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High School Pathways
The International Study Centre

The International Study Centre (ISC) provides international students from age 11 with the perfect preparation for full boarding school life. It provides the ideal bridge between school in the home country and boarding school in the UK.

Students at the International Study Centre belong to a dedicated facility for both learning and boarding, based within the Downside School grounds. It is run by Kings staff who have expertise in the linguistic, academic, cultural, pastoral, and social needs of young international students. At the same time, a carefully managed range of shared activities (including Music and Sport) ensures students at the Kings ISC feel part of the main School from the very beginning.

The ISC: Your entry point

  • Dedicated classrooms all with interactive white boards
  • Dedicated boarding (separate dorms for boys and girls)
  • Specialist teaching and pastoral support with live in boarding staff
  • Entry from age 11

A carefully managed transition to UK boarding school life

The process of fully integrating a young international student into any large boarding School needs careful management. Often, younger students can feel overwhelmed by the scale, traditions and demands of an elite UK Boarding School.

That is why Kings and Downside School work very closely together to ensure the transition to main School is both smooth and enjoyable. That way, a student will be fully prepared and ready to excel at the main School.

Students at the International Study Centre will

  • have access to selected facilities including art, PE and Music
  • participate in Sunday Mass and regular meetings with pastoral staff
  • have full board meals, mostly taken in the main School
  • have access to main School Medical Centre
  • have access to some shared activities with main School students
  • share some excursions with main School
  • wear a specially adapted Downside uniform
  • follow Downside School rules and merit system
  • join the main School choir every Friday

The specialist Kings student care team

The academic and pastoral team at the International Study Centre and Central Support fulfil a broad range of functions to ensure every student develops and grows — academically, personally and socially.

Centre Director

The Centre Director is responsible for the whole International Study Centre operation including academic, pastoral and accommodation matters.

Form tutor

The form tutor will be the regular point of contact with the student. He or she has main direct responsibility for overseeing the student’s overall academic and pastoral development.

Subject teachers

Subject teachers provide specialist tuition in English language, study skills development and the full range of academic subjects available within the International Study Centre.

House parents

House parents are responsible for the academic and pastoral well-being of each student. They work with the Centre Director and teachers to ensure students are making appropriate learning progress. In addition, they are responsible for each student's emotional well-being, dealing with any personal concerns a student might have, and acting as the main point of contact with external guardians.

A flexible academic programme

The Boarding School Preparation Programme delivered at the International Study Centre is designed to be flexible according to age and specific academic and linguistic level of each student. It is usually studied for up to one Academic Year before transitioning into the main School. The programme combines both English language development with academic subject teaching, with the emphasis placed on each determined by the age as well as linguistic and academic level of each student.

Students simply wanting a shorter UK boarding school experience before returning home are also able follow the programme for just one or two terms.

Flexible progression options

Successful completion of the Boarding School Preparation Programme provides a clear and direct path to acceptance at the main School, subject to meeting Downside's criteria for progression.

For maximum flexibility and choice, other progression opportunities are also available. As such, Kings staff can help with transfers to other elite UK boarding schools, or to one of Kings' own international colleges in the UK.