Eastbourne College - much more than academic grades

“Our deeds still travel with us from afar, And what we have been makes us what we are” are the words of George Eliot that adorn a sculpture that sits at the heart of Eastbourne College.

With the sea on one side and South Downs National Park on the other, it enjoys a stunning location.

Pupils are engaging and welcoming, relaxed in their surroundings, keen to learn and develop. Every individual is prized.

“Eastbourne makes you try different things and helps you grow as a person,” one charming sixth former explained. “You discover a love for areas you may never have contemplated before.”

Another praised the school’s sense of community: “It is like a family here and there is always support and encouragement.”

Eastbourne believes education is much more than academic grades – “it is about understanding yourself, understanding other people and developing into someone who will negotiate life successfully” explained Headmaster Tom Lawson.

Pupils leave as well rounded individuals who are innovative, open minded, hard workers who hold well thought out and carefully defended views. They make teams work and are prepared for life beyond school. They have learned the value of doing everything to the best of their ability and taking responsibility.

Over 300 boarders and more than 300 day pupils, aged 13-18, enjoy the widest possible range of opportunities. School is bustling with activity late into the evenings and at weekends, ensuring there is plenty of time for girls and boys to involve themselves in a very wide range of endeavour – as well as build friendships. Buses for day pupils run at 6pm and again at 8pm, allowing them to decide each day when to return home.

Professional sportsmen and Olympians lead and coach across a wide range of sports including athletics, cricket, fives, hockey, netball, rugby, sailing and tennis.

The creative arts at Eastbourne are also very impressive. Drama department has a strong tradition of producing high quality theatre, spawning the likes of Eddie Izzard and Downton Abbey actor Ed Speleers. In this bustling hive of activity, headed by a former professional actor, pupils put on a variety of performances annually. Take a look at the school’s brilliant Perfatect channel on YouTube.

State-of-the-art Birley Centre provides a perfect home for music, dance and much more. A facility that many towns would envy, it boasts a 180 seat auditorium, gallery space and incredible recording studio alongside classrooms. Visiting artists show their work in this inspiring setting and help pupils extend their skills and cultural horizons.

Collaboration across the creative arts with individuals far beyond the College includes partnerships with Ballet Rambert, Glyndebourne, professional actors and directors, musicians, artists and craftsmen.

Art department shows off the diverse talents of the creative pupils – huge canvasses rest alongside pottery and fine art while in textiles the creations are showcased in a fashion show. DT is bursting with ideas and projects. There is a strong record of pupils winning Arkwright scholarships and other national design/art awards.

While pupils are hard at work everywhere they are always willing to stop and explain what they are doing with enthusiasm and passion. Staff are warm and engaging, bringing out the very best in every pupil.

Five boarding houses nestled into nearby residential streets provide welcoming homely environments with common rooms and kitchenette areas drawing pupils together. Here they are relaxed, happy and chatty.

Day pupils are just as important and also have their own houses – a place to work, store books and equipment, meet friends, chat and be part of school life.

All pupils eat a delicious home-cooked supper together in the dining hall and complete prep in their houses before day pupils go home, creating a real sense of community and belonging whether they sleep on site or not.

Eastbourne College is a warm, friendly, welcoming place where pupils are known by the staff who take care of them. “Because we know them we manage to balance the challenge we give them with the support they need to enable them to grow to be people who will go on to live happy and fulfilled, positive and productive lives,” explained Mr Davies.

Founded in 1867 as a school for boys, Eastbourne celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017. To mark the occasion it’s undergoing an exciting redevelopment of 1.4 acres at the heart of the school. Featuring a new sports hall, swimming pool, classrooms, dining hall and cafe, it will take the school into the future, confident it is providing the very best for its pupils.

Note from the Head

Eastbourne College offers a full education that is so much more than the excellent academic results its boys and girls achieve year after year. All pupils are given every opportunity to achieve across the board: academically, in the creative arts, on the sports field, as individuals and in teams. They thrive in a welcoming and purposeful environment and develop into confident, able and responsible individuals who make life-long friends while at the College.

It employs first class teachers who understand that their role extends far beyond excellence in the classroom and preparation for examinations. They are fully committed to the College’s unique approach to education, which provides individual work spaces for day pupils and boarders alike, ensures that day houses are supervised until 8pm every weekday evening and encourages pupils to throw themselves into a full programme of activities every day of the College’s six-day working week.

The College is academically mildly selective, requiring a Common Entrance minimum mark of 50%. It offers scholarships at Year 9 and Year 12. Academically, pupils achieve outstanding results, outperforming much more selective schools: the 4 year rolling average A*-B at A level is 83% and the same measure of A*/A at GCSE is 63%.

The College is embarked on a major building programme. In addition to a state-of-the art performing arts centre and some of the best science and design technology facilities in the country, imminent projects include a new sports centre, academic teaching block and dining facilities.

Many boys and girls achieve excellence in sport at regional and national level, whilst others excel in the fields of music, drama, art and dance. The College hosts a wide variety of workshops and master classes run by professional performance companies including Glyndebourne Youth and Ballet Rambert.

Pastoral support at the College is renowned. Pupils and their families are valued in this educational community where strong relationships are nurtured and highly prized.

Simon Davies


"I really enjoy studying at Eastbourne College because of the positive and enthusiastic approach everyone adopts. Also, given the size of the school, it is like being part of a large happy family because we know our fellow pupils, teachers and tutors so well. I enjoy travelling and I am fortunate that there are lots of opportunities for trips here – from a Spanish exchange visit to experiencing rural life in South Africa. Eastbourne College is so much more than a school!"
Tessa Mills (UK pupil)

"Eastbourne College really is a fantastic school. Everyone contributes to the welcoming, friendly atmosphere and this is what makes the College what it is - a home away from home. There are sporting opportunities for everyone and I really enjoy taking part in matches on Saturday afternoons. There are always lots of spectators cheering on the College teams and it feels great to be part of such a supportive community."
Sarah Hill-Smith (Overseas boarding pupil)

Coming events

Sixth Form Information Evening
Thursday, 15th September 2016
Time: 6pm - 8pm
Location: Birley Centre, Eastbourne College
Open Morning
Saturday, 8th October 2016
Time: 9am - 12pm
Location: Birley Centre, Eastbourne College
Open Morning
Saturday, 4th March 2017
Time: 9am - 12pm
Location: Birley Centre, Eastbourne College
Open Evening
Thursday, 22nd June 2017
Time: 5pm - 7.30pm
Location: Birley Centre, Eastbourne College

School details

Address: Old Wish Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4JY
Phone: +44 (0) 1323 452323
Head: Tom Lawson MA
Founded: 1867
Pupils: ​627; Boarding: 292; Day: 335
Ages: 13-18
Website: http://​www.eastbourne-college.co.uk
Email: admissions@eastbourne-college.co.uk
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus