The Humanities Faculty is diverse and is unique in encompassing sciences and arts.

Humanities at Downside School

The Faculty is comprised of Business Studies, Economics, Geography, History, History of Art and Psychology. The subjects taught remain highly relevant to the modern world and are often considered essential to many professions. The Faculty boasts highly qualified staff with excellent results both at GCSE, A Level and Pre-U. Humanities have been, and continue to be, very strong at Downside and the Faculty prides itself on having committed and highly professional staff who encourage pupils to excel in their chosen subjects throughout their time in the School. The Faculty can also claim much success in sending pupils to further education institutions, and often to some of the best universities in the UK and the world, including Oxbridge and the Ivy League universities in the USA. The Faculty also fosters a love of learning through providing a varied Academic Enrichment Programme. This includes visiting speakers, seminars with other local schools, university visits and a range of subject specific filed trips. Recent trips have included the History of Art trip to Paris, the annual History trip to the World War One Battlefields and the Geography Department trip to Iceland.


The Faculty boasts excellent examination results with the History Department gaining some of the best results in the School over recent years. Geography has become a very popular subject with the majority of the Third Form opting to continue the subject to GCSE, and the numbers of pupils studying the subject to A level have tripled. Downside has bucked the national trend and continues to offer History of Art which is growing in popularity, with the subject being led by Dr Rachel Saunders, a university lecturer. The Faculty also offers Psychology, a science based subject where students learn about the procedures of different research methods and also critically analyse famous pieces of psychological research. Psychology is an increasingly popular subject nationally and, at Downside, some pupils now go on to study Clinical Psychology at university. Downside also boasts excellent results in Economics, with a current pupil gaining a scholarship to Harvard in the subject. There is also a growing number of pupils taking Business Studies with the vast majority of pupils across the Faculty gaining a place at their first choice university.

GCSE and A level: Business Studies, Economics, Geography, History, History of Art and Psychology

The Faculty has an excellent consistency of results across all departments and, although the subjects are not core subjects at GCSE, a very high number of pupils opt to study History and Geography at GCSE and go on to study the full range of subjects offered by the Faculty in the Lower and Upper Sixth years. The Faculty enables pupils to exceed their predicted grades at GCSE and A level and thus has over recent years gained excellent value added scores at both levels.

Downside School Humanities Staff

Mr OG Simper BSc Head of Humanities & Teacher of Geography
Mr H Walters BA (Hons), PGCE, MA Head of History and Theology
Mr D Nicholls BSc Head of Economics & Business Studies
Mrs J Eckford BA, PGCE Teacher of Economics & Business Studies
Mr J Dolman BSc Teacher of Geography
Mrs C Murphy BSc Teacher of Psychology
Mrs A Willoughby BSc Teacher of Psychology
Dr R Sanders PhD Teacher of History of Art
Mrs K Westlake BA Teacher of History
Miss J Price BA Teacher of History