Downsend School

Primary

This school has 1 parent review

1 Leatherhead Road
Leatherhead
KT22 8TJ
+44 (0)1372 372311
Pupils
460
Ages
6 - 16
Gender
Mixed
Type
Other independent school
View Report
NATIONAL AVG. 2.06
Independent inspection report
PREP

Independent preparatory schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum or submit test results to the Department for Education so there is no individual school performance data or star rating.

Visit the school's website to learn more about their unique curriculum, policies on testing and common leaver destinations (a good indicator of pupil progress). See our About page for information on Choosing A Prep School.

Day
Boarding Type
Available
Scholarship Status
£4,250
to
£5,145
Day Fees Per Term

Leaver Destinations

View
NURSERY 2+

Co-educational nursery

View website

School Open Events


Due to UK wide school closures in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, sadly all planned open events are cancelled until further notice.

When schools reopen, we will update our school pages with new dates and opportunities to visit schools once again.

In the meantime, please contact schools directly with any questions or concerns you might have around admissions or open events.

Stay safe and well.
The School Guide Team

School Description

Innovative education for outstanding results. Downsend is a forward-thinking, innovative independent school shortlisted in the Independent Schools of the Year 2019 Awards. We prepare our children for the future with a creative and problem-solving approach to learning that not only inspires but fosters bravery, sparks imagination, celebrates innovation and creates opportunity every day. From nursery through to GCSEs, we provide the skills, motivation and inspiration for our students to be successful throughout their school journey and beyond.

School video

Our prospectus

Downsend School Reviews

Average Rating:

BY PARENTS, FOR PARENTS

“Excellent”
AUTHOR:
An excellent school, my kids love it.
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School Noticeboard

News & events from Downsend School

Last update: 18 May 2020

PRE-PREP AND PREP OPEN DAYS IN SURREY

    

 

We hold Open Mornings throughout the year each term, at both our Prep School and our three Pre-Prep schools. To help working parents, we hold some events on a Saturday and try to make all Personal Tours at a convenient time to suit you.

 

What you can expect
At these Open events you will discover all the opportunities a Downsend education can offer. You’ll meet the Head get to tour the school, meet our children and chat to staff over refreshments. At our Prep school, the Upper School children will take you on a tour, tailored to you, lasting around 40 minutes.

 

Personal Tours
If you choose a week day Open Morning or Personal Tour, you will see our classrooms alive with action in the course of a normal teaching day. If you’d like to arrange a Personal Tour, our Admissions Manager, Lisa Durrant can arrange this for you.  Please contact Lisa either by email ([email protected]) or telephone on 01372 372311 to book a place.

If you haven't booked, you are still very welcome to come along on the morning. Alternatively, we are always happy to see you for a personal visit by individual appointment. 
 

We are not currently running Open Days or Personal Tours in their normal format, but we working on a suite of virtual experiences so you are able to get a real flavour for Downsend School without having to visit us. Please click on the link below to find out more.

 

 

 

Book a Visit  >>

THE DOWNSEND ETHOS

We like to describe what we do at Downsend as educating the ‘whole child’;

Our Ethos >>

WHY DOWNSEND?

       
     


Here are some of the reasons why parents choose Downsend:

• Over 90% of our children are working above National Average by the end of Year One;

• All Year 3 pupils receive specialist tuition in the flute, trumpet and violin, as part of the Downsend Music Programme;

• All pupils, including our Pre-Prep children, have access to expert coaching in a wide range of sports through the Downsend Academies;

• 68% of our pupils exceed their expected progress by the end of Year 6;

• On average, over 95% of our pupils pass the entrance test to their first choice senior school;

• 45% of our Year 8 pupils gained a scholarship to their senior school last year. 40% of these were academic.

Typically over 40 academic, sporting or creative scholarships are awarded each year to some of the top senior schools, including City of London Freemen's, Epsom College, Reigate Grammar and St John's. Some pupils achieve scholarships to schools further away, such as Tonbridge, Winchester College and Westminster.

More About Us >>

EXCITING NEW DOWNSEND SENIOR SCHOOL & CREATIVE ARTS CENTRE FROM 2020

 

 

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new Senior School which will educate girls and boys up to Year 11 from September 2020, seeing them through the completion of a new 3 year GCSE Programme. The development builds on Downsend’s track record as an established preparatory school with strong academics alongside character development and wellbeing, particularly in the areas of sport and the performing arts. 

Ian Thorpe, Headmaster, says: “We already have fantastic sports, science, DT and ICT facilities that would be the envy of many senior schools. Our reputation for preparing children for their senior school education is already established. The difference is our ability to better balance the pastoral and academic needs of pupils so that they enjoy their schooling with us whilst achieving their academic and personal successes.” 

“Over recent years, so many of our parents have expressed genuine sadness that their children could not continue at Downsend beyond Year 8. We are delighted to remedy this, and immensely proud to be bringing about this next phase of Downsend School’s history.”

Our new Senior School >>

Meet the Head: Ian Thorpe

Having grown up in Belgium, I returned to England to study at the University of Exeter before embarking upon a career as a PE & Games Teacher in independent Prep schools. Leadership roles in day and boarding schools followed, culminating in my first Headship in 2005, as Head of the Junior School at CLFS. I went on to become Headmaster at Chinthurst School before taking on my current role at Downsend in 2013. Married to wife Karen, also a teacher, we have two sons, 20 and 17. I love umpiring for Banstead Cricket Club and enjoy travelling and reading.

Who/what inspired you to become a teacher?

In truth, I didn’t want to be a teacher until I went to university, even though I had spent a few years involved with running holiday courses at the British School of Brussels. I loved sport at the BSB and represented the first teams at football and tennis there, and at university. This led me to consider a career in either sports journalism or recreation management. In Belgium, the approach to player development in tennis is very different to the UK, so I considered a move into community development and had a number of interviews with the Lawn Tennis Association. However, I had developed the teaching bug at this point and, some 27 years later, still consider it to be the best job in the world. We always remember our most inspirational, and worst, teachers and I want to ensure that Downsend pupils are exposed to the former as much as possible. There can be no greater responsibility than ensuring that the next generation of young people are fully equipped for the challenges that will face them in the future!

What achievement are you most proud of as Head?

Having been a Head for 14 years, there are so many individual successes that I look back upon fondly: individual pupils who have gone on to achieve more than they could have dreamed possible; sporting and musical successes; mentoring teachers to run schools of their own. That said, I think the single biggest achievement has been steering Downsend through a period of intense change over recent years. The profile of schools has changed beyond recognition with many Senior Schools starting from Year 7, the growth of the appalling 11+ pre-tests and many local Prep schools having to end their provision at the end of Year 6. For many years, parents had expressed a desire for Downsend to increase into the upper years as their children were so upset to have to leave at the end of Year 8. So, I was delighted to be able to announce, two years ago, that we would be offering a GCSE provision from 2020 onwards. Since then we are due to complete a £2m refurbishment programme for the Lower and Upper schools by September 2019, to include STEAM spaces, a Learning Resource Centre and specialist Junior facilities. We will then start work on our £5m Arts Centre in the autumn, ready for completion in 2020. The response has been fantastic and interest in places is rocketing. Our motto, Nothing is Denied to Valour, encourages us to be brave and I am proud to lead a school that does so daily, whatever the challenges faced.

What does a successful school look like to you?

Some people believe that success has to be measured and point to pupil numbers and league table positions as measures of success. However, schools are all about the people, so I would always look at this area first to judge the effectiveness of a school. Happy, engaged pupils taught by inspirational practitioners in great surroundings will always deliver fantastic results, so we should focus on these three aspects and the rest will take care of itself. Downsend pupils have high attendance rates, always a great sign, and visitors regularly comment on how happy they look, how great the relationships appear between themselves and their teachers, and how they appear confident without being arrogant. This balance is key! Teachers need to be positive and energetic and we appoint ours with these traits in mind. ‘Inspiring Young Minds’ is our educational mantra and we want our staff to be creative and brave when planning their programmes of study. Which child wouldn’t want to learn chocolate fractions or visit an active volcano via Virtual Reality before labelling its cross-section? Finally, does the school look cared for by its community? Are the facilities well-lit, acoustically right and spacious, allowing for creative thought and healthy discussion and exploration? If so, we will encourage our pupils to be adaptable, resilient, forward-thinking global citizens. I believe that this is an area where many schools are failing their students at present.

What is the most important quality you want every child to have when they leave your school? And why?

Education was founded in order to ensure that young people were prepared for future life. In many respects, nothing has changed. However, we are currently faced with the dilemma that an education system that is essentially Victorian in systemic terms is no longer fit-for-purpose. Rows of children sat in front of a board (now interactive) trying to remember as much information as possible to regurgitate later in an exam scenario in the largest hall available! Perhaps this is why universities are concerned that many pupils are unprepared for life beyond school, and why so many industries decry the fact that young adults are not resilient or adaptable enough to cope with a rapidly changing world. Just look at the issues of mental health in young people to understand the scale of the failure.

 

I’d like to see us get back to basics and ask how we can best prepare young people for adult life. By asking our young learners to be brave and take risks, accepting that the occasional failure is just as valuable to the learning process as the many successes, we can help them to become those adaptable citizens that will cope with the jobs and technologies that have not yet been invented but that form part of their world in the future. At Downsend, our STEAM and enrichment programmes promote all of these skills and more. I believe our children are all the happier for it as a result.

Please give 5 words to describe the ethos of your school.

Inspiring

Nurturing

Innovative

Problem-solving

Holistic

 

 

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