Downsend Launches New Senior School And GCSE Expansion Plans

Aerial picture of Downsend School

There is now a greater choice for Surrey pupils heading towards their GCSEs with the announcement that Downsend School in Leatherhead will expand to include a Senior School from September 2020.

The new Senior School will educate girls and boys up to Year 11, seeing them through the completion of a new 3 year GCSE Programme. Reflecting an initial capital investment of £3 million by the school’s owner, Cognita, the development builds on Downsend’s track record as an established preparatory school with strong academics alongside character development and wellbeing, particularly in the areas of sport and the performing arts.

“Together with Cognita, we have undertaken a large research project and consulted with our parent body, culminating in the decision to expand in size and open a Senior School for Years 9 to 11,” says Ian Thorpe, Headmaster. “Over recent years, so many of our parents have expressed genuine sadness that their children could not continue at Downsend beyond Year 8. We are delighted to remedy this and immensely proud to be bringing about this next phase of Downsend School’s history.”

The initial £3million capital investment will be used to develop and enhance Downsend’s site and curriculum across the next three years. At the heart of this will be a new Creative Arts Centre as well as numerous improvements and additions across the school in readiness to welcome Year 9 pupils from September 2020.

Stuart Rolland, CEO, Europe of Cognita says “We are pleased to be supporting these exciting plans for Downsend School. They form part of our continued commitment to educational excellence and we are able to bring investment and educational best practice from across the Cognita school network worldwide to ensure Downsend’s future success”

Over the last four years, the school has seen improved academic standards, most recently achieving outstanding Common Entrance success in 2016 and 2017 with 100% success rate. Since 2014 Downsend pupils have gained 190 Senior School Scholarships, over 50 of which have been Academic Awards, and increased the A*-B Common Entrance grades from 79% to 89%.

Mr Thorpe adds, “We already have fantastic sports, science, DT and ICT facilities that would be the envy of many senior schools. Our reputation for preparing children for their senior school education is already established. The difference is our ability to better balance the pastoral and academic needs of pupils so that they enjoy their schooling with us whilst achieving their academic and personal successes.”

A current Downsend parent commented “We are really happy about the expansion to GCSE.  Downsend is a marvellous school and our daughter is really flourishing here and to continue her schooling to age 16 with the same Downsend ‘pressure free’ approach will most definitely suit her”.

01372 372197