Downside is a Catholic, Benedictine School with values that are meaningful and relevant to everyone, of any faith and of none.
It constantly seeks ways to recognise and celebrate the breadth and richness of its community and every single member of the community is focused on the needs and wellbeing of others. As a community, it maintains a growth mind set and is outward-looking, reaching out to those beyond its community and stands in solidarity with those in need.
An international community
The School is a vibrant international community with pupils, and staff, from 26 countries around the world which provides it with endless opportunities to celebrate its cultural diversity. The international committee has introduced the community to different traditions, from Dia del Muertos to Chinese New Year. The caterers enjoy nothing more than exploring foods from around the world and have theme days to showcase traditional dishes.
Pupil voice is a vehicle for sharing opinions, voicing concerns, celebrating the community and giving feedback. House Councils and the School Council members are elected and meet regularly and are active in driving innovation and change to benefit every member of the community. Pupils gave feedback about their co-educational experience last year and proposed changes to the uniform, library resources, tutoring and sport to ensure equal opportunities for all.
The pupils themselves are often the changemakers. Last year, a group of pupils put up displays of posters of notable figures and role models to celebrate Black History Month whilst in Caverel, pupils talked about women who have made an impact on the world and senior pupils who wanted to explore Equality and Diversity formed a group to look at different areas of the school during the Three Days in June activity time and provide a vehicle for positive change.
Outreach and service help pupils to recognise the challenges facing the wider community and engage positively with groups of people they wouldn’t ordinarily reach. The St Theresa’s community learned about the homeless in local areas and slept outside to raise money for a charity. Sixth Form pupils will resume the Soup Run this year, helping to serve the homeless food in Bath and learning the value of every member of society and their responsibility and call to service and action.
The School has a diverse curriculum which uses examples and role models to reflect society. Teaching and learning are exciting, creative and varied, using a wide range of resources and learning methods.
There are high expectations for each pupil and individual support is given through tutoring, teaching and learning support to enable each individual to achieve their potential and develop their talents and gifts. To this end, the pupils receive a holistic education which develops them emotionally, physically, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education is not a standalone lesson in the timetable but is woven throughout the school and explores themes such as relationships, families, stereotypes and discrimination. The broad co-curricular programme is accessible to every pupil and if someone sees an opportunity for a new activity, they are encouraged to pursue it. Provision is made so that every pupil is able to access every part of school life and equip them for a full and fulfilling future.
Leadership and service
The pupils themselves are the bright lights of Downside School and pupil leaders are excellent role models. With leadership comes responsibility and the School’s focus is on servant leadership and living life for the good of others.
Concern for the individual is one of eight Benedictine aspects which the school reflects on and embraces. It is at the heart of all its pastoral care and never more obvious than in the houses where each individual is valued for who they are and what they bring to the community.
Pupils from different backgrounds and beliefs live and work together in respectful, safe and caring communities. Positive, empathetic and compassionate relationships are built and strengthened; many will last a lifetime.
Downside is an inclusive school that champions academic excellence, unrivalled pastoral care, and endless opportunities. Click here to find out more about studying at Downside.
“Provision is made so that every pupil is able to access every part of school life and equip them for a full and fulfilling future”