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.” Independent Schools Inspectorate 2018
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 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.
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 Master, 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, 7 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.
“Downside has determinedly kept its ethos as a full boarding school, with 75 per cent boarders and a full weekend activity programme. Some day pupils elect to spend much of the weekend at school; when we visited, everyone was preparing for a Roman banquet on the Saturday night – no stuffed dormice, we hope.” Good Schools Guide
“The emphasis is on the community and on caring for one another in the Rule of St Benedict, which underpins all aspects of boarding life.” ISI inspection 2013
Voted as ‘Best for Well-being’ in The Week, Education Guide 2015
“I think the atmosphere is different to that of a non-Catholic school, I feel that it is in the spirit of the school to be very accepting and understanding of others” (Downside pupil)