Bede's - Energy, movement and dynamism

Excellence for everyone and specialism without compromise are strong messages at Bede’s. This ambitious, inclusive independent school strives for holistic achievement and also offers outstanding facilities.

Set in 175 acres of stunning Weald countryside, Bede’s houses 800 students split between 10 houses where pastoral care is second to none. 300 students board including 120 from overseas.

Headmaster Peter Goodyer says school life is about ensuring all pupils have an equally fulfilling experience. “Those children who excel and want to specialise in cricket, tennis or dance have the coaching they need to reach the top. But plenty of pupils not in that elite still have the same opportunities and experiences. Everyone will excel at something: we’re not a sausage factory merely grinding out good results. Staff know every pupil and know them well, so they can find the best approach for each of them.”

This holistic philosophy is popular with parents, and now academic results are soaring. A-level results have improved by 15% in three years with nearly three-quarters graded at A*-B, outperforming many overtly selective independent schools.

Great care is taken to help pupils choose the right path. Principal Deputy Head Jerry Lewis says, “We find out what makes pupils tick and make sure they all achieve their potential. This is a school full of energy, movement and dynamism.”

The older Bede’s Prep School is based in nearby Eastbourne while the Senior School has evolved around the original manor house at Upper Dicker, moving from open fires and wood panelling to contemporary interiors. The campus architecturally mirrors the surrounding village. Fields reach the horizon, providing sports pitches alongside tennis courts and a golf course. A new Multi-Purpose Games Area and water-basedastro as well as cricket pavilion will soon be launchedHuge Sports Complex boasts squash courts, gym and swimming pool, well used by all pupils and open to local residents and alumni. Modern Science Block contains numerous labs, lecture theatre and observatory for night-time lessons. The Art School is recognised as one of the best in the country and the media and film departments are very well equipped.

Bede’s Drama department and Legat School of Dance, the oldest residential dance school in the country, offer excellent training. “We experience every type of dance you can think of, and it’s a very demanding programme,” one dancer said. “We can sing and be involved in music as well, and study academic as well as creative subjects. It’s tough and you have to be very committed, but it’s great.”

The bonus of Bede’s is such gifts are polished without compromising on academic education; over 70 courses are on offer, including Cambridge Pre-U, traditional A Levels and GCSES and BTECS, allowing all students to find a love for academia regardless of perceived ability.

Action-packed days

Fun and challenging activities are built into the daily timetable, with 130 to choose from. “You can do pretty much anything you can think of,” a Sixth Former said. “Diving, windsurfing, sewing, first aid, cooking, sailing. A friend of mine discovered she was really good at shooting. She found a talent she didn’t know she had.”

Bede’s one-of-a-kind Animal Management Centre houses weird and wonderful creatures; snakes, birds, guinea pigs, aquaria and even a skunk. Students learn how to handle, feed, look after them and can gain a BTEC qualification in addition to breeding endangered species after school.

Drama productions are big business with 11-12 each year, from small studio pieces to an all-school show. “The drama space is really incredible,” said one student who’s been so inspired he’s heading on to drama college. “We really use it to its full potential and that’s down to our amazing teachers. They are the beating heart of the drama department.”

The newest boarding houses are light with vibrant decor and spacious open-plan communal areas, recognised by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors as having outstanding design and innovation. Other dormitories resemble family homes. “I’ve boarded here for five years,” said one student. “I live an hour away so I could go home, but I much prefer to stay here where I have my friends and all the facilities at my fingertips.”

“We’re a values-based school, but the ideas and energy for our community projects have come from pupils, and it’s wonderful to see.”

Peter Goodyer

Charity and community projects have flourished in recent years with students working with local care homes and primary schools. Headmaster Peter Goodyer said: “We’re a values-based school, but the ideas and energy for our community projects have come from pupils, and it’s wonderful to see.”

Students give their teachers glowing reports. “They’re always happy to give you extra help at break, lunch or after school,” one student said. “If I need to do extra work I can get the late bus home at 7pm. I know my grades will be good because I’ve had that support. Every subject and department is taken seriously, there’s no feeling that it’s better to be good at one thing than another.”

If all that isn’t enough to impress discerning parents, the school has another highlight, summed up by one amazed visitor who exclaimed, “This is the cleanest school I’ve ever seen!”  Top marks for Bede’s.

Note from the Head

Bede’s inspires young people to achieve in every facet of their educational experience. We place the individual and their passions at the heart of what we do.

Our pupils are encouraged to go beyond their academic successes to develop as whole people. We engage them in pursuits that liberate their creativity and talents, revealing their pathways to future success.

Bede’s philosophy of breadth and excellence in the academic curriculum as well as our range of cultural, aesthetic, intellectual and sporting activities outside the classroom serves our pupils’ uniqueness very well. Most importantly, these enriching experiences are open to everyone and not just an elite few.

Education, if it is to be truly effective, should encourage every young person to participate and ensure that, as the whole person develops, the efforts of each individual are recognised and celebrated.

We place the development of values at the heart of school life. Young people need the opportunity to experiment, embrace responsibility, lead, succeed and, because we learn more from adversity, venture beyond where they are comfortable.

Pupils, teachers and parents all have roles to play in the Bede’s community, and we encourage everyone to set their sights high.

Our aim is for each child to make an outstanding contribution in all aspects of their lives: in school, in the local community and the wider world.

We will do everything we can to make that happen.

Peter Goodyer


"I remember when I came to Bede’s from St Aubyns. I was so shy and nervous, but I had a really warm reception. It sounds really cheesy, but I don’t know how else to say it – I found myself here."
Helen Clements, student, L6.

"I’ve been at Bede’s for five years. The best thing about it is the way the school makes time for me to do the things I’m passionate about. It’s not about fitting in at Bede’s. There will be a trumpeter sat next to a maths genius, and that reflects me and who I am. I don’t fit into a niche, and I appreciate that Bede’s allows me to revel in the knowledge that my future is undefined."
Olivia Prince-Smith, student, L5.

"On my first day at Bede’s, the big question on my mind was … Who am I? When I started senior school, I had no idea of the person I wanted to become, and Bede’s has helped me discover who that person is."
Annabel Martirossian, student, U5.

School news

5th Apr 2017
Bede’s girls played superbly to win the Lady Taverner’s Indoor U13 County Championship 2017. The Bede’s Prep girls bowled accurately, batted positively, and they ran brilliantly and were sharp and determined.  The Bede’s fielding was good, the girls caught some great catches (16 in total) ... more
5th Apr 2017
Bede’s parents, pupils and teachers had the distinct pleasure of watching three original works starring, written and directed by this year’s crop of Upper Fifth GCSE Drama students. The three ‘devised’ plays were staged as part of the group’s GCSE exam process. Refugee, was produced and ... more
5th Apr 2017
Bede’s School in Upper Dicker has announced the shortlisted writers and winners of the Bede’s Writers’ Competition for 2017. Mr Matthew Oliver, Head of English at Bede’s School said ‘We briefed that students that the work could be in any form-- prose short story, poetry, play script or song ... more
30th Mar 2017
Pupils and staff at Bede’s School in Upper Dicker have been delighted by the start of a series of lunchtime recitals.   Bede’s Director of Music, Louise Morris explained: "These 15 minute recitals are a wonderful opportunity for pupils and staff alike, to relax and enjoy the talented ... more
23rd Mar 2017
Year 5 pupil Layla Keech from Bede’s Prep School recently took part in a pre-grades gymnastics competition in Kent. Layla had a great competition, skipping a grade for her age, to compete in Grade 4 and finishing with the highest score of her club for the 2nd year in a row (it was only her ... more
15th Mar 2017
On Monday 6, Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 March, Bede’s parents, pupils and teachers had the distinct pleasure of watching three original works starring, written and directed by this year’s crop of Upper Fifth GCSE Drama students. The three ‘devised’ plays were staged as part of the group’s ... more
22nd Feb 2017
Bede’s Junior Boys’ Hockey U16 squad became Sussex champions on Thursday 9 February. The team started the Sussex County Championship finals, hosted at Bede’s Senior School in Upper Dicker, with a 2-0 victory against Hurst that set the tone for the day and placed them top of the group.   The ... more
17th Feb 2017
Year 6 pupils from Bede’s Prep School have been studying the medieval period in history this year. This was an exciting time in history and includes events such as 1066 (the last time we were invaded), Magna Carta, the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses and The Peasants’ Revolt. In class, ... more
10th Feb 2017
Bede’s pupil Rosa Witts is in the process of organising a charity concert in support of UNICEF with the aim of raising funds to help children living in the war zones in Syria. The concert is set to feature a wide array of student performers from Bede’s and has been organised purely by the ... more
2nd Feb 2017
Government figures released last week revealed that, in addition to its best-ever years for GCSE and A Level results in 2016, Bede’s has maintained its position as the top independent school in East and West Sussex for Sixth Form Value Added for the third year running. With Value Added ... more
26th Jan 2017
Bede’s pupils welcomed Professor Didier Queloz from Cambridge University for a lecture on ‘Exoplanets’, at Bede’s School on Monday 16 January. Professor Queloz began the search for exoplanets as part of his PhD in 1995 by discovering the first planet outside of our solar system alongside his ... more
26th Jan 2017
Bede’s School hosted the second ‘Galactic Challenge’ on Saturday 14 January, for over 70 pupils from years 6, 7 and 8 from Bede’s Prep, Marlborough House, Rose Hill, Skippers Hill, Yardley Court, Dulwich Prep and Brambletye Schools. After a hearty breakfast and welcome from Bede’s Deputy ... more
16th Dec 2016
The first weekend in December saw Bede’s School transformed into Winter Wonderland for the School’s black tie extravaganza ‘Cabaret’. Featuring all the classic songs of Christmas, the 120 strong Cabaret company made up of young musicians, dancers and dramatists from across all the year ... more
2nd Dec 2016
Against a blood-red velvet backdrop, stained with mildew and threaded-through with shimmering spider silk, Bede’s production of Great Expectations has this week guided audiences through a shadowy world of decay, injustice and faded Victorian grandeur. For those unfamiliar, Charles Dickens’ ... more
26th Oct 2016
Pupils from Bede’s Prep School and Bede’s Senior School played a starring role in the Sussex Women’s County Cricket Awards night. From the Prep school Matilda Collins won the most improved cricketer of the year for the U11 team, and Izzie Atherton won the batting award for the U12s. Izzie ... more
20th Oct 2016
The Bede’s U13 girls worked tirelessly to win the Worth U13 hockey tournament.   It was a clear run to victory as they beat St Paul 5-0, Christ’s Hospital 3-0, Great Walstead 2-0, Burges Hill B 2-1, Brighton College 2-0, Worth 2-0 and then went on to beat Cumor House 2-0 in the ... more
12th Oct 2016
Following the recent success of former Bede’s students Ollie Rayner and Delray Rawlins who have been selected for England Lions and Young England Lions respectively, current Year 11 student Tom Gordon has just been selected for the Bunbury/ECB tour to Sri Lanka in March 2017. This will be the ... more
22nd Sep 2016
Bede’s Lower Fifth pupils have been getting to grips with cell structure and organelles this week, including by constructing cells for themselves! To help the students remember the various parts of the cell, each used various foodstuffs and props to build their cells in three ... more
22nd Sep 2016
Scintillating sun, lush rolling hills and an azure, halcyon sea; the girls of Charleston House at Bede’s enjoyed all this and more on their sponsored walk across the Beachy Head cliffs recently. Housemistress Michelle Martin explained ‘The walk was organised to kick our charity fundraising ... more
14th Sep 2016
Pupils from Bede’s school U15 and 1st IX and 2nd XI teams enjoyed a pre-season trip to Amsterdam, Holland to hone their football skills ahead of the start of term. The boys enjoyed visits to the Amsterdam Arena, the home of the mighty Ajax, and a chance to see Dutch teams AZ Alkmaar and NEC ... more
25th Aug 2016
Following its best-ever A Level results last week, and in against a national picture of decline, Bede’s Senior School in Upper Dicker has broken records yet again with over 92% of all GCSE grades at A*-C, 45% of all grades at A*-A and 20% at A*. With over 60% of pupils achieving at least 1 ... more
18th Aug 2016
Sixth Form students at Bede’s Senior School have once again broken school records with 25% of all grades at A*, 53% at A*-A and 78% at A*-B. These successes build on Bede’s ranking for two successive years in the top 1% of schools in the UK for Value Added, with 60% of all grades at A or A* ... more
28th Jul 2016
Bede's has had a remarkable school cricket season, with its Junior Teams winning County Trophies at all ages, from U12 to U15 level. Bede’s Senior School’s U14s and Bede’s Prep School’s U12s won their respective County Cup titles with convincing victories on the same day. The U14s beat ... more
7th Jul 2016
Bede’s Prep School charity walk on the final Wednesday of the year has rapidly become one of the highlights of the school calendar. This year the children had chosen to support the Motor Neurone Disease Association, following the death of the father of one of the much-loved members of staff ... more
29th Jun 2016
Bede’s U15 Cricket team won the first cup of the cricket season on Tuesday 21 June, defeating Ardingly College in the final of the Sussex Independent Schools Blackshaw Cup. Alan Wells, Bede’s Director of Cricket said ‘Tom Gordon and Alastair Orr got Bede's off to a flying start in much the ... more
23rd Jun 2016
Students of Spanish in Year 7 at Bede's joined with the Salesianos School from Santander in Spain when they met in Brighton, in order to lay the foundations for a closer collaboration during Bede's Cantabria Trip in May. An initial speaking exercise at the Chapel Royal acted as an ... more
23rd Jun 2016
Reception, Year 1 & 2 pupils from Bede’s Pre-Prep were fortunate to experience the beauty of the Bluebell Walk in Arlington.  In small groups the children explored some of the seven interesting walks . Not only were they able to see vistas of bluebells but also other flowers such ... more
2nd Jun 2016
Bede’s pupils took over the coffee shop at the Arlington Bluebell Walk last week, to raise funds for the Sussex charity the ABC Fund. By baking cakes prior to the event, then selling them alongside tea and coffee at the café, the pupils were delighted to raise over £200 for the charity, ... more
19th May 2016
Bede’s School in Upper Dicker has appointed James Kirtley as its new Bowling Consultant working as part of the Bede’s Cricket Academy. James, who was born in Eastbourne, played with great distinction for both England and Sussex County Cricket Club.  Over the course of his twenty year career, he ... more

Coming events

Open Morning
Saturday, 16th September 2017
Location: Upper Dicker, East Sussex, BN27 3QH

School details

Address: Upper Dicker, East Sussex, BN27 3QH
Phone: 01323 843252
Head: Peter Goodyer
Founded: 1979
Pupils: 771. Day: 298 boys, 179 girls; Boarding: 173 boys, 121 girls
Ages: 13-18
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus