FAQs

Where do Downside’s pupils come from?
Downside welcomes pupils from far and wide but the boys and girls come principally from the South of England, London and the Midlands. Downside is proud to welcome pupils from 23 international countries at present, which makes up about 40% of our cohort. We are very proud of our diverse community, where our pupils learn about each other’s cultures whilst living alongside one another. 

Are all of the pupils Catholic?
Approximately 55% of our pupils are Catholic. However, Downside welcomes families and children from other faiths or none at all.

How many pupils are there at Downside?
There are currently 355 pupils at Downside.

What is the ratio between boys and girls?
Approximately 60% of the pupils are boys and 40% are girls.

Does Downside have day pupils?
Yes – 20% of our boys and girls are day pupils.

Does Downside offer weekly boarding?
No. Pupils are either full-time boarders or day pupils, but we do offer a 2 or 3 night stay for day pupils should they wish it (this is called ‘Day Plus’). Day pupils are also encouraged to try an overnight stay once a term.

Does Downside have Exeat weekends?
Yes. We have two Exeat Weekends in the Michaelmas Term for the whole School, either side of the Half-Term break. In the Lent Term the First and Second Forms have two Exeats and there are no Exeats in the Summer Term.

Leaving the School over Half Term is not mandatory; many of our international pupils remain at School and take advantage of a full weekend of activities, fun and rest. There is a charge, which can be found here

What are the class sizes?
Class sizes vary between very small numbers for specialised courses to core subjects. The average class size in Years 7 and 8 is 15. We aim for a maximum class size of 20 in Years 9-11, and many less in Years 12-13. Sixth Form class sizes vary between six and 16.

Does Downside offer the International Baccalaureate?
No. We offer GCSEs, A levels and BTEC in Sports and Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. 

My child will want to take a mobile phone to Downside. Which phone networks work best?
Please keep in mind that the coverage for each mobile phone network is progressively changing (you can search using the postcode BA3 4RJ to find out). At the moment, we find that the EE network works well around our site, but please do a coverage check before purchasing.

Which train stations are closest to Downside?
Bath Spa Train Station, with regular links to London and Wales, is a 25-minute taxi ride north of Downside. Castle Cary Train Station, with regular links to the South West and London, is a 20-minute taxi journey to the south.

I’m travelling a long way to visit Downside, where can I stay?
You’ll be spoilt for choice! There are a number of boutique hotels and gastropubs in close proximity to Downside. You can click here to view our recommended list. The cities of Bath and Bristol both offer a fantastic range of hotels and B&B accommodation too.

Do we need to bring anything along to the Open Morning?
We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of ground to cover during the tour. If you’d like to visit the sports pitches you should bring a warm coat as the weather can be quite chilly in the winter months.

Does Downside offer bursaries and scholarships?
Yes. Downside offers means tested bursaries and a wide range of scholarships.
Click here for more information.

How much pocket money should I budget for my child?
We suggest in the range of £5/week, or £100/term.

When I visit my child where should I report?
It is important that when visiting your child you always report to the Main Reception first, and park in the Main Quad.

Which dates should I mark in my diary?
You’ll receive plenty of information from our Admissions team when your child starts at Downside, including details of forthcoming dates. We will remind you of important events throughout the year in the weekly Parents Communications as well as the fortnightly Head’s newsletter. There are some real highlights – the Christmas Carol Service (last day of the Michaelmas Term) is always really special, as is the Prize Day in the Summer Term. If you’re not receiving the Head’s newsletter please email us to let us know. Make sure you keep an eye out for your child’s year group Parents’ meetings which gives you the opportunity to speak to teachers on a one-to-one basis.

How can I access the School Rules for my child? 
Click here to read the School Rules, as detailed in the School contract.