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Introduction 4 The Downe House French Experience


Key Staff Profiles


Veyrines House Profile


Teaching and Learning


Sorties and Co-Curricular Activities


Partnerships 11 Sport in Veyrines


Music 13 Photography 14 Charity Work




Communication 17 Contact details




The opportunity to go to Veyrines, experience another culture and so gain a broader understanding of the world in which we live and work is highly valued at Downe. Girls can achieve beyond their own expectations academically and also by making an excellent contribution to the school in Veyrines and the wider community. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of life at Veyrines is that it never stands still. The team is always seeking out new challenges and opportunities for the girls and we can therefore genuinely say that no two terms will ever be the same! Veyrines is dynamic, exciting and inspiring but its ethos is firmly rooted in the values of Downe House where trust and respect are paramount. There is something for everyone here; it is an unforgettable experience!

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 aims to enable 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.


The Downe House French Experience

The term in France 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. 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. All other members of 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 to provide seamless care in the event of illness and are supported by Dr. Crauffon, 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, a milliner and local radio station. The Veyrines term also includes charity work, opportunities for collaborative projects with pupils from local schools and interacting with the local community.

“For us all, Veyrines was “une aventure”; an adventure of education, of fun, of new things …” CELESTE


Key Staff Profiles

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 from London 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 in Veyrines and I also assist in teaching Mathematics to girls who need one-to-one support.


Veyrines House Profile

The School is housed in a former farm and comprises three buildings which have been sympathetically restored around an attractive courtyard. Girls sleep in one of four cosy dormitories and all have en-suite bathrooms. The girls have their own salon, comfortably furnished with big sofas, floor cushions, TV, DVD player and computers. Mealtimes are important occasions in the school day and give the girls an opportunity to socialise with each other and members of staff who encourage them to converse in French. There is no choice offered at mealtimes; staff and pupils eat the same dishes which, during the term, will include regional specialities such as confit de canard and pommes de terre sarladaises. All meals are freshly prepared by our cook and served to the girls at the table by our team of domestic staff to give the girls further opportunities to interact in French. Further key objectives of the term in Veyrines are for girls to develop their level of self-confidence and also for them to learn to live in a community, having greater understanding of the needs of the people around them. Each term a group of girls is appointed to positions of responsibility and form the House Committee. They meet regularly with the Head and

Assistant Head to plan and review house activities which are such an important factor in a boarding environment. Competitions such as MasterChef and the Fashion Show encourage girls to listen to each other, work collaboratively, learn the value of compromise and have fun in the process. At the end of every term, we ask the girls for their views and impressions of their time in Veyrines. The results of this survey allow us to carefully evaluate our practices, the girls’ experiences and the term’s academic and social outcomes.


“Veyrines gives every girl the opportunity to become more confident both in French and in herself � LUCY 8

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning The curriculum in Veyrines takes advantage of the fact that we are located in one of the most remarkable regions of France, in the valley of the Dordogne. This unique area, rich in Art, History and Geography becomes a natural extension to the classroom through a carefully designed programme of sorties. Going out in small groups gives the girls opportunities to learn from and work collaboratively with local specialists and artisans in a wide range of disciplines. Through subsequent guided and independent study, they can further enhance their knowledge and appreciation of the area, its culture and the French language. The term in Veyrines is, without doubt, a unique learning experience. With the exception of the Head, Mrs. Scotland, and the Assistant Head, Madame Lameret, the teaching staff are French and all lessons except English and Mathematics are delivered in French as far as is practical. We maintain close links with academic departments in the UK and girls will study French grammar, English and Mathematics alongside distinct subjects such as SVT (Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre). Our two classrooms are equipped with AV/IT facilities

and we employ a variety of teaching methods to engage and stimulate learners. By encouraging the use of French as much as possible in and around the School, we help the girls to develop the four language skills which are examined at GCSE and beyond (listening, speaking, reading and writing.) More importantly, they become much more spontaneous and confident in their use of French. Such impressive outcomes are not easily achieved in the confines of a traditional classroom and help to illustrate the value of this unique learning experience. On their return to School, the girls are able to apply these enhanced language skills to help them achieve the highest levels of attainment in future public examinations.

Rewards and Sanctions The rewards system is the same as at Downe House UK with Stars and Commendations being awarded for effort, exceptional or improved work. All breaches of discipline are dealt with by the Head or the Assistant Head.

Academic Progress and Reporting Girls are regularly assessed throughout the term and a grade sheet is issued at half term. A full written report is published at the end of term. You will be notified by email when these documents are available and they can be downloaded in the usual way from the Parent Zone on the Downe House website.

School Code of Conduct Treat everyone, whether younger or older, with the same kindness and respect with which you yourself would wish to be treated. Any breach of the law of the land is a breach of School rules. No one may put the welfare or safety of another in jeopardy through her/his words or deeds.


Sorties and Co-Curricular Activities

“The most incredible thing about the term in Veyrines is all the sorties we go on. There are so many things to do and discover here” MINNA

Sorties and Activities Classroom-based learning is supported by a programme of carefully planned sorties. Each visit is carefully prepared beforehand to allow each girl to use her French to best advantage. Girls are accompanied by our own staff but sorties are most frequently led by an expert, such as the chocolate maker or truffle expert. Every term we visit Futuroscope in Poitiers. This is a unique educational site which both informs and entertains. The girls learn about advances in technology and environmental issues. During the Michaelmas term there is also a visit to Vulcania, the “European Park of Volcanism” near Clermont-Ferrand. As part of the Lower IV academic programme at Downe House, the trip is led by a member of the Geography Department and permits the girls to take a closer look at volcanology through this remarkable interactive experience.

“I wish I could go to Futuroscope again. That was definitely a highlight!” DA R A



École Primaire de Saint Cyprien Teaching English to small groups of children at a local primary school gives girls an opportunity to interact closely with members of the local community. Building on the French they have learnt here, girls design and deliver lessons on a variety of themes, engage in spontaneous conversation with teachers and pupils and thus develop their organisational, inter-personal and communication skills. At the end of term our girls perform the short play they have learnt in drama lessons for the Saint Cyprien children, an event which is hugely enjoyable and rewarding for both groups of pupils.

Lycée Hôtelier Quercy-Périgord More Michelin starred chefs have graduated from the Lycée Hôtelier Quercy-Périgord than any other in France and the day here provides an interesting insight into the world of French gastronomy. Girls spend the morning with students and professional chefs seeing how classic French dishes are prepared or learning front of house skills in the school’s restaurants which are open to the public. The girls then enjoy lunch in one of the restaurants and in the afternoon join an English lesson, interacting with French students and helping them to develop their conversation skills.


Sports in Veyrines

Keeping fit and enjoying the outdoors is a focus during the term in Veyrines. Lacrosse is not a sport which is known in France, but girls regularly do Crossfit training, Zumba and dance, play volleyball and basketball during PE lessons. A wide selection of off-site activities which include mountain biking, wall climbing, orienteering, archery, paddle-boarding and canoeing are also offered during the term. The girls thus return to Downe having acquired some new sporting skills and fit for the new season.


“The different sports in Veyrines are so much fun and paddleboarding was incredible� K AT Y


Music Music is an important part of the Veyrines curriculum and girls who wish to continue instrumental or voice tuition are taught by Barbara Pollard Dawson who also leads our choir. Each term the girls perform concerts at a retirement home and at a residential home for disabled people in the local area. An experienced music teacher and choir leader, Barbara moved to France with her family in 2000. She currently teaches music to private students and also with a music association in the nearby town of Belvès. Barbara holds qualifications from the Royal School of Music and the Open University, is passionate about music of all styles, ancient and modern, and is keen to help girls improve their musical skills and develop the confidence to play in public. A voice and piano specialist, Barbara has taught in French and English schools and also has experience of teaching the violin, oboe, flute and viola. Barbara is happy to instruct pupils on any instrument (as long as they are not complete beginners.)



Photography Photography is a very popular optional activity in Veyrines. Working exclusively in digital, Gareth Kirkland’s workshops teach the girls about composition, landscape, action photography and portraiture. He also encourages his pupils to understand the camera they are using, teaching them about shutter speed, depth of field and different semi-automatic settings. Under his tutorship, Gareth’s pupils produce outstanding results and throughout the term compile a personal and impressive portfolio of their work.

Gareth Kirkland Mr Gareth Kirkland

Gareth has been a professional photographer for over 15 years and has worked in many areas of the profession including interiors, sports photography and portraiture. His passion has always been landscapes and having moved to France in 2003, he quickly established himself as the foremost landscape photographer of the area. Gareth’s work is frequently published and displayed in various galleries in both the UK and France. He has won numerous awards, including best landscape photographer in the prestigious International Press Awards competition.

Tennis Tennis coaching is offered as an optional activity on Wednesday afternoons. Sessions last 45 minutes and girls are taught in same ability groups. Our coach, Jean-Marc Boisson is fully qualified and has many years’ experience of teaching children and adults at le Tennis Club in Gourdon.


Charity Work

Our Founder, Olive Willis, set duty and service at the heart of our ethos. As part of the life of the community here in France we support the Children’s Hospital in Purpan, Toulouse which admits and treats children from all over South West France. The hospital has become internationally famous for its cutting edge treatment of cancers in children and young people. It also has a Burns Unit of similar stature. Treatment often involves long stays in hospital. We have become a partner of Hôpital Sourire, the charitable arm of the hospital, and the girls are committed to raising funds for this deserving cause and every term do so in some ingenious and imaginative ways. These have included spa days, theme days and film nights. The highlight of every term, however, is the opportunity for the girls to spend a day in Sarlat market selling homemade cakes and gifts at our stall. The girls thoroughly enjoy interacting with members of the local community and putting their improved language skills to good use.



Diet We are able to cater for girls who are vegetarians, who have a medically determined food allergy or do not eat certain foods as part of their religious observation.

Health Your daughter will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in order to receive emergency medical treatment free of charge or at reduced cost. Please note that this card entitles the girls to emergency treatment only during the Veyrines term. For girls who are resident overseas their Guardian can apply for an EHIC using the following link Treatment or monitoring of existing or chronic conditions has to be agreed in advance with the medical authorities in France.

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 Embassy 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. 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. Please do not hesitate to contact the Registry for any further advice and guidance:



Sharing their experiences with parents is an important part of life at Veyrines and we encourage you to use the School website regularly to keep up to date with events in France. We publish a weekly newsletter, Les Voix de Veyrines, the content of which is written exclusively by the girls who are always keen to share news of their latest adventures and progress. We also have a photo gallery which is regularly updated and gives a real flavour of life in the Périgord Noir. Girls may bring mobile telephones but the signal in and around the School is quite weak. The house phone may be used and evenings is the best time to call. A nominal charge will be made if your daughter uses the house phone to make a call. Email is a very efficient means of staying in touch and your daughter can be contacted using her usual Downe House address. Our computers are equipped with Skype and this is another way to stay in contact. This method has the additional advantage of you being able to see your daughter and know that all is well. We are sure that you will wish to visit your daughter whilst she is here and information about places to stay, restaurants and things to do can be found on the Veyrines section of the Downe House website. Two exeats per term are permitted, one long and one short. A long exeat runs from Friday 1.00pm until Monday 1.30pm inclusive and a short exeat from Friday lunchtime to Sunday evening. Please note that there are NO fixed exeat dates in Veyrines. Parents are welcome to visit at a time most convenient for them but we ask that you avoid coming on the first and last weekend of term.



All transport, to and from the UK and transfers in France, are arranged by us. We use Flybe as our airline on the Southampton (SOU) to Bergerac (EGC) route. Tickets for your daughter’s flights will be booked well in advance – half a term ahead of the allocated term in Veyrines. Once booked, a deposit is paid and the balance settled, two months before the flight. If you require any change from this, please let us know as soon as possible, as once these items are paid they are non-refundable and the cost passed on to you.





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GPS coordinates of Veyrines-de-Domme Latitude : 44.7833 Longitude : 1.1167 17


DOWNE HOUSE Le Bourg 24250 Veyrines de Domme France Telephone: 00 33 5 53 29 53 15

Mrs Deb Scotland

Mrs Louise Lameret

Mr Iain Scotland

Head of Veyrines

Assistant Head of Veyrines

School Administrator

Mobile: 00 33 6 26 77 13 59

Mobile: 00 33 6 82 93 97 01

Mobile: 00 33 6 16 66 04 59


an adventure in education


Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG18 9JJ Tel: 01635 200286 fax: 01635 202026 email:

February 2017

Le Bourg, 24250 Veyrines de Domme, France Telephone: 00 33 5 53 29 53 15

Downe House Veyrines - Term in France Handbook  

All you need to know about the term in France for Upper Fourth girls.