Since 1996, the Lower School term in France has been a unique opportunity to experience life in the stunning Périgord Noir region of the Dordogne. All members of the Lower Fourth (Year 8) take part in this great adventure, which becomes a highlight of their education at Downe. The current school is situated in the heart of the village of Veyrines-de-Domme and it is here that we provide a safe, secure and inspiring environment for the girls.
“I will always treasure my time in Veyrines!”
Clara, Lower Fourth (2018)
Living in beautifully restored and cosy farm buildings that surround an attractive courtyard, the girls are cared for by the school’s Headmistress, Mrs Deb Scotland, who lives on site with her husband, Iain, who is also the Administrator. The Deputy Head, Louise Lameret, lives nearby with her husband and daughter. All other members of teaching and domestic staff are French and the whole team is dedicated to the education and wellbeing of the girls.
The term in Veyrines is designed to provide each girl with the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture. Teaching and learning are of the utmost importance and whilst girls inevitably make enormous progress in French, they can also expect to be challenged intellectually and personally on a daily basis, becoming more independent and confident as a result.
School-based learning is supported by an extensive and stimulating programme of trips which have included visits to historical sites, working with a truffle expert, and a variety of sporting activities. The Veyrines term also includes the girls working closely with the local community where they are involved in charity work, opportunities for collaborative projects with pupils of a similar age, a partnership with a local primary school where the girls teach English and concerts for elderly members of the community.
The curriculum in Veyrines takes advantage of the fact we are located in one of the most remarkable regions of France, in the valley of the Dordogne. This unique area, rich in art, history and geography becomes a natural extension to the classroom through a carefully designed programme of ‘sorties’ or outings.
Our two classrooms are equipped with AV/IT facilities and we employ a variety of teaching methods to engage and stimulate learners.
All lessons except Mathematics are delivered in French as far as is practical and we differentiate language lessons for bilingual pupils and girls who are relatively inexperienced in the subject.
We maintain close links with academic departments in the UK and girls will study French, History and Mathematics alongside distinct subjects such as SVT (Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre). Cookery and Textiles are included in the curriculum and each term a small number of girls attend a workshop in either oil or watercolour painting.
Girls are regularly assessed throughout the term and a full written report is published at the end of the term.
“The benefit that the girls derive from the term in France has exceeded our original expectations in every way! Of course there are enormous linguistic benefits, but the growth in confidence that comes from the experience of living in France and learning in a different way is unrivalled. Our French experience forms a significant part in preparing girls for the Upper School at Downe, in the same way that their final year at prep school does.”
Mr and Mrs Irving, parents (2018)
“Parents describe the French experience as ‘the jewel in the crown of Downe House'”
Good Schools Guide, 2019
“In France, you don’t only improve academically, you also make close friends. It is a rare opportunity and a special one too.”
Danna, Lower Fourth (DH 2015)
“I will always treasure my time in France!”
Clara, Lower Fourth (DH 2016)
“Our daughter has had a wonderful time in France. She has absolutely thrived and returned with so many happy memories that she will treasure for her whole life.”
Parent, Summer Term 2018
Who better to describe life in Veyrines than the girls themselves? Get a glimpse of the term in France with our Veyrines blog.Discover
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?Discover