Frequently Asked Questions

Do children stay at The Downs until they are 13 years old?


Traditionally prep school children have always transferred to public school at 13. This is because those involved in the system understand and appreciate the fundamental importance of the confidence and self belief the pupils develop in their last two years at a prep school. Being ‘top of the pile’ they are given roles of responsibility and opportunities of independence that they would not otherwise be granted if they transferred at 11 and became ‘small fish in a large bowl’. Amongst other things, this confidence enhances success in the classroom.


If my child transfers to an independent day school in Bristol at 13 rather than 11, will it hamper their chances of gaining a place at the school of their choice?


Pupils from The Downs transfer to the Bristol Schools at 13. The Bristol schools recognise and appreciate the philosophy of The Downs – and other prep schools – and are pleased to accommodate the needs of our children. It must be recognised that there are five or six other prep schools in the area and it should be noted that the children from The Downs are particularly welcomed by the Bristol Schools. Furthermore, a number of the Bristol Schools allow our children to take the entrance exams at 11 but reserve the place until the child is 13.

The fear that children leaving The Downs at 13 will find it hard to establish themselves in the peer group of their next school is a parental perception and reality. The Bristol Schools recognise the issue and successfully facilitate appropriate social interaction in a number of ways such as forming new classes in Year 9. In our experience, our children have not found any difficulty in moving at 13; they slot in just as new children coming into various year groups at The Downs slot in.


What are the class sizes at The Downs?

There are two classes in each year group at the Downs. Class sizes currently average 15. Ideally we allow a maximum of 18 pupils in each of our classes.


Does The Downs School offer Scholarships or Bursaries?


We offer scholarships to children entering Year 4 – the Prep School. The exams take place in the May of the year before the candidates begin Year 4 – details are available on the website. The awards generally recognise academic potential but talents in the creative arts and sport are also recognised. The awards are offered at the discretion of the Headmaster after assessment. The maximum award equates to 25% of the day pupil fee.

As evidence of our charitable status we additionally offer bursaries – financial assistance to those parents who otherwise would not be able to educate their children at The Downs. The level of assistance the school is able to provide is based upon the completion of a Means Test Form


Do pupils from The Downs win scholarships?

Yes  – most definitely.

During the last eight years, over half of the 8th year leavers have won awards to prestigious senior schools all over the South West including Badminton, Blundell’s, Bryanston, Cheltenham College, Clifton College, King’s Taunton, Malvern College, Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, Marlborough,  Millfield, Monmouth and Sherborne. The awards have recognised academic, sporting, artistic, theatrical and musical prowess.


Does The Downs provide after school care?

We have a very flexible end to the day at The Downs.

The Pre-Prep children (Reception – Yr 3) finish school 3.45 and  4.00pm but each night there are various clubs until 5.00pm. At 5.00pm we then offer an After School Club that included ‘tea and telly’.

The Prep School children finish school at 5.05pm and each night there are numerous clubs offered until 6.00pm. Thereafter the children can stay for supper.

There is no charge for the vast majority of clubs. A small charge is made for those clubs that require external coaches, for example the cricket coaching if provided by Gloucestershire CC.

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