Where do Downside’s pupils come from?

Downside takes pupils from far and wide but the boys and girls come principally from the South of England, London and the Midlands. Around 40% join us from the Catholic countries of Europe, and from the rest of the world.

Are all of the pupils Catholic?

The majority (70%+) of pupils are Catholic. However, Downside welcomes families and children from other religions but asks them to respect our distinctively Benedictine identity.

How many pupils are there at Downside?

There are currently 370 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-overnight 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 overseas pupils?

Yes. Downside is proud to welcome pupils from overseas. 26 nationalities are represented at the School and 14 different languages are spoken.

What are the class sizes?

Class sizes vary between very small numbers for specialised courses to core subjects. 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, IGCSEs, A levels and Pre-U.

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 30-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 bursaries and a wide range of scholarships.
Detailed booklets are available from our Admissions department

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 a pack of information from our Admissions team when your child starts at Downside, including details of forthcoming dates. We try to remind you of important events throughout the year within the fortnightly Head Master’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 Master’s newsletter please email us to let us know. Make sure you keep an eye out for your child’s year group Parents’ Conference which gives you the opportunity to speak to teachers one-to-one.

How can I access the School Rules for my child? 

Click here to read the School Rules, as detailed in the school contract.