Academic Excellence

We equip pupils with the ability to achieve, and the aspirations to aim high.

Underpinned by our Future Skills vision, our teaching is innovative, high-quality, forward thinking and personalised. We believe children learn best when they are knee-deep in their learning, getting involved with practical lessons to bring concepts to life.

We use a transformational approach to teaching, which enables children to master concepts, developing their fluency in a subject area without having to resort to rote learning. By using this approach, we inspire a deep, long-term, and adaptable understanding of concepts and theories.

Our approach.

Brilliant basics at every Key Stage

We will never compromise on brilliant basics. At Little Downsend and in the Junior School we work hard to instil a foundation of excellence in reading, writing and numeracy to ensure children have the bedrock for building their learning as they progress to the Senior School.

A focus on skills as well as subjects

We take the very best of STEAM and the 4C's (Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Communication) to underpin the curriculum and to focus on the kinds of skills so demanded by employers of the future. Teaching educational theory through endless regurgitation has had its day, and so we look to the future to teach resilience, adaptability, collaboration, creativity, and how to fail and get back up again – as the very cornerstones of academic excellence.

Embedding Educational Technology

Being part of a global schools group gives us unrivalled access to the latest Ed-Tech developments. During the pandemic, we rolled out 1 to 1 devices to every child from Reception, enabling us to move seamlessly to online learning and to increase levels of digital skill.

Simplifying achievement metrics

We understand that getting a sense of your child’s achievement is sometimes difficult to quantify and benchmark. We seek to ensure that there is consistency in our assessment process at each stage of the school, and how we report that to Parents in a way that makes sense.

Personalised Learning

The personal approach.

Every individual learns in a different way and our teaching at Downsend meets pupils where they are, using different styles and techniques depending upon the child.
We help pupils develop a wide range of metacognitive strategies and skills to help their learning, encouraging them to think critically, to think deeply on a problem and to be self-aware of strengths and weaknesses.

Every child at Downsend is an individual, and we work with them and you to put a plan in place for their learning that allows them to fulfil their full potential. We identify their strengths and areas for improvement with ongoing reviews of progress. Our Gifted and Talented Scheme, RAISE, stretches the children who need an additional challenge, taking their learning to the next step. For those who need support in some areas, our Learning Support Team work closely with children to put an action plan in place.

We have a meticulous approach to tracking progress, with individual targets set for each pupil. These targets are reviewed termly, with new approaches taken to stretch higher-order thinking, or support areas of weakness.

We use MidYis and Yellis (Year Eleven Indicator System) to help us track baseline assessments, predict GCSE performance and produce a detailed analysis of individual strengths and weaknesses.

In an area bristling with good schools, this one stands out for combining breadth and rigour with fun and forward thinking.

 – Good Schools Guide


An integrated, consistent curriculum.

Our aim at Downsend School is to deliver a truly integrated experience from the moment children join us as babies, all the way through to their GCSEs. We do this by working together as a team at every stage to ensure consistency in the delivery of core subjects and how we talk about ‘learning language’ with each other, with the children, and with you as Parents.


We are proud of our outstanding academic results.

The academic achievement of Downsend’s pupils, at every stage, is something we are very proud of. We will always say that a child should never be judged by data alone, for their skills, talents, and strengths are far greater than what can be tested through assessments. But, this does not mean that our pupils are not achieving the most stunning results. Because they really are. They work hard. We work hard. We work hard together, to make sure that every single pupil aims high, and reaches places they may never have felt possible.

To see our excellent results from Reception through to GCSE, visit 'Our Results'. Alternatively, we’ll happily share all our detailed data with you, just let our Admissions Team know and we can provide you with anything you need.

leaver destinations

Our students leave us well prepared for the next steps in their educational journey.

We are very proud that 100% of Year 11 students secured their first choice sixth form place in 2023, and the next steps are, quite literally, taking them far and wide.

From an independent school perspective, our leavers are heading to Epsom College, St John's, CLFS, Seaford College, Lancing College and even Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, a number with Scholarships. Some move into the maintained sector locally, to schools such as Howard of Effingham and St Andrews, whilst a number have selected Sixth Form Colleges, including Reigate, Esher and even Exeter.

Their choices have been varied and we are delighted that they will be spreading their wings in this way.

Downsend School

Admissions: 01372 372311

General: 01372 372197