Downside School

Downside School is feted for its spiritual life and is especially popular with families of the Catholic faith. However, like all British boarding schools, it is of course open to pupils of all religious faiths. Nestled into the rolling Somerset landscape this beautiful school with the impressive Downside Abbey is a great place to come for anyone seeking a balance between academic, personal and spiritual development. 75% of pupils board, which makes Downside School a proper boarding school.
Von Bülow Education placed 2 pupils here in 2021.

The Essentials

  • Number of pupils: 340

  • Percentage of boarders: 78%

  • Percentage of international pupils: 40%

  • Av. class-sizes: senior school: 15 // 6th form: 11

  • Closest international airport: Bristol Airport, 45 minutes away by car

  • Fees per term in 2021/22: £12,032

Watch a Video about the school
Have a question about this school or want us to help you?

What we think
A lovely, small school with good sports, many boarders and a solid spiritual foundation.

The Details


The school offers GCSEs and A-Levels.

Downside School achieves consistently good academic results. In 2021, its GCSE results yielded 58% 9-7 grades and its A-Levels 62% A-grades. A considerable achievement, given that the school is relatively non-selective.

French, German, Spanish, Latin, Greek, Mandarin, Polish, Portugese and Arabic on offer. Good EAL and SEN provision on offer.


78% of pupils board, making Downside close to a full boarding school. Six boarding houses, all cozy. Weekend trips and over 50 activities keep all boarders occupied. Pupils share with one or two others.

Exeat weekends are compulsory.


Downside School has a lovely, unpretentious vibe to it. The school is small and thanks to the Catholic roots, there is a very stong school community where pupils look out for each other. The pastoral care is excellent. The large boarding community supports this close-knit spirit further.

Sports is an integral part of school life here. As well as rugby, hockey, football and cricket for the boys and hockey, netball, tennis and rounders for the girls, there’s a wealth of other sports on offer, including aerobics, athletics, badminton, cross-country, fencing, squash and swimming. Hockey is especially strong!

You would expect it at a school with strong Catholic foundations: music is strong here. An orchestra, jazz band, choirs...the list goes on! Over 50% of pupils play at least one instrument here.


The boarding accomodation could be a bit more up-to-date, but that's pretty much it!

The Location
Downside School is located in beautiful Somerset, 15 minutes away from the town Bath.

The Address
Downside School


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter
Interested in our insights, opinions and stories related to English boarding schools? Then why not sign up!
Von Bülow Education
Harwell Innovation Center
173 Curie Avenue, Harwell
Oxford, OX11 0QG

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 838540