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Deciding whether to send your child to a full boarding school or picking the moment to make the transition from day pupil to boarder can often be a difficult one.

Downside School is one of the leading full boarding schools in England. One aspect that makes Downside very attractive to families is our unique location. Being located in Somerset affords Downside School many benefits; not only are our surroundings breath-taking and facilities enviable  but we are surrounded by a plethora of national heritage sites including the cultural city of Bath, meaning that at Downside our full boarding offer ensures our pupils develop into well-rounded and confident young adults.

Why Choose to Board At Downside School?

At Downside, 72% of our pupils are full boarders – which as a figure certainly speaks for itself. Every one of our boarders enjoys an outstanding level of pastoral support, a strong sense of community and that all important quality time with their friends, outside of the timetabled routine. Weekends are full, busy and purposeful with a whole host of activities available to cater for different houses, age groups and interests. There really is never a dull moment at our Somerset boarding school.

As one of the remaining traditional full boarding schools in the UK, Downside School life revolves around the six boarding houses: First, Second and Third Form boys join Powell House, before moving up to one of three senior boys’ houses; Barlow, Roberts or Smythe. The two girls Houses, Caverel and Isabella welcome pupils from the First Form to Upper Six. Each one of these houses has its own unique spirit and traditions but are underpinned by the same values and ethos.

We are a full boarding school for a reason and firmly believe that for children, boarding and full boarding, in particular, heralds many advantages over a flexi boarding or weekly boarding routine. Our strong boarding community serves as the perfect stepping stone between childhood and adulthood. We see the developmental advantages that our boarding school offers pupils both socially, academically and physically.

Socially, our boarders have an incredibly important opportunity to relax with their friends. Enjoying time outside of classes together is fundamental for healthy friendships to be forged. Add spending weekends together on top of this, and Downside School nurtures friendships that last a lifetime. Boarding life also coaxes independence to blossom within all of our students, which is only encouraged by excellent pastoral care.

“Being at a boarding school is a different experience. You learn to look after yourself on a day-to-day basis; you adapt very quickly. Whilst there is a level of independence, we still have our meals cooked and our clothes washed…it’s a good first move ahead of university life!!” Elsa, Upper Sixth

Academically, what boarding school offers is an unrivalled focus. Remaining at school throughout the week, and weekend, affords our pupils a sense of grounding and an extremely settled environment, meaning that they are free to fully concentrate on their work. By being at school for all of their studies – over the weekend and prep time – all necessary academic resources are on hand, whether this be through our library, teachers or indeed friends who make perfect study buddies.

Our boarders are provided with the opportunity to experience and try amazing activities that without boarding, they may not have had access to. First, Second and Third Form pupils have an activity programme ranging from paintballing and go-karting, trips to museums and theme parks, cycling and walks. Adventure activities include mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting, caving and climbing and many more. Our pupils are also free to utilise our amazing facilities in the evenings and weekends.

Boarding School Can Help You Achieve

Every year, our boarding pupils go on to achieve hugely impressive results. Whether that be excellent GCSE results, outstanding A-Levels, making the sports teams, forging remarkable friendships, experiencing new activities for the first time or securing their first choice high university place.

Link to the Houses

Click here for our most recent weekend programme

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