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Our aim is to ensure that every pupil finds a sport or physical activity in which they can participate, excel and learn the values of being part of a team.

The main sports for boys are Rugby, Hockey, Cricket, Tennis and Athletics. The main sports for girls are Hockey, Netball, Cricket, Tennis and Athletics. An element of personalisation concerning sport options increases as pupils progress through the School, and many pupils can also participate in Badminton, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Rugby 7’s, Swimming & Table Tennis, with regular fixtures in each throughout the year.

Downside’s Sporting Philosophy 

Our sporting philosophy is based on a positive mental attitude and exceptional work ethic, and this is expected from all pupils participating in sport at Downside School. The foundational values of discipline, humility and stewardship underpin an integral framework of sports coaching that aims to develop young people as strong, resilient leaders of character that can excel in sport, school and life. Our emphasis on talent development recognises the power of teamwork and the importance of moral and performance character.

Downside’s Sports Coaching staff 

Our sports coaching staff are committed to developing the potential in every pupil. By way of emphasising this pursuit of the best that we can be, the notion of establishing a positive coaching climate has been paramount. Whilst some schools may adhere to a ‘win at all costs’ mentality, values which we hold so dear have supported Downside’s staff and pupils in developing a sports coaching philosophy that has prioritised attitude and effort in both training and competitive performances, above simplified performance values such as winning and losing. It is nice to have both of course, but it is much easier to realise the latter if you can first develop a culture that celebrates the former.

Development in sport

We believe that in these changing social times, most young performers will recognise the value of attitudes and behaviour that are indicative of a climate of development in sport. These include effort & improvement, a growth mind-set, sense of belonging, player leadership groups and fundamental movement skills. It is our aim to establish this climate of development in all areas of sport at Downside School. All pupils are encouraged to play and compete for the School in Inter-School, District, County or Regional competition, as well as taking part in a variety of Inter-House sports event. Our most able or more senior pupils who are in a representative ‘Academy’ pathway for their specialist sport or fortunate enough to play for their respective ‘A’ or 1st team in school might also experience attitudes and behaviour indicative of a climate of performance, e.g. performance training & specialisation. This has led to many past and present pupils achieving County, National or International representative honours. We are proud of the culture of sport at Downside School, and we are equally proud of the achievements of our talented performers and the growing reputation of our sports teams.

Sports scholarships

Sports scholarships are available at 11+, 13+ and 16+. Able and talented sports scholars are automatically enrolled in our Athlete Development Programme (ADP), which aims to develop all participants to reach their potential and support their unique needs, whilst ensuring that they focus as much on developing as young leaders of good character, able to confidently develop their interpersonal skills for future aspirations within either sport, academic or social endeavour.

Benedictine values for sport at Downside


Director of Sport, BA

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