Welcome to the Sixth Form

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

Hear from girls and staff to discover the Sixth Form and find out why you will love being a part of the Downe House Sixth Form community.

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Welcome to the Sixth Form

Welcome


Welcome from Mrs McKendrick

Welcome from the Head and Deputy Senior

Head and Deputy Head Senior Ebunlola and Cléo smile at the camera

 

Hi everyone!

We can’t wait for you to join us in the Sixth Form! As your Head and Deputy Head Senior, we just wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know that we’ll be here to answer any questions you have along your journey!

The Sixth Form is easily the best part of the School as it is filled with so many amazing opportunities not only to develop in your academic studies and enjoy new activities but also to build outstanding friendships and memories. Having your whole year in one house allows you the opportunity to establish and build friendships with people you may have never talked to before, whilst also being surrounded by people that you have grown to know and love over the years. Of course, there’s also the bonus of now being at the top of the school. This can seem daunting at times with all sorts of new responsibilities but there’s also a refreshing sense of independence. The housestaff will still always be there for you as well as your tutor and Miss Taylor; there’s no shortage of people who want to help you do your best! You’ll also soon become acquainted with the Futures team who will guide you through all your applications over the next two years. Everyone’s path out of Downe will be different and the Futures team make it so that you are supported every step of the way. We have no doubt that by the end of the Upper Sixth you will be able to leap into the next stage of your life!

Whether you are excited about the Sixth Form bar or leading next year’s house competitions, the Sixth Form is all about seizing opportunities to be ready for the world outside of Downe; it is time for you to unlock the final Downe House DNA strand to become more outward looking. As you join us in Willis Dining Room, rest assured, that we along with the rest of the Seniors team are here to support you.

One last thing from us: remember to enjoy every bit of it as, from experience, it all flies by within the blink of an eye!

Ebunlola and Cléo

Meet Miss Georgina Taylor
Assistant Head (Sixth Form) Designate

I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Downe House as Assistant Head (Sixth Form) from June 2023.

My career spans teaching and multiple boarding roles, throughout which I have gained an enormous amount of experience and expertise. I started my career at Concord College as a Geography Teacher and Sixth Form Boarding Parent before taking on the role of Head of Form 3 (Year 9). Whilst at the school, I also worked on the safeguarding team for their Summer School.

5 Years ago, I moved to Wycombe Abbey as Head of Geography, and in 2020 I moved back into boarding there as Senior Housemistress.

I am a Governor at a local school and I really enjoy tutoring; I spent two summers in China working for a tutoring agency and enjoyed the experience so much that I have continued tutoring in the UK at GCSE level.

As Assistant Head (Sixth Form) my remit will extend across the whole of the Sixth Form community. During what will be such an important time for your daughters, I will guide and support them throughout their examinations and their preparations for university and beyond.

I am incredibly excited to get to know the pupils and my fellow staff, and I intend to bring a friendly positive attitude to every aspect of my role.

Downe House clearly offers a huge amount to pupils of all abilities, cultures and interests. It provides a broad and rounded education, focusing on the whole person, something I am hugely passionate about. I am impressed by the way in which pupils support and boost one another, celebrating successes, and the fact that the School has an environment that allows pupils to grow and flourish at their own pace.

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

Miss Taylor

Why Downe House?

Last year, our Head Senior, Lucy (DH 2022), shared her decision to stay at Downe House for Sixth Form, and the positive impact that her existing relationships and friendships 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.’

You can watch Lucy in a short video she made for us below, or find out more about Lucy’s Downe House journey, in this 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 their entire time in 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 usually select 3 A Level subjects, sometimes 4 if it is advisable to do so if they are considering particular professional courses, for example medicine, at certain universities. Students tailor their education to their interests, talents and aspirations. Downe House offers the opportunity to study subjects that pupils may not have come across before.

Watch the videos below to hear from last year’s Upper Sixth as they discuss their experience of studying these new subjects.

Philosophy
Politics
Photography
History of Art
Economics
EPQ
Leiths

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


Sixth Form subjects booklet

Academic Success

At Downe House, we help our pupils achieve academic success so they can enter the world ready for the next step, whether that’s attending University, pursuing an apprenticeship or vocational course, or discovering the world through volunteering and travelling.

We work hard to provide girls with the very highest quality of academic tuition needed to fulfil their potential and achieve their best results. Girls are supported and encouraged to turn their aspirations for the future into reality as 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 2022 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 key leadership skills to stand out as exceptional candidates. Pupils also have access to our Global Internships Programme – a unique and rewarding experience to explore an array of job areas and work cultures in different countries and sectors. Students can also 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 (please note these booklets are illustrative only – specific programme options for next academic year will be released in due course):

Global Exchange BookletElective programme cover

The Futures Department and 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 for anyone but the key to success lies in making an informed decision. To enable girls to choose a course, a career or an alternative pathway, we have put into place a comprehensive higher education and careers guidance programme. The Futures 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 pupils throughout their 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. In 2022, 89% took up places offered at their first choice universities, with 82% heading to Russell Group universities and 29% to QS World Top 50. Many students (24%) went on to read STEM subjects including 10% reading Medicine and Medical Sciences, with Politics, Economics and Management, as well as creative and performing arts courses also being very well represented. 92% of the grades at A Level and Pre-U were A* to B, and 75% of all grades were A*/A. See the full list of University destinations and courses here.

If you have any questions about our Futures provision, please contact Mrs Sarah Barnard, Director of Futures Department at barnards@downehouse.net.

Discover more here: Downe House Futures

Listen to the latest Downe House Podcast Here