Girls joining Downe House at 11+ or 12+ enter one of the newly built or newly refurbished Lower School Boarding Houses, Hermitage, Hill or Darwin, which were opened in September 2015. Our aim is to provide the girls with a home away from home and the purpose-built Houses provide a comfortable and tremendously nurturing environment for the transition to boarding school life. The outstanding specialist pastoral care provided in House is a vital part of a successful start in School, allowing the girls to learn, develop and flourish in a safe and inspiring environment.
The Houses are furnished to the highest standard and provide dormitory accommodation (usually four girls per dorm), prep and learning spaces, sound-proofed music practice rooms, kitchens, common room space and outside play areas alongside accommodation for the Housemistresses and their teams.
The 11+ girls share the Houses with the 12+ girls, allowing them to integrate with and be supported by older age groups from the outset.
At 12+ all girls spend a term in the beautiful Perigord Noir, at our smaller 'farmhouse' school in the rural community of Veyrines-de-Dommes in France. This is undoubtedly one of the highlights of Lower School life and is designed to encourage each girl to develop her independence whilst remaining part of a community, as well as improving spoken French in an idyllic setting. Our philosophy is to immerse the girls totally in a new culture and encourage them to be outward looking.
Progressing into the Upper School at 13+, girls move into their nominated mixed-age House, living there until they have completed their GCSEs and remain attached to these key Houses throughout their time at Downe House.
For a closer look at Lower School boarding, please click here to read our guide to starting life at Downe House.