Coeducation

We are delighted to announce that, beginning in September 2024, Donhead will transition to a co-educational setting with a Pre School, welcoming girls and boys from the age of three into our Catholic school community.

We firmly believe that co-education is the future for Donhead and brings many advantages that will benefit all our pupils. It fosters a supportive environment where students of all genders can learn from one another, promoting academic excellence, social development, and equal opportunities.

Over the next few months, work will progress to ensure excellent facilities for all from September 2024. The curriculum will continue to reflect the thorough preparation required for Senior School entry at Year 6 for all pupils, with expert knowledge on hand. We remain committed to our innovative development plans linked to Science provision and work has already started on the expansion of our outdoor learning facility on site.

In this, our 90th Birthday year, when celebrations are focused on ‘blending tradition with innovation’, we are excited about welcoming girls into our school community and continuing to provide the outstanding education that has been the hallmark of the last 90 years.

Visit Us

For information about our next open morning please visit this page. We look forward to sharing more about our plans and providing you with an opportunity to meet staff and pupils.

Get in touch

To enquire about your child joining Donhead please contact Mrs Jodie Cosh, Admissions Assistant.

Coeducation Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Donhead transitioning to coeducation?

In our ever-changing world, we believe that coeducation offers a richer and more balanced educational experience, preparing our children for life ahead. It fosters a supportive environment where pupils of all genders can learn from one another, promoting academic excellence, social development, and equal opportunities. As a forward-looking school, we place the needs of the pupils at the heart of all our decisions, as the school continues to evolve and adapt. The introduction of co-education is a natural development for the school that we feel will bring positive benefits to the Donhead community.

When will the coeducation transition take place?

The transition to coeducation and the admission of girls will begin in September 2024.

Will this change Donhead’s core values and traditions?

No. The virtues of the Jesuit Pupil Profile form our core values. We are committed to maintaining the ambitious standards of academic excellence, character development, and community spirit that have defined Donhead for 90 years.

How will this affect my son's education?

Research shows that coeducation can enhance learning by providing diverse perspectives and fostering healthy competition. This change will offer your son the opportunity to develop essential skills, preparing him for success in a globalised world. The curriculum will remain broad with an enhanced co-curricular offering.

Is Donhead in financial trouble?

No, the school is not in financial trouble. As with all good independent schools we constantly review our financial position to remain commercially viable. The prep school sector is currently experiencing several external influences that we cannot ignore. By making these decisions now, we can adapt our teaching and future-proof the excellent education we provide.

Is Donhead expanding?

Whilst our numbers on site will increase due to the Pre School, our commitment to class sizes will remain unchanged. Donhead pupils benefit from staff nurturing and supporting each child as an individual.

Will there be a Pre-School on the Donhead site?

We are delighted to be welcoming our first nursery age children onto the Donhead site in September 2024. The current Pre-school at the Ursuline Pre School will be re housed here and all children will be able to enjoy a fantastic Early Years experience at the same time as benefiting from the excellent school provision including specialist teachers and whole school initiatives such as our Poetry Recital and Sporting competitions.

Will single-sex classes still be available?

While most classes will be coeducational, some subjects or activities may be taught in single-sex settings when appropriate.

How will the admissions process change?

Sister siblings from existing families at Donhead together with current girls from the Ursuline Prep School will be given priority in admissions for September 2024 entry. All pupils will follow the same admissions process for entry from September 2025.

What support will be provided during this transition?

We are committed to a smooth transition. Our staff will provide support for pupils and families, addressing concerns and ensuring a seamless integration process for all.

What impact will there be on extracurricular activities?

With the inclusion of girls, we will expand our co-curricular offerings to cater to a wider range of interests and talents.

Will the school uniform change?

The current Donhead school uniform will not change. We will be working with uniform suppliers to create additional uniform items to suit a coeducational environment.

How can parents get involved in the transition process?

We encourage parents to attend meetings, provide feedback, and engage with us as we navigate this transition together. Your input is invaluable to us.

Will there be any changes to school facilities or policies?

We will make necessary adjustments to admissions policies and accommodation while maintaining a safe and inclusive atmosphere for all pupils. Our excellent Early Years facilities are already in place, and the site will be developed to accommodate co-education and our Pre School in due course. We will continue to keep you updated on any planned changes. Our commitment to innovative curriculum development plans and our expansion of Outdoor Learning on-site remains unchanged.

How can I address specific concerns or seek more information?

We will be hosting a series of events for Donhead parents to meet with Ms Hitchcock where we will be able to share our plans and respond to any questions. We understand that this transition may raise questions, and we are here to provide information and support to ensure a positive experience for all.