Welcome to the Sixth Form

At Downe House, we value, support and challenge you as an individual.

Hear from girls and staff, discover the Sixth Form, and why you will love to be a part of the community in the Sixth Form at Downe House.


Welcome to the Sixth Form

Welcome from Lucy and Teal

Welcome from Mrs McKendrick

Welcome from the Head and Deputy Senior

Head and Deputy Head Senior Lucy and Teal smile at the camera

Hi everyone!

It is such a pleasure to welcome you and to introduce you to what life is like in the Sixth Form at Downe House. As Head and Deputy Head Senior, we are so excited to help you begin the next chapter of your school life at Downe House. In our experience, the Sixth Form is a time of incredible opportunity to develop not only your academic and extra-curricular activities but also long-lasting friendships.

Naturally, joining the top of the school comes with many new responsibilities which can seem daunting. However, as you settle into Sixth Form you find that it is comfortable to enjoy a new level of freedom presented to you, with a chance to explore all that is on offer. From the colour of the jumper you put on in the morning to the ensembles, productions or societies you might lead in the evening, you are given the possibility of forging your own path through the coming years. Although this entails more independence, you remain supported by an incredibly welcoming team of pastoral staff, who are always there for you: whether that means a quick catch up or exchanging cheers while watching the football. Having the entire year together in one house also means that you are always surrounded by the people you have come to know and love over the years, whilst also being able to establish new friendships. With the aid of the Higher Education team, you are guided through the process of university applications with a wealth of support and advice every step of the way – by the time you reach the Upper Sixth, you will feel more than ready for the next stage of your education.

Whether you are most excited about a separate dining room or the many more study periods in your timetable, the Sixth Form is a time to expand your horizons and enjoy the countless opportunities available to you. As you prepare to take on this next stage, know that we, along with the rest of the Seniors team and Sixth Form staff, are here to guide and support you along your journey.

Lucy and Teal

Meet the Head of Sixth Form

Portrait of Mel Stimson smiling

I was appointed Head of Sixth Form in 2012 and it has been a real privilege to work with such talented girls and such committed Housestaff. Whilst there is a focus on the academic, it has been pivotal for me that the Sixth Formers maintain balance in their lives and embrace all the opportunities on offer here at Downe House. We have a dynamic and supportive environment in which each girl can reach her true potential.

I completed my degree in 1998 when I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a History degree and went on to complete a PGCE in Glasgow. I started my teaching career in Scotland and have gradually moved south ever since. I have worked at Oundle as a History teacher and an Assistant Housemistress, before moving to Bristol Grammar School as a teacher of History and leading the Year 11 pastoral team. In this role. I realised how much I enjoyed being involved in students’ academic and social development and I knew this was an area I wished to pursue further. From there, I moved to Badminton School in 2006 to be the Head of History and Politics, and as the years progressed, I took on additional roles as Head of Years 9-11 and then Deputy Head of Sixth Form.

Being the Head of Sixth Form at Downe House is a multifaceted role and I thoroughly enjoy the variety of my current post as no two days are the same!

If you have any questions about the Sixth Form, or would like to come and see me for a chat, please email stimsonm@dowenhouse.net.

I look forward to getting to know you further in the Sixth Form.

Ms Stimson

Why Downe House?

Head Senior, Lucy, shares her decision to stay at Downe House for Sixth Form, and the positive impact that her existing relationships and friendships have had on helping shape her future.

‘Ultimately, what sets Downe House apart from other schools is not just the incredible education you receive but the strong friendships you build. Through living and working together every day, you soon make very close friends, who will stick by you through thick and thin, throughout your time at School but also throughout your life. I have seen this firsthand, not only from talking to the alumnae who come back to visit Downe House, but also my older sister, who is now 30, and her closest friends are still, without a doubt, all Downe House girls.

Not only are we supported every step of the way and constantly encouraged to aim high, but encouraged to study subjects we enjoy, whether they be Arts, Humanities or Sciences. Recently, I have started the Downe House Oxbridge programme, which involves weekly meetings with a mentor and group tutorials to guide me through the Oxbridge process.’

Watch Lucy below, or find out more about about Lucy’s Downe House journey, in our article.

Boarding at Sixth Form

There are two Houses in the Sixth Form, York and Willis, with each intake residing in either York or Willis for the entire Sixth Form. With excellent facilities for living and independent working, these houses have been expressly designed to better prepare you for life beyond Downe House. Enjoying much greater levels of freedom, girls in Sixth Form take more responsibility for their own learning, living and time-planning. Benefiting from a more ‘adult’ relationship with Housestaff, Sixth Form girls enjoy spacious common rooms, regular trips to the theatre, concerts and exhibitions, as well as the freedom to choose to be in or out of school on most weekends.

On the weekend, the Sixth Form enjoy movie nights. pamper nights, bake boxes and weekly wellbeing sessions alongside all the fantastic co-curricular options on offer. The Sixth Form also have socials with Radley, Winchester and Eton, alongside activities such as Caledonian Society reels and formal dinners.

Discover more about Life in the Sixth Form here.

Selecting Your Subjects

In the Sixth Form, pupils select 4 A Level subjects, tailoring their education to their interests and talents. Downe House offers the opportunity to study subjects that pupils may not have come across before.

Watch the videos below to meet our current Upper Sixth and learn about their experience of these new subjects.

History of Art

Read more about the subjects available at Sixth Form with our Sixth Form Options Booklet.

Sixt Form subjects booklet

Academic Success

We work hard to provide you with the very highest quality of academic tuition needed to fulfil your potential and achieve your best results. In the Sixth Form, we support and encourage you to turn your aspirations for the future into reality, whether that’s attending University, pursuing an apprenticeship or vocational course, or discovering the world through volunteering and travelling.

At Downe House, we help you achieve academic success to enable you to enter the world ready for the next step.

We work hard to provide girls with the very highest quality of academic tuition needed to fulfill their potential and achieve their best results. Girls are supported and encouraged to turn their aspirations for the future into reality and it is always the personal triumphs and individual achievements of the girls that give most pleasure. However, the statistics provide plenty of evidence of the academic success that our girls achieve.

View our 2021 A Level Results.

Beyond the Curriculum

Downe House offers a multitude of opportunities throughout the Sixth Form to help expand your learning beyond the curriculum and to prepare our graduates to be World Ready.

Along with the extensive World Ready Programme, The Ivy House leadership award and Mini MBA help to build confidence, ownership and resilience, teaching you key leadership skills to stand out as an exceptional candidate. Pupils can study abroad with our popular Global Schools’ Exchange Programme, with schools available in Japan, India, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, the USA and more. The Elective Programme challenges the intellectually curious, allowing pupils to study an entirely bespoke programme and select topics that interest them the most.

Learn more about each programme by clicking on the images below:

Global Exchange BookletElective programme cover
Ive House Leadership Booklet

Higher Education

“When they leave School, pupils are well prepared to face with confidence the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of living and working in the modern world.” 

Independent School Inspectorate Report, 2017

Making decisions about the future is a complex and daunting task, but Downe House are experienced and equipped to help you make an informed decision. Downe House has a comprehensive higher education and careers guidance programme and a dedicated High Education and Global Initiatives team, who offer specific expertise to help you make the best choice.

The Higher Education team specialises in University applications, with an Overseas University Coordinator and a Head of Oxbridge and Medicines Applications to offer additional support to those applying to these pathways. Higher Education Advisors are available to mentor you throughout your Sixth Form journey, providing support with careers, placements, internships, applications, interviews and more.

Girls from the Upper Sixth leave us to take up places at top universities across the world, including the US and Canada. This year, over 26% went on to read STEM subjects with Politics, International Relations, Economics, Business, Modern Languages, English and creative and performing arts courses also being very well represented. With 98% of the grades at A Level and Pre-U being A* to B, and 84% of all grades being A*/A. See the full list of University destinations and courses here.

For questions regarding Higher Education, please contact Ms Marya Akhtar, Director of Higher Education and Global Initiatives at akhtarm@downehouse.net.

Discover more about the Downe House Higher Education Team.

Thank you

Thank you for attending the Introduction to Sixth Form Web Event. We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from the pupils and staff, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Sixth Form at Downe House.

If you have any questions regarding the Sixth Form, please complete the form below.

If you would like to book a meeting regarding entry to the Sixth Form, or want a chat about the process, please email Mrs Tara Reeve reevet@dowenhouse.net.

Any Questions?

Listen to the latest Downe House PodcastHere