Development & the Foundation

The Downe House Foundation exists to link past and present members of the School community through events, communications and fundraising and also powers the School’s development activities.

Ten Year Vision

It is our aim to ensure that Downe House moves forward and remains at the forefront of boarding education. Our girls are preparing for an increasingly demanding future and we want them to have the very best preparation for life and the maximum range of opportunities, so that they can develop as rounded individuals and leave us ready to make a significant contribution to society. It is also our hope and aspiration that Downe House should, as our Founder intended, continue to be a thriving community so that the girls benefit from strong parental involvement, the support of our alumnae and, of course, the highest calibre of staff.

As part of our strategy to achieve this, the School has focused on strategic projects such as the recent refurbishment of Holcombe and Darwin, the building of the new Lower School Houses and improvements made to the dining facilities and surrounding area on the ground floor of Willis House. Our new Murray Centre has now been added to this list of achievements.

We want our alumnae to benefit from supporting each other pastorally and professionally as well as have access to the School’s ongoing support. We also hope that our past parents will continue to lend their support.

Enhancing, expanding and developing our facilities in an ambitious but measured way makes up part of our plan, but ensuring we can recruit and retain the best staff is key too.

Mrs Emma McKendrick, Headmistress

Key Development Projects

  • Bursaries and Legacies to broaden access to a Downe House education
  • A new Music School – significant improvements to the facilities for our talented musicians and staff
  • A new facility for Maths teaching and learning – creating a learning hub for this core subject
  • A new Creative Arts Centre – bringing together Art and Design in an inspirational setting

The Murray Centre

In February 2016, forty supporters joined the Foundation Office in the beautiful wood-panelled Council Room of the Royal College of Nursing, in Cavendish Square, London. Headmistress, Emma McKendrick spoke of the School’s vision for the ‘Centre for Learning’ project and formally launched the fundraising appeal to raise £6.5million.

Following the launch of the ‘Centre for Learning Appeal’, the School was overwhelmed by the tremendous support from every corner of the Downe House community. The School Governors agreed to support the project with a gift of £2 million, a private phase of fundraising raised just over £2.7 million from current and past parents, governors and alumnae, and a further £1.8 million was donated in the final phase of the fundraising campaign. The campaign offered supporters the opportunity to name or sponsor specific rooms and spaces, to fund learning and technology packs in the Library, to provide AV equipment, to sponsor a seat in the Auditorium or a stepping stone outside, to name but a few of the sponsorship opportunities.

The construction team moved in at the beginning of April 2017 and the whole School watched the building grow over the next year to take its place at the heart of the School campus. Opened for business in November 2018, the Murray Centre was the most significant new building project that Downe House has undertaken in its history and its whole rationale is based on the aim that it will touch and transform every girl’s education. The aim of this fantastic state-of-the-art building is to facilitate the enhancement and enrichment of learning for all. That might be a lecture, rehearsal or performance in the 250-seat Auditorium, individual learning in the well-resourced Library, socialising in the café or taking part in a collaborative learning experience in the communal areas.

Right from the start, girls and staff embraced the new space with excitement and enthusiasm, whether they were working in the Library, attending a lecture or playing chess in the social spaces.

  • An innovative, contemporary library
  • A state-of-the-art auditorium to enhance our enrichment programme
  • Flexible space for recitals, workshops, lectures, demonstrations and performances
  • Teaching and learning spaces
  • Senior room for smaller group discussions and tutorials
  • Multiple gallery areas to showcase the creative arts
  • Coffee Shop to bring all members of the School community together for informal meetings, tutorials and discussions
  • Quiet and inviting individual study spaces
  • A number of social spaces for the girls, parents and staff to relax over coffee
  • School Shop
  • A naturally ventilated space to reduce energy use which is designed to maximise daylight throughout the building
  • A thermally-efficient building envelope system with PV solar panels to generate all the building’s needs

Support us

Learn more about the different ways you can support Downe House.

Support Us

Foundation Report

The Downe House Foundation works to keep the spirit and ethos of the School at the heart of all that we do. By promoting an atmosphere where all community members benefit from initiatives which are designed to be informative, enjoyable, valuable and inspirational – we embrace the principles of our founder, Olive Willis.

The Foundation welcomes offers of donations of all sizes. Philanthropic gifts from individuals, trusts and foundations and corporate donors play a vital role in School life and such support enables Downe House to provide bursaries and to enhance facilities for pupils, staff and the wider Downe House community. Downe House accepts philanthropic gifts in accordance with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice.

Downe House pledges to treat its supporters with the highest level of care and respect. The School has compiled its Supporter Charter and annual Foundation Report to assure supporters of the integrity and accountability of its development programme.

The latest Downe House Foundation Report
The Downe House School Supporter Charter

The Downe House Foundation Office is a member of The Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IPDE).

We are also proud to be registered with the Fundraising Regulator, in recognition of our commitment to good fundraising practice.

Development FR Fundraising Badge Portrait HR logo Downe House


Visits & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House, is to come and experience it for yourself – arrange a visit or join us for one of our Open Mornings?