Downside School: Bath, Somerset, UK

Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom

Downside School: Bath, Somerset, UK

Price Range ₤ 30,000 - 40,000 per annum


Are you after a boarding school UK? We preent here Downside School in Bath, Somerset, England. This is a great Christian boarding school in a great location. Downside is an independent, co-educational boarding and day school for pupils aged 11 to 18, and one of England’s oldest and most distinguished Catholic schools. Founded in 1606 in Douai, Downside today is a school of four hundred and thirty boys and girls, housed in magnificent buildings at the foot of the Mendip Hills, twelve miles south of the city of Bath. Downside School is committed to remaining a traditional full boarding school: 79% of Downside pupils are seven-day-a-week boarders, with 22% of our pupils from overseas.

The Benedictine monastic community of St Gregory the Great, now at Downside, has been running a school for Catholic children for over four centuries. Through the sacraments, prayer, catechesis and example, in the classroom and out of it, both monks and lay staff at Downside seek to inspire pupils to love God and to serve others. Whilst Downside welcomes families and children from other faiths, we ask them always to recognise our distinctively Catholic nature.

Downside works with families to ensure that the boys and girls have high academic expectations, are successful in public examinations, and discover intellectual interests that will stay with them for life. The School has a thriving academic life to stretch the brightest pupils, and provides structured support for the less able. Class sizes are small and each pupil is assigned a tutor to supervise his or her academic progress.

Almost all the boys and girls at Downside are seven-day-a-week boarders, although day pupils are also warmly welcomed. The School is committed to remaining a traditional boarding school, not a flexi-boarding school or a weekly boarding school. The opportunities open to boarders at Downside – academic, sporting, in music, drama and co-curricular activities – are exceptional. Weekends for boarders are full, busy and purposeful.

The School is particularly renowned for the quality of its music and sport. Downside has a purpose-built 600-raked-seat theatre, large art studios and 100 acres of playing fields, as well as tennis and netball courts and all-weather hockey pitch. There is a fully modernised heated indoor swimming pool, a sports hall complex, which includes fitness rooms, and also a gymnasium and glass-backed squash courts.

Number of students

  Girls Boys Total
Boarding School: 245 145 390
Day School: 35 35 70
Year of foundation:
Some history:

The Benedictine community of St Gregory the Great was founded at Douai, France, in 1606 by a group of English and Welsh monks who were in exile because of the penal laws in England against Catholics. The community received the protection of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain and Portugal, the joint ruler of the Spanish Netherlands, and they were furnished with buildings by Philip de Caverel, Abbot of St Vedast's in Arras. By 1617 English Catholics were sending their boys across the Channel to be educated there. The School has been in existence since that time, with the monks engaged not only in teaching but also in scholarly work, writing and lecturing, and in priestly and pastoral work.

In the 17th century, the death penalty was inflicted on Catholic priests found in England. Many members of St Gregory's nonetheless came to England to exercise their priestly duties, and six of them have been recognised as martyrs by the Church. Two of these, St John Roberts and St Ambrose Barlow, were canonized as saints in 1970. Another martyr who has yet to be canonized is Blessed PhilipPowell, who was put to death in 1646. In 1681, St Oliver Plunkett, the Irish Archbishop of Armagh, was executed in London. Before his execution he was helped by an English Benedictine, Dom Maurus Corker, who later took care of his body. His relics are now housed in the principal shrine in Downside Abbey. St Oliver was canonized in 1975.

By the beginning of the 18th century the School was held in such high esteem in England that Queen Anne ordered the Duke of Marlborough to spare it when he stormed Douai in 1710. In the 1790s, however, French revolutionaries plundered the Abbey and School, but the monks and boys were allowed to escape to England in February 1795. After nineteen years at Acton Burnell in Shropshire, in the house of Sir Edward Smythe, a former pupil, the Abbey and School moved to Downside and the present buildings were begun. The School has therefore been on its present site since 1814; the cedar tree near the main entrance was planted in that year. Downside became a fully co-educational school, admitting boys and girls in all years, in 2005.

Campus size and facilities:

Contact school: contact-us


Cost of tuition

7 days boarding: £7,854–£10,536

Day school only cost: £4,980–£5,904

Summer Programs

English plus Horse Riding or English plus Tennis ( Ages 8 to 17)
The course is a fully-inclusive programme offered for children aged 8-17. It will improve your child's English, whilst offering them the chance to spend time practising the sport that they love, alongside taking part in other group activities and  excursions. 

Intensive Academic ( Ages 13 to 17 )

Students have 15 hours of general English + 12 hours per week of academic subject teaching in English, including Maths, Science, Geography and History.

Location: Bath

Start dates: 4,11,18,25 July; 1,8,15 August

Duration: 1-7 weeks

Accommodation: School boarding house, single or shared room
Fees: horse riding £1085 per week/ tennis £990 per week / Intensive Academic £1020

Fees: £1085 per week



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Downside School: Bath, Somerset, UK - Your boarding school in Bath, Somerset


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Downside School: Bath, Somerset, UK

Downside School: Bath, Somerset, UK - Your boarding school in Bath, Somerset


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