Downe House is one of the top all-girls’ boarding schools in the UK, with a reputation for excellence across the world. Grounded in tradition but maintaining a clear focus on the future, each individual matters at Downe. We are not only at the forefront of education for girls, but more importantly, we achieve success without having to adopt an academic ‘hot house’ approach. Our pupils not only achieve excellent academic results and are equipped with outstanding digital technology skills, but we also encourage and enable them to reach their potential in Sport, Creative and Performing Arts; our pupils represent international teams including Scotland, England, Wales, China and Switzerland in Lacrosse, perform at Stratford upon Avon, sing at St Pauls Cathedral, join charitable projects in Myanmar, go on to study at the top universities in the world like Imperial, Harvard and Oxbridge, and are recruited by the likes of Christie’s, Deloitte and Morgan Stanley with equal ease.
It is essential to prepare our students proactively for the wider world of which they will be a part. The path to success will require many skills and personal attributes including compassion, creativity, the ability to work hard and lead, but also to work collaboratively and with resilience.
-Mrs Emma McKendrick, Headmistress
Internationalisation and globalism are two very important developments in education in the 21st century. We encourage and support all pupils to aspire to and become outstanding global citizens by making them World Ready and succeed in a highly globalised and fast changing world. We also aim to strengthen the international focus of Downe House’s activities and to ensure we are an undisputed leader in this area by providing exceptional opportunities for students both in the UK and globally.
Internationally, our aim is to ensure that each Downe House International (DHI) school delivers the same exceptional educational experience to every student, based on the Downe House DNA.
Established in 1907, Downe House UK is a traditional school with a modern twist. Founded by Miss Olive Willis at Down House, the former home of Charles Darwin, in the village of Downe in Kent, Downe House UK aims to ignite a love of learning in every pupil making them believe that there is nothing they cannot achieve in the world.
Disillusioned by the independent education that existed for girls at the time, our founder, Miss Olive Willis, held the strong belief that a school should meet the needs of young women by valuing and prizing individuals and engendering a strong sense of community. She believed that excellence, excitement and enthusiasm for the world around should be hallmarks of every school community, that teachers should not be placed on pedestals and that girls should not be expected to rush around in a feverish attempt to behave like boys. Consequently, Downe House was established as ‘a school where each individual within the community matters and where relationships between staff and pupils are normal’.
Our values have not changed since the School opened in 1907; kindness and respect for others are as valued today as they were when the School was founded. Downe House’s aim has always been to enable, encourage and prepare girls to play a full and positive part as citizens of a global community and as outstanding women of the future.
Browse our interactive history timeline.Discover
Supporting education for girls and students worldwide…
Our international focus reflects our commitment and ambition to share our education management expertise on a global scale and to provide genuine opportunities to young people all over the world. We are committed to creating a diverse and global community within our founding School in Berkshire, alongside our international schools in Oman, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, France and our pioneering online DH Global Academy.
DHI was established in 2015 to manage international partnerships between Downe House UK and its sister schools around the world. Our aim is to grow internationally by actively seeking further opportunities globally. Along with offering a franchise, we aim to work closely with our international schools to provide outstanding educational and operational consultancy.
|Downe House Muscat||Downe House Riyadh||Downe House Sauveterre|
|Country||Oman||The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||France|
|Region||Al-Bandar, Muscat||Al Aqiq, Riyadh||Château de Sauveterre, Gers Region near Toulouse|
|Built-up Area||15,000m2 on a 20,500 m2 site||22,000m2 on a 44,000m2 site||The Château is built on a 12-acre site|
|Capacity||900 students||2,200 students||Boarding for 60 students|
|Opened||2022||2022||2020 (previously in Veyrines since 1996)|
|Type of School||All-girls at all ages||All-girls Years 5 – 13, co-ed Pre-Prep and Prep||Premium boarding school|
|Ages||Years 5 – 13||Pre-Prep through to Year 13||Years 7 and 8|
|Project Partners||Oman Ministry of Defence Pension Fund and EduReach||Manar Al-Tarbyah Company and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City||Downe House, UK, and Prep Schools Trust Schools|
The online Downe House Global Academy offers an impressive range of online super-curricular courses for intellectually ambitious
11 to 18-year-old girls around the world.
Our Business Development Committee has hands-on experience of developing outstanding schools around the world. We remain focused on creating a track record of setting-up international schools that not only achieve top academic results, but are also commercially successful. Meet the team and get in touch.Discover
Downe House recognises that global awareness and experience matter more in the 21st century than ever before at all levels of education and employment. At Downe, our aim is to make our girls ‘World Ready’ and help them stand out in their future careers both in the UK and globally.
-Ms Marya Akhtar, Director of Global Partnerships
Our Global Partnerships team ensures the development and smooth operation of all of our innovative global initiatives, as well as working closely with the Futures department and Business Development Committee. Meet the team and get in touch.Discover
Festival of Culture Day
An annual event where the whole school community dresses up in costumes, to reflect their cultures, ranging from Kimonos to Saris to Qipao to Kilts. The campus is decorated with flags representing all the nationalities on campus with food stalls offering cuisines from different parts of the world. The day culminates with a Cultural Show where staff and students perform dances, sing or recite poetry of their culture.
Celebrating Global Programme
The Global Ambassadors choose a selection of global festivals and national days to celebrate in any one academic year. Celebrations include visiting performers/speakers, themed lunch menus, decorations and traditional clothing, Kahoot! quizzes made by the pupils, as well as presentations from pupils and staff in assemblies and houses to share personal experiences of the festivals.
Global Festivals celebrated at Downe House in 2021-22
Mid Autumn or Moon Festival (China)
Independence Day (Nigeria)
Coming of Age Day (Japan)
Chinese New Year/Korean New Year (China, Hong Kong, Korea)
Eid al-Fitr (Nigeria, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Gulf)
Gawai Dayak (Malaysia, Indonesia)
Global Festivals celebrated at Downe House in 2022-23
National Day of Spain (Spain)
Lantern Festival (China)
Carnival in Rio (Brazil)
Rocket Festival (North-Eastern Thailand and Laos)
Eid al-Adha (Islam)