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Downe House School

Cold Ash Village
Year of foundation
Cambridge Pre-U, A-level, GCSE
11—18 years old

Downe House School is a prestigious private boarding school for girls, located in the small village of Cold Ash, an hour's drive from London. The school was founded in 1907 in the home of the English naturalist Charles Darwin. The school moved to its current location in 1921.

Downe House School is famous for its high level of education, as well as for its famous graduates. School puts development in girls' personality first. There is a very strong and close-knit school community, as well as a friendly and inspiring atmosphere.

Important features of the school are the excellent composition of strong teachers and the curriculum with a large selection of academic subjects.

The school accepts bright, talented girls who can be wonderful students and comprehensively developed personalities, the ability to bring school victories in sports, achievements in art, etc.

At the time of admission, English must be fluent, both spoken and written. Girls will have to pass the difficult Common Entrance exam, consisting of several exams. You can enter at the age of 11, 13 years and 16 years (there are several places).

The school has 559 students.

DIRECTOR (stand 2023)

Emma McKendrick, Education - Bedford School. University of Liverpool and University of Birmingham.


  • Gabriela Windsor, writer, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II
  • Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William (studied at school for 1 semester)
  • Philippa Middleton, sister of Kate Middleton
  • Margaret Aston, a historian of the Middle Ages
  • Claire Balding, BBC sports commentator
  • Elizabeth Bowen, writer
  • Angie Bray, politician
  • Constance Collier, actress, writer
  • Sophie Dahl, model and screenwriter
  • Tessa Dahl, writer
  • Suzanne Finne, artist
  • Valerie Finnis, photographer and gardener
  • Amarilis Fleming, cellist and teacher
  • Alin Fox, archaeologist
  • Prudence Glynn, journalist and writer
  • Miranda Hart, actress (TV series Miranda, Call the Midwife)
  • Geraldine James, actress (films "Gandhi", "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows", the series "Poirot")
  • Mary Midgley, philosopher
  • Rosemary Murray, chemist and professor, vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge
  • Priscilla Napier, writer
  • Betty Ree, sculptor
  • Audrey Richards, anthropologist
  • Ann Ridley, poet
  • Evelyn Rothwell, musician
  • Georgina Rylance, actress (TV series Poirot)
  • Laura Solon, comedian
  • Rosie Tapner, model
  • Lena Townsend, politician


  • Downe House is one of the 4 leading girls' schools in the UK.
  • Very high academic performance.
  • Students receive the highest marks in exams.
  • Many graduates go to Russell Group universities.
  • The school has a very friendly and warm family atmosphere.
  • Teachers and mentors create an inspiring atmosphere for the diverse development of girls: both educational, sports and creative.
  • Acceptance of applications for school - at least 18 months, ideally - for 3-4 years.


An important feature of the school is a very large number of academic subjects. Pupils study 6 key subjects. In addition to this, a large selection of humanitarian, scientific and classical disciplines is offered:


High School Program for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Includes 6 required subjects.


Pre-university biennial program. It is aimed at preparing and passing exams in a number of disciplines and obtaining a certificate of "advanced" level - Advanced Level General Certificate of Education.

4 subjects of choice at the AS level (first year of study) are studied. 3 subjects are studied in depth at the A2 level (second year of study). Mandatory items required for delivery, no. All subjects are selected individually from those proposed by the school, depending on the chosen student of the university and faculty.

Cambridge pre-u

A two-year university preparatory program. Developed by Cambridge University International Exam Board. The program is recognized by all universities in the USA and the UK (including Oxford, Cambridge and the Russell Group universities). It is an alternative to the A-levels program.

Particular emphasis in the program is placed on the development of research skills and the basics of critical thinking.

The program consists of 5 components:

  • 3 main subjects.
  • The Global Perspectives course, which encourages students to think critically about the problems of the modern world, providing tools for identifying, evaluating, and exploring different arguments and points of view.
  • Independent research report. The Cambridge Pre-U Program encourages individual, individual research. Pupils write a 5000-word report based on their own research project. This is similar to the term paper that is performed at the university.


Accommodation in a school residence in one of 10 houses, in modern, bright and comfortable rooms. The residence has created excellent conditions for living, independent work and preparing students for life at the university. Girls of different ages live in each house, so you can build friendships not only with peers, but with older girls. The school and the residence have a very warm family atmosphere, girls feel at home.


Sports activities are part of the curriculum. The school offers a wide selection of different sports that build self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle.

The school can engage in the following sports: swimming, dancing, squash, gymnastics, netball, lacrosse, hockey, badminton, basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, soccer, fitness, running, cricket, softball, English foot.


In your free time and on weekends, a huge number of interest-based classes are offered to choose from. Each girl will be able to choose what she likes best: exciting new sports or creative and developing activities. And maybe both.

The choice is offered:

  • Club of young politicians
  • Science club
  • Debate and public speaking
  • Art classes
  • Club of young entrepreneurs
  • rock climbing
  • Sailing dispute


  • Horse Riding and Polo
  • Dances (ballet, tap dance, hip-hop, Zumba)
  • Astronomy
  • Pottery craftsmanship
  • Club of wizards
  • Theatre mastery
  • Program for the Duke of Edinburgh Award (community service, sports, expeditions)
  • Music. The school has various musical groups, including orchestras, a choir, bands playing wind instruments and others. Among the students of the school there are finalists and semi-finalists of the national chamber music competition.

Various training seminars are held regularly, which take place both at the school and beyond: making films, dancing, cooking, painting on glass, creating jewellery. As well as recreational activities: karting, paintball, ice skating, a trip to the Cirque du Soleil, watching theatre performances and much more.

COST, 2023-2024

£15,920 per semester (3 semesters in the school year).
There are 3 semesters in the school year.

Included in cost

  • Teaching
  • Accommodation and meals

Extra paid

  • Registration fee - £350
  • Deposit (refundable upon graduation) - £4000
  • Flights
  • Transfers to / from the airport
  • Visa
  • Services of the company "Paradise"
  • Guardianship (as required by British law)


  • Selection of 5-6 schools that best meet the individual characteristics of the child, further goals, talents, with the desired environment. Help in the correct interpretation of school ratings, an explanation of why the school occupies one place or another. Help in obtaining reliable information about schools that are not included in the ratings, with an explanation of the reasons for non-participation in it.
  • Admission to 1-3 schools, selected from the proposed. Which includes the preparation of the necessary documents, school reports, characteristics, recommendations. Selection and submission of tests to prepare the student for exam testing, assistance in preparing essays. Preparation for an interview with the teacher / principal, registration for the exam. The necessary list of recommendations when attending school for passing entrance examinations. Correspondence with the school (not all schools enter into correspondence with foreign parents, treat them with caution, trust only a trusted agent).
  • Assistance in paying registration fees, deposits, bills. Clarification of school rules, including disciplinary and legal aspects.
  • Filling out the required medical forms.
  • Selection of guardians required by UK law.

Student supervision during the first month of training is provided as a gift: assistance in resolving issues related to resettlement, billing, informing parents about the child’s health status, assistance with understanding of academic programs, organization of ext. classes for the child in a particular subject, help in choosing the program most suitable for the child, transfer to another class, etc.

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About "Paradise"

Наш коллектив

Expert assistance in selecting the right schools for your child in the UK, Switzerland, which have been our main specialization since 1996.

We also help you enter schools where teaching is conducted in English: in the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Austria, Thailand, Canada, and France.

Full support in the admission procedure: preparation for an interview, visits to selected schools accompanied by a Paradise employee.

Assistance in applying to universities in the UK, Switzerland, Canada: writing motivation letters, creating a package of documents, creating the right case for applying for a visa (to avoid rejection).

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