The Downs Preparatory School Logo
Cricket girls

The Downs provides every child with a magical place to be themselves, nurturing their individuality and own potential.

Mr & Mrs Essex


Children need to run and jump and play. Actually adults need to do these things too. Passing on a life-long love for sport is something we are passionate about.

A sporting philosophy

Through the activities we offer, we aim to instil in all pupils the understanding that being a sportsman or woman involves so much more than just ability. We value character above competence and encourage children to play as part of a team and respect team-mates, opponents and officials equally.

Cricket 2

Skills for life

Strong body, strong mind

We appreciate that sport is full of challenges and rewards. The combination of physical movement, competition and teamwork which most sports require, is very unique. As children strengthen both body and mind they build resilience and life skills which set them up well for future challenges.

Sports hall

Full spectrum of sports

Children’s timetables include three sessions a week, focussing on rugby, hockey, netball and cricket (depending on the term). A huge array of additional sports (such as swimming, basketball and water polo) are covered in physical education (PE) lessons as well as our comprehensive and exciting after-school sports programme.

Attitude is everything

We consistently celebrate victories in both regional and national tournaments. While we play to win, we also judge success on how our children respond to the game, whether they’ve won or lost. Because a desire to keep playing, to create strong foundations on which to build talent, is a lot more powerful than a single win.

Cricket nets
Prep school hockey practie

Success stories

We participate in IAPS, county regional and national events in all major sports. Recent triumphs include:

  • U11 boys hockey IAPS regional and county champions 2023
  • U13 boys hockey IAPS regional champions 2022
  • Prep school national athletics and swimming finalists
  • County representative honours at hockey and cricket
  • Bristol Bears Rugby Academy in partnership with Bristol Bears who regularly support us with coaching sessions and motivational talks
  • Sports scholarships to leading independent schools such as Millfield, Malvern, Clifton College, King’s Taunton and Cheltenham College

Everybody’s welcome

We want everyone to represent our school in competitive games and our approach is above all, incredibly inclusive. Again this comes down to the attitude our children bring onto the pitch. We champion empathy and teach that a supportive team-mate can bring as much to a team as a talented goal scorer.

Prep school netball
Forest School

Something for everyone

The Downs Award Scheme (DAS)

For some, the physical and emotional challenges of certain sports are too much. Our DAS pupils enjoy activities like rock-climbing, caving, hiking and camp craft, which build leadership skills, resilience and team spirit. Through this scheme, many children gain the confidence they need to participate in and enjoy main team sports both at the Downs School and beyond.

(While places on DAS are limited, families can apply to the scheme via Deputy Head Pastoral from Year 5 and beyond.)