Downe House

Founded in 1907, Downe House is one of England’s leading independent girls boarding schools set on a 110 acre estate in Cold Ash, Berkshire.The school is home to about 530 girls aged 11- 18, and is located just outside Newbury, amongst 110 acres of beautiful wooded parkland. This is a full boarding exchange (with exeat weekends with the host family)- this means that in a 4 week period there will be one weekend spent with the family and the remaining weekends will be spent in school but with a couple of outside trips/activities organised by the school as well as the various in house Christmas festivities. . 

Our first exchange with Downe House was in 2016.

Approximate Exchange Timing

  • Dio to Downe House: Term 4 2022:  approx 16 November – 14 December 2022
  • Downe House to Dio: Term 1 2023: approx 20 March - 15 April 2023 - please note that this hosting period includes the first week of the April school holidays. 

Student Testimonials

My exchange to Downe House in England was one of the most incredible and valuable experiences of my life - everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming and my host family did so much to immerse me in the British way of life, from taking the London Underground to having high tea up the Shard. School life was very different to what I was used to in New Zealand as Downe is a full boarding school in a small village with classes finishing at 6pm and school on Saturdays. This was a bit to adjust to however it was part of what made the exchange so great as I was able to meet and spend time with so many different people from all over the world who I am still in touch with now as well as taking new subjects I had never considered before. I also had the opportunity to go on school trips to places such as Oxford, London and Winchester where I made some unforgettable memories with some amazing people and had a lot of fun, especially as I was there in the lead-up to Christmas. Overall my exchange was an amazing opportunity and I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of applying! It all went way too quickly but in the time I was there I had so many fun and eye-opening experiences, made lifelong friends and later had a great time showing my host sister around New Zealand. 

Grace Lockwood (2018)

Our five week exchange at Downe House School, located in Cold Ash, Berkshire England will be an experience we will never forget. From indulging in the massive school buffet and hot pain au chocolat for breakfast most mornings, to sightseeing in London on open top buses, tours of parliament and going to Oxford and Winchester to see Christmas lights. And our favourite adventures with our host family, who welcomed us so kindly and now will always be our British family who will always welcome us back anytime. We fell in love with England's scenery and different way of life, in a heartbeat. We were embraced into the full Downe House experience of full boarding and sport straight away, From learning lacrosse from the very best, to a massive two week secret Santa. Downe was very different to Dio, with having Saturday school and drinking lots of tea 24/7. We both were immersed in the high standard of the Downe curriculum, for example having to do the compulsory all three sciences. Our Exchange buddies Susie and Cordie were more than what we could have ever imagined and will always be our longtime friends. They welcomed us to Downe and English life with open arms teaching us the British slang and so much more. We were sadly unable to host Susie and Cordie to share the Dio/New Zealand experience due to covid but have big plans for the future, to one day reunite again and be able to show the girls Dio/New Zealand. We gained so much from this exchange; long life friends and memories we will never forget including new traditions and ways of life. We would without hesitation go on this experience again and would like to thank Mrs Foot and all the Downe House School staff who welcomed and helped us while we were on our exchange. 

Charlotte Cowan and Juliette Lim-Strutt (2019)

School Exchanges Coordinator

For all enquiries regarding school exchanges, please contact the School Exchanges Coordinator.

Claire Foot

+64 07 855 2038 extn 2718