Handing over the Gowns

It’s that time of year when our newly appointed Seniors take over their new positions of responsibility and the outgoing Seniors hand over their gowns…

16 June 2021

The quirkiest tradition at Downe House is the annual ‘Handing over the Gowns’. The event takes place in the Cloisters during the Summer term and symbolises a new beginning for the incoming Senior team, whilst celebrating the outgoing Senior team and their hard work.

Nurturing leadership skills is an important part of the ethos of developing girls at Downe House. In the Lent term, girls in the Lower Sixth apply for the Positions of Responsibility, covering all aspects of School life: Heads of House and Section, Environmental and Global Ambassadors, Literary, Sports, Music, Drama, Creative Arts, and Chapel Seniors and, of course, the Head and Deputy Seniors. After their detailed applications, girls are invited to interviews with the Headmistress.

The traditional gowns are given to the girls in the Positions of Responsibility, passed on from Senior to Senior throughout the years. Each new Senior sews in her name tag, becoming a permanent part of Downe House history. The growing patch of name tags displays a community of pupils who have held the same Senior position and serves as a wonderful reminder of the dedication of those before.

Part of the ceremony involves an inevitable ‘tussle’ between the outgoing Senior and the new Senior, prising the gown from their hands as they reluctantly let go! Generating plenty of laughs, it forms a rite of passage for the new Seniors as they step into their roles.

Thank you to the outgoing Seniors for all of their ambition, dedication, and achievements in an undoubtedly tough year. All at Downe House wish you the best for the years ahead. Congratulations to our new Seniors, who have seamlessly stepped into their roles. We look forward to the upcoming year with you.

To hear from our Seniors 2021/2022, keep scrolling!

This year’s Head Senior, Lucy Barrie explains how she sees her role for the year ahead,

The main goal for this year is to focus on the re-integration of the Downe Community, coming together after, what we all agree, was a hard year. We want to ensure there is a strong culture of respect between one another and throughout the School where our differences are celebrated and respected. Teal (Deputy Head Senior) will be working closely together, attending School Council and Seniors’ meetings where the primary aim is to improve and support the entire Downe House commmunity. We also speak at Open Mornings and New Staff Days as well as taking our turn to staff the tuckshop! Having joined in Remove, Downe House has played such a big part in my life and, without a doubt, given me so much throughout my time here. Before leaving, I would love to make a genuine contribution by reciprocating the support and guidance that I have always received from everyone at Downe House, not only from the staff but from girls, older and younger.

Louisa Healey, Head of Dance tells us why she applied for the role,

Since the age of two and a half, I have loved to dance. After joining Downe House in Remove, I have had the pleasure of seeing the Dance Department develop, and I am so grateful that I can be a part of the growth of this department. I hope to evoke more interest from girls in all years as I believe that Dance is something that teaches you crucial skills, as well as being a great outlet for stress and anxiety. I also hope to help launch new initiatives which will enable Dance at Downe House to become more widely acknowledged and admired. I will be assisting the Head of Dance, Miss Ward with the various Dance teams, making sure everyone knows what is going on in the Dance Department via Assemblies and generally helping out where I can.

Head of AGN House, Rosie Montague describes her new role and why she applied for it,

AGN has done so much for me over my time at Downe and I wanted to give what I could back to our community. As a team, we are focusing on what we can do to help the girls coming up from Lower School to integrate into AGN – we’re holding a Bonding BBQ next Wednesday as well as planning to take advantage of AGN’s unique location in the beautiful woods to create a vegetable patch for the girls to work on together. We are the first House to open our weekly House Council meetings to all AGN girls who want to participate, rather than just year group reps and Seniors. On a day-to-day basis, I work alongside the Housestaff and my Deputies to organise activities for the girls to enjoy. I also meet with the other Heads of Houses and Head Seniors on School Council, sharing topics of discussion at AGN House Council.

World Ready Programme

From the moment a girl joins Downe House, she embarks on the World Ready Programme, a structured framework of opportunities, activities and support designed to take her on an individual journey to equip her with the life skills and knowledge to embrace every opportunity with confidence and humility.

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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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