Headmaster Marcus Gunn explains what makes The Downs School so special
I am often asked what distinguishes The Downs from other schools. As do a minority of others, we enjoy an outstanding ISI Inspection Report, but this does not necessarily highlight how the school might differ from others.
Most obviously we enjoy a wonderful setting – 70 acres of stunning parkland and woodland. Not enough to simply admire its glory, continually we use this beautiful landscape to enhance the children’s development – everything is on site. The estate is a wonderful landscape and an outstanding resource, it is well used and our children’s wellbeing benefits from fresh air and rural space.
Our children are extremely happy; they hugely enjoy school. They are undoubtedly challenged, and they experience disappointment. In doing so we seek to develop resilience, perseverance and courage – traits of fortitude that will serve them well in later life. Vitally, we also provide exceptional pastoral care and integrate a network of ‘TLC’ that the children can rely on when the going gets a little tough. Indeed, the relationship between the children and staff is one of genuine, unusual warmth and care.
Children find recognition in a host of different ways. Many schools boast an all-round education but very few provide the range, the depth of opportunities our children are fortunate enough to enjoy. They are young, and we guard against them becoming specialists. Within this environment of diverse opportunities, our children become confident, self-assured, rounded individuals who value the difference of others.
This is a small school, a close and happy community, and the class sizes are small, ideally a maximum of 18. In such groups, individuals thrive.
Finally, ‘Why The Downs’? Because we nurture happy children of natural grace and unaffected manner. Achievement is always applauded quietly within the community, but quality of character is equally celebrated. We expect our children to behave with a sense of decency by which they demonstrate care, kindness and respect. We expect our children to conduct themselves civilly and comfortably in any social setting, indeed we are very proud of our ‘Charltonian’ that leave us at 13 to attend prestigious schools all over the South of England – and we are delighted that they return to see us so often.
– Marcus Gunn, Headmaster
To find out more about The Downs School, call 01275 852 008 or visit their website at www.thedownsschool.co.uk