Life at Downside

‘The quality of pupils’ personal development is excellent. They develop strongly as individuals, enabled by the very high levels of pastoral care.’ ISI Report

Traditionally a boarding school, Downside now welcomes day pupils who are fully integrated into the life of the School, while maintaining a full programme of activities during the evenings and weekends provided in a boarding environment, where day pupils are welcome – and encouraged – to join in. A longer working day and Saturday morning lessons followed by sports fixtures then mass on Sunday means that life at Downside is packed full and facilitates real friendships that can last a lifetime.

The house structure is key to life at Downside and provides the backbone of our pastoral care as well as a comfortable ‘home from home’ for day pupils and boarders alike. Each House has its own spirit, character and traditions and pupils have friends across the houses. Everyone gets involved in competing in the ‘spirited’ Inter-House competitions ranging from music and drama to games and other activities.

House Staff

The House Master/Mistress (known as HsMs) have overall responsibility for their House, and has a vital role to play in your child’s development, and acts in loco parentis while your child is under the School’s responsibility. The HsMs are resident in the respective boarding house and are formally ‘on duty’ six days and five evenings a week, and every weekend. Pupils have access to a member of the House staff at all times. 

In addition to the House staff, the Health Centre team are also available 24-hours a day and the Chaplaincy Team, under the coordinating Chaplain, assists the House Masters/Mistresses in providing for the spiritual needs of the pupils. There are also House Prefects – usually in the Upper Sixth Form – allocated to each House to offer support and guidance to younger pupils.

The pastoral leaders strive to develop a culture of warm, mutual respect within their Houses. The aim is to celebrate all cultures and diversity, ensuring that there is equality of opportunity for all pupils within a Benedictine context. The whole pastoral system is formally monitored and supervised by the Director of Pastoral Care, Mrs Claire Murphy, and the Head, Mr Andrew Hobbs. 

Health and Well-Being

Downside is proud to have a Health Centre based within the heart of the School, staffed by nurses 24 hours each day, seven days a week. Click here to learn more. 


Director of Pastoral Care

Mrs Claire Murphy 
Telephone: +44(0)1761 235183

Click here to contact our House Masters and House Mistresses.