares the same digital experience. Our girls, our staff, our houses and our classrooms are connected through a holistic digital provision of software (Office 365) and hardware (Microsoft Surfaces). This commonality is crucial because it enables the whole community to be inclusive and innovative.

We also know that digital technology will help prepare girls for the life after Downe House by providing them with a richer educational experience and by giving them the skills and confidence to enter the wider world of study and work, where digital literacy and technology will play a huge role.

Particularly relevant at the moment, our commitment to digital progression means that we can maintain an exemplary quality of teaching and learning whether at school, home or anywhere else.

Our Digital Strategy is driving the ongoing transformation of teaching and learning, helping us to ensure that Downe House girls are fully prepared for the future.

Mr David McClymont

Director of Information Systems

Microsoft Showcase School

We are proudly a Microsoft Showcase School and have been since 2018, pioneering state-of-the-art educational technology at school and in the wider education sector.

CPD for staff is a huge element of our digital strategy and we are delighted that Downe House has the highest number of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts trained in the UK, which creates a School culture of adaptability and innovation; our aim is to encourage all staff to continue to work towards this award. Our digital strategy means that we, staff and students alike, are prepared for innovative and collaborative learning from anywhere – at home or in the classroom.

Microsoft Surface Programme

Research shows that innovative digital teaching and learning is facilitated by students’ ready access to standardised technology. To this end, every new student begins School with their own fully set-up Microsoft Surface Pro (a hybrid tablet with stylus) and has an extensive induction on the variety of ways they can use and experiment with this device to best suit their own learning style.

To ensure that parents are up-to-date with the latest age-specific technology trends and concerns, we invite E-safety experts to talk specifically to our parents about internet safety and managing technology at home.

How we’re using technology

Curious to see how digital technology features specifically in school life? Read our stories below.

Supporting girls during remote learning

How digital technology enabled consistent pastoral care online

In lockdown and remote learning more than ever, it is essential for students to feel valued and supported beyond the classroom. How did this translate to a digital setting?

Read More

Supporting girls during remote learning

How digital technology enabled consistent pastoral care online

Downe House had a relatively smooth transition to digital teaching and learning, so much so that we were able to continue to give our pupils a full timetable of lessons. Our staff, already trained as part of our digital strategy, could make full use of the innovative tech to create limitless potential for collaboration and feedback.

Of course, a Downe House education includes much more than academic life and during the lockdown, our pastoral staff also embraced Microsoft Teams to deliver a full programme of co-curricular and wellbeing activities in the evenings and weekends. From online book clubs and yoga to debates, quizzes and individual chat time, the Housestaff used the technology to look after the girls’ wellbeing in the same way as they would if they were in the boarding House.

Our holistic digital system allows for pastoral care provision with the continuation of one-to-one weekly video tutorials as well as virtual breaktimes and catch ups with House staff. Each House organised its own schedule of virtual House meetings and a whole host of evening activities and workshops outside of the curriculum to make sure that every girl stays connected.

The IT department took statistics from one online school day (Monday 23 March,) and on that day alone Downe House had 751 lessons and 198 additional calls!

Trinity Drama Bronze Arts Award

How digital technology led to nationally-recognised qualifications

Our departments are innovative in the way they develop our education programme. How did our use of technology lead to our Drama department becoming an exemplary Arts Award centre?

Read More

Trinity Drama Bronze Arts Award

How digital technology led to nationally-recognised qualifications

Downe House offers Upper Fourth students the opportunity to complete the Trinity Drama Bronze Arts Award. Whether or not students want to go on to study Drama at GCSE and A Level, the Arts Award is a valuable certification that teaches girls resilience, builds confidence and requires self-evaluation in a collaborative setting, all before the pressures of GCSEs.

Downe House was showcased by Trinity Arts Award thanks to our high uptake of girls completing the Award. Notably, girls evidenced their coursework entirely remotely using OneNote so that the whole course was completed digitally on their Microsoft Surfaces. Even the adjudication of the work was digital which meant that girls were able to learn how to create a structured portfolio of multimedia work in an environmentally-friendly and professionally innovative way.

Staying active over lockdown

How the Sport department embraced digital technology to keep us active

Sport might not seem the obvious choice as a showcase for digital technology, but lockdown necessitated a new way of delivering sports activities. How did our Sports department embrace digital learning to include girls and staff around the globe?

Read More

Staying active over lockdown

How the Sport department embraced digital technology to keep us active

The Sports department began immediate online provision from the outset of remote learning, with the continuation of timetabled PE lessons using Microsoft Teams for girls who were able to participate live. For all students, there were weekly challenges and activities set and girls documented their activity in ‘Sports diaries’ using OneNote. Whether it was a long dog walk, a static bike session or completing a Youtube class, there was something for everyone. Thanks to our technology, the Sports department were able to track girls’ participation in physical activity and follow up where necessary.

On top of this, Sports staff ran biweekly online staff fitness sessions and encouraged staff and families alike to get involved with special 3km challenges for virtual match fixtures against other schools. We had over 650 virtual sports day entries!

Sports enrichment continued during lockdown, with a hugely successful series of seven Sports Talks from leading athletes and professionals across the industry to talk about leadership, resilience and the importance of staying active. With the talks taking place online, we were able to open up these events to partner schools to share our provision with the wider education community.

An example of a Sports Diary entry on OneNote with teacher’s marking

Our E-Champions

We believe that it is crucial for the girls themselves to pioneer new technology and lead our digital strategy. We have a group of tech-savvy girls across the school who work together to raise awareness of digital best practice and online safety. For example, the team have created their own E-Champions 5 Top Tips infographic and E-Champion Dominica has produced a helpful infographic of vocabulary to inform us about our digital presence.

Our digital strategy

We our committed to progressing our digital strategy at a whole school level. To this end, our Director of Information Systems is on our Leadership team and works closely with staff across the school to ensure that our digital technology meets our academic and pastoral needs. On top of this we have a team of digital leaders from different departments to champion our digital strategy and work with our Director of IS to move us forward. You can read more about our Director of Information Systems, Leadership team and digital leaders here.

Discover

The importance of digital learning in lockdown

David McClymont, our Director of Information Systems, reflects on the role technology has played in facilitating online teaching and learning and why the transition to virtual teaching was so successful.

Discover

How our curriculum delivery is changing with new technology

Jane Basnett, Head of Modern Foreign Languages and one of our digital leaders, showcases in depth how her department is using technology to enhance learning online.

Discover

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.

Discover