Joining as a Day Pupil

More than a day at school
A world of opportunities on your doorstep

Open Evening for Day Pupils

Our next Day Pupil Open Evening is on Tuesday 30 April 2024 and is a wonderful opportunity to visit our School and discover how being a Downe House day pupil can work for your family – and be a great choice for your daughter.


Ever since the School’s foundation in 1907, our mission to offer a world class girls’ education has put innovation and change at the heart of our ethos. At Downe House, we recognise that family life has changed greatly over the past decades and that full boarding does not always meet all our families’ needs. In order to respond to growing demand, we have been welcoming more day pupils into our community since September 2022.

Up to 100% Centenary Day Bursaries

We launched our Centenary Day Bursaries in 2022 to celebrate 100 years in Cold Ash. These bursaries are offered to local pupils for day places. Inclusivity is at the centre of life at Downe and we are proud that our pupils come from a wide range of backgrounds, nationalities and faiths. We aim to widen access further by welcoming more local families for whom a private education might otherwise be out of reach. Our Centenary Day Bursaries, covering up to 100% of the fees, will be means-tested. 

You can find out more about life at Downe House in Cold Ash over the past century in ‘The Spirit of Downe House’ – a short film featuring members of our alumnae community, pupils and staff talking about what makes a Downe House education so special, the lifelong friendships they have made and the enduring imprint their time here has made on their lives.

All the flexibility of a day school… all the benefits of a boarding school

Day pupils at Downe House benefit from a full boarding education but with the added benefit of sleeping in their own beds at home. They are fully integrated members of their boarding house, enjoying an extended day, with the flexibility of starting as early as 7.30am for breakfast and staying to enjoy all the activities on offer once lessons finish at 6pm. Many of our day pupils choose to stay in school to take advantage of an array of enrichment opportunities until 8.30pm and, on occasion, beyond. Girls have work spaces, storage and social spaces in dormitories, alongside boarders, and are given the same bespoke pastoral care as the boarders

All girls attend school on Saturday morning, after which there are sports fixtures in the afternoon. The rest of the weekend is jam-packed with trips and other opportunities which day girls can choose to attend if they wish. We take great care to ensure our day girls are fully involved in all aspects of school life and play an integral part in our community. Please come and visit us to find out more! 

 I do the exact same things as boarders. Nobody really realises that you’re a day girl because you have the same opportunities, you do the same activities and there’s not much difference – apart from the fact that you go home at night.

– Octavia, Upper Fifth

More than a day at school… a world of opportunity

Evenings at Downe offer an outstanding range of opportunities, such as talks by visiting speakers, supervised prep (homework) sessions, clubs and societies, drama, dance and music rehearsals, sports training and the chance to have supper and socialise with friends. We have an exciting partnership with Radley College that provides academic and social opportunities for girls and boys to share knowledge and develop healthy and normal relationships with their peers. All pupils have equal access to these opportunities – day pupils and boarders alike. 

Day Pupils and Centenary Day Bursaries

At whatever point girls join Downe House, day pupils are fully integrated and make an important contribution to the community. They are members of a boarding house and enjoy a working space and storage in a dormitory alongside boarders. Occasional overnight stays may be possible with plenty of notice, time and space allowing. Integrating day girls as members of the boarding houses means they are able to forge friendships, not just with girls in their year group but across the rest of the House too. Rising up through the School, day girls have access to the same leadership opportunities as boarders and are encouraged to give back to the community by taking up positions of responsibility. Whether they are leading their House for our annual House Drama competition, heading up the Eco-Committee (the DECOs), running their own society or as Head of their boarding house, the opportunities are plentiful.

Day girls are able to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • An extended day. Day girls are welcome to join us for breakfast and they stay until lessons finish at 6pm. Many girls take advantage of the many extracurricular opportunities available and stay for supper and beyond, until 8:30pm.
  • Access to a full range of evening clubs, enrichment lectures, House events and leadership opportunities. In the Sixth Form, this extends to the Mini MBA programme, the Ivy House Leadership programme, Microsoft Office Specialist certification and the Leith’s Certificate in Food and Wine.
  • Study sessions timetabled throughout the school day for girls to complete homework or “prep”. Girls may use these sessions for extra music/speech and drama/tennis/squash lessons. This means pupils never miss academic lessons for any extra paid activities. It also means your daughter returns home having completed all her homework in school.
  • A personalised working space and storage space in a dormitory, alongside the boarders.
  • An individual academic Tutor who they meet with 1:1 every week.
  • Bespoke pastoral care by academic and boarding house staff to monitor wellbeing and academic progress.
  • Extended access to staff and facilities. Many of our academic staff tutor in the boarding houses and are available for extra support outside lesson time.
  • Health and wellbeing provision by our onsite Health Centre, providing health care when necessary.
  • Bespoke Higher Education guidance, supporting pupils in accessing the world’s best universities in the UK and around the world. This is bolstered by a global internship programme and an extended network of alumnae, as part of our DH Links programme, who offer guidance and support to our current pupils.
  • Flexibility around pick ups/drop offs and occasional overnight stays.
  • Full weekend activity programme involving on and off-site trips which day girls can opt into as they wish.
  • A programme of overseas trips, including a residential trip to France for Year 8 and opportunities to take part in our Global Schools’ Exchange Programme.
  • A local transport service, as demand dictates.
  • Access to our Parenting and Educating in Partnership Programme, offering families access to some of the best experts who can support the navigation of the teenage years. We also invite and encourage parents to a number of social events, onsite and offsite and always encourage you to support your daughter at sports fixtures, music concerts and other events.

Downe House is made up of a community of individuals and so no single girl’s day looks the same. That said, all girls are very busy with a long, extended day! Your daughter’s House forms the backbone to their life at School. There, they will register in the morning, attend House meetings to hear about what is going on that day and then use it as 'base camp' in between lessons, returning to refuel, study or prepare as a House for one of our popular competitions.

Our day pupils find there is more time to dedicate to what they enjoy when they have everything they need all in one place onsite. Girls can use the extra hours they accrue by not having to travel to all their activities to deep their expertise and expand their skills and interests.

A day may look like the following:

7am - Fitness (optional)

7:30am - House meeting (optional)

7:45am - Breakfast (optional)

8:30am - Assembly/Chapel/Tutor meeting

9am - Lessons (which could include Prep/extra music/drama/sport lessons)

10:20am - Break back in House

10:40am - Lessons (which could include Prep/extra music/drama/sport lessons)

12 noon - Lunch

12:40pm - Choir practice

1pm - Lessons (which could include Prep/extra music/drama/sport lessons)

3:40pm - Tea back in House

4pm - Lessons (which could include Prep/extra music/drama/sport lessons)

6pm - Lessons end. Day girls may return home. Supper.

6:30pm - House competition rehearsals/extra sport/house activities/study time (optional)

7:30pm - Enrichment lecture (optional)/relaxation in House (optional)

8:30pm - Home

On Saturdays, all girls have lessons until 12 noon, after which we have sports fixtures which most girls take part in. On Wednesdays, we have a shorter day, finishing at tea time, allowing for sports fixtures after 4pm.

The Admissions department is your first point of contact for all prospective families. They will be happy to guide you through the admissions process step-by-step and support you and your daughter along the journey.

We welcome applications for girls interested in joining us as day pupils in the Remove (Year 7), Lower Fourth (Year 8), Upper Fourth (Year 9) or the Sixth Form (Year 12) for 2024 and beyond.


Please visit us at one of our Open Mornings. You will find our Open Morning dates on our website. We are also open for private visits - please do contact our Admissions team to organise a date - call 01635 204701 or email:

You can also follow us on social media and listen to our very own podcast - we have an episode dedicated to being a day girl - search Downe House on social media and podcast streaming sites including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


Downe House is an academically selective school and admission is by competitive assessment, interview and subject to a reference from your daughter’s school. For families hoping to secure a bursary, a means-tested preliminary assessment will be conducted before assessment, to give you an indication whether you would meet the criteria or not.

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.

A flexible and modern approach – Full Boarding | Flexi Boarding | Day Pupil – what’s your Downe House journey?
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