All admissions for years 7 to 11 at The Downs School are managed by West Berkshire Council and information and details of the application process are available on their website.

Click below for the link to the West Berkshire admissions website. From September 2018 the PAN (the number of students admitted to year 7) is 210.

Admission Arrangements Documents

The Admission Arrangements include an explanation of our over-subscription criteria and the West Berkshire Council appeals process.

Admissions Arrangements for 2021/22

Admissions Arrangements for 2022/23

Consultation on 2023-24 Admissions Arrangements

The Downs School is currently consulting on its admissions arrangements for the academic year 2023-24.  The consultation will run from Friday, 26 November 2021 to Friday, 7 January 2022.  The consultation involves the following changes:

  • An addition to our looked after children criterion to include children who were previously in state care outside of England.  This change has been introduced as it is a requirement of the 2021 School Admissions Code of Practice. 
  • Clarification of how catchment siblings are allocated places.
  • A change to our non-catchment sibling criteria to include Sixth Form students as siblings.

The consultation document is below.  The proposed changes are in purple.   Any responses to the proposed changes should be made to Mrs Tracy Silverthorne, PA to Deputy Head/Admissions Administrator, either in writing to her at The Downs School or by e-mailing her via  The closing date for the receipt of all responses is Friday, 7 January 2022.

Consultation Document

Catchment Area

A change was made to our catchment area in September 2019 with the addition of Catchment Area 2. The Downs School catchment area is unique to The Downs School and, although in general the school catchment areas in West Berkshire border each other, this is not a rule that must be followed. Catchment Area 2 (labelled as Zone 2 on the 2019/20 catchment map) overlaps parts of the existing Kennet School and Trinity school catchment areas and children who live in these areas live in two secondary school catchment areas.

Catchment Area from Sept 2019

Types of Application

First Point Entry: Moving from Primary School (Year 6) to Secondary School (Year 7)

All first point applications must be made to the Admissions Department of the county or borough in which a child lives.  The Admissions Department concerned will send the child's details to West Berkshire's Admissions Team after the national closing date for secondary school applications.  Details of West Berkshire's secondary school application process can be found in the secondary school admissions pages of their website via the following link:

Residents of other local authorities will need to check the secondary school admissions information for their own authority.  The majority of applications The Downs School receives from people outside of West Berkshire are from Oxfordshire.  Details of their secondary school application process can be found via the following link:

Year 7 applications | Oxfordshire County Council

In-Year Transfers Years 7 to 11

Once a child has started secondary school, parents and carers can make an application for The Downs School at any time.  This is known as an in-year transfer application.  The Downs School is part of West Berkshire's Admissions' In-Year Co-ordination Scheme.  This means that all in-year transfer applications for Years 7 to 11 should be made directly to West Berkshire's Admissions Department, regardless of where a child lives.  Details on this process, including the application form itself can be found on the in-year places page in the school admissions section of West Berkshire's website via the following link:

In-Year Transfers between West Berkshire Schools

Where an application is received for a child to move between West Berkshire schools, the 2021 Admissions Code requires the Local Authority to notify both schools concerned and both schools to notify each other if there are any concerns if the child were to move.  Both schools would then be expected to meet with the parents/carers to discuss the school move.  

The Right to Appeal

Parents and carers have the right to appeal an admissions decision.  The Downs School uses West Berkshire's Appeals Service to hear its appeals.  Details about the appeals' process can be found on West Berkshire Council's website via the following link: 

Sixth Form Admissions

Students wishing to join the sixth form should apply directly to the school, not to West Berkshire Council.  Please find more information by clicking the link below.

Join the Sixth Form

Travel to school

Information about school transport can be found by clicking the link below.

School Transport & Bus Routes

Visit our School

Click for information about open evenings and mornings and tours of the school.

Open Evenings

Tours of the School


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