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Admission for boys and girls to Downside is normally at 11+ into the First Form (Year 7), at 13+ into the Third Form (Year 9), or at 16+ into the Lower Sixth (Year 12). Places occasionally become available for boys and girls for admission into the Second Form (Year 8) or into the Fourth Form (Year 10). We offer a one year GCSE programme for those wishing to prepare for the Sixth Form or join us to complete a handful of GCSEs.

The first step is to visit the School for either an Open Morning or an on-site or virtual visit. The Head will be pleased to meet you, and our pupils will take you on a tour of our beautiful School. If you would like to book an Introductory Call with a senior specialist member of Staff in the first instance, please book here.

Following your initial visit, if you wish to apply for a place at Downside we would ask that you register your child for entry by completing our registration form. Following registration, we invite all candidates to complete a CAT4 assessment and attend an interview. This can be done on the initial visit or a follow-up visit. Assessment and interviews take place on Assessment and Taster Days once a year, should you prefer to incorporate both.

What then?

Successful completion of the entry tests will be followed by an offer of a guaranteed (unconditional) or a conditional place at Downside. In order to accept our offer and secure a place at the School, we require parents to sign a parental contract and to make a deposit payment. The deposit is then held by the School until the payment of the final bill on leaving Downside School.

Registration is required for entry at least 8 to 12 months ahead of the start date. All pupils will be invited to our Assessment and Taster day in January, whilst they are in Year 6, which includes a day of activities and an online CAT assessment.  Pupils will enjoy meeting others joining at the same time, and getting to know our Staff and pupils which will support a positive transition to Senior School. The Head will meet each pupil at some point during the day.  We will also require a school reference from your child’s current school to support their application. Click here to view the entrance day invitation. 

Registration is required for entry for entry at least 8 to 12 months ahead of the start date, to ensure we can accommodate your child as we have a limited intake at this point. Entrance to Downside will include an interview with the Head, a CAT4 assessment and a satisfactory reference from your child’s school.

Registration is required around 12 to 18 months ahead of the start date. Pupils will be invited to an Assessment and Taster Day in February when they are in either Year 6 or Year 7. The day will offer your child the opportunity to meet our Staff and pupils and others looking to join Downside, and for us to get to know your child ahead of their start. The Head will meet each pupil at some point during the day. We will also require a school reference from your child’s current school, to include their most recent baseline cognitive scores (like CAT4) to support their application. Alternatively, a visit on a day that suits to meet the Head and have a tour of the School would equally be possible to organise should your child’s application fall outside the above.

Click here to view the entrance day invitation for entry in 2025 and 2026.

Registration is required for entry for entry at least 8 to 12 months ahead of the start date, to ensure we can accommodate your child as we have a limited intake at this point. Entrance to Downside will include an interview with the Head, a CAT4 assessment and a satisfactory reference from your child’s school.

Registration is required for entry for entry at least 8 to 12 months ahead of the start date, to ensure we can accommodate your child as we have a limited intake at this point. Entrance to Downside will include an interview with the Head, a CAT4 assessment and a satisfactory reference from your child’s school.

Registration is required around 12 months ahead of the start date. Your child is welcome to join our Sixth Form Subject Fair in October when they are in either Year 10 or 11. The day will offer your child the opportunity to meet our Faculty Heads, our pupils and see the School at work. Once your child is Registered, we would invite you back for an interview with the Head and a meeting with our Head of Sixth Form to discuss subject choices; a tour of the School and boarding house would be possible too. We will require a school reference from your child’s current school, to include their most recent baseline cognitive scores (like CAT4) to support their application.  Alternatively, a visit on a day that suits to meet the Head and have a tour of the School would equally be possible to organise should your child’s application fall outside the above timings.

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