Hurstpierpoint College - where pupils strive to be their very best

CHALLENGING pupils to “achieve their personal bests” whilst preparing them for life beyond education is the aim of Hurst College.

“At Hurst it is not all about the trophies – it is about preparing pupils for their future,” explained Headmaster Tim Manly. “Developing confidence, success in working with others and community problem solving – all these things will help them to become successful and happy adults.

“Hurst pupils have a real sense of ‘I’m up for it’, make the most of what they have and what is around them, and encourage and support others to do the same.”

Hurst marries the traditional with the innovative. It is forward looking and progressive. “We understand it is about a balance between home, school and family,” said Mr Manly. “Our children are not the stereotypical public school product – they have a great sense of self and their place in the world, and we have pupils who will enter all walks of life.”

More than 1,000 pupils aged 4-18 attend Hurst. Some start in Pre-Prep or Prep, but many join the senior school, which is home to more than 780 pupils, from elsewhere for GCSEs and A levels. Founded in 1859, Hurst was originally a boys’ school but 20 years ago girls were welcomed and now make up 47 per cent of the pupils. Flexi and weekly boarding is offered until Sixth Form when pupils can board full time.

Set in the heart of rural Sussex, Hurstpierpoint College is truly stunning, adding to the wonderful feel you get as you walk the corridors. The school’s breathtaking chapel is a focal point and used for services at the beginning and end of every week. Beautiful flint buildings surround the central quad which forms the heart of the campus.

Eleven school houses provide day and boarding pupils with space to study, socialise and relax while the house system brings different year groups together, forming supportive friendships and a wonderful inter-house rivalry. All pupils in the Upper Sixth, boys and girls, are accommodated in a superb hall of residence style building.

New extensions have created modern teaching spaces for the wide variety of subjects available at GCSE and A-Level, whilst the art rooms and photography studio showcase the stunning array of work created by the pupils.

Mr Manly explained: “There is a wonderful feel here at Hurst and that is down to the fact it is about the children and not the school. It is also about making sure we continue to improve. We have doubled in size in the last ten years and we are taking that momentum to ensure we keep growing and developing.

“We believe very much in a broad and fully engaging curriculum with genuine access to sport, music and drama for all. It’s often through these areas and being part of the great community vibe that is Hurst that pupils grow and develop in positive ways.”

A dynamic, energetic learning environment encourages pupils to push themselves. The Challenge Grade system reinforces this – following bench mark tests pupils are challenged to achieve grades beyond those which they are predicted. Every four weeks they are measured against that grade and given extensive personal comments to help them achieve more.

One Upper Sixth pupil said students are always encouraged to take their love of a subject further and develop their independent study skills, in preparation for university. “Hurst also made me step out of my comfort zone and try things I would not normally do. I knew no one would judge me for not being very good and I found things I loved doing, like street dance, even if I wasn’t the best.”

Drama is a big feature at Hurst and brings pupils together from across the school. Twenty-plus productions a year are staged in the school’s own 250 seat theatre, stunning outside areas such as the Inner Quad as well as the more intimate drama or dance studios. One Lower Sixth pupil explained: “It is fun to be involved as you get to meet lots of different people from around the school that you would not normally know.”

Whilst Hurst may have the oldest Shakespeare Society in existence, productions are always innovative. “The way we stage Shakespeare in inspiring, combining the latest technology with the historic plays. It is so exciting to be involved in,” explained a passionate Upper Sixth student who has been able to combine his love of theatre with his academic passion for Biology.

Sport is available to all. Hurst operates an all inclusive “no-one on the bench” policy – whatever your ability you will be included in a team and get the opportunity to compete. Facilities are first class – there are two astro pitches, a large multi-sports hall with gym and an indoor swimming pool. The surrounding  140 acres of stunning Sussex countryside include the school’s own farm and playing fields used for seasonal sports such as rugby, cricket and athletics.

Music is strong – 160 pupils are members of the choir, every pupil has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and the Music School plays host to a number of concerts each term from the wide variety of bands, ensembles and choirs. One Upper Sixth pupil said: “You are encouraged to start up new groups so we formed our own baroque ensemble. There are always opportunities to take the initiative.”

The challenging, yet supportive, environment clearly works – exam results are excellent (with 11 pupils currently under offer for Oxbridge, five for Medicine/Veterinary Science and the vast majority for Russell Group universities), but more importantly the pupils are delightful, confident individuals, ready to make their mark on the world.

Note from the Head

“… now the first choice for many parents who would traditionally have sent their children further afield.” “… each child is tracked and challenged to reach their full potential in all areas of their lives, … they are encouraged to push themselves beyond their comfort zone.”

Extracts from The Good Schools Guide’s current report on Hurst

Hurst constantly strives to be outstanding. Not just in everything we do but also in the manner in which we do it. The school is driven by a determination to enable each child to achieve, and then continue to build upon, their personal bests throughout their school career in all aspects of school life.

Hurst provides teaching, mentoring and coaching of the highest order, a phenomenal range of facilities (that continue to improve year-on-year) and access to opportunities of every sort within its welcoming, warm and dynamic community. We make no secret of the fact that at Hurst we encourage, indeed expect, our pupils to fully engage whilst they are with us.

Genuine, sustained engagement opens the door to new worlds of opportunity. A real love of learning develops. Nurtured in a community stimulated by intelligent conversation and intellectual challenge, information grows into knowledge and matures into understanding, wisdom and self-knowledge.

When we reflect upon the life of the College, we don’t just focus upon on the great headline triumphs but on the degree to which our children, all our children, are truly engaged with Hurst life. I know that enabling our children to pursue and achieve their personal bests is how they develop into successful, independent and confident individuals which is the only outcome that does justice to both their abilities and talents and the faith placed in us by their parents.

Tim Manly


"My time at Hurst has been characterised by the sunny days of summer, those moments of success you’ll never forget, and the friendships that’ll last long after our school days are over. I have so many fantastic memories here. I’m proud to call myself a Hurst pupil, because this school has taught me so much about life."
2012 Upper Sixth leaver, currently studying Philosophy at Oxford University

"We remain thrilled with how well our daughter is thriving at Hurst.  She has been given so many opportunities to both learn and develop her extra-curricular interests.  The College helps pupils blossom into self-assured, competent and caring individuals."
Current parent of a girl in Year 10

"Hurstpierpoint has a holistic attitude to learning.  Consequently, the students are beautifully well-rounded.  The pastoral care system is superb and has been a fantastic support for my son."
Current parent of a boy in the Upper Sixth

School news

12th Oct 2016
England and Harlequins full-back Mike Brown, visited Hurst College to train and share his knowledge and experiences with pupils on Thursday 29th September. Mike spent the afternoon with each of the school’s Rugby squads, from Prep school through to the 1st XV team. Many of the teams had the ... more
5th Oct 2016
Hurst sports teams have started the season well with more success this week. Hurst's girls' Cricket team are County Champions, the girls' Hockey team were runners-up in the Sussex round of the National Cup and the U15A Rugby team began the first round of the Natwest Cup with a major ... more
26th Aug 2016
Hurst College is once again celebrating its best ever A-level results and the highest A*-B percentage for the fifth year in succession. Tim Manly, Headmaster commented, “The Upper Sixth were a great group of pupils and a real pleasure to have at the College. They contributed hugely in every ... more
26th Aug 2016
Hurst College is celebrating another year of best ever GCSE results and the highest ever number of A* grades. Hurst’s Fifth Form pupils exceeded the results of all previous year groups to also achieve the highest ever A*-A percentage and A*-B percentage, with 90 of the cohort gaining 7 or ... more
19th May 2016
Girls in all age groups at Hurst College are enjoying successful starts to the cricket season. With more girls than ever trying cricket, interest in the sport has increased rapidly. Hurst often fields two teams for each age group and are taking on top quality opposition each week. Head ... more

Coming events

Pre Prep, Prep School, Senior School and Sixth Form Open Morning
Saturday, 11th March 2017
Location: Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex BN6 9JS
Pre Prep, Prep School, Senior School and Sixth Form Open Morning
Saturday, 13th May 2017
Location: Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex BN6 9JS

School details

Address: Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex BN6 9JS
Phone: 01273 833636
Head: Tim Manly
Founded: 1848
Pupils: Pre-Prep: 54, Prep: 291, Senior: 433, Sixth Form: 306
Ages: 4 - 18
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus