LOWER SCHOOL HANDBOOK 2019 - 2020 REMOVE - LOWER FOURTH
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Main Entrance 2 Main Car Park 3 Wakefield House/Reception 4 Murray Centre/Library/School Shop 5 AGS House 6 AGN House 7 Tedworth House 8 Holcombe House and Main Dining Room 9 Aisholt House 10 Hermitage House 11 Hill House 12 Darwin House 13 Willis House 14 York House 15 Performing Arts Centre 16 Farr Centre (Sports Centre) 17 Swimming Pool and Squash Courts 18 Cloisters 19 Chapel 20 Concert Room and Music School 21 Modern Languages School 22 Science School 23 Art and Pottery Studios 24 Resources Department/Nickel Room 25 Music School 26 Playing Fields 27 The Palmer Centre (Medical Centre) 1
21 24 19
15 23 25 5
To the Playing Fields 26
LOWER SCHOOL HANDBOOK 2019 REMOVE - LOWER FOURTH
Contents Welcome from the Headmistress
Statement of Boarding Aims and Practice
Partnership with Parents
Head of Lower School
8 10 12
Preparing for Boarding School
Life at Downe House
Keeping in touch
Being a day girl
Where can I go for help and advice?
What happens if something goes wrong?
Exeats and travel
Pocket money/allowances and personal documents
Homesickness â€“ how to cope
Things to bring
Internet and Social Networking
Rewards and Sanctions
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to Downe House The start of your daughter’s life at Downe House marks the beginning of our partnership. The staff and I would like to welcome you as a family to Downe House. We believe that we offer a happy, caring yet stimulating environment which complements your daughter’s home life. It is a privilege for us to begin to build this valuable relationship with you, which will provide a secure and structured framework in which your daughter’s personality can grow to meet her full potential.
Mrs Emma McKendrick Headmistress
Statement of Boarding Aims and Practice Downe House, established in 1907, is a full boarding School, which aims to provide an excellent holistic education for boarders and day girls within a relaxed but structured House framework. The School enables girls to develop academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally in a homely and friendly environment, where mutual trust and respect between pupils and staff are the fundamental guiding principles on which the community was established over one hundred years ago, and on which it continues to flourish. At Downe House, the individual is highly valued within the House and the whole School community. All girls, irrespective of background, race, religion or culture, are encouraged to live in harmony with one another and, by making the most of a range of different opportunities available to them during their journey through the Lower School, the Upper School and the Sixth Form Houses, girls are encouraged to develop the necessary confidence to meet the demands of adulthood and a rapidly changing world. One Sixth Form leaver eloquently summed up the unique Downe House experience by saying, ‘I left Downe House with the feeling there was nothing I couldn’t achieve.’
Our Partnership with Parents
At Downe House, we pride ourselves on the quality of our pastoral care, and irrespective of whether your daughter is a boarder or a day girl, our aim is to support her in every aspect of her life. We will undertake to help her to develop academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally and to do our best to ensure that she leaves Downe House, not only with the academic qualifications that will allow her to access higher education, if that is what she wants, but also with a well-established work ethic and a core set of values that will allow her to flourish in todayâ€™s rapidly changing world. However, it is important to remember that we will not be working in isolation but in partnership with you as parents. We will keep you informed regularly of your daughterâ€™s progress both in a formal way via reports and informally by email and telephone but communication from your end too is crucial. We are very aware that you know your daughter best and therefore please do share with us any information, no matter how trivial, that will help us to support her from our end. However, please do not ask a member of staff to keep a piece of information to themselves, as this creates an impasse and does not allow us to move forward. No matter how sensitive or perhaps even critical of us your information is, rest assured it will be treated confidentially and professionally, and will not rebound adversely on your daughter. No institution is perfect and sometimes mistakes or misunderstandings do occur, but if we work together, even the knottiest problem can be resolved! We are aware of how challenging it is to bring up young girls in todayâ€™s world and we want to do as much as possible to support you, as well as your daughter. With this in mind, we have put in place a series of talks on subjects such as internet safety, drugs, and sex and relationships, which take place at regular intervals throughout the year. The normal pattern is for the girls to have a talk from a guest speaker, followed by a similar talk for parents. We try to arrange these to coincide with Exeats, so that you can then close the circle by having a discussion with your daughter over the weekend. Many parents have found these talks really useful and we hope you will too. Finally, the ways your daughter will be supported to fulfil her academic potential are outlined in the section on academic progress, and here too, we need to work in partnership. We know how much you look forward to spending time with your daughter in the holidays but it is important that she is also encouraged to do some work, especially if she is coming back to examinations the following week. We will always try to keep you informed of what work your daughter has to do but we need you to make sure she does it!
Head of Lower School Having combined the posts of Senior Teacher and Director of Music at my previous school, as well as fulfilling my role as an Independent Schools’ Inspector, I was delighted to join a happy and dedicated team as Head of Lower School in 2008. This followed a long association with Downe House, watching my own daughter grow and flourish after seven incredibly happy years as a pupil at the School. Having lived through the highs (and lows) of Hannah’s first term as a Remove, I am fully aware of the type of experiences our new girls might encounter and am well placed to support you as parents. I teach every girl in the Lower School which gives me an added insight into their individual characters both academically and pastorally. I have been residential in two boarding schools during my teaching career and as I start my eleventh year at Downe House, it continues to be a great privilege to be a part of your daughter’s social and academic development. As Head of Lower School, I will oversee your daughter’s academic progress and pastoral care, and look forward to playing a major role in securing her seamless, happy transition into life at Downe House.
Mrs Judith Gilpin Jones Head of Lower School
Darwin House Darwin is only a short walk from the main School surrounded by woodland and offers a feeling of going home at the end of the day, although it is near enough for girls to pop back in their breaks. The large garden and courtyard offers a wonderful space for outdoor play, barbeques, games and general get-togethers. There are nine bedrooms of varying shapes and sizes, sleeping two, three or four girls. The large common room is our social centre for parties, movies and activities and is where we meet for House meetings every day. All girls are encouraged to participate in the running and organisation of the House and the House committee meets regularly. At the weekend, there is more time for relaxing and for House activities as well as outings and trips to local attractions. Girls will often be found baking in the House kitchen, as party cakes and brownies are always in demand, or dressing up with our exciting and inspirational collection of garments which continues to delight generations of girls!
Mrs Frankie Capps HOUSEMISTRESS I trained at Bedford College of Physical Education and I started my teaching career in Haslemere, Surrey, where I taught for several years. I then went on to be Head of Physical Education at Wycombe Abbey. I left Wycombe to have a family and then worked part-time at Queen Anne’s Caversham. In recent years I have put my wealth of experience to good use as the Housemistress of Hill House. As part of the new Lower School Boarding project I became Housemistress of Darwin, where I live with my husband, Alan, our two black labradors Dexter and Digby and my son James. I also oversee the Wakefield Award which has been developed to allow our girls to extend their horizons and discover their potential. I very much look forward to welcoming you to Darwin.
Ms Alyson Scott-Kerley ASSISTANT HOUSEMISTRESS I have been at Downe House for about ten years now; I joined as a Pastoral Tutor in 2009 and very quickly realised that working at Downe was going to be an absolute pleasure for me. I was thrilled to be appointed to the role of Assistant Housemistress in Darwin and thoroughly enjoy my involvement in the School as a member of the residential team. Being a keen walker and a lover of the outdoors, living and working in such wonderful leafy surroundings is perfect for me. I look forward to welcoming the new girls to Darwin in September and I am sure that there will be lots of fun and happy times ahead.
“My favourite part of Darwin is that all the girls and staff are so friendly and welcoming which is why it was so easy to fit in.” EMILY, 13
Hermitage House Hermitage House is situated close to Hill and Darwin which together make up the three Lower School boarding houses for girls in Remove and LIV. Our aim is to provide the best possible environment in which the girls can negotiate challenges and set down deep roots for their time at Downe House and beyond. Hermitage provides ten spacious four-person dorms, a large common room where we hold our daily House meetings, run evening activities and enjoy movie nights. We have a prep room, which contains 10 computers that the girls can use to complete work or email home and a music room to practice their instruments in their free time. A busy communal area is our kitchen where the girls have break, tea and evening snacks. A favourite Hermitage tradition is our Sunday House breakfast where the girls come down in their pyjamas to enjoy warm croissants, cereals and toast in a very relaxed atmosphere. In the evenings, the girls can choose to attend a number of co-curricular activities and there are events going on in House such as yoga and cardio club as part of our wellbeing programme. Our girls enjoy a number of roles of responsibility within the House and the Social reps often organise fun events on returning to School after Exeat Weekend. These have included making pizza for supper, talent competitions, dorm dances and of course, fashion shows. Weekends in Hermitage can involve many fun and exciting opportunities for girls to socialise across the year groups or just rest and relax amongst friends. Many girls will be involved in sports matches on a Saturday afternoon or they can participate in craft activities or baking in House. In the warmer months we often have barbeques on the lawn and the girls can enjoy the sunshine whilst playing swingball and badminton with friends. On Sundays, there are organised trips for the year group to local attractions and events, making each day at Downe one to remember.
Mrs Kim Collingwood HOUSEMISTRESS I grew up in Rutland before going to Loughborough University of Technology to study Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management. Whilst at university, I participated in many different sports and I also competed successfully as an amateur jockey, point-to-point steeplechasing around the country at weekends. After graduating, I completed my PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, before taking my first Assistant Housemistress and teaching post in Bristol. Before joining Downe House, I taught at a girls’ boarding school in Ascot. I performed many different roles including Assistant Housemistress, Duke of Edinburgh Leader and Head of Year in a number of key stages. I believe an important aspect of a successful House lies in setting standards and developing a positive ethos where each individual feels valued, safe and secure. As Housemistress of Hermitage I work hard to ensure each girl in my care enjoys all the opportunities available to her, whilst being fully supported by our dedicated team. I live with my husband Mark and our two children Jake and Skye aged nine and six.
Miss Adelaide Hennequinn ASSISTANT HOUSEMISTRESS
“The facilities are amazing! They have thought of everything we could possibly need.”
I am French and I was born in Montreuil-sur-Mer, a picturesque little town in Northern France which inspired Victor Hugo for the setting of Les Misérables. After a school trip to England when I was 13, I became passionate about British culture and English language and decided that I wanted to live in England as an adult. After my baccalauréat, I decided to pursue Language Studies and Foreign Affairs in a university near Paris for my Bachelor's degree. I enjoyed an enriching gap year travelling in America and decided to do a Master’s degree in Event Management and French Culture Abroad in Lille. After graduating, I spent several months working in the Cultural department of the Alliance Française of Arequipa in Peru. I joined Downe House nearly two years ago as a French Assistant and Pastoral Tutor in Willis before joining Hermitage House as an Assistant Housemistress. It may sound a cliché but I love my job and I am thankful to be part of this amazing environment where I can share my culture, encourage the girls to fulfil their potential in French and make sure they make the most of their boarding experience.
ROSALIND, AGE 12
Lower School 11
Hill House Hill House is one of three Lower School Boarding Houses at Downe House for girls in Remove and Lower IV. We are exceptionally lucky to be in a new, purpose-built house which opened in 2015. The House has been planned meticulously and has a beautiful light and spacious common room, a large kitchen, a work room equipped with networked PCs, a music practice room and comfortable dorms with ample storage. But a boarding house is so much more than a building and the girls often say how it really feels like they are coming home at the end of the day. The House Study is always a hub of activity in the early evening and on top of organised activities, you will often find girls playing cards or trying out the latest dance routines. We celebrate birthdays and have parties organised by our social reps, hot chocolate in the evening and popcorn on Movie Night! Weekends are busy and fun with a range of activities planned in House or out with the rest of the year group. The supportive and friendly Housestaff encourage the girls in all that they do and communicate regularly with parents to ensure the best possible outcomes for the girls. We do all that we can to make sure that girls settle quickly and happily in Hill and that their years here prepare them to be resilient, happy young adults before they move on through the School.
Mrs Claire Williams HOUSEMISTRESS I am Housemistress of Hill and I teach Geography. I grew up in Shropshire and love the outdoors. At university, I studied Geography and then completed my PGCE. I taught in Shropshire for seven years, initially as a teacher of Humanities, and then as Head of Years 10 and 11. I live in Hill with my husband Nathan and our dog Flick. The girls love to walk Flick in the woods when the weather is good! During the holidays, Nathan and I enjoy hillwalking, rowing and more recently, paddle boarding. The part of my role that I really enjoy is trying my best to help the girls in the House with all sorts of different aspects of School life, from what to wear at your first social to how to revise for your exams! The boarding house is a vibrant place to be and has a lovely atmosphere.
Mrs Nicola Patrick ASSISTANT HOUSEMISTRESS Born into the boarding house of a local prep school where my parents were House Parents for over 25 years, I know the joys that being part of a boarding community can bring young people as they grow up. I arrived at Downe House in 2016 having spent the three previous years as Assistant Director of Studies and Geography teacher at Cumnor House Prep School in Sussex. Prior to that, I was at Bloxham School in Oxfordshire for seven years where I taught Geography to A Level and was an Assistant Housemistress in a senior girls’ boarding house. Keen for all things geographical, I followed my BSc in Geography at Durham with a PGCE from Cambridge and a Masters in Geography Education from UCL. I love the outdoors and like to use the excuse of taking holidays to ‘broaden my geographical knowledge’! I live in Hill with my husband, our two young children and our dogs called Ivy and Holly.
“It’s an exciting, wonderful and fun-filled environment where everyone feels at home.” CHIARA, AGE 11
Veyrines “For us all, Veyrines was “une aventure”; an adventure of education, of fun, of new things …” CELESTE, AGE 12
A Term in France This is a unique opportunity to experience life in the heart of the beautiful Périgord Noir. All members of the LIV take part in this great adventure, which becomes a highlight of their education at Downe House. The School is situated in the heart of the village of Veyrines-de-Domme and it is here that we provide a safe and secure environment for the girls. Living in beautifully restored and cosy farm buildings that surround an attractive courtyard, the girls are cared for by the School Head, Deb Scotland, who lives on site with her husband, Iain, who is also the Administrator. The Assistant Head, Louise Lameret, lives nearby with her husband and daughter, Chloé. The majority of our teaching and domestic staff are French and the whole team is dedicated to the welfare and education of the girls. We work closely with the Medical Centre at Downe House to provide seamless care in the event of illness and are supported by Dr. Mezergues, the School’s GP and the excellent French healthcare system. The term in Veyrines is designed to provide each girl with the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture. Teaching and learning are of the utmost importance and girls inevitably make enormous progress in French. They can also expect to be challenged intellectually and personally on a daily basis, becoming more independent and confident as a result. Classroom-based learning is supported by an extensive and stimulating programme of sorties. These have included working with a truffle expert and a milliner, and visiting sites of historical and scientific interest. The Veyrines term also includes charity work, opportunities for collaborative projects with pupils from local schools and interacting with the local community. For Parents whose daughters have a Tier 4 visa In preparation for your daughter going to Downe House Veyrines for a term, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you about visa requirements. If your daughter has a Tier 4 Child Visa to enter the UK to study, you will need an appropriate additional visa to enter France. Applications should be made directly to the French Consulate in your home country by the parent or legal guardian. The amount of information requested from parents will vary from embassy to embassy but Downe House will provide a letter confirming your daughter’s attendance and term dates upon request. Visa applications can be made up to three months in advance and an early application is advisable. France is a member of the Schengen area. If your daughter travels on a US Passport, we have been advised that she does not require an additional visa for her term in Veyrines. There are also other country exceptions and please refer to the French consulate for further information. All information is accurate at the time of writing, but in view of the ongoing Brexit negotiations we strongly advise that your daughter’s passport is up to date and valid for six months beyond the end of her term in France. Please do not hesitate to contact Admissions for any further advice and guidance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Deb Scotland HEAD OF VEYRINES I graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in French Studies and after a successful first career as a steel trader in the City of London, re-trained as a Languages Teacher. I taught French and Spanish for many years, becoming Head of a thriving Modern Foreign Languages department and then an Advanced Skills Teacher in a successful boys’ comprehensive school. A lifelong Francophile, it was a great privilege to be appointed to the role of Head of Downe House Veyrines in 2013. Above all, I love teaching in the classroom and in Veyrines, I have the opportunity to help the girls get to grips with French and see them become more confident communicating in real-life situations. Pastoral care has been at the core of everything I have done in my teaching career and I enjoy getting to know my students on an individual basis, guiding each of them into realising their particular talents. I look forward to welcoming your daughter to Veyrines, caring for her and being part of what I am sure will be an unforgettable lifetime experience.
Madame Louise Lameret ASSISTANT HEAD OF VEYRINES I fell for France and all things French when staying with a French family near Bordeaux aged around 10. I didn’t discover my love of teaching until much later when as part of my degree studies I worked as an Assistante teaching English in French secondary schools. Once I had graduated, I went on to study for a PGCE before taking up my first teaching post. The move to France came in 1995. I joined the team in Veyrines as Assistant Housemistress and have loved contributing to the development of the School and the girls at its heart ever since. I consider myself very lucky to be able to pass on my love of French language and culture in idyllic surroundings, with the whole of the Périgord Noir and beyond as a classroom. With my French husband, and our daughter Chloé, born in Sarlat, the Dordogne is my home. It is a pleasure to welcome the girls here each term and to see them flourish both academically and personally.
Mr Iain Scotland ADMINISTRATOR Prior to joining Downe House in Veyrines, I worked in Sevenoaks as an Investment Manager. After a number of years managing specialist smaller company equity funds, I switched to a private client customer base. The opportunity to move to France and work in a completely different environment was totally unexpected but proved irresistible. My experience in financial matters has proved to be very useful in my role as Administrator for Veyrines and I also assist in teaching mathematics to girls who need one-to-one support.
Preparing for Boarding School
LIFE AT DOWNE HOUSE
social diary, the girls will benefit most from time with you in the cosy surroundings of home.
Who will care for my daughter? Your daughter’s Housemistress has the primary responsibility for the overall care, welfare and development of your daughter. She will want to develop a close working relationship with you from the start in order to support your daughter through the first important weeks at Downe House and beyond.
New friends If there are other new girls who live locally, do try to get together over the summer. It will help to have a friendly face in September for parents and girls alike! Don’t worry if your daughter does not know anyone in her dorm. Making new friends with unexpected people is part of the joy of boarding life.
How can I help the School by preparing my daughter for her first experience of boarding? It is important that your daughter begins to establish an independent routine before she leaves home for the first time. It will help her considerably if she is at ease with washing her hair herself, folding her clothes, making her bed and changing her duvet cover, for example. If she has the opportunity to spend a night or two away during the holidays, this may help too.
Meals It will also help if your daughter is used to eating meals regularly at set times and not ‘grazing’. The meals at Downe House are excellent and there is huge variety. Personal hygiene The Housestaff will keep an eye on the girls to ensure that they keep fresh and maintain personal hygiene but please encourage your daughter to get into the habit of showering or bathing regularly.
Girls will be joining us at a time when the onset of puberty is imminent. This can be both perplexing and unsettling for them. Please be assured that staff are experienced in dealing with these issues and will care for your daughter. It is very helpful if you have discussed the changes she can expect in her body with her too. Try to build her confidence in her ability to look after herself and encourage her to ask for the help of others if she has any concerns at all – this will be readily given! Your confidence in her and in us will be a great support to her.
Nits! Please ensure that your daughter is in the habit of checking for nits two or three times a week using a nit comb and conditioner. She will be asked once a week by Housestaff if she has done this and supported in her efforts to remove any invading armies. The Palmer Centre will be on hand to offer advice and support.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
The First Day On the first day of term, come to the main lobby where you will see a board with your daughter’s dormitory listed and someone to help you find it. You are welcome to help your daughter to unpack. Please use suitcases or large zipped laundry bags rather than trunks, which are awkward to manoeuvre up and down stairs. Staggered arrivals will help to avoid congestion! You will be asked to take her cases and bags home after they have been unpacked at the beginning of each term. Overseas girls may however, store their luggage in the House.
How Downe House will keep in touch The Parent Zone is our secure website and allows you exclusive access to your daughter’s profile. You are able to view Reports, sign her up for co-curricular activities, and receive SMS text messages for sports fixture cancellations; these are just a few examples of the information available. You will be sent your personal login details for the Parent Zone shortly before your daughter joins Downe. The Olive Branch, our weekly bulletin, is emailed each Monday and provides you with information, letters from staff and news from Veyrines. A Calendar Booklet is posted to you each term to keep you updated with School events. There is also a weekly newsletter published by each House. Lower School also has its own Twitter account and a closed Facebook Group per House. We also have a sports management system (SOCS) for the management of all our matches, tournaments and sports fixtures. The website is http://sports.downehouse.net. The password is reset each term and will be sent out to parents.
Day girls may meet their boarding counterparts for supper and join in. Once the girls have gone up to School, refreshments will be available for parents in the Houses. The termly Calendar Booklet will also help you to decide when would be the best time for your daughter to take her floating Exeats, as there will be many events at School she will not wish to miss! Please note that on that first day, girls should arrive in mufti (own clothes) not School uniform.
Keeping in touch with my daughter’s Housemistress Your daughter’s Housemistress will be in touch with you during the first weeks to reassure you about how well she is settling in. She will also be in touch if there are any real areas of concern. If you do not hear anything immediately, please do not worry. It is because all is going well and your daughter’s Housemistress is spending time getting to know her. Please feel able to share any concern that you may have by telephone or email with her Housemistress so that minor worries may be dealt with quickly. During the evenings, the Housemistress may not answer the phone when she is with the girls. Please do leave a message and she will return your call.
What support will my daughter get during her first term? The staff in all Lower School Houses are dedicated to working with you to ensure that your daughter receives the best possible support and care. Do not hesitate to talk to any of us at any time. All girls have a House Buddy, who will have written to them prior to New Girls’ Open Day when they will meet you and your daughter and show you round. When she arrives in September, her House Buddy will also look out for her. The first full day at School, for Remove, is spent on an induction programme and in lessons. The induction process continues through the first week. Girls meet their Academic Tutor and other staff. They are given guidance with the organisation of their timetable so that preparations and music lessons, for example, may be fitted in appropriately. Girls who are new to the LIV have a separate induction programme and will be fully supported as they integrate into the School community.
How can my daughter contact me? We hope that the art of letter writing is alive and well and that in spite of her busy schedule, she will write you a letter as well as email you! It is easy sometimes for the girls to become quite dependent on emails and they will sometimes check their messages numerous times each day. We will discourage this, not least because we want the girls to be talking to their friends rather than sitting over a computer screen. Don’t forget the immediacy of email messages! The girls will express how they are feeling at that moment, but it doesn’t mean that this is how she will be feeling five minutes later. If you have any worries, please contact your daughter’s Housemistress. Your daughter will be able to email
The first few weeks During the first few weeks of the Michaelmas Term, the girls will be very busy and may get quite tired. The Housestaff will manage the girls’ timetables to prevent the girls from overexerting themselves, but you may find that on the first Short Exeat and at the Long Exeat, the girls will want simply just to rest at home and spend time with their families. Whilst it is tempting to want to celebrate having your daughter at home with you with a late night or busy 17
you from day one, although calls are not permitted in the first ten days to allow Remove to settle. In general telephone calls at bedtime are best avoided until your daughter has firmly settled in and can share her experiences with you confidently. Once settled in, she may call home twice a week and at weekends.
permission must first be sought from the Housemistress. Equally, parents are free to come and support any team games in which their daughters may be participating. However, parents are asked to take account of Closed Weekends, and these are detailed in the Exeat Policy. Girls are expected to meet their School commitments (matches etc) before leaving for an Exeat or lunch.
Do I need to let the School know if I am away during term time? Yes. Please leave contact details with your daughter’s Housemistress in case of an emergency, or please give us the name of someone whom you would like us to contact in the UK in your place, should we not be able to contact you.
GENERAL HEALTH What happens if my daughter needs medical care? The House team is likely to be the first port of call for minor injuries and ailments. The Palmer Centre, our medical centre, is staffed 24 hours a day by qualified nurses in order to offer the very best in care and specialist support. You will always be informed if your daughter is admitted to the Palmer Centre overnight.
Is my daughter allowed a mobile phone? The girls may bring a mobile phone to School in September, but these must be handed in to their Housemistress, and Remove will only be given access after the first ten days. Please remember to name phones and chargers. Mobiles are not compulsory and their usage will be carefully monitored. During the day they must stay in the House Study and can be locked away for safety. We ask that mobile phone numbers are logged with the Housestaff. Phones are collected at bedtime; we request that parents do not ring after this time.
Your daughter will be registered with the School Doctor, Dr Michael Morgan, at the Burdwood Surgery, Thatcham, during her time at Downe House. Regular surgeries are held in the Palmer Centre by the two School doctors (one is female) four times each week. If you have any queries about your daughter’s health, you can ring the Palmer Centre at any time.
What devices can my daughter bring? Smartphones are welcome but not essential. There are computer suites around the School that the girls can utilise, as well as a computer room in each Lower School boarding house. Please also see page 22 for details of the range of devices permitted.
The School can arrange for emergency private orthodontic treatment or emergency dental treatment to be carried out locally, in consultation with parents when possible. Please try to ensure that routine visits to the dentist take place during the holidays. A specialist firm called Opro comes into School to take impressions for individual mouthguards, which are strongly recommended and are compulsory for School matches in some sports. Forms are available on the Parent Zone.
Downe House operates a Microsoft Surface Programme, this is coordinated through Insight UK and information regarding the programme can be found on the Parent Zone. The programme is open for all parents to take advantage of the competitive pricing which we have been able to secure. This also caters for those parents who are imminently looking to purchase a device for their daughter to use. An Office 365 account will also be provided to all pupils at no additional cost to you. Please do not hesitate to contact the IT Support department should you have any questions regarding IT and its usage at Downe House. There is also advice available on the Parent Zone about making your daughter’s mobile safe by putting in appropriate parental controls. This is something that we consider essential, especially pre-GCSE. Girls will continue to have their devices collected in at night time in Remove and up to UIV and the early part of LV. Facilities will be in place for storage and overnight charging.
If your daughter wears glasses, it is essential that they should have unbreakable lenses if they are to be worn for games. She should always have a spare pair at School. Goggles for lacrosse are compulsory and goggles for squash are strongly recommended. Note: If your daughter is unwell during the holidays or when she is at home on Exeat, please always let the Palmer Centre know and inform her Housemistress or a member of the House Team on her return, so that they can respond appropriately. Each House has a medical cupboard, so there is no need for your daughter to bring any paracetamol with her. Any medication she does need to bring back (except inhalers, but including vitamins and cough sweets) must be handed in to the Housestaff or medical staff immediately. All items should be labelled and should clearly show your daughter’s name. An accompanying form stating the dose, frequency and permission for Housestaff to administer the medication is also required. If the packaging is in a foreign language, parents should provide a translation for the Housestaff or medical staff.
How can I contact my daughter? Your daughter will have her own email address and will be allowed to use her mobile as detailed above. The girls will of course have access to a telephone in the case of an emergency. Anxious phone calls and emails Do encourage your daughter to come to us first with a worry. Parents can do little about it and we are on the spot. The girls bond better if they support each other and we encourage them to discuss solutions rather than expect parents to intervene on their behalf. Try not to worry about the ‘best friend’ syndrome. We are here to support parents and girls and we never mind a phone call, no matter how silly you might think it is!
What should I do if my daughter is on regular medication? Always let the Palmer Centre and Housestaff know if your daughter is on regular medication so that they can ensure it is administered correctly. Will my daughter be encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet? There is a wide variety of freshly cooked food available at breakfast, lunch and supper. A salad bar is also available at lunch and supper. All meals are taken in the Main Dining Room and there is always a staff presence. Refreshments are also provided at break and teatime.
Urgent messages for my daughter If you are unable to get hold of your daughter, please phone the House on the appropriate number and leave a message (for the Housemistress or the Assistant). Answerphones are checked as often as possible during the day. In the event of an emergency, please contact the Main School number when you will be told how to contact the appropriate person to deal with your query or message. The Palmer (Medical) Centre’s number is manned 24 hours a day: 01635 204657. There is also an emergency line: 01635 200244. However this must be reserved for emergencies only. Please note this line is not manned during Exeats.
The Palmer Centre is always happy to discuss nutrition with any girl to ensure they are eating a healthy and balanced diet. Note: If your daughter is allergic to certain foods, please discuss this with the medical staff and with the Housestaff so that alternative arrangements may be made. Any food produced by the Catering Department that may contain nuts is always clearly marked.
Visiting Parents are very welcome to visit their daughter after the first two weeks of the Michaelmas Term for a picnic lunch or tea, however, 18
Keeping Up To Date
Girls should not return to School with chocolate spreads unless they are totally nut free (spreads which ‘may contain a trace of nuts’ are not acceptable). They should not bring in cereals/ spreads or tuck containing nuts.
How will I know what is happening in the School e.g. when there are mufti days? There will be a weekly notice on the bulletin board in the House. The Olive Branch bulletin is emailed weekly and provides you with information, letters from staff and news from Veyrines. A Calendar Booklet is posted to you each term to keep you updated with School events.
BEING A DAY GIRL The First Day
On her first day, your daughter is very welcome to arrive with the other girls to drop off any personal belongings and to meet the other girls. She should be dressed in mufti. We hope day girls will stay to supper in the Main Dining Room at 6.00pm. If she would like to do this, please contact the Housestaff.
If my daughter is unwell, what will happen? The Palmer Centre staff will contact you. You will have the option to collect your daughter if necessary during the day or after School. Please let the Palmer Centre staff know if your daughter has been unwell. This helps us to care for her better. If she is on any medication, please advise the Palmer Centre staff so that this can be administered.
From then on your daughter should register in her House by 7.30am. She will also need to register at lunchtime at Reception. What should she bring with her? On her second day she should be in School uniform (winter) and will need to bring her book bag, all her pens and pencils and any PE kit she already has.
Written or emailed permission to the Housemistress must be given for any medication to be administered in House. This includes vitamins, herbal medicines or any other non-prescription medication.
When should she arrive in the mornings and where should she go? Your daughter should arrive at 7.30am when she can join her House for the House meeting followed by breakfast in the Main Dining Room at 8.00am.
What do I do if I have any questions? Please do contact the School. Your daughter’s Housemistress, the Head of Lower School or her Academic Tutor will be happy to help you.
WHERE CAN MY DAUGHTER GO FOR HELP AND ADVICE?
What time should I normally collect her? Normally School finishes at 6.00pm. However, there will be events, rehearsals, practices and activities which take place every week. She is more than welcome to join the boarders for supper and go back to the House as long as the Housemistress knows when you will collect her. Your daughter should know about the timings of rehearsals and activities but if you are in any doubt, please contact her Housemistress. She must tell her Housemistress or Assistant Housemistress when she leaves for the evening. All Lower School girls are expected to honour their House commitments at the end of a School day before going home.
The Palmer (Medical) Centre Morning Surgery 8.00am to 8.30am Monday to Sunday
After 8.30am, your daughter will be asked to return in the evening unless it is an emergency. Lunchtime Surgery 12.45pm to 1.15pm Monday to Friday - Remove only.
Can she join in the activities after School? Your daughter is encouraged to join in activities after School. We recommend that she does not take on more than two at this stage.
Evening Surgery 6.00pm to 8.00pm Monday to Sunday During the evening, there will be more time to talk, so if your daughter has a problem to talk through or wants some information for a project or about her general wellbeing, then this surgery will be the best one to attend. After 8.30pm your daughter must see her Housestaff in an emergency who will contact the Palmer Centre.
Can she join in the activities at weekends? Of course! Details are published in the Calendar Booklet. If for any reason she is unable to attend an activity to which she has committed herself, please ring and let the Housemistress know. We will worry if she does not arrive.
Off Games Slips If your daughter needs to be off Games, she must attend morning surgery. If the nurse confirms that she needs to be off Games, her name will be put on a daily list given to the PE staff. Housestaff may give her an ‘Off Games’ slip for one day. Your daughter must report to the PE Office at the start of the Games lesson, even if she is off Games.
What should she do with her laundry? Your daughter should take her uniform and PE kit home to be washed. She may need some encouragement to do this!
Help and Advice
To whom should she go if she is anxious about anything? Your daughter will be able to talk to her Housemistress, Academic Tutor, Head of Lower School, any member of the Palmer Centre or School staff with whom she feels at ease.
House Surgeries – See House Notice Board for times Plasters, cough linctus, Deep Heat, throat lozenges and paracetamol are all kept in House Surgeries and Housestaff are more than happy to supply your daughter with these when required. Please do NOT bring painkillers back to School. Any medication, apart from inhalers MUST be handed in to the Housestaff to be kept locked in the House Surgery Cupboard along with a completed form giving your permission for the medication to be administered. The Housestaff will supply the form for you.
Will the Housemistress still take an interest in our daughter even though she is a day girl? Most definitely! She may take a little longer to get to know your daughter but the more she is with us, the easier this becomes.
Taking Friends Out
Can my daughter invite friends out as we live quite close to the school? It is always lovely for girls to have an invitation out however, please do keep the girl’s parents and Housemistress in the loop.
Confidentiality in the Palmer (Medical) Centre Your daughter can be sure that anything she discusses with any member of the Palmer Centre – doctor or nurse – will stay
confidential. The only reason we might consider passing on confidential information without your daughter’s permission would be to protect her or someone else from serious harm. We would always try to discuss this with her first.
Guidance for parents
Downe House welcomes suggestions and comments from parents, and takes seriously complaints and concerns they may raise. A complaint will be treated as an expression of genuine dissatisfaction which needs a response. We wish to ensure that:
Personal Matters We all have worries, problems and difficulties from time to time, which might affect either an individual or a group. In a boarding school, matters can normally be resolved, or be dealt with to some extent, by talking to a member of staff. Housestaff, Academic Tutors or any of the teachers will always be willing to listen. The School Doctor, the nurses in the Palmer Centre, the Deputy Headmistress, Head of Lower School and the Headmistress are also available. Please note that the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Child Protection is the Boarding Deputy. The deputies are the Headmistress and the Deputy Headmistress.
• Parents wishing to make a complaint know how to do so. • We respond to complaints within a reasonable time and in a courteous and efficient way. • Parents realise that we listen and take complaints seriously. • We take action where appropriate. How should I complain? You can talk directly to a Head of Department, the Head of Lower School, the Headmistress or another senior member of staff, write a letter, email or telephone. Be as clear as possible about what is troubling you. Please note that the Headmistress is likely to be informed of all complaints.
You or your daughter may also contact other people for advice, such as those on the list below, who are not involved in the dayto-day running of the School. Mrs M Loughlin, the School Counsellor 07968 848079 email@example.com
Any member of staff will be happy to help. It may be best to start with the person most closely concerned with the issue – for example, to raise House matters with the Housemistress, sports concerns with the Director of Sport. They may be able to sort things out quickly, with the minimum of fuss. However, you may prefer to take more serious matters to a senior member of staff, such as the Deputy Headmistress, Boarding Deputy or Headmistress.
Independent Listener - Dr Alsop 07876 758768/01491 681554 Childline 0800 1111 Beat - Beating Eating Disorders, Youth Helpline 0808 801 0711 daily 3.00pm - 10.00pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org Alateen, Confidential Helpline 0800 0086 811 For families and friends of problem drinkers. ISI - Independent Schools Inspectorate 020 7600 0100
I don’t want to complain as such, but there is something bothering me The School is here for you and your child, and we want to hear your views and your ideas. Contact a member of staff, as described above.
The Children’s Commissioner 0800 528 0731/020 7783 8330
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
I am not sure whether to complain or not If, as parents, you have concerns, you are entitled to complain. If in doubt, please contact the School to discuss concerns. This will probably help you to decide if you wish to make a formal complaint.
How does my daughter raise a complaint?
Some problems are best dealt with through individual contact with one person, but others may need to be dealt with by several people. It is important to stress that you and your daughter may choose the people with whom you would like to speak.
What will happen next? If you raise something face-to-face or by telephone, it may be possible to resolve the matter immediately and to your satisfaction.
The School’s pastoral and counselling system should support your daughter through her time at Downe House and deal with most matters of concern. Under some circumstances she may wish to make a formal complaint in writing, especially if an informal complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved. Whether she chooses to deal with a problem alone or seek advice or follow a formal complaint procedure, is a matter for her to decide.
If you have made a complaint or suggestion in writing, we will contact you within five working days to respond to your concerns and explain how we propose to proceed. In many circumstances, the person you contact will need to discuss the matter with a colleague and consider it further before responding. You will be given a date by which time you will receive a response. If a detailed exploration of the issues is needed, a letter or report will be sent to you as quickly as possible. This will give you the outcome of your complaint. It will explain the conclusion, the reasons for it, and any action taken or proposed.
Making a Formal Complaint She may make a formal complaint by adopting the following procedure (with or without informing the person she is complaining about): 1 Write to her Housemistress, her Academic Tutor, the Deputy Headmistress or the Headmistress. In practice, she may have discussed the matter with this person already.
What happens about confidentiality? Your complaint or concern will be treated in a confidential manner and with respect.
2 Her complaint will then be acknowledged and registered. 3
Your daughter will then be asked to talk the matter through with a member of the Leadership Team, in the first instance, as soon as possible who will then pass on the information to the Headmistress. She may invite a pupil or a member of staff of her choice to this meeting.
If at any stage she is dissatisfied with this procedure, your daughter may contact a representative at ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate) on 020 7600 0100 or email email@example.com The Representative will come and speak to her privately
at School – again she may have someone with her – and will advise her about what course seems sensible.
Knowledge of it will be limited to the Headmistress and those directly involved. In serious cases, the Chairman of Governors may also need to be informed. It is the School’s policy that complaints made by parents should not rebound adversely on their children. We cannot entirely rule out the need to make third parties outside the School aware of the complaint and possibly also the identity of those involved. This would only be likely to happen where, for example, a child’s safety was at risk or it became necessary to refer matters to the police. You would be fully informed.
Do I need to give permission for my daughter to go out at weekends? Yes. If you wish to allow your daughter to stay with a friend or relative, then you should confirm this in writing (email or written letter) with her Housemistress. It is helpful if arrangements can be communicated well before the day in question and confirmed by the Sunday prior to the relevant weekend at the latest in order to inform the Catering Department of accurate numbers. Your daughter’s safety is paramount. If your daughter is going out with you, we also ask that this is confirmed in writing (email or written letter).
While information relating to specific complaints will be kept confidentially on file, we would point out that anonymous complaints may not be pursued. Staff disciplinary procedures which need to be taken as a result of complaints would be handled confidentially within the School. What if I am not satisfied with the outcome? We hope that you will feel satisfied with the outcome, or at least that your concerns have been fully and fairly considered. If you are not satisfied, the Headmistress will offer to refer the matter to the Chairman of Governors. Alternatively, you may wish to write directly to the Chairman, Mr Matthew Kirk, whose address is displayed at the back of this booklet on the Supplementary Information page. The Chairman will call for a full report from the Headmistress and will examine matters thoroughly before responding. This may result in a positive solution, but if it does not, the Chairman will invite you to a meeting. You may wish to be supported by a friend, but legal representation would not be appropriate at this stage.
Which weekends may my daughter go out? The School believes very strongly that the full boarding experience is a wonderfully rich and fulfilling one and weekends play their part in this. The girls look forward to weekends which are a chance to cement and deepen friendships, explore new areas and interests, and benefit from a range of opportunities that it would be hard to provide at home! Therefore please may we refer you to the Exeat Policy, which details closed weekends and Floating Exeats specific to your daughter’s year group. This is available on the Parent Zone. We hope that the policy achieves a balance that enables girls to have quality family time, as well as benefiting from full boarding but also takes notes of the needs of the girls at different ages in the School.
If the meeting does not bring about a resolution, the matter would be referred to the School’s Appeal Committee. It is their task to look at the issues in an impartial and confidential manner. The Committee Convener will invite you to a meeting. You will be asked if there are any papers you would like to have circulated beforehand. As with the Chairman’s meeting, you will be invited to bring a friend with you.
Sunday Lunch timings – If there is Matins, a girl may go out after Matins and must return by 7.00pm. If there is Evensong, a girl may go out after breakfast but must return in time for check-in at 5.00pm and Evensong at 6.30pm.
The School acknowledges your entitlement to complain and we hope to work with you in the best interests of the children and young people in our care.
EXEATS AND TRAVEL
Discretionary Weekends – A discretionary Floating Exeat Weekend will be given for the relevant Parents’ Meeting weekend and on the Sports Day weekend. Additional requests will be looked at sympathetically for compassionate reasons and to recognise particular family circumstances.
How are travel arrangements made? Term dates are published well in advance of each academic year in order to enable parents to make travel plans in good time. Leaving early or arriving late is not acceptable. However, should this be unavoidable, please send a request in writing to the Headmistress well in advance as she will need to grant permission. We know that you will not want your daughter to miss any valuable School time and will support us in keeping the term time sacrosanct.
Weekend Activities at Downe House The main focus for our Weekend Activity Programme is to offer the girls a broad range of activities which enables them to have fun and relax whilst also offering them opportunities for personal growth and development, inter House bonding, team-building and a chance to develop leadership skills! Where appropriate, activities are split into small groups and led by the girls under close supervision of staff.
A London bus is offered during Short and Long Exeats but not at the beginning or end of term (due to luggage restrictions) for those girls wanting to travel to London. A form is available on the Parent Zone and the coach is accompanied by staff to and from the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith. This is a very popular service and seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. No girl may use this coach service without written consent from her parents. Please use the sign-up form on the Parent Zone, giving at least seven days’ notice.
A great deal of thought is given to strike a balance between keeping busy and providing down time. A girl in the Lower School will be offered a varied Weekend Activity Programme which could include many of the activities below. This is supplemented by in House activities such as art and crafts in the House, cooking, dorm entertainments and garden games, as well as the Wakefield Awards. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
How will my daughter get to the airport? Transport can be arranged to take and collect your daughter to and from the airport and a form is available on the Parent Zone. Wherever possible, girls will be transported by minibus or in a taxi shared with other girls. This could result in a wait at the airport for a short time in order to accommodate the flight times of the others. As well as completing and returning the form on the Parent Zone detailing the Flight Number, Airport and Terminal, date and time of the flight and Unaccompanied Minor status, please let the relevant Housemistress have the details too. These details need to be provided to the transport companies we work with. Please give at least seven working days’ notice for travel bookings. If you have not been able to make the necessary arrangements or due to unforeseen circumstances, your arrangements have changed, you should contact the Administration Department via firstname.lastname@example.org A confirmation email will be sent to you. 21
Teambuilding afternoon. BBQ and den building. New girls’ family lunch. Aquadrome. House Drama rehearsals and production. Visit to Cadbury World. Paultons Park. Bowling. School concert. Christmas crafts. Spa day. Fun swims. Gravity Force. Orienteering. Trip to watch Netball Super League. Cotswold Wildlife Park with African Animal Talk and Brass Rubbing. Trip to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Spinnaker Tower. DT and Science Challenge in teams. Ice skating.
• • • • • • • • • • • •
What tuck may she bring with her? A small amount of tuck may be brought back and, of course, can be bought from the School Shop. Tuck will be stored centrally and should fit into a shoe box sized storage box. Fruit is provided in the Houses. Peanut butter and Nutella are NOT allowed in order to safeguard girls with a nut allergy. The School provides hot chocolate and squash for a cosy evening drink in the House.
Classics Trip to Fishbourne Roman Palace. Cinema. Camping. Canoeing. Theatre trips. Social events with a boys’ school. Parents’ netball match followed by lunch. Parents’ tennis matches and picnic. Founder’s Weekend. Dance Showcase. Sports Day. Wakefield Award activities (see page 31).
Each girl should have a named mug which she will use for her evening drink. She may also find a water bottle helpful to have by her bed at night. Birthdays We love birthdays in House! Please feel free to telephone your daughter on the special day. Presents and cards are opened in the morning or evening during a small celebration – if you would like to provide a cake, this is always gratefully received. Please contact your daughter’s Housemistress to discuss the arrangements for your daughter’s birthday. If you want to mark birthday post as such on the envelope, we will save it for the special day.
USEFUL INFORMATION IT Support Offices Where possible, please ask your daughter to log any IT issues she may have via the Merlin support desk. Alternatively, you can use the email address IThelpdesk@downehouse.net.
Is there anything I can contribute to the House?
Library (Murray Centre) The Library is located in the Murray Centre and is open daily from 8.00am until 10.00pm, except for a Sunday when it opens at 10.00am or after Chapel.
Any dressing-up clothes and high-heeled shoes are always a welcome addition to the dressing-up cupboard. Cakes Whilst the School provides biscuits for the girls’ snacks, there is nothing quite like a cake from home. If you would like to offer cakes, they would be much appreciated.
Lost Property There is a Lost Property office located next to the swimming pool. This is open on a Tuesday 6.15pm-8.15pm and on a Wednesday 11.00am-1.30pm. Messages can be left in the letterbox outside the Swimming Pool Office or you can email Mrs Smith on smiths@ downehouse.net
Laundry Laundry is done weekly at School. Your daughter will need to take responsibility for the care of her clothes: how often things need to be washed, their storage and folding. A laundry bag can be bought from the School Shop to store dirty laundry. The Housestaff will deal with items with personal stains discreetly. Please do not bring anything to School which cannot be machinewashed and tumble dried.
Post There is a postbox for stamped mail inside Reception in Wakefield House. Stamps can be bought in the School Shop. Resources The Resources Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am6.00pm.
Library We are always pleased to receive second hand DVDs (PG and U only for Remove, 12s as well for the LIV) and books for the House libraries.
School Shop The School Shop is located in the Murray Centre. It is open Monday to Friday from 11.00am - 1.30pm and from 6.15pm 7.45pm. On Saturday it is open 12.00pm - 2.00pm.
POCKET MONEY AND PERSONAL DOCUMENTS
FEELING AT HOME
How much money should my daughter have? £25 will be a sufficient sum for your daughter to bring back with her each term, in a mixture of small change and small notes. When Remove girls go on School trips they are generally given a guide as to how much money to take with them. Therefore it is helpful if their money is kept in small denominations. This should include £5 in small change for Chapel collections. She may replenish her pocket money at the Exeat if necessary. Girls living overseas may lodge a larger amount of money with the Housemistress to cover the whole term if necessary. Please also note that each girl is provided with a personal safe, for which a padlock will be needed.
What should my daughter bring with her? Personalising her dorm space is very important. Her favourite cuddly toy is an ideal companion. Posters and favourite family photographs are also ideal. Don’t forget drawing pins for her notice board. A sensible amount of toiletries (sanitary products, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower cap and shower gel) should be brought. These should be named to avoid confusion in the bathrooms. Smaller sizes can be more easily stored. Top-ups can be bought from the School Shop. No aerosols should be brought back to School, as the smoke detectors are sensitive to the spray.
As provision is made for the safekeeping of money, the School accepts no responsibility for money lost when girls have failed to hand it in.
What electrical items may my daughter bring back to School? Your daughter may bring devices such as an iPod, Kindle, e-reader and hairdryer, if she wishes. These should all conform to the British Safety Standards and be named, including the chargers. It is not advisable for these to be expensive models. No extension leads are permitted in the interests of safety. Girls coming from abroad must use adaptors that conform to the British Safety Standards. Handheld computer games should not be brought to School. Please also refer to page 18 and the paragraph ‘What devices can my daughter bring’? Plug-in air fresheners are not permitted and please ensure that any plug adapters conform to British Standards (BS8546).
What happens if my daughter runs out of money? Never worry, your daughter will be well looked after. Housestaff will always help her out in an emergency, and your permission will be gained via email. If I live overseas who will be responsible for passports, visas, vaccination certificates, tickets etc? All documents for girls living abroad should be handed in to her Housemistress who will hold them for safekeeping until they are required. Parents are responsible for seeing that passports and visas are valid and that tickets are sent to her Housemistress for safekeeping well before the departure date.
Homesickness – A Parents’ Guide DO encourage your daughter to share her feelings and concerns with us as well as with you, and to trust us.
Where possible, vaccinations should be carried out in the holidays but the Palmer Centre at School will help in an emergency.
HOMESICKNESS - HOW TO COPE
DO encourage her to share all the excitement of her new surroundings.
Homesickness often forms a natural part of the transition between home and School and should be recognised and understood. Dealing with it demands mutual trust, especially with the Housestaff.
DO get her to talk positively about her new routine. DO get her to appreciate her achievements in boarding as a big success. DO say how proud you are of her.
Children away from home for the first time are easily upset by the apparent complexity of a new system. They need to be supported and guided into it, so that they can relax and feel confident quickly. Keeping busy and making friends are the fastest ways to counteract homesickness.
DO reassure her that we are in a close partnership together with you. DO ‘blur’ the edges between home and School. She has not been ‘sent away’ but ‘sent to’ an exciting, caring place where she can realise her hopes and dreams.
The strength of the first year at Downe lies in the level of adult contact with girls and parents, which enables the new routine, and a swift integration into a new ‘family’ unit in School, to be established as soon as each girl is comfortable. This provides a secure framework in which each girl can find her feet and explore a new and stimulating environment, where she can share achievement with parents and guardians with pride.
DO let her feel your support strongly if she cries. Go for a quick turnaround to laughter. Remind her of all she is achieving. DO reassure her that you are fine. Have a new initiative for yourself. DO telephone us if you feel low. Many of us have been through this too.
It is a fact that some children take longer than others to settle. Encourage your daughter to be positive and to regard this new chapter as the beginning of a great adventure.
DO make her feel that all the familiar routines at home are still there. DO make time to meet her ‘new’ friends on your visits. Perhaps take one or two out for lunch with you. This makes you part of the scene.
THINGS TO BRING - CHECKLIST
Sports Kit Gum shields can be ordered from a specialist company called Opro who visit the School in the first half of term, and goggles are strongly recommended for squash.
Bedding Duvet, duvet cover, pillow and pillow case. These items should be FIRE RETARDANT and conform with British Safety Standards. The School provides fitted sheets only. For overseas girls, if you would like the School to provide you with a duvet and pillow please let your Housemistress know and she will be happy to help.
Teddy Bears These are a vital part of the House community and will be very welcome but please do remember that these must fit in the bed with your daughter!
Cartridge pen A cartridge pen and washable ink cartridges.
Toiletries Please name these to avoid confusion in the bathrooms. Small sizes of toiletries are more convenient. Girls should bring separate shampoo and conditioner (for nit combing). Shower gel is easier to use than soap and a shower cap is useful. The House has a small supply of sanitary products, but your daughter should have some of her own and be confident about using them. Don’t forget the deodorant but please avoid aerosols. The School Shop stocks a small supply of toiletries for emergencies.
Electrical Items Girls are not allowed any electrical items other than an iPod/ Kindle/e-reader/iPad (not with 4G access) and a hairdryer. Many girls find audio books ease their way into sleep. The equipment should conform to British Safety Standards and be named clearly. It is not advisable to bring expensive equipment and extension leads are not allowed. Please also see 'What devices can my daughter bring?' on page 18.
Torch A hand held torch and batteries may be brought.
General stationery Please bring writing paper and stamps, pencils, crayons, sellotape, a geometry set and scissors. For maths also bring a protractor (180° or 360°), a pair of compasses, a ruler, a pencil (HB), an eraser, a black or blue pen and a scientific calculator (Casio FX83GT) which is also available from the School Shop.
Towels Towels, clearly named and with a hanging loop. Tuck This should be mostly small sweets. Please do not provide chewing gum. Pot Noodles or other ‘meal replacements’ are not allowed because they encourage girls to miss proper meals. Arrangements can be made for a limited amount of credit to be put on her Squid Card for girls to purchase tuck.
Jewellery During the working day, girls are able to wear a single unobtrusive pendant such as a cross, Star of David or St Christopher. They may also wear one pair of plain stud earrings. At weekends a modest amount of additional jewellery may be worn. Please do not bring any items which are especially valuable or have sentimental significance.
Tuck Box These larger, lockable wooden or plastic boxes (approx L50cm x W30cm x H30cm) are useful places to store personal items (but not sweets) and can be bought from John Lewis and other department stores. Please also provide a padlock.
Labels Please give your daughter two dozen name tapes at the beginning of the year and label EVERYTHING!
Uniform See uniform section on page 28. Please note that there will only be sufficient hanging space for uniform.
Laptop (Microsoft Surface) Please see page 18 and the paragraph ‘What devices can my daughter bring?'
Wacky Bs/Birthdays This is a basket given to each girl on her birthday and comprises small presents up to the value of £5.00, donated by every girl in her year group. All girls should come with a small selection of gifts to be donated to the Wacky B. (There are always quite a few birthdays in the Michaelmas Term.) Remember to stock up at Exeats. The Housemistress will advise how many birthdays there are each term.
Luggage Please bring suitcases or large zipped laundry bags rather than trunks. You will be asked to take empty luggage home after it has been unpacked. Girls should also have an overnight bag for Short Exeats and a ‘casual bag’ or backpack for trips out. Mugs Each girl is welcome to bring a named mug, which she can use for her evening drink.
Water Bottle Regular hydration is important and a bottle is useful for a night time drink.
Musical Instruments These should be kept in a case and named clearly. Instruments should also be insured on your home insurance policy. Padlock Each girl is provided with a small personal safe, for which a padlock will be needed. Pocket Money Pocket money is most useful in very small denominations i.e. 10p, 20p, 50p, and a few one pound coins, about £25.00 in total. This includes change for your daughter to contribute to the Sunday Chapel collection. Posters Posters and photographs to decorate your daughter’s pinboard will help her to feel at home. Remember to bring the drawing pins! Sewing Kit There are sewing materials in the House, but it will be helpful if your daughter also has her own sewing kit and is competent to use it. Smart Mufti This is worn for theatre trips and to all major events given in School. Clothes should be smart and comfortable - no denim. Please limit the number of pairs of shoes that the girls bring.
Lower School Curriculum The curriculum in Remove (11+) and in Lower Fourth (12+) is designed to give as much variety of educational experience as possible. A large number of subjects make up the timetable. Five periods a week are devoted to English and Mathematics, each of which is regarded as a foundation subject upon which rests the future performance in Arts and Science subjects. In all subjects girls receive an important grounding in fundamental skills.
Optional Extra Subjects which are taken during prep time One or two instruments Singing Speech and Drama Tennis coaching Squash coaching Lower Fourth Curriculum All subjects are compulsory at this stage. French, Latin and Mathematics are taught in divisions. The following subjects are taught: English French Latin Mathematics Biology/Physics/Chemistry Geography History Religious Studies Art and Ceramics Music Drama Information Technology Physical Education Technology (Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials, Textiles) Personal Health, Social Education and Current Affairs
In the Remove, French and Mathematics are taught in divisions, rather than the form in which a girl is placed. In Remove, previous experience in French helps to determine the division. In Mathematics they are taught in their form for the first term and then put in divisions. Latin is taught in divisions from the Lower Fourth in addition to French. Movement between divisions is possible. During the Lower Fourth, every girl spends one term in France following a course produced in consultation with our Heads of Department and are taught, as far as possible, in French. Mathematics and French are taught in bands.
Optional Extra Subjects which are taken during prep time One or two instruments Singing Speech and Drama Squash Coaching Tennis Coaching
A programme of enrichment lectures is offered to all girls in Lower School. These sessions enable girls to widen their knowledge of the world and current affairs; they promote and encourage the girls to think outside the classroom. A Personal, Health and Social Education programme, which continues until the end of Upper Fifth, encourages the development of important skills.
Lower Fourth and the French Project During the course of the Lower Fourth year all girls spend one term at our School in Veyrines-de-Domme in France. The Downe House French Project is intended to broaden the girls’ education by enabling them to spend a term living in France. This provides them with the opportunity to:
At the end of these two years, we would expect girls to have developed the following skills and values: 1 Expressing themselves fluently and clearly both orally, in writing and using IT when appropriate.
1 Improve substantially their command of French, wherever possible involving interaction with the local community.
2 Reading aloud confidently. 3 Writing legibly, yet speedily, with accurate spelling.
2 Learn about the locality and the way of life of the local people, participating in it as much as possible, including visiting local schools and an old people’s home.
4 Thinking both analytically, creatively and spatially. 5 Appreciating School as a community necessitating 'give and take.'
3 Study the geography and history of the area.
6 Beginning to develop effective revision and examination techniques.
4 Produce a journal requiring the use of a variety of resources, including local museums and libraries.
7 Good manners.
5 Learn about the political structure of France, especially its local government.
8 Having an awareness of the wider world and their place in it.
6 Maintain existing numeracy skills and scientific awareness.
9 Continuing to develop a sense of morality with regard to their own actions and those of others.
7 Use the environment to inspire art and craft work, some with a technological element.
10 Taking a pride in their work.
8 Take part in a major expedition outside the locality – such as a visit to Futuroscope.
Remove Curriculum (Entry at 11+) The year consists of three/four mixed-ability teaching groups. French and Mathematics are taught in divisions based initially on previous teaching. All subjects are compulsory. Girls may also learn one or two instruments and Speech and Drama. The following subjects are taught:
Which term will I go to France? The School allocates girls in both Remove and those new to the Lower IV to their respective terms in France, making sure there is a good balance and that girls get to make lots of new friends. At the end of the Lent Term, there will be a meeting with Mrs Deborah Scotland, who runs Veyrines, to give parents information. At that stage parents are asked to contact Mrs Judith Gilpin Jones over the Easter holidays, with any medical reasons why girls should go in a particular term. Those with nut allergies must avoid the Michaelmas Term. Parents are asked not to request a particular term in France for other reasons as it reduces the flexibility for the School to make the best academic and pastoral choices for the girls. Parents and girls will be notified of their term in France by the Long Exeat in the Summer Term.
English French Latin Mathematics Science History Geography Art and Ceramics Religious Studies Drama Music Information Technology Physical Education Biology/Physics/Chemistry Technology (Food, Graphics, Resistant Materials, Textiles) Personal Health, Social Education Current Affairs
Second Language and Creative Subject Choices Towards the end of the Lower Fourth year girls are invited to add German, Spanish or Italian to their Upper Fourth curriculum. When considering whether to take up a second language, it is important 26
to realise that German, Spanish and Italian are taught as additional subjects. Girls should therefore be coping well with their existing subjects before taking on this extra workload. Girls also choose the creative subjects they wish to combine in the UIV. They can exercise choice in relation to Art, Drama, DT and Music. Girls may continue with up to three of their subjects in the UIV. What happens if I have a concern about my daughter’s progress or academic work? Please feel free to get in touch with the Head of Lower School, your daughter’s Housemistress or Academic Tutor. They work closely together and will liaise as appropriate over any concerns that you may raise. How will I hear of my daughter’s general progress? In addition to the contact that you will have with the Head of Lower School, your daughter’s Housemistress and Academic Tutor, you will also have the opportunity to meet the staff who teach her and care for her early in the first term at the first Exeat. There is a Parents’ Meeting twice a year for you to discuss your daughter’s progress directly with her teachers.
The Wakefield Award The Wakefield Award is a young leaders’ award which the girls work towards during their Lower School years at Downe House. Through fun and exploration, they extend their horizons and discover their potential. It is awarded at gold, silver and bronze level and aims to develop a sense of adventure and personal challenge in the girls, in turn supporting them to grow in self-esteem and feel confidence in their own abilitites.
What are the arrangements for prep? Prep is timetabled, as far as possible, into your daughter’s working day and is supervised up to the Upper Fourth. Generally, at the beginning of her School career, she will be able to complete her prep during these times, although she may find that she has to work in the evenings in the House, especially if she has a number of extra lessons, for example, Music and Speech and Drama. If my daughter has difficulties with her prep, what should she do? Please do not worry if your daughter takes time to adjust to the demands of prep. This is quite normal. However, if you are concerned, please do talk to the Head of Lower School, her Housemistress or her Academic Tutor, who will be monitoring her workload. Academic Enrichment Lectures for the Lower School provide a programme of academic enrichment designed for Remove and Lower Fourth girls, aimed at inspiring our younger pupils to develop a love of learning outside the classroom. We are fortunate at Downe House to have a passionate team of staff willing to give of their time to enrich the girls’ knowledge and experiences in their own subjects. We also invite outside speakers. Below are examples of lectures and enrichment sessions which the girls have recently experienced: • Lower School Debating Society • Author Talk: Jane Cuff talks to the Lower School • The Environment Lecture • OSCAR Foundation Charity • Italy Day • Medley Lecture: 'Mickey and Me' by Catherine Powell (DH 1986)
Downe House School Shop. Tel: 01727 815201. Email: email@example.com To order uniform online, go to www.stevensons.co.uk All queries about shop cards etc should be directed to the School Shop. What will my daughter be expected to wear for formal occasions? All girls should have an outfit suitable for formal occasions:
herself. Please rest assured the organisation of personal laundry will be monitored very carefully by the Housestaff so that the highest standards of personal hygiene are set. Any spills or accidents will be dealt with sensitively and promptly.
1 A smart skirt of an appropriate length or a smart pair of trousers with an appropriate shirt.
Dry cleaning can be arranged if necessary through the Housestaff for an additional cost. Dry clean only items should be kept to a minimum.
2 Appropriate smart, sensible shoes, which may be uniform shoes (black only).
4 Discreet jewellery may be worn with smart mufti at the Housestaff’s discretion.
Your daughter should bring two dozen nametapes at the beginning of the Michaelmas Term for emergency use. Sports kit may be washed in the School Laundry and should be taken home at each Exeat to be washed. Any items brought back after the initial arrival should also be clearly named.
Informal clothing such as denim skirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts and hooded sweatshirts are not acceptable items for formal wear but, a small amount may be brought as comfortable mufti. Please do name everything.
Jewellery During the working day girls are able to wear a single unobtrusive pendant such as a cross, Star of David or St Christopher. They may also wear one pair of plain stud earrings.
What mufti will my daughter need? Mufti clothes should be practical and are strictly limited due to limited hanging space. These should be neat and in a good state of repair. Girls should have three changes of clothes in School (one set of comfortable mufti).
At weekends, a modest amount of additional jewellery may be worn. Please note that NO VALUABLE items should be brought to school.
3 Appropriate tights must be worn.
Hair, make-up and general appearance Your daughter will be expected to look neat and tidy at all times. She should bring a small sewing kit back with her for the repair of her uniform. The school reserves the right to buy uniform on your behalf if your daughter does not have all the necessary items stated on the uniform list or if her uniform is in a state of ill repair.
What happens to my daughter’s laundry? Laundry is taken care of by the School Laundry and the system will be explained carefully to the girls by your daughter’s Housemistress in September. She will need to be ready to take responsibility for the care of her clothes and be aware of how often things need to be washed.
Your daughter will not be permitted to bleach or dye her hair unsuitably. It should also not be cut in such a way (for example with a long fringe) which prevents it from being neatly held away from her face. If it is long, it will need to be tied back during the working day with a dark, plain clip or hair tie. No make-up or nail varnish may be worn. Piercings, braids and tattoos are not allowed.
There is no extra charge for the regular laundering of bed linen, towels or personal clothing. This is done weekly. All items should be clearly named and suitable for machine-washing and tumbledrying. It would help your daughter if she were able to sew on a name label. Whilst the Housestaff will help her do this, it will save time and reduce the risk of losing an item if she can sew on a label 28
SCHOOL UNIFORM - LOWER SCHOOL Available from the School Shop All items are compulsory unless otherwise stated
SCHOOL UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS Remove girls
Quantity Item 1 DH green outdoor jacket 1 School blazer (dark green with pale blue piping) 2 Tartan kilts 3 V-necked jumpers 4 Pale blue blouses (long-sleeved) 4 Pale blue blouses (short-sleeved) for summer 8 pairs Ankle or knee socks – black 4 pairs Tights – black 1 House scarf
Lower Fourth girls
Quantity Item 1 1 2 3 4 4 8 pairs 4 pairs 1
DH green outdoor jacket School blazer (dark green with pale blue piping) Tartan kilts V-necked jumpers Pale blue blouses (long-sleeved) Pale blue blouses (short-sleeved) for summer Ankle or knee socks – black Tights – black House scarf
PE/SPORTS KIT New Downe House sports kit was introduced in September 2018. This is compulsory for Remove. For all other year groups, pupils can wear existing PE kit but these items will be discontinued in the School Shop. Only new kit is now available to purchase.
2 1 pair 1 3 1 2 pairs 4 pairs 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 pair 1 1 1 pair 1 pair 1 pair 1 1 1 pair
Skorts - black with jade piping Cycle/netball shorts - black 2-in-1 athletics shorts – black Optional Polo shirts - white with DH logo, one with number for lacrosse House athletics vest - white with House colour on side panels Knee-length games socks - black with jade turnover Ankle socks - white Tracksuit top - black with jade panels Tracksuit bottoms - black with jade panels Midlayer top - black with jade piping Baselayer top - plain white Baselayer leggings - plain black Swimming costume - plain black Swimming cap - House colour Swimming goggles Swimming towel - jade with white DH logo Leotard - black with jade side panels Footless tights - black Football boots (for lacrosse) Indoor trainers Lacrosse stick and gloves Lacrosse goggles Athletics spikes (Summer Term only) 29
SCHOOL UNIFORM - LOWER SCHOOL Available from the School Shop 1 1 1
Kit bag Hockey stick and shin pads Hockey astroturfs
Quantity Item 1 1 2 1 1 1
Backpack with DH logo Squash racket Laundry bags (net) Swimming bag - white mesh Boot bag with DH logo Name tapes Casio FX-83GTX/FX-85GTX calculator
Specially designed to protect their Microsoft Surface
Recommended by Maths Dept
SCHOOL UNIFORM - LOWER SCHOOL Not Available from the School Shop SCHOOL UNIFORM
Quantity Item 1 pair
Black leather shoes - flat, offering good arch support (no moccasins or ballet pumps)
Quantity Item 1 1 pair 1 1 pair 1 1 pair
Mouthguard – OPRO boil in the bag mouthguard www.opro.com Trainers – for outdoor use only Tennis racket and cover White tennis shoes Optional unless in School team White tennis skirt Optional unless in School team House socks
NON UNIFORM CLOTHING Quantity Item
1 Knee-length smart skirt, or trousers, (not jeans) with matching top, or suit 1 pair Plain coloured tights 1 pair Smart sensible shoes – these may be uniform shoes 3–4 Tops for casual wear 2 pairs Jeans or casual trousers 1 Coat 6 Vests with low neckline (no t-shirts to be worn under uniform) 5 Bras 14 pairs Pants 1 Warm dressing gown 3 pairs Pyjamas or nightdresses 1 pair Bedroom slippers – sturdy
SCHOOL UNIFORM - LOWER SCHOOL Not Available from the School Shop MISCELLANEOUS
Quantity Item 2 2 1 1 pair 1 1 1 2 4
Bath towels Single duvet covers and pillow cases - (FIRE RETARDANT) Single duvet and pillow - (FIRE RETARDANT) Wellington boots Hairbrush and fine-toothed comb Nit comb Sponge bag Flannels and 1 nail brush Plain dark coloured hair ties for when uniform is worn Coat hangers â€“ including skirt hangers Sewing kit and shoe cleaning kit Music case, if appropriate Writing case Pencil case including cartridge fountain pen and cartridges Pocket Oxford dictionary or combined dictionary/Thesaurus Cycle helmet for bicycle and scooter use, if appropriate Padlock and chain for bicycle, if appropriate Small, lockable storage box for personal items Sweetie/tuck box Purse (named) Watch (named) AA batteries for House safes Microsoft Surface laptop and headphones - Compulsory for Remove
SCHOOL RULES The School rules have been drawn up in an effort to establish a well-balanced, civilised, positively motivated, protective but not repressive environment in which every individual may live happily and develop fully and healthily, socially, intellectually, spiritually, morally, emotionally and physically. Anti-social or irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated.
3 No one may put the welfare or safety of another in jeopardy through his/her words or deeds.
NB If a girl does have permission from her Housestaff to have a male guest on site, she must act with total propriety. Any contravention of this will be considered a serious offence.
16 No alcohol may be brought into School, or be consumed or used without permission from the Headmistress or Deputy Headmistress on any pretext whatsoever whilst a girl is in the School’s care.
School Rules These rules must be read in conjunction with House rules and other rules and codes of conduct, for example, those governing laboratory use.
17 No illegal or controlled substances may be brought into School, or be consumed or used on any pretext whatsoever whilst a girl is in the School’s care.
General courtesy is required around the School: for example, girls should use appropriate language at all times, remember to hold doors open for others, arrive for all lessons or commitments punctually and stand up for the member of staff at the start of a lesson or any visitor to a lesson.
18 Smoking is forbidden: no cigarettes, tobacco (including vapes and juuls) or e-cigarettes may be brought into School, consumed or used on any pretext whatsoever whilst a girl is in the School’s care.
2 Every girl must treat her environment and all property and belongings with respect.
19 Every girl must observe the fire procedures as displayed on the House Boards. In particular girls should note that, on hearing the alarm, they must go quickly and in SILENCE to the designated assembly points.
3 The code of conduct for public examinations applies to all School examinations. Every girl must refrain from any form of bullying. Bullying includes any behaviour which causes physical or psychological hurt or distress to others. The School’s Code of Conduct under its Prevention of Bullying Policy must be adhered to.
20 Every girl should attend meals. 21 Full School uniform must be worn at all times during the School day.
5 Every girl must refrain from any form of discrimination against others. The School is committed to a policy of equality and opportunity and every girl must adhere to its Equal Opportunities Policy. 6
15 The use of cars is strictly limited and any girl wishing to bring a car to School must have the permission of the Headmistress and abide by the set procedures and, in particular, with regard to lifts. No School pupil may travel in the car of another School pupil, or another pupil’s parents, unless written permission has been given by her parents.
2 Any breach of the law of the land is a breach of School rules.
anywhere near bedroom areas. Special arrangements are made at collection and drop-off times before and after holidays. This is for everyone’s protection.
14 Girls must observe check-in punctually.
School Code of Conduct 1 Treat everyone, whether younger or older, with the same kindness and respect with which you yourself would wish to be treated.
22 No jewellery other than a watch, single small unobtrusive pendant such as a cross, St Christopher or a Star of David and one small pair of studs in the ears, as appropriate, may be worn during the School day; hair of shoulder length must be tied back; no nail varnish or make-up may be worn. Hair should not be dyed inappropriately. Body piercing and tattooing is not permitted. Any unsuitable jewellery may be removed by a member of staff and given to the Head of Lower School for safekeeping until the next Exeat.
Every girl must refrain from disruptive/anti-social behaviour. In addition to the above, any action which puts or could put the reputation of the School in jeopardy, or which impacts or could impact negatively on the School community, will be regarded as a serious breach of School Rules, whether on or off the School premises or during or outside of School hours. It should be noted that School Rules apply on any off-site trip or activity.
23 Mufti (non-School uniform dress) must be tidy and appropriate. 24 The School’s IS Acceptable Use Policy in respect of ICT (including internet use and email), the Library and all other specific facilities must be adhered to.
7 In order to preserve the Cloisters area, girls may not walk on the grass except in the designated places and must treat this area with the utmost respect.
25 Gambling is forbidden.
8 As chewing gum is often the cause of damage to clothing, carpets and paths when not disposed of properly, it is not permitted on site.
26 Girls are not permitted to undertake any form of trading, unless they have arranged this with a member of staff and have the permission of the Deputy Headmistress. This restriction includes the use (either as buyer or seller), of internet based auction sites, such as eBay, as well as the purchase or sale of private property such as CDs.
9 Girls who have permission to go out must ensure that they are always in a group with at least two other girls. 10 No girl may leave the School premises without the permission of her Housemistress.
27 Accessing or encouraging others to access any form of pornography is forbidden.
11 All girls up to and including the LVI, must have permission from their Housemistress to use a taxi, or the permission of the Palmer Centre to use a taxi for medical appointments.
28 Forgery and fraud are forbidden. 29 Classroom etiquette and work presentation rules can be found in the Planners which the girls receive each term.
12 Borrowing anything without the permission of the owner is not allowed. Theft is forbidden. 13 Visits from family are welcomed at the weekend. However, guests (whether family or friends) should never wander around the site unaccompanied and should always make their visit known to the Housestaff. No male guests, whether family or friends, should go 33
Smoking (including vaping) Procedures
whose consumption gives cause for concern may be required to go to the Palmer Centre. Her parents will be notified and she is likely to be suspended.
Section 1 – Smoking in the School building a Any girl caught smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes in the School building should be referred to the Headmistress or in her absence the Deputy Headmistress or Boarding Deputy.
The School, may if necessary, where there is reasonable suspicion of consumption of alcohol breathalyse a girl. Similarly where there is suspicion of the use of drugs, a girl may be tested to determine whether this were the case.
Section 2 – Smoking in the School grounds a If a girl is caught smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes in the School grounds in the presence of a smoker or smelling of smoke, she should be reported to her Housemistress (in her absence, the Assistant Housemistress). If you are unsure of her name, escort her back into the School building to the Boarding Deputy, Deputy Headmistress or another senior member of staff, who should simply take her name, and send the girl away to wait in a designated area or areas e.g. alcove outside the Staff Room or to her House, as appears appropriate, pending the outcome. Staff will take into account a girl’s age in dealing with her.
These rules must be read in conjunction with House rules and other rules and codes of conduct, for example, governing laboratory use.
Guidelines on the Use of Mobile Phones This document summarises the use of mobile phones in School. Further details can be found in House Handbooks and on the Parent Zone in the section entitled ‘Useful documents’. All electronic devices must be named and are brought to School at your own risk.
b Staff should always question girls who may appear to be on their way to smoke and send them back to the School buildings or another part of the site.
Mobile phones and other electronic devices should not be used in communal areas where they may disturb others e.g. the dining room or when walking around the School site.
Remove • Phones are kept by House all day during the week.
Please note that girls smelling of smoke will be treated in the same way as those who are caught smoking.
• Girls may access phones on their two calling nights each week and on weekends after lessons.
Girls caught smoking in the building will be: 1 Suspended.
• Girls may access phones when out on trips if appropriate (e.g. for safety reasons).
Girls caught smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes outside: 1 Will be required to hand over to the staff the cigarettes/ tobacco or the e-cigarette and pods/liquids.
Lower Fourth • Phones are kept by House all day during the week except for during lunchtime and in the evening after supper.
2 Will be required to tell their parents over the telephone
• Girls may use their phone after lessons on the weekend.
3 Will have their free time curtailed i.e. gated during the week/ weekend
• Girls may only take their phone out on trips if deemed appropriate (e.g. for safety reasons).
4 Will be required to do community service during curtailed time
• Phones are handed in by 8pm each night.
5 Will be fined the sum of £10, £15 for subsequent offences or be gated for two weekends, three weekends for subsequent offences.
INTERNET SOCIAL NETWORKING POLICY FOR GIRLS
Any girl found with e-cigarettes, cigarettes, lighter or other smoking paraphernalia and/or providing another with cigarettes would be treated in the same way as above. Girls with positions of responsibility would lose these either temporarily or permanently.
Definition of Social Networking Social Networking applications include but are not limited to blogs, online discussion forums, collaborative spaces, media sharing services, micro-blogging applications. Including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, MSN, YouTube, Snapchat and can also include instant messaging systems (SMS).
In addition to the above mentioned sanctions, girls caught using e-cigarettes inside buildings will have the above sanctions enforced, together with an additional weekend gating. Due to enhanced fire risk, those found smoking cigarettes in the building are likely to be suspended.
Introduction 1 The School recognises that Internet Social Networking sites are a useful way of interacting socially with friends and gathering information. The School accepts that girls may use Social Networking applications on the Internet. While the School does not wish to discourage acceptable use of such sites on the Internet we expect certain standards of conduct to be observed in order to protect:
Girls caught smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes on School trips would be dealt with on the same basis as above. Continuous offenders (three times or more) will be required to see the Headmistress and their ability to represent the School in teams, productions etc may be called into question and/or they may be suspended for a period of time. They would be required to see the Palmer Centre regarding assistance with giving up smoking.
• The safety, welfare, confidentiality and dignity of staff, girls, their families and that of the wider community.
The money from the fines collected will go to Macmillan Nurses.
• The reputation of the School.
Alcohol and Drugs
No alcohol or illegal drugs may be brought into School on any pretext whatever. Girls who have alcohol in their possession without permission in School will have it taken away and disposed of. They will be gated and their parents will be notified. A girl holding a position of responsibility would lose it temporarily or permanently.
The way in which girls present themselves on Social Networking sites can have an impact on the public perception of the School and influence the way in which girls and staff are perceived by the wider community. In their use of Social Networking sites, girls should be aware that their online behaviour can affect their integrity and dignity.
3 In order to avoid boundaries becoming blurred and any potential misunderstanding, girls should not use Social Networking sites to
A girl who has consumed alcohol without permission and/or
communicate with staff of the School unless using approved School communication channels.
12 Transcripts of Social Networking communications may be used in any disciplinary proceedings.
This policy applies both on and off site. The following principles apply equally to information or comments posted by girls from their home, personal, School computers or smart devices. This is irrespective of whether the posts are uploaded during School hours or in personal time.
13 If girls become aware of misuse of Social Networking sites by another pupil, they should inform their Housemistress/ master, Head of Section or member of the Leadership Team.
The girls are responsible for the content they publish on their Social Media platforms, this policy’s primary aim is to provide girls with guidance to keep them safe and avoid compromising situations which they later regret.
14 Girls whose conduct breaches this policy in any way may be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the School’s Behaviour and Discipline Policy. 15 This policy should be read in conjunction with the School’s ‘IS Acceptable Usage Policy’, ‘Behaviour and Discipline Policy’. 16 It should be noted that online behaviour, deemed unsuitable by the Headmistress and in accordance with this policy, may have an impact on a girl’s future relationship with Downe House. This includes, but is not limited to, references, support from the Foundation (including DH LINKS) and connections with the Downe House Seniors’ Association.
PROCEDURES AND SANCTIONS Procedure 1 Girls must not access Social Networking sites for personal use (Facebook etc.) during the academic day, unless otherwise specified by the Head of Section. 2
Use of any Social Media should be age-appropriate and girls should not misrepresent their date of birth in order to gain access to sites such as Facebook. It is not acceptable to clone someone else’s identity or use a false identity to set up a profile.
Girls should not be ‘friends’ with staff on personal Social Networking sites as this could be viewed as a Safeguarding and Child Protection issue. Girls may however, ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ official School accounts such as, but not limited to, @DHLINKS on twitter.
Girls should remember that their profiles on Social Networking sites could directly link their behaviour outside of School with the reputation of Downe House. Any online conduct that could bring the School into disrepute or cause a negative impact on the school community is forbidden.
Online behaviour that could, in the opinion of the School, cause distress or jeopardise the safety, confidentiality, dignity or reputation of others, whether part of the Downe House community or not, is not acceptable.
Girls should take adequate precautions when using Social Networking sites and applications, both in vetting material that could be connected to them (e.g. through their own friendship profiles) and through the appropriate use of security settings. Appropriate security settings should be used to maintain privacy. Social Networking sites which hold personal information and that do not have security settings in place should be avoided.
The girls' security settings on Social Networking sites such as Facebook should be reviewed regularly as these providers often update their security policies which may allow unauthorised access to the girls profile without them being fully aware of such changes.
Girls should be aware that once content is shared online it is possible for it to be circulated more widely than intended without prior consent or knowledge (even if content is thought to have been deleted or privately shared).
Girls should not post/tag comments, photographs, video or other content about any member of the community without their express permission. Downe House must not be tagged as a location or mentioned in any Social Media posts, blogs, tweets etc.
INFORMATIONS SYSTEMS (IS) The Policy for use of all information systems within the School is laid out in full in the 'IS Acceptable Use Policy’, including: access to the Internet; School email; use of computer suites; use of personal laptops/smart devices; security and use of data/information kept on School computers; use of Elaine (intranet site for pupils). Any user who does not abide by this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and/or have their access to the Internet and email facilities removed for a period of time.
REWARDS AND SANCTIONS What is the School’s approach to discipline? We try not to have a long list of rules! General courtesy is required around the School: girls should, for example, remember to hold doors open for others, arrive for all lessons or commitments punctually and stand up for the member of staff at the start of a lesson. The School Code Girls should treat everyone, whether younger or older, with the same kindness and respect with which you yourself would wish to be treated. We value traditional, high standards of behaviour and want to work with you to achieve these. What system of rewards exists? Stars and Commendations are awarded for effort, exceptional or improved work. Stars and Commendations are worth points (Stars are worth more than Commendations) and girls receiving a certain number of points in a term are presented with a book token either at the end of term assembly or in House. Girls are awarded colours for Sport, Music and Drama. The Houses operate their own system of rewards and minor sanctions. A reward might be a plus point leading to a prize.
What system of sanctions exists?
Academic Sanctions If work is handed in persistently late or is incomplete or unsatisfactory, the teacher will discuss the matter with the girl and she will be placed in a department detention. The work must always be completed. Further sanctions include a Supervised Study Session, Progress Book, Head of Section Report and Subject Report. Supervised Study Session – Used for completing or redoing prep, class work, coursework etc.
10 It is not acceptable to produce any material that is offensive, defamatory, discriminatory or inappropriate about the School, staff or other girls. This includes the use of bad language and any form of cyber bullying.
Progress Book – Academic and Pastoral sanction - as a result of a failure or continued failure to reach the Downe House standard of written work, or continued episodes of poor behaviour, the girl may be sent to her Academic Tutor or Housestaff and be put on a period of Progress Book.
11 The School will monitor IT systems and Social Media Sites as is deemed necessary in order to prevent inappropriate usage. 35
Head of Section Report - As a result of a continued failure to reach the Downe House standard of written work and/or poor behaviour, the girl may be sent to the Head of Upper School and be put on Head of Section report.
The cost of each activity to the pupil covers the materials used, the hire of equipment and some of the coach expenses, though these are generally subsidised by the School. Some activities, although co-curricular, employ the services of many outside specialists and are therefore regarded as an extra subject. Therefore parental permission is necessary each term before taking up or continuing an activity. These activities may include:
Pastoral Sanctions The day-to-day pastoral discipline is the responsibility of the Housemistress and sanctions in this area include: Community Service - This sanction may be used by a Housemistress alone or as a part of a period of gating. It may include picking up of litter (gloves will be supplied), sorting laundry, tidying bookcases or similar tasks.
Will I be charged for weekend activities? Not all activities will incur a cost but all non-curricular trips will carry a charge towards the cost of the outing – transport and tickets etc. You will be advised of cost. Please let us know if it is a problem.
Gating - This sanction may only be used by a Housemistress or the Leadership Team and will involve a girl being detained in House for a period of time and denied privileges.
Are there opportunities to meet other parents? There are many social events arranged in the course of the year for you to meet informally with other parents both in the House and at main School events. You are always welcome to join us for these!
Weekend Gating - This sanction may only be used by a Housemistress or the Leadership Team and will involve a girl being detained in House over a Saturday and Sunday. Parents will be informed by the Housemistress.
Lower School Daily Routine The timetable below gives a rough idea of a ‘typical’ Remove Day. The LIV day runs on similar lines. These do vary according to whether the girls have an early or late lunch and tea (*) and their clubs and activities. During the working day there are also supervised prep periods in which the girls can do their homework. They should, therefore, not have to do much work in the evening. We also have plenty of early nights!
House Report – This sanction is used by a Housemistress and will involve the girl reporting to her Housemistress at set times through the day for a period of time. On Report - This sanction is used by the Deputy Headmistress and involves a girl reporting to the Deputy Headmistress at set points in the day for a period of time. Parents will be informed by the Deputy Headmistress.
7.00am Wake up 7.15am Hurry up Bell and House Surgery 7.30am House Meeting and Registration 8.00am Breakfast 8.30am Assembly, Chapel or individual tutor time 9.00am – 10.20am Lessons 10.20am Break 10.40am – 12.00 noon Lessons 12.00 noon Lunch* 1.00pm – 3.20pm Lessons 3.20pm Tea* 4.00pm – 6.00pm Lessons (on Monday and Friday) 4.20pm Wednesday - early finish for Remove and LIV 5.20pm Tuesday and Thursday - early finish for Remove 6.20pm Supper 7.00pm Return to Houses or attend clubs 8.00pm Drink and a biscuit 8.15pm Remove: Quiet time in dorms 8.45pm LIV: Silent reading Remove: Silent reading 9.15pm Lights out
Headmistress’s Report - This sanction is used by the Headmistress and involves a girl reporting to the Headmistress at set points in the day for a period of time. Parents will be informed by the Headmistress.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What happens when my daughter’s birthday falls during term time? Please feel free to telephone your daughter and wish her a happy birthday. Presents and cards are generally opened in the morning. All girls should bring a small selection of gifts worth under £5.00 to be donated to the Wacky B. Birthdays are celebrated in the Houses with great enthusiasm! Is there provision for Roman Catholic girls to go to Mass? Arrangements are made for those girls who wish to go to Mass to attend a service at a local Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholic girls are encouraged to attend Mass, but are always welcome to attend services in Chapel. Many choose to worship at School on Remembrance Sunday and other occasions when parents are also invited to attend. If you would like your daughter to attend Mass, or would like to discuss your particular circumstances, please contact the School Chaplain.
WHOLE SCHOOL EVENTS Michaelmas Term
What will my daughter do at weekends and after School? An imaginative programme of activities is organised for each term. Girls in their first year are guided by the Housemistress in their choice of activities in order to maintain a balance between School and House-based activities and excursions. It is our aim that girls should be kept busy and return home in a healthy but satisfied state of exhaustion at the end of each term.
House Drama Weekend (usually October) The majority of the School is involved in the popular festival of drama! Each Upper School House puts on a play on Sunday. Parents are welcome to come and watch their daughters perform in their House play. There is an adjudicator who gives the results out at the end of the competition. The School Concert (usually November) The Concert programme involves as many girls as possible with the orchestras, choirs, ensembles and many individuals taking part. Parents are very welcome to attend this.
Are there activities at other times? Your daughter will be able to take part in a variety of daytime activities too. All Lower School girls are required to pursue at least one regular activity. Girls are expected to attend sessions regularly and for at least one term, once they have decided to commit themselves. Your daughter’s Housemistress and Academic Tutor will keep an eye on her extra commitments to try to help her not to become overburdened. Enthusiasm sometimes has to be curtailed in the interest of survival, especially if she is learning one or more instruments, having Speech and Drama lessons, or sports coaching.
Carol Services (December) The Junior Carol Service usually takes place in the late afternoon on the day prior to the Senior Service. Parents will be informed of the venue beforehand and are most welcome to attend. All girls from Remove to UIV are involved. The Senior Carol Service takes place on the morning of the final day. All girls from LV – UVI attend and parents are most welcome.
afternoon teas for visitors and girls to enjoy, picnics available for you to order in advance, and we normally conclude the weekend with a family Hog Roast BBQ with Jazz music to accompany it on the terrace and lawns. In addition to these major events, there are many smaller events to which parents are most welcome – watching matches, family tennis tournaments etc.
Sports Day (usually June): This usually begins at lunchtime and parents are encouraged to come and bring picnics to the sports fields. No parking is allowed on the field so it is advisable to keep hampers light. Founder’s Weekend (June/July): On the final weekend of the Summer Term we hold ‘Founder’s Weekend’ in honour of the founder of Downe House, Miss Olive Willis. Tradition is fused with all that the modern day Downe House offers in a full community celebration. The academic departments and boarding Houses are open and there are interactive workshops and exhibitions around the School site. Sport, Music, Drama and the Creative Arts all contribute through tournaments, displays, proms, concerts, recitals, productions and a range of exhibits – to name but a few! The weekend typically begins with an open family tennis tournament on Saturday morning followed by a programme of events which continues across the weekend. There are sumptuous
In addition to these major events, there are many smaller events to which parents are invited – watching matches, parents’ lunches, family tennis tournaments to name but a few. A full programme of events appears every term in the Calendar Booklet.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION Policies All major policies can be found on the Parent Zone. Please ensure you have gone through them. All queries can be directed to the Administration Manager, who will redirect you to the appropriate department.
Any breach of the Pupils’ Equal Opportunities Policy – by either pupils or employees of the School – is viewed very seriously and disciplinary action may be taken where appropriate. Headmistress – Mrs Emma McKendrick, Downe House, Hermitage Road, Cold Ash, Berkshire, RG18 9JJ
Downe House is committed to providing equal opportunities in both its admissions procedure and its pupils’ day-to-day education. A Pupils’ Equal Opportunities Policy is adhered to, and is supplemented by an additional Disability Discrimination Policy – both of which are reviewed annually and are freely available on request.
Chairman of Governors – Mr Matthew Kirk, c/o Downe House, Hermitage Road, Cold Ash, Berkshire, RG18 9JJ Details of school policies are available on the School website, www.downehouse.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a hard copy on request from the School.
To ensure the effectiveness of these Policies, the School monitors the composition of current pupils attending the School, as well as applicants for admission.
Index Academic Enrichment
Partnership with Parents
5 14, 22
Head of Lower School
4, 20, 37
Alateen, Alcohol Helpline
Birthdays (Wacky Bs) Boarding Aims Cakes, Crisps and Biscuits
Preparing for Boarding 24 School
Roman Catholic (Mass)
Independent Schools Inspectorate
Chairman of Governors Chewing Gum
20, 37 33
IPads and Tablets
Second Language Choices
Code of Conduct
Keeping in Touch
Sports Management System (SOCS) 17
Curriculum (Remove - LIV)
Sports (Games) Kit
Leaving Early/Arriving Late
Medical Centre/Palmer Centre
Dry cleaning e - cigarettes
18, 22, 24
28 33, 34
Eating Disorders Helpline
Email Enrichment (Academic)
18, 21, 22 27
Exeats 21 Facebook 34 First Day
Toiletries 24 Torch 24
14, 26, 30
Wacky Bs (Birthdays)
27 22, 24
Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire RG18 9JJ T: 01635 200286 F: 01635 202026 www.downehouse.net Downe House School
All you need to know about joining Downe House in the Lower School.