‘This is an outstanding school’ (Ofsted 2017)
Downlands is a traditional school with traditional values. Our aim is to educate young people to become caring, active, responsible and successful citizens able to make a social, environmental and economic contribution to society. We are immensely proud of our talented students who add so much to our highly successful school community. We are fortunate in our highly skilled and totally committed staff.
GCSE outcomes at Downlands have been consistently outstanding over many years and we are rightly proud of this. Last year, 82% of students achieved a level 4 in both English and Mathematics and 79% of students achieved the equivalent of 5 A*-C including English and Mathematics. Achievement is outstanding – every year our students make significantly better progress than students nationally.
However, we also celebrate an outstanding curriculum that provides students with extensive opportunities regardless of their ability. We have a holistic view of education and our extra-curricular offer allows students to explore many avenues.
Creative arts provision includes school productions, music concerts, art exhibitions and dance shows. Our sporting programme enables all students to take part in competitive sport. It also produces a large number of highly successful elite teams and individuals who regularly achieve regional and national recognition. We offer Duke of Edinburgh, Forest Schools, MasterChef sessions, trips and exchanges to India, China and France, local, national and international trips and a diverse range of other activities.
Extra-curricular activities open young people’s minds to the wider opportunities that life can bring, and by widening educational access, contribute significantly to the academic achievement of our students. Taking part in a school production for example is a huge commitment for students but increases their sense of belonging to Downlands and introduces them to the joy of working in a team and creating something amazing that they can take ownership of and of which they can be immensely proud.
Our recently completed £6 million building project has provided stunning new facilities including a new music suite, dance studio, 10 new classrooms, improved circulation and many more ancillary facilities. This summer will see the total refurbishment of our floodlit 3G artificial pitch.
We place learning at the heart of everything we do; we are committed to our community, the highest standards of care and the best outcomes for all.
We place learning at the heart of everything we do because quality of learning makes the most significant difference to the progress our students make over their five years at the school. Learning at Downlands includes:
- Teaching and Learning – encompasses the taught curriculum, assessment, pedagogy.
- Leadership – the quality of leadership at all levels, including CPD.
- Learning Climate – creating optimum conditions so that learning can take place in inspiring surroundings without disruption.
- Learning for Life – acquiring a positive skill set is a pre-requisite for aspiration, career development, successful participation in society and a fulfilling life.
Downlands is a Community School. We are committed to community and are clear that successful engagement with our communities leads to improved outcomes for our students.
It is our aim to provide the highest standards of care, safety and wellbeing for everyone in our community. We are compassionate to all and clear that unless an individual’s needs are met they cannot function effectively or be successful learners.
To be successful in an increasingly competitive world, it is vital to achieve the best outcomes for all.
We were very pleased that The 2017 Ofsted Inspection team judged Downlands as an Outstanding school. We were particularly pleased that the report reflected our ethos and the incredible work we are so proud of. For example:
Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. They engage enthusiastically in lessons and show respect and care for each other.
The school makes an exemplary contribution to the community; it is a community school in action as well as in name.
Staff cater for pupils’ needs very well. Relationships are strong and this enables pupils to thrive academically and personally.
The academic curriculum is rigorous and challenging. It is enriched by provision for the arts and a strong programme of extra-curricular activities which further enhance pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural understanding.
As one parent said, ‘I would not hesitate to recommend Downlands – the teaching is excellent, the staff really care, and my children are developing into lovely young adults.’”