Moira House Girls School is quite unique. It is a girls only school going through to 18 years on one site. Moira House has been teaching girls for almost 140 years – and it is immediately evident to visitors. Girls definitely flourish at the school and leave as happy, confident and articulate young women, well prepared for their future journeys.
When asked what is the school’s greatest achievement Principal James Sheridan responded by saying: “We are heading towards it as we approach the landmark of educating girls in Eastbourne for 140 years. Moira House girls continue to be outstanding in their sporting and artistic achievements. We understand girls and how they learn. Our youngest girls dare to dream of the achievement of our Sixth Formers. Our exam results, sporting achievements and school productions are evidence of this.”
The school was founded in 1875 by Sir Charles Ingham and moved to its current location soon after. It began with 30 girls taught in three main buildings, and these Victorian classrooms remain at the heart of school life, though modern facilities have sprung up around. Original rooms are ideal for language lessons, with Mandarin a popular recent addition. The multi-sports hall was opened seven years ago and Moira House girls achieve great things, competing in a wide range of sports locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally. Tennis-loving pupils are ballgirls each year at Eastbourne’s famous pre-Wimbledon grass tournament.
“Our youngest girls dare to dream of the achievement of our Sixth Formers. Our exam results, sporting achievements and school productions are evidence of this.” James Sheridan
Swimming is popular from an early age, with the indoor pool used during lessons, for swimming galas and also by the Boarding community. Activities that can’t be accommodated on its own array of fields and pitches are enjoyed at nearby facilities, including golf, dry skiing, riding, sailing and scuba diving. Mini MoHo Nursery provides on-site care for boys and girls up to the age of four. Girls continuing at Moira House move gently into warm and colourful reception classrooms, easing their way into junior school life. Others welcomed throughout the junior and senior schools, swelling numbers as they approach the critical exam years. Classes remain small, around 15 pupils in the most popular subjects.
Girls speak with great passion about their school, the opportunities for new and rewarding experiences, the food and family-feel of the place. The Boarding facilities are expanding and cater for flexi, weekly and full boarders from age 10 upwards. Boarders share comfortable bedrooms between two or three, with individual rooms for upper sixth form students. Quiet study rooms are also available for day and boarding students, along with comfy common rooms and the library which girls can use any time – operated on a trust basis.
Summer camp is available for boys and girls who come, mainly from Europe, to improve their English and experience cultural trips.
They are not the only ones to enjoy a packed calendar of activities. Dazzling selection of destinations to choose from; music tours in New York, a conservation safari in Africa and the Nasa space camp in Alabama. These inspiring adventures help pupils unlock their passions – one former pupil discovered amazing talents at the Nasa space camp and went on to study aviation engineering and pilot studies at Brunel University, eventually training as a fighter pilot.
Encouraging girls to excel in subjects generally dominated by boys is one clear benefit of a girls school. Moira House offers general science for Years 7 and 8, then they have a choice to split it into the three subjects, physics, biology and chemistry, and to take some or all of those for GCSE. Even giving them that choice, 80% still choose to take all three.
As well as academic studies, music, drama and sports are among the areas in which pupils excel. State of the art recording studio allows young musicians to compose and mix their own tracks. This is among the many facilities the school is happy to share – local primary schools are invited in for the popular Sing Live event. They also join Moiraville, when the hall is transformed into a French village for the day. These fun collaborations illustrate the school’s place in the wider community.
Performance has a strong focus, with a multitude of drama and musical productions staged both inside the school and Eastbourne’s theatres. It was through one such production that pupil Isabelle Allen, then in Year 5, was talent-spotted. As a result, she landed a starring role in the movie of Les Miserables, alongside a host of Hollywood stars.
Such successes must give Moira House girls the confidence to know that with their school family behind them, they can all go far.