Downe House Global Academy

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Downe House Global Academy

An Outstanding British Academic Experience

Educating tomorrow’s changemakers & leaders

Headmistress of Downe House School

Dear students and parents,

We are thrilled to be launching our Downe House Global Academy for the intellectually ambitious students around the world. This holistic programme finds no parallel globally, and we are very excited to be offering this pioneering ‘blended learning experience’ to our Founding Families and students. The Downe House Global Academy programme will reflect, in its features, everything that Downe House stands for, and in particular, its belief in the importance of balancing tradition and academic rigour on the one hand with innovation on the other, including the use of technology to create truly boundaryless communities of young learners.

We look forward to getting to know and working with our Founding Families and supporting students on their global academic journeys.

Global Academy Introducing
Mrs Emma McKendrick

Introducing Ms Marya Akhtar

Academic Head, Downe House Global Academy

Do you possess a genuine love of learning?

Do you wonder how you will use and apply the knowledge and theories you learn in class?

Do you see yourself as a problem solver?

Can you envisage yourself as one of tomorrow’s changemakers and leaders?

The Downe House Global Academy offers an outstanding British experience that educates students to be critical thinkers. Research shows that critical thinking and problem-solving skills are crucial for the empathetic leaders and policy makers of tomorrow.

Our Global Academy offers a traditional British-style teaching & learning experience with a modern twist – learning through collaboration and debate, using the latest technology. Modern-day students are growing up in a rapidly changing world and face new challenges that require unique solutions. Our Academy is inclusive, collaborative and connected. Our innovative courses are carefully curated by the Downe House faculty-leaders to provide a thought-provoking curriculum through our online portal.

We offer a unique opportunity for bright girls and boys to develop their academic skills by joining our one-year diploma or our 10-week standalone courses. Downe House teachers deliver weekly live lessons on our portal over two semesters in an academic year. Courses in STEM, English Literature and Social Sciences are offered, along with our World Ready Programme that helps train young people to carve a unique career path for themselves as they move through school and university.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, join the Downe House Global Academy, we welcome you to be a part of our pioneering educational philosophy!

Global Academy



School Profile 2023

Downe House is one of the top three independent all-girls boarding schools in the UK and one where each individual in the community matters.

We are at the forefront of education for girls and we achieve the best grades without adopting a ‘hot house’ approach. Our girls not only achieve excellent academic results, but also excel beyond the curriculum; at Sport, Art, Drama and Music. Our girls represent England in Lacrosse, perform plays at Stratford upon Avon, sing at St Paul’s Cathedral, join charitable projects in Cambodia, get recruited by Sotheby’s and study at the top universities of the world like Harvard and Oxford with equal ease.

Set on a 110 acre estate in Berkshire, we foster a caring community enabling our girls to build strong relationships with their peers and staff alike. Our ethos is one where everyone in our community has respect for one another and we aim to help our girls become independent learners and aspirational world-ready young women.

UK University Destinations 2023

Top London Universities: Imperial, LSE King’s College, Queen Mary’s and UCL Oxford and Cambridge


Others including Bath, Birmingham, St Andrews and York

Overseas including The New School (Parsons), UCLA, University of Hong Kong and Semmelweiss

Emma McKendrick
Director of Global Partnerships
Ms Marya Akhtar
Global Academy
Medicine and Medical Sciences
Politics, Economics and Management
Creative or Performing Arts
International Focus Inc. Study Abroad I/GCSE 89% 9-7 A*-A 9-8 (A*) 58% 7 (A) 23% 13% 6 (B) 5% 5 (C) 4< 2% 81% 9-7 A*-A 94% 9-6 A*-B A Level COMBINED A LEVEL AND PRE-U SUCCESS 92% A*-B DI-M2 75% A*-A DI-D3 A* 28% A 36% 20% B 15% C Lorem ipsum 64% A*-A 84% A*-B
Edinburgh Exeter Manchester Newcastle
Bristol Durham

Course Convener

After completing a BA in English Literature at the University of Lancaster, I was able to secure a highly competitive Arts and Humanities Research Council scholarship for a Masters in English Literature and I then secured this same scholarship for a PhD in twentieth century literature. During this time, as well as presenting at various international conferences, I was heavily involved in the teaching of undergraduate English Literature students across all three year groups and it was here that I realised my interest lay most powerfully in teaching literature.

During my time at Downe House School, I have held various roles related to teaching English, including KS3 co-ordinator, but I have also played a crucial role in developing and leading our Oxbridge Programme. This involves leading a group of expert subject specialists to help prepare Downe House students for entry to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge or Medical School. I myself directly lead our provision for English Literature, and indeed I’m very proud of our enviable record for English Literature admissions!

I have also helped to develop our bespoke Downe House Elective Programme, which offers girls in Year 10, Year 11 and Year 12 the opportunity to undertake six week courses, or Electives, in a wide range of fascinating areas of study beyond the curriculum. This might include, for instance, an Elective on the Physics

of Music, one on Gender Economics, or one on the Sonnet. In both the Elective Programme and the Global Academy, the importance and value of inculcating a love of learning for its own sake is one of the most significant contributions we can make to the lives of our students.

Beyond the classroom, I also maintain a very active role in the wider community of English teaching. I regularly publish articles for various venues on teaching literature as well as wider educational matters, including in English Review, National Association for Teaching English, English and Media Centre, and Teach Secondary. This has also involved delivering presentations and professional training for other schools, English teachers, and at educational conferences.

I am very excited to be part of the Downe House Global Academy and look forward to sharing my love of literature with my students.

Global Academy Literature & Public Speaking

Course Convener

Mr Justin Bartholomew, BA, CELTA, PGCE

I attended King Alfred’s College, Winchester, where I graduated with an English and History BA Honours degree in 1997. My twin passions for language and travel initially led me to train as a teacher of English as a foreign language, after which I spent four years teaching English to non-native speakers in Italy, Poland, Spain and France. Upon my return to the UK, I completed a PGCE in secondary teaching at Bath University.

Since 2002, I have worked in a variety of schools in the UK where I have gained a wealth of experience teaching students from many different cultural and social backgrounds. I have taught English at Downe House for the last seven years and I am currently the Second in Department and (from this year) Key Stage 5 Coordinator, which means I have responsibility for organising the A Level classes for English Literature. Prior to this, I was the Key Stage 4 Coordinator, overseeing the teaching of GCSE Language and Literature. I am also an academic tutor for six girls in the Upper Fifth (Year 11).

Being at Downe House has been a wonderful experience both personally and professionally. Over the years, it has been my privilege to teach creative and highly motivated pupils from all over the world. I have also been fortunate to work alongside a fantastically talented group of colleagues. Teaching literature here is an absolute pleasure, and it never gets dull: I could be teaching a nineteenth century

novel, a modern play, a Shakespeare tragedy and a variety of poetry - all in the same day. What makes lessons particularly rewarding is when the girls become so engrossed in the exploration of a text, that they completely forget they are learning; they are just having fun!

Outside of school I have an eclectic range of interests including history, psychology, hiking and, of course, reading - I always have two and sometimes three books that I am reading at any one time, and I enjoy a wide range of genres. I still haven’t lost my love of travelling either, which I try to do at least once a year, and I also like the challenge of teaching myself foreign languages.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Downe House Global Academy and can’t wait to meet my classes. I am very much looking forward to exploring the beauty of English literature with a new group of students.

Global Academy Literature & Public Speaking

My interest in world events and current affairs led me to a degree in Economics, Politics and International Relations from University College, Dublin. Upon completing my degree, I entered the world of investment banking and witnessed first-hand the devastation of the financial crisis of 2008.

I followed my passion for Economics with a change in career and I became an Economics and Business teacher with a goal of enhancing students’ knowledge of the world around them. I have extensive experience in the academic, pastoral and management areas in the independent school sector. During my teaching career, I have been Head of Economics and Business at two of the leading girls’ independent schools in England.

My role as Head of Department at Downe House included delivering excellent lessons that both engage and inspire students, preparing students for examinations, overseeing the university application process, and creating and marking written assessment and scholarship papers. As an Oxbridge mentor, I am proud to have helped numerous students secure a place to read Economics and Management and PPE and thoroughly enjoyed my role in stretching students’ knowledge and critical thinking. Elements of the Oxbridge process are incorporated into our courses, where students are encouraged to think critically and develop their learning.

I have a wealth of expertise in preparing students for A Level and GCSE success, achieving excellent results each year. I have been an A Level examiner for numerous examination boards, ensuring that I keep up to date with any changes in the examination structure. I oversaw the successful transition of Pre U Economics to A Level at Downe House. I have a particular interest in the rapidly developing world of Neuroscience and in particular the teenage brain, which supports my view that, in order to excel, students must enhance and develop their curriculum knowledge.

I have always placed great importance on cocurricular activities and in my roles as Head of Enterprise and Head of Year 9, I have overseen many successful entrepreneurial programmes such as Young Enterprise, Tycoon in Schools and Wings of Hope.

It is my belief that every student should be aware of and have an interest in the world around them. I hope to enhance students’ knowledge of world policies in alleviating some of the current problems facing the adults of the future in this Academy.

Course Convener
Global Academy Global Affairs: Social Sciences
Mrs Orla Cahill, BA (Hons), QTS

Having held important positions of Head of Science and Head of Biology in the past, I have been at Downe House for sixteen years and thoroughly enjoy teaching here!

I completed a Biological Sciences degree, with First Class Honours, at the University of Warwick and then a PGCE at the University of Exeter. I enjoy teaching all year groups and welcome the opportunity to extend students beyond the curriculum by discussing books, documentaries, radio programmes and podcasts with them, to extend their knowledge, interests and curiosity beyond the classroom. I also relish the opportunity to guide Oxbridge aspirants when it comes to Medicine, Biology and Biological Sciences degrees.

I am excited to be part of the Downe House Global Academy and am looking forward to working with and inspiring a new cohort of budding scientists.

Course Convener

Miss Christina Pugsley, BSc, PGCE
Global Academy
STEM: Applied Science

Course Convener

The initial part of my higher education studies focused on tropical diseases both at the Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine (BSc) and the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MSc). The area of study combined two keen interests of mine, disease control and problem solving. Through these studies I was fortunate to be able to travel to East Africa to support testing and control initiatives in situ for the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative in Mozambique and at the Public Health Laboratory on Pemba Island, Zanzibar. These experiences provided me with a much greater appreciation for the challenges faced by local populations but also by those trying to control the spread of infection and diseases.

Having greatly enjoyed being more ‘handson’, I went into scientific research at the University of Nottingham with a specific focus on Trypanosomes - responsible for the disease ‘sleeping sickness’ - and the cellular machinery they possess to move around cellular cargo. However, being someone who thrives on social interaction, the long stretches carrying out research work independently were not for me.

And so, onto teaching. I completed my PGCE at the University of Nottingham through the TeachFirst Leadership Development Programme as a secondary science teacher and was fortunate to work at a school where they allowed me to teach across the sciences and run a STEM club; both of which helped to broaden my understanding of the benefits of

interdisciplinary learning.

From here, I moved to work at an international school in Colombia. I loved the experience of working with students from different and diverse backgrounds, and the challenge of finding new ways to make the content engaging. As part of my role, I designed and delivered STEM modules - something I am likewise greatly looking forward to doing as part of my role with the Downe House Global Academy - challenging students to use their knowledge from a wide-range of subject areas to solve current real-world problems, such as the generation of cleaner and more efficient energy and eco-friendly architecture.

I am now teaching at Downe House as Head of STEM and Oxbridge Head of STEM Faculty, which is an absolute pleasure. The role allows me to create more opportunities for students to work outside and/or beyond formal subject areas, as well as to take a more holistic view of how to tackle some of our greatest challenges. I am very much looking forward to working as part of the Global Academy and seeing firsthand how students develop and approach new challenges.

STEM: Applied Science

Global Academy

My Maths teacher at school was my inspiration to become a teacher - he just seemed to have the best time at work. He told me that he got to help multiple people every day and it was a privilege; how right he was! So, having graduated from Bath University with my Bachelor of Science, I decided to follow his example. In the last 26 years I have taught in five schools across three continents and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Teaching in international schools was a rewarding experience. It taught me a lot about other cultures and was a fabulous opportunity to explore the world. It was in one of these schools that I first became a Head of Year and this has been a constant in my teaching career ever since.

Upon returning to England, I have taught at a top independent school in Bath and furthered my management experience to include timetabling and running exams as well as continuing to be Head of Year. I then moved to another recent independent school to be Head of Physics and soon was given the additional responsibilities of Academic Head of Years 10 and 11.

In 2021, I started my own tutoring business and now teach all over the world again, albeit online. I also work for an exam board and go into schools on their behalf to support and collaborate with the Science staff to help them with their A Level delivery. This has led to an opportunity to train and develop new teachers how to teach through training programmes and I have recently written chapters for a new A Level resource for Cambridge University Press.

I am excited to have joined Downe House and am looking forward to working with the students of the Downe House Global Academy and continuing to help young people on a daily basis with their journey into science discovery and beyond.

Global Academy
STEM: Applied Science
Course Convener

Downe House Global Academy Administration Manager

My background in international travel management gave me the chance to travel the world and to deliver complete travel consultancy programmes for high profile global clients such as Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Sony and Vodafone. This experience developed my organisational and management skills which gave rise to the opportunity for me to become a Project Manager, working on various IT projects, including the launch of a new e-commerce website for Hamleys.

The expertise and experience of working in the global arena have placed me in a strong position to support the Global Partnerships team at Downe House. My role encompasses the administration and infrastructure support of a range of global initiatives, including the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme, the Global Internship Programme and the Downe House Global Academy.

I am also heavily involved with the Futures Programme here at Downe, which includes managing events and supporting our dedicated

team as they inform students about their options for higher education and support their university applications. I have an in-depth understanding of the UCAS application process and am the UNIFROG Co-ordinator. I am also responsible for producing the Futures Bulletin which highlights to pupils and their parents the ways in which they can participate in a wide range of super-curricular activities.

As a firm advocate of globalisation, and as someone who fully understands what benefits it brings from my own personal and professional experiences, I am very excited to be part of the Downe House Global Academy. In my role as Administration Manager, as well as helping to manage the DHGA online portal, I also help organise course content and assist with planning the academic year and communication, recordings and reports. Ensuring the programme runs smoothly and seeing first-hand how beneficial it is to students is very rewarding.

Global Academy

Downe House Global Academy

An Outstanding British Academic Experience

Educating tomorrow’s changemakers and leaders

The course at a glance

Students successful in gaining a place to study with the Downe House Global Academy will have the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills by applying the scientific, social and literary knowledge gained in the classroom.

Our highly experienced teachers will deliver a curated educational experience that will develop the vision and confidence of students, skills which are required to participate in British style academic tutorials at top universities. Students will be afforded the opportunity to hone their public speaking and problem solving skills. They will also gain an insight into boarding life at a traditional British school and be introduced to British teaching and learning styles.

Selection Criteria

The main selection criteria for participation in the Downe House Global Academy are:

English Language Skills

• The courses are delivered in English, you will need a sufficient level of English to complete the course and take part in class discussions. There will be an assessment of English Language skills as part of the selection process. (Recommended: Level B2 for Cambridge tests and Level 6+7 for IELTS)

Academic Skills

• There will be an assessment of academic ability, intellectual curiosity, commitment and teachability through a pre-course assessment session.

Features of the Course

• A welcome from the Headmistress of Downe House school, Mrs Emma McKendrick, and the Academic Head.

• These courses are for students aged 11-15 years old, and take place over a 1 year period. In all, there will be 2 Semesters of 10 weeks each in the areas of Social Sciences, STEM and Literature.

• Students will be invited to a talk called ‘Hear it from the Experts’ each semester. They will be invited to join recordings of talks given by famous politicians, sports personalities, writers, artists, broadcasters and the like.

• Every student will have access to our Downe House Global Academy World Ready Programme, which includes in-depth information on the following areas:

• How to get into a boarding school.

• How to settle into a boarding community.

• How to succeed in a British boarding education with its wealth of opportunities.

• How to prepare for university and beyond.

On Completing the Course

At the end of each 1-year course, each student will receive the following:

• Assessment report including quantitative and qualitative data at the end of each 10-week semester.

• Final Diploma featuring a pass, merit or distinction grade presented following the completion of 2 semesters over 1 year.

• Letter of recommendation upon request for entrance into a school or university of your choice upon completion of a 1-year course, if a distinction grade is gained.

• Participation in the 1-year course will add to the assessment portfolio required for entry into Downe House at 13+ or 16+.

Please note:

Stand alone 10-week courses can be arranged by consultation.

Downe House Global Academy

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