The Palmer Centre is our on-campus Health Centre which is staffed 24 hours-a-day by a team of 9 nurses and 2 administrators. Our nurses have a combined experience of over 100 years in nursing and school nursing and all the Health Centre staff are whole-heartedly committed to the wellbeing and health of every individual member of the School Community.
The Health Centre serves both day and boarding pupils and works in partnership with Burdwood Health Centre in the nearby town of Thatcham. Doctors from the Surgery visit our Health Centre four mornings a week, providing NHS GP care to our pupils. The School Medical Officer, Dr Natalie Colborne, oversees clinical practice in the Health Centre.
Our Health Centre staff are trained to deal with both illnesses and injuries which may occur to pupils, staff, or visitors on site. Many of the nurses have specialist training which enables us to offer asthma clinics, travel and vaccination advice and administration, maintaining childhood vaccinations, diabetes monitoring, sexual health, and mental health support, as well as many other services. They also offer information and training when appropriate to the wider staff community, including the use of epipens, and the location and use of the campus defibrillators.
The Health Centre staff work closely with the Director of Pupil Wellbeing and our School Counsellors, all of whom are experienced at working with teenage girls. Together, they ensure that we have the correct framework in place to provide the support and care the pupils need. We recognise that this support may need to come from a variety of sources and therefore we work closely with other professionals and external organisations when needed.
Downe House offers professional counselling support to our girls and our counsellors work within the School setting. Our counsellors, Mrs Madeleine Loughlin, Mrs Cassandra Eaton and Mrs Davinder Dhaliwal, work with the Health Centre and our Housestaff to ensure that care is available to girls on an individual level or in groups.
Philip Harris, a local physiotherapist with extensive expertise in Musculoskeletal and Orthopaedic conditions, attends the Health Centre every week. He works extensively with GPs in our area to provide private physiotherapy care for all. Philip has worked with Team GB at both the Commonwealth and Olympic Games providing physiotherapy and he works collaboratively our PE department staff, particularly to support our young athletes get back to optimum fitness after injury – taking into consideration all factors of school life.
Our holistic approach to pastoral care takes account of each girl’s wellbeing, placing emphasis on healthy, balanced minds and bodies. Our wellbeing programme gives the girls the tools for life to care for themselves as well as each other.
We’ve launched our very own Finding Balance programme which includes teaching girls 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. Regular yoga sessions, mindfulness coaching and meditation are key components to Finding Balance. We also have a range of experienced staff to whom girls can turn for help with specific worries or issues, so that she can feel assured of advice and support at any stage in her School journey.
Read our full Finding Balance programme.
“Wellbeing is about much more than happiness; it is about understanding how our minds and bodies work and then learning to look after them through the challenging times of life.”
Mrs Genevieve Ford, Boarding Deputy
“Mental health is one of the most important and underestimated factors of our generation, due to the stresses that everyday school and life brings on us. Taking time and appreciation for oneself is not only critical for a healthy balance in life, but also for physical health as well.”
Cece, Head Senior (2018)
“I found that the Positive Planner really helped me to set realistic tasks for the day, which meant that at the end of the day I could reflect on all the things that I had done, rather than focusing on the things that I hadn’t done that day.”
Antonia, Lower Fifth (2018)
“Wellbeing is key to the girls and staff and the School has introduced a raft of inspiring initiatives”
Good Schools Guide, 2019
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.Discover