Co-curriculum Downe House


Olive Willis, our Founder, had a vision for girls to embark on an adventure in education where the pursuit of activities and experiences complement classroom learning.

Co curriculum Downe House
Co-curriculum Downe House


Olive Willis, our Founder, had a vision for girls to embark on an adventure in education where the pursuit of activities and experiences complement classroom learning.

An adventure that will leave her feeling there is nothing she cannot achieve.

Olive Willis, Founder of Downe House

Education becomes an adventure when learning leaves the classroom

As a full boarding school, we are not tied by the constraints of a traditional school day, and as such we provide an exceptional range of opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.

With a rich and varied programme of co-curricular activities, girls are able to develop interests in subjects, sports, hobbies and interests that may not previously have been experienced or considered.  For our part, we are committed to supporting each girl find an activity (or more) that will challenge, stimulate and develop her by offering a tremendous diversity of enrichment opportunities, clubs and activities.

As well as enriching each girl’s experiences, such activities also support the emotional and social development of the girls. Our focus is, in particular, on developing in our girls’ compassion, collaboration, resilience, creativity, aspiration, effective communication skills and a commitment to being outward-looking.

From film club to drama, horse-riding to astronomy, current affairs to the choir, we believe that learning goes beyond the classroom and we encourage every girl to ‘have a go’ whatever their level of ability.



At Downe House we offer an exciting range of trips. Some of these are department specific and recent examples include a History and Politics trip to Washington DC, USA, the Geography trip to Iceland and the Tennis tour to Portugal. We also offer other trips as enrichment experiences which can end up being highlights of a girl’s time at Downe House, such as the Lower School trip to China with Ludgrove School. 

Global Initiatives

Girls in the Fifth Form have the opportunity to take part in a global exchange and study abroad at one of our 16 partner schools across five continents. It is a unique and rewarding experience which immerses the girls in school and family life giving them the opportunity to explore different communities and cultures. 

Cultural Days

Organised by our Global Partnerships department, girls participate in International Days at School. Often including involvement from other schools, girls take part in workshops, seminars and practical sessions to explore a country’s culture, history, language and food. 


We firmly believe that knowing how to eat healthily, sleep well, exercise, relax and manage stress are every bit as important as other aspects of School life. Our Finding Balance programme includes yoga, mindfulness and a range of techniques and tips to ensure that the energy and pace of boarding life have a natural counterpart, where relaxation, fun and stillness have their place. 

Clubs and Activities

Our rich and varied co-curricular programme is designed to offer each girl limitless opportunities to pursue interests beyond the curriculum, with the option of developing leadership skills by running her own club. 

The Anti-Bullying Committee, run by the Sixth Form for girls of all year groups, provides a platform for a range of activities designed to prevent and combat bullying in the Downe House community.

Art and Crafts 
Girls can join Art Club and where they can follow their own ideas, using any medium at all, and to experiment with new techniques. We also have Crafts and Ceramics Club where girls design and create a broad range of objects. This might range from learning origami and designing greetings cards to creating ceramic dishes and making broaches. Opportunities abound for girls to explore and discover their artistic talents whether it be ceramics, fine art, graphic design, textiles or photography. Girls enjoy regular trips to art galleries and exhibitions as well as displaying work in competitions and public events at the Arlington School of Crafts and the Armed Forces Day Art Exhibition at Newbury Racecourse. 

Caledonian Society 
A joint initiative with Radley, Winchester and Eton which sees Sixth Form girls learning different Scottish reels and enjoying reeling socials with the boys’ schools which consists of a formal dinner followed by a series of six reels. Great fun for everyone! 

Christian Union 
As the spiritual heart of the campus, the Chapel serves as a place for regular worship and girls can also join Roots, the Christian Union society, which offer the opportunity to reflect, explore and question the Christian faith. Girls can also join confirmation courses and each term, there is the opportunity to be confirmed in the Chapel. 

Dance is thriving at Downe House with over 200 pupils taking part in classes on a weekly basis. Co-Curricular classes are available for all levels in ballet, modern dance, tap, hip hop and contemporary and pupils can work towards Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) ballet exams. 

An inclusive approach to drama means that there are many ways for your daughter to get involved in drama on stage or behind the scenes, taking part in theatre workshops, enrolling for speech and drama lessons or working towards the Arts Award. 

Cookery Club and Weekend Workshops are a popular option with the Lower and Upper School girls who enjoy learning to cook everything from a Thai Chicken Curry to the perfect chocolate brownie in the well-equipped kitchens. The CCA Department supplies Bake Boxes for the Sixth Form girls with all the ingredients to cook independently in the boarding house at the weekends. For girls in Sixth Form who want to take their cookery skills to the next level, they can sign up for the Leiths Introductory Certificate in Food and Wine course in the Sixth Form.

Food Forum
The Lower School, Upper School and Sixth Form committees each meet twice a term to discuss the catering provision in the School with the Catering Department and give valuable feedback.

Girls enjoy frequent socials with local Prep Schools for the younger years and boys’ schools such as Winchester College, Radley and Eton for the older years.

Weekly Wellbeing
A variety of wellbeing activities take place regularly include pamper sessions, making healthy snacks, pamper nights, movie nights and yoga.

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.

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