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WHO WE ARE
4 WHAT CAN I STUDY?
6 SUBJECTS 8 LEADERSHIP & CHARACTER 10 WHERE WILL I LIVE? 12 FREE TIME 14 SPORT 16 MUSIC & DRAMA 18 WHEN I LEAVE 20 WHY IS DOWNSIDE DIFFERENT? 22 A GAP YEAR
APUD BONOS IURA PIETATIS
FOR GOOD PEOPLE, LOYALTY IS THE LAWGIVER.
WHO WE ARE “WHO IS THERE WITH A LOVE OF TRUE LIFE AND A LONGING FOR DAYS OF REAL FULFILMENT?” (Rule Of St Benedict, P.15)
The last two years of your school life are the most important stage of your school career, from the subjects you choose for A Level to gaining a place at your preferred choice of University, to the first steps towards the way of life you feel called to. At Downside, you will have the opportunity of studying in small classes to help maximise your potential with a high ratio of teachers to pupils. Downside’s ratio is approximately1:6 as opposed to the maintained sector where it is 1:16. The level of support you will receive is exceptional. There is expert advice from experienced professionals available throughout our Sixth Form, for example, on how to take forward your UCAS application process, through to information on how to apply for subjects such as Medicine, as well as a fast track planning service for pupils with the potential to study at Oxford and Cambridge, or at an Ivy League university. Living in your Boarding House, you will be with your friends in a supportive and friendly community where you can discuss and learn from each other’s experiences. Every Sixth Form pupil has their own room so you will have privacy when you need it and the ability to get on and work in peace and quiet. Downside has a fabulous campus with vast grounds and a full range of sports facilities. It’s a wonderful rural environment without the pressures of the city but with a good rail route to London, which is only 2 hours away. Bristol and Bath are within easy reach, both with good inter-city rail links. Downside was founded in 1606 so it is a school that is full of history and tradition. The links that some families have forged span generations and pupils are constantly returning to the School to see staff and monks who were a part of their life here. You become part of a strong community when you join Downside’s Sixth Form. Every year, when our outgoing Upper Sixth leave, their words of advice to those coming behind them are always the same, “We are immensely proud of our School and the opportunities it has given us; get involved in everything, as your time here, especially the last two years, will fly by.”
BEING SECURE AND WELL-SUPPORTED WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY MEANS YOU CAN FLOURISH. DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 2 | 3
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THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SIXTH FORM PUPILS AT DOWNSIDE IS OUTSTANDING.
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 4 | 5
What C an I Study? Achieve something exceptional with your A Levels…
The advantage of being in the Sixth Form at Downside is spending time with a group of like-minded people where outstanding success is respected and encouraged; all levels of talent are effectively supported. Within the framework of the Benedictine tradition, learning to respect one another’s talents and opinions becomes part of your life. This is enriched by academic societies and prize essay competitions. A personal tutor will look after you for these crucial two years and provide support with academic study and university applications. Downside pupils leave the School with true confidence, not only in themselves but in public speaking and they are highly articulate in their written work. WiFi is available throughout the School so that, outside lessons, you can study independently when and where you want to, with access to all of the resources on our network. Trips and visits are organised not only in the UK but abroad as well, to develop a depth of knowledge and experience in art, science and languages. Academic clinics are available to ensure help and support is given where it is needed.
SUBJECTS MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES
The subjects you choose for A Level will determine the course of your intellectual development, they will influence what you go on to study at university and ultimately the career path you take. Making the right choice of subjects is a matter of vital importance. There is further information about each of the A Level subjects available at Downside in our Option Booklet. Downside focuses on traditional academic subjects, and we boast an enviable record of students achieving entry to Oxford and Cambridge and Russell Group universities.
Pupils are expected to have gained Grade B or above at GCSE. Biology
Minimum of an A grade at GCSE Biology and Mathematics required. Physics
English LiteratureEnglish ENGLISH Literature
Pupils are expected to have attained Grade B or higher in both First Language English and English Literature at IGCSE. Mathematics
Pupils must have studied GCSE or IGCSE at the Higher Tier and must have obtained at least an A grade. Further Mathematics
Pupils must have studied GCSE or IGCSE at the Higher Tier and obtained an A* grade.
Ideally an A grade in both Science and Mathematics at GCSE or IGCSE is required. Chemistry
To study Chemistry at AS Level at least an A grade in both Chemistry and Mathematics at GCSE or IGCSE is necessary.
Art & Design
At least a B grade in either GCSE Art or Design is required. Photography
A high level of interest and motivation is essential.
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM â€” 6 | 7
At least a grade C in both English and Mathematics at GCSE is essential.
Pupils need to be established, proficient and committed performers.
GCSE Economics is not required but at least an A grade in Mathematics at GCSE is essential.
At least a B grade in Mathematics GCSE/ IGCSE and either a grade B in Biology or B in Dual Award Science is necessary.
At least a B grade at GCSE is required to study to A Level. History
Potential candidates will need to have achieved at least an A grade in IGCSE History or English. Latin
A grade B minimum at GCSE is necessary and a pupilâ€™s lively interest in developing knowledge of the subject.
For French at least a grade A at GCSE is essential. GERMAN
For German at least a grade A at GCSE is essential. Spanish
For Spanish at least a grade A at GCSE is essential.
Full Scholarships are available for exceptional A* students and outstanding sportsmen and women.
YOU WILL HAVE THE CHANCE TO PROVE WHAT YOU CAN DO.
In the Sixth Form you have the opportunity to take on more responsibility and show leadership and service
Head of School and Head of House are prestigious leadership positions, as are captain of a team or producer of a play. Pupils are proud to be appointed to key roles in Sixth Form life at Downside. The opportunities for leadership are varied and interesting; you will be encouraged to debate topical issues and to discover, explore and establish your own values and opinions. Downside always fields strong delegations at MUN (Model United Nations) events, which are held nationwide, where subjects discussed are related to international world affairs. Moreover, there are regular Wednesday evening lectures with guest speakers covering a wide range of topics that are inspiring and informative. At the weekends there are socials and societies such as the Vintners’ (wine-tasting) Society and there is a Fine Dining Society, to develop your cooking and entertaining skills. Many pupils decide to continue the CCF through to Sixth Form where appointments are made, such as Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major. This is another means of gaining leadership experience. You can test your leadership skills during week-long military sponsored leadership courses, with lessons learnt put into practical situations at school. The CCF also provides the opportunity to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme (DofE) Gold, and many pupils do with a fantastic success rate, as well as adventure training with a huge variety of courses available from kayaking to mountain climbing. Many go on to be awarded Army Scholarships as a result of this preparation. The Downside CCF Band and Pipe Band play at school occasions as well as representing Downside in local Remembrance Day parades, and other events. Downside encourages pupils to think about others who have fewer opportunities in life. This is evident in the many ways boys and girls raise money for charity, whether it’s running in a marathon or cycling from the UK to Europe. On a more local scale, a number of Sixth Form pupils will go into Bath on a Friday evening to help with a soup kitchen for the homeless. Importantly, in the Sixth Form you can become involved with the international organisation OMV (Order of Malta Volunteers) which organises the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes each summer. This is very popular with places in high demand. The Fashion Show for Charity is a recent addition to the School’s calendar but very popular. Pupils make their own clothes and either model them or choose friends to showcase their capsule collections. Parents and friends are in the audience to support and encourage the results. This is a hugely competitive evening and extremely good fun.
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 8 | 9
Leadership & Character
Where Will I Live? A sense of community is crucially important when everyone lives together
Living and studying in your House is an integral part of your time at Downside. You have your own room and each House has several social spaces to mix with your peers who will become life-long friends. Inter-House activity in sport, drama, music and debating is fiercely competitive and great fun and in the Sixth Form you will be playing a major role in organising and leading the House, fully involved in its challenges and successes. This in turn helps you learn to respect and support those around you. The uniform is very popular with all pupils who take a considerate pride in their appearance. For the boys, the uniform has hardly changed in over 100 years. They wear pinstripe trousers and a black jacket. Ties become quite varied in the Sixth Form, from House ties, colours ties, choral ties and scholarsâ€™ ties, to wearing your own if you are Head Boy, Head or Deputy Head of House. Waistcoats are also a mark of seniority and highly sought after. Girls, fully established within the community of Downside after 8 years of co-education, wear a black, grey, white and raspberry red kilt with a smart fitted grey jacket; some wear a Gregorian Cross as a brooch to mark their Senior roles in the School. Pupils wear uniform for lessons and for formal parts of the school day but you are free to change into your own clothes at all other times. Downside has an array of branded kit for many sports and activities and pupils enjoy wearing their House hoodies and sports sweatshirts to relax in.
Sixth form pupils at downside are exceptionally smart and distinctive in their uniform and in how they conduct themselves as senior leaders within the community.
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 10 | 11
Free Time Life at Downside is so busy that you scarcely have a free moment
There is a Junior Common Room for the exclusive use of the Sixth Form, where you can relax with a coffee, read the papers or chat to friends. It is fully equipped with WiFi and computers. For the more energetic we have an indoor pool, a weights room, fitness suite and squash courts.
It’s a ready-made social life! DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 12 | 13
OPT IN, NOT OUT, GET INVOLVED AND ENJOY!
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 14 | 15
Sport BE PART OF THE TEAM
If sport is your passion, there is every opportunity to be part of the major teams, whether it’s Cricket, Hockey, Netball, Rugby, Football or Tennis; you play at home or travel away for fixtures, and even go on tour during the summer holidays. Our dedicated professional sports coaches ensure that a number of pupils both at individual and team sports go on to play at county and national level. Individual sports use Downside’s extensive facilities, including an indoor pool, fitness suite and squash courts. Aerobics, athletics, badminton, cross-country, fencing, golf, kayaking, polo, squash and swimming are just some of the activities on offer.
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Music & Drama GET ON THE STAGE WITH MUSIC AND DRAMA
Music is a big part of life at Downside, whether it be singing in the various choirs, playing in the orchestra or in individual bands. The Music School offers the chance to play the drums, keyboards, write music or sing. A large number of pupils join one or other of the choirs at Downside, such as the Boysâ€™ Chamber Choir or the Downside Schola Cantorum. Pupils can arrange to have music lessons for individual instruments, from the classical to the contemporary, such as drums or electric guitar. There is a debating society within the School, which runs inter-House competitions or debates with visiting schools. There are two high quality Senior School drama productions a year, a play and a musical, often produced and partly directed by an enthusiastic Sixth Form team. Recent productions include Oliver!, The Boyfriend, Grease and Les Miserables. Recent plays include Twelfth Night and Macbeth.
Music is a big part of life at Downside.
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM â€” 16 | 17
Sixth Form pupils at Downside are exceptionally smart and distinctive in their uniform and in how they community.
A GOOD DEGREE IS THE FIRST STEP.
YOUR ASPIRATIONS CAN BE TESTED & REALISED Most of our Sixth Form go on to Oxbridge, Medical School or a Russell Group university after taking their A Levels, either going in the September after they leave or taking a gap year first. There is the chance to go to University Open Days / Fairs during term time and staff will advise on the right subjects to get you on to your chosen degree course. Heading into the last two years of your school career means you will be making major decisions for your future. At Downside you will be given all the help you need to get it right.
ALEXANDER HATVANY LEFT DOWNSIDE IN 2009 (BARLOW HOUSE)
“I came to Downside for Sixth Form in search of a full-time boarding experience, to achieve my full potential and the confidence to apply to Oxford. Downside taught me to work with a degree of autonomy while enjoying the safety net of excellent teaching and unrivalled pastoral care. After my degree I accepted a Training Contract at Jones Day, an American law firm with 37 offices worldwide.” Daisy Syme-Taylor left Downside in 2011 (Caverel House)
A Downside music scholar Daisy gained a Choral Scholarship to Merton College, Oxford, to read a four-year Classics ‘Greats’ degree. In her first year she won the prestigious Newdigate Prize, with her entry, ‘Edgelands’.
“Two things were distinctive about my time at Downside; the musical life of the School and the teaching in the Sixth Form, both allowed me to develop my interests more broadly than I might have done.” Anna Kosinska left Downside in 2010 (Caverel House)
Anna went to Magdalene College, Cambridge, to read Natural Sciences
“Being able to attend Downside School helped me to pursue my goals. Before coming to Downside I had never thought about applying to Cambridge, it was the teachers at school who suggested the idea, which I then pursued. I received a vast amount of help in my university application and later in the preparation for the interview.”
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 18 | 19
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When I Leave
DOWNSIDE SCHOOL SIXTH FORM — 20 | 21
History and Tradition – something to be proud of in a 21st Century context. WHY IS DOWNSIDE DIFFERENT? THE OLD GREGORIAN NETWORK Leaving Downside you become an Old Gregorian (OG) and join a select worldwide alumni network. There are regular OG gatherings in London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Dublin, Malta, Sydney and Buenos Aires and opportunities to be part of OG sporting societies for cricket, golf, hockey, rugby and sailing. OGs are truly international, working in a wide variety of careers and are very supportive of our students and young graduates, enabling us to host regular professional networking lunches. Every year a group of young OGs come and talk at a Careers Seminar with top tips and good ideas. It’s always well attended and a good opportunity to ask questions about university and how past pupils got into the careers or vocations they chose, such as medicine, law, engineering, teaching and the media. It’s a fantastic network to join; you will have friends for life with a common bond.
Taking a year out?
A Gap Year Thereâ€™s a wealth of advice on offer, on how to maximise your gap year experience
If you decide to take a gap year when you leave Downside, there is a world of discovery waiting for you. Our pupils set off across the globe. During the course of the Sixth Form, a Gap Year Fair is organised, giving you the opportunity to look at what is available, which countries appeal to you and whether you want to travel, or get involved with charitable projects. Chile is a very popular destination as we have close links with the Manquehue Apostolic Movement, a group of Catholic schools, where you can spend several months working in schools and on special projects, learning Spanish and discovering more about the Catholic Faith. Many OGs join the Committee of the OMV.
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