Admissions process

We are delighted that you are considering Downe House as the right choice for your daughter and we will take you through the admissions process.

Register your daughter

We always encourage you to come and visit us so you can see school life for yourself and your daughter. After this, the next step is to register your daughter by completing the online registration form and transferring your registration fees. You can also download a pdf of the Registration Form to complete and send in the post to our Registrar.

The details for our Admissions department are as follows:

Miss Angela Nutt
Registrar
Downe House School
Cold Ash
Berkshire
RG18 9JJ

Assessment Days

Once your daughter is registered, the next step of the admissions process, is that your daughter will be invited for assessment.

For 11+ and 12+ candidates, this will happen one year prior to entry and girls are invited to attend an Assessment Day which takes place in the Michaelmas (Autumn) Term – we will also request a report from your daughter’s current Headteacher prior to this assessment. Assessment Days can be challenging, but we also want the girls to enjoy the experience, and believe it is the best way for us to get to know each girl. At our Assessment Days, girls take part in a variety of activities – from drama and design technology to team building workshops. Every girl has an interview with the Headmistress, completes a piece of creative or persuasive writing and has a tour of the School as well as lunch with some of our current girls. We know from experience that these different experiences not only show us more than written papers alone, but also give your daughter the chance to experience life at the School.

Following the 11+ and 12+ Assessment days, girls are asked to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test at their current school or, for overseas pupils, at a local testing centre. This is a standardised adaptive test used by many schools in the independent sector and consists of multiple-choice tests in Mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning. To find out more about the test, please visit here Common Pre-Tests (iseb.co.uk). Candidates are asked to complete the test by 30 November at the latest.

For 13+ candidates, assessment takes place in the Michaelmas (Autumn) term when pupils are in year 6. First, they are asked to sit the ISEB Common Pre-Test at their current school or, for overseas pupils, at a local centre as early as their school or test centre allows in October/November. Following strong scores in the test, pupils may then be invited to an assessment day at Downe House later in the term with places offered by the end of December. The Assessment day includes an interview with the Headmistress, a collaborative task and a piece of creative or persuasive writing. The day is designed to be challenging but also fun and a way for us to get to see your daughter engaging in a variety of activities.

Following the assessments for 11+, 12+ and 13+ candidates, each girl’s performance is carefully considered and offers of places are made. Successful candidates will be offered places on the basis of strong scores in the ISEB Common Pre-Test, good performance during the assessment day and recommendation from their current Head teacher. Offers will be made by the end of December. We ask 13+ candidates to sit the 13+ Common Entrance examination in June of year 8 for setting purposes only.

Potential Academic Scholars are identified by their scores in the ISEB Pre-Test which begins a separate scholarship procedure. Academic Scholarship papers are sat in the Lent Term prior to entry.

11+ and 12+ Entry including a term in France

11+ and 12+ Entry means girls join Downe House in the Lower School and have the opportunity of having a term in France. Unconditional offers are made following success in the ISEB Common Pre-Test and an Assessment Day in the Autumn term of the year prior to entry. Girls may then be identified as a potential Academic Scholar and invited to sit Academic Scholarship papers in January; the successful girls are then invited for an interview in February and awards subsequently made. Approximately 55 girls enter Downe House aged 11+ each year

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13+ Entry

13+ Entry means girls join Downe House in the Upper School. Unconditional offers are made following success in the ISEB Common Pre-Test and an Assessment Day in the Autumn term of year 6. Girls are then invited either to sit for an Academic Scholarship once they get to year 8 or to take the ISEB Common Entrance papers in year 8 for setting purposes only. These examinations are taken at your daughter’s current school in June. Academic Scholarships are sat in January; the successful girls are then invited for an interview in February and awards subsequently made. 45 girls enter Downe House aged 13+ each year.

The examination subjects taken at Common Entrance for 13+ entry are English, Mathematics and Science (Chemistry, Biology and Physics) and a Modern Foreign Language should they study one. If girls are preparing for other papers we would welcome these in addition to the core set. Candidates preparing for the Prep School Baccalaureate (PSB) are also welcomed.

Please do get in touch with any enquiries about possible examination exemptions.

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16+ Sixth Form Entry

For 16+ entry into our Sixth Form, your daughter will be required to sit three examination papers during the first week of November in the year prior to entry. Two of these papers are in subjects which your daughter is currently studying, or which she wishes to study in the Sixth Form at Downe House, as well as a General paper. These examinations are usually taken at your daughter’s current school and practice papers are available on request. Candidates are required to achieve a minimum of seven I/GCSE examinations at Grade 6 (B) or above, preferably with Grade 9/8 (A*) or 7 (A) in those subjects she wishes to study in the Sixth Form. If your daughter does not follow an education system with formal examinations at 16+, further testing may be required and a transcript of grades acquired from their previous school.

On completion of examination papers, successful candidates will be invited for an interview by the Head of Sixth Form and the Headmistress at the end of November. Offers will be made in December. There are also a number of scholarships available for pupils joining the Sixth Form. We strongly recommend early registration for your daughter. All offers and places are completed by April of the year prior to entry and availability of places in our Sixth Form is very limited.

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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