Forces Families at Downside School

Downside is a great option for Forces families looking for a boarding school; offering full-boarding with everything on one-site there is a strong network of support and lots of activity to keep your child busy at weekends. There is also additional bursarial support available, in addition to the MoD discount.

Good Transport Links

Downside is perfectly situated on the border of Somerset and Wiltshire, and with easy access to Salisbury, Andover, Blandford, Aldershot, Tidworth, Bulford, and RAF Keevil and RAF Odiham. The School is based in the village of Stratton-on-the-Fosse, close to the A37, A303 and A350. Click here to view location.

School Fees

Forces families who claim CEA will be required to pay only the minimum parental contribution of 10% of the basic boarding fees in respect of each child in the school, as stipulated under the CEA Regulations, plus all extras incurred as a result of the education of their child at the school.    Downside School will cover whatever fee sum remains, once the CEA has been taken into account. Please refer to our School Fees page for the latest rates for boarding costs.

Boarding Options 

How many boarders are at Downside?

As a full-boarding school, around 75% of our pupils live here seven days a week and roughly 5% of pupils are Forces children.

What kind of activities are on offer?

In addition to a full and varied curriculum, all boys and girls are expected to participate in extra-curricular activities ranging from debating to stone carving, and everything in between! There are extended time slots for activities, clubs and societies, drama, music and sport on every weekday afternoon and a huge range of activities also take place outside the formal co-curricular times.

CCF at Downside

As you’d expect from a boarding school that welcomes Forces families, the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) has always been an integral part of life at Downside. It exists to enable the development of personal responsibility, leadership, team-work and self-discipline. All Third Form pupils (aged 13+) are able to experience the full range of CCF activities before electing to move onto the Royal Navy, or Army section in their senior years at the School. Click here to read more.

Downside Boarding School military


Spiritual Support

Pupils from a military background receive the same help as any other pupil. However, when their parents are deployed, we do keep a very close pastoral eye on them and support them via our normal pastoral channels, such as the House Master / Mistress, the Tutor, the House Parent, the Health Centre and our School Chaplains. We also use our Senior Prefects, who may well have gone through a similar experience, to support the pupils concerned.  In addition, a number of our pastoral staff have first-hand experience of the Armed Services, whether as ex-service personnel, or being a member of a Forces family.

How can families prepare for boarding school?

Families can let their children know that they love them and are there for them, that Downside is a very welcoming School where welcome and hospitality are key elements to what is a mutually supportive community. As for the children, to encourage them to involve themselves in the numerous opportunities that present themselves and to be active listeners who show concern for others.

Why should parents pick Downside?

As a Benedictine school, Downside aims to develop the character of your child, emphasising the importance of moral courage, integrity and service to others. With an impressive academic record Downside was also voted ‘Best for Well-Being’ by The Week magazine, everyone who visits the 500-acre Somerset campus remarks on the happy atmosphere…it’s definitely one to see!

Downside School Sports Somerset

What are the Next Steps? 

You are very welcome to attend an Open Day or book a Private Visit for your family at any stage throughout the year. Please do call our Admissions team today on +44 (0)1761 235103 to find out more information.