英中教育 Anglo-Chinese Education Consultancy

Downside School






Bording School


  No.173      Result:   A-B 77.14% 








13-18,    Exam,  School report




4+% to Oxbridge








Apply Now


What it’s like
Founded in 1606 at Douai for English Catholics in exile because of the penal laws. At the time of the French Revolution the monks fled to England and in 1814 the school moved to Downside, where the English Benedictine community of St Gregory settled. It lies on the Mendip Hills in splendid Somerset country, 12 miles from Bath. Handsome buildings and excellent modern facilities make a compact campus of which the monastery and its Abbey Church are a part. Superb playing fields, gardens and grounds surround it. The aim of the school is to help each pupil to become fully Christian and adult. The monastic influence is strong. The Head Master is a monk and the houses are served by a team of monastic chaplains. The staff:pupil ratio is 1:7. A good general education is provided and examination results are very good. The music and art departments are active, and much use is made of the purpose-built theatre for a wide range of dramatic productions. The school is strong in sports and games (about 20 are available). A large number of societies and clubs cater for extra-curricular activities.

School profile

Pupils & entrance

Pupils: Age range 9–18; 320 boys (57 day, 263 boarding). Senior department 13–18, 259 boys. Approx 25% are children of former pupils.
Entrance: Main entry ages 9, 11, 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam used; for sixth-form entry, GCSE grade B in sixth-form subjects, usually interview. No special skills required. Senior intake largely from own junior house (St Oliver’s House), as well as a number of prep schools, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

Scholarships, bursaries & extras
15–19 pa scholarships, value 5%–50% fees: 90% academic, others for art, music, all-rounder, sport (most awarded at 13, some at 11 and 16). Variable number of bursaries for deserving cases, at discretion of Head Master. Parents not expected to buy textbooks but are charged a hiring fee.

Up to 10% live within 30 miles; 20+% live overseas.

Head & staff

Head Master: Dom Leo Maidlow Davis, appointed in 2003. Educated at Downside and at the universities of Cambridge, London and Rome. Previously House Master and teacher at the school.
Teaching staff: 46 full time, 9 part time.

Exam results

GCSE: In 2003, 61 pupils in fifth: 98% gained grade C or above in 5+ subjects. Average GCSE score 59 (56 over 5 years).
A-levels: 47 in upper sixth: 17% passed in 4+ subjects; 77% in 3; 4% in 2; and 2% in 1 subject. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 300.

University & college entrance
92% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on to a degree course (many after a gap year), 4% to Oxbridge. 2% took courses in medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 27% in science & engineering, 55% in humanities & social sciences, 13% in art & design, 2% in other subjects. Others typically go on to a non-degree course eg land management, into the services or to art college.

GCSE, AS and A-levels. 21 AS/A-level subjects.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; in addition, general studies taught but not examined. 14% take science/engineering A-levels; 44% take arts/humanities; 42% take a mixture.
Vocational: Work experience available.
Special provision: for EAL, dyslexia, mild visual, aural or physical handicap and special dietary needs.
Languages: French, German, Italian and Spanish offered to GCSE, AS and A-level. European library; special committee fosters European links. Several members of staff (beside linguists) have family links and/or have studied at European universities.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (Years 7–9) and across the curriculum, eg graphical work in geography and science. 50 computers for pupil use (13 hours a day), all networked and majority with email and internet access. Pupils encouraged to bring own lap/desk tops for use in own rooms.

The arts

Music: Over 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Many musical groups including 3 orchestras, 4 choral, 5 bands, various small ensembles, groups, concert band, 4 jazz bands. Jazz trio runner-up in Daily Telegraph National Jazz Competition; flautist in recent Young Musician of the Year.
Drama: Drama offered. Majority of pupils are involved in house/other productions. First amateur production of Shadowlands (playwright is an old boy).
Art & design: On average, 17 take GCSE, 12 A-level. 3D design, pottery and ceramics also offered.

Sport & activities

Sport: Rugby (Michaelmas), hockey and soccer (Lent) and cricket (summer term) are major sports; all pupils encouraged to play. Optional sports: cross-country, orienteering, tennis, swimming, fencing, athletics, archery, squash, golf, basketball; also badminton, volleyball, table tennis, short tennis, and indoor hockey. Number of county and regional representatives; national representatives at eg rugby, squash, sabre. Special relationship with London Irish RFC.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. CCF optional. Charity links and exchanges with Belgium, Germany. Over 30 clubs, eg debating, jazz, various music, judo, golf, fencing, orienteering, Hispanic, chess, Young Enterprise, drama.

School life

Uniform: School uniform worn.
Houses & prefects: Houses. Prefects, head boy, head of house and house prefects, appointed by the Head Master.
Religion: Roman Catholic Mass on Sunday; house service once a week; morning and evening prayers, all compulsory.
Social: School dances and choral society production with local girls’ schools. Occasional theatrical productions and debates with local comprehensive schools. Organised trips abroad for skiing, various sports tours, exchanges with schools in Europe. Pupils allowed to bring own bike to school. Meals self-service. School shop and tailor’s shop. No tobacco allowed.

Pupils falling behind with work may have some weekend privileges withdrawn; those caught with drugs will be expelled; rustication for bringing alcohol into the school; gating for breaking bounds; bullying leads to expulsion.

Fifth and sixth form have own study bedroom, others in dormitories. Houses of approximately 60. Resident qualified nursing staff on site 24 hrs a day, local doctor visits. Central dining rooms. 2 voluntary weekend exeats each term. Saturday visits to the local town allowed for sixth form.

Alumni association
(St Gregory’s Society) is run by Dom Daniel Rees, c/o the School.

Former pupils
Richard Stokes (Privy Seal); Lord Rawlinson (former Attorney General); Simon Halliday (rugby international); Maurice Couve-de-Murville (Archbishop of Birmingham); Auberon Waugh; Lord Hunt (former cabinet secretary); General Arthur Denaro; Jonathan Warrender, Michael Noakes (artists); William Nicholson (playwright); Sir Rocco Forte; Philip Fowke (pianist); Martin Newland (Editor, The Daily Telegraph); Sir John Pope-Hennessy (Curator of the British Museum)