Ringmer - An academy for a sustainable future

Ringmer is a bold comprehensive that doesn’t shy away from comparisons with the independent sector.

The multi award-winning eco school exudes confidence and pride in the achievements of its staff and 700 pupils.

With a rural location at the foot of the downs, a first glance isn’t enough to reveal the hidden gems of this campus. Modern additions including a sixth form block and technology rooms are tucked away behind the original frontage.

Once inside, murals and slogan-covered corridors signal a lively and engaged community. And a colourful one – different colour ties are worn to denote membership to each of the four houses.

Ringmer Community College is the lead National Academy for Sustainable Education, with 220 eco reps, an army of students who make sure recycling levels are high, monitor energy usage and remind teaching staff (and their parents!) how to reduce waste.

Pupils are clearly very proud of their school and its green credentials. Panels in the corridors show how much energy is being used, and how much generated by the school’s own solar panels, wind turbine, ground source heat pumps and biomass boiler. New rainwater tank is used for the toilets, and all the eco data collated and used in science lessons.

“The monitors noticed some staff were leaving computers on overnight,” says Acting Principal Robert Gibson . “They kept a note and worked out how much energy was being wasted, and that money was deducted from the department budgets. It’s been a great way to crack down on reducing waste, and the money we’ve saved has been used for better equipment and resources.

“We’re really leading the way as an eco school, and it’s been humbling to be recognised with such major awards.”

Robert Gibson

“We’re really leading the way as an eco school, and it’s been humbling to be recognised with such major awards.”

Eco monitors are just one way that pupils are given special responsibilities and work together for the good of the school. Peer mentoring is done in small groups with a mixture of pupils from years 7 to 11. This cross-year interaction breeds respect and cooperation, as well as a safe nurturing environment.

Oasis’ offers peer support with trained mentors able to listen to and advise pupils on everything from bullying to stress in school or at home. They have constant support from teaching staff, but can often solve issues among themselves.

“We’ve been given a lot of praise for our peer support work, and it’s been really useful,” said one student. “When I got into difficulties trying to manage all my extra-curricular activities, I could talk to people about it and find a solution.”

Discovering passions

School specialisms are technology and the arts, and these have had heavy investment. The number of specialist rooms is impressive, from the hair and beauty salon, to the food, design technology and engineering areas. Some of these are based in the Sixth Form block, but younger pupils can also reap the benefit.

Wide range of subjects available at Ringmer means great opportunities for pupils to discover their passions. Sciences are very popular – there are seven well-equipped science labs. A host of art and media rooms are available. A dance studio converts into a performance area, and there’s a stage where annual productions are shown. Guitars and keyboards line the walls in the music rooms, creating an inspiring environment where pupils are encouraged to try their hand at an instrument, and can gather to hang out, play piano or drums in the practise rooms.

The learning support unit is there for any pupil who need additional help. A small number of students are taken in each year with complex needs, including those with Down’s syndrome. They work together learning life skills, but while some parts of their education are done separately in small groups, they are very much a part of the wider school community and are well integrated.

Wall displays offer intriguing glimpses into some of the exciting trips run every year – Italy, Belgium and Iceland to name but a few. Year 8 pupils go to an annual activities camp in Wales which clearly conjures up fond memories for the older students.

Sports are big at Ringmer. As well as a multitude of timetabled lessons, pupils are encouraged to swim in their lunchbreaks in the on-site pool. The ‘Adidas zone’ created amid Olympic fever, is popular at breaktimes, with a ballcourt, climbing wall and fun outdoor gym equipment.

Growing numbers of pupils are choosing to stay on at Ringmer for A levels, and the Sixth Form courses are also attracting more attention from outside.

One A level student, who chose Ringmer after looking at a number of other local state and private colleges said: “A lot of other places would refuse to run a course for just a couple of students, but not here, so classes can be really small. The support you get is brilliant. It’s like an independent education, but for free.”

Note from the Head

I would like to welcome you to our college. I feel extremely privileged to be the Acting Principal of such a forward-looking and inspirational learning community.

Ringmer sits at the foot of the Sussex Downs in a truly beautiful location. We offer rigorous individual academic mentoring for all students here, including those in the Sixth Form. Our students usually exceed predicted expectations, with our top attainers gaining 10 or more GCSEs at A*/A grades.

All students also take pride in caring for one another, and promote the safe and supportive ethos of the college. The student here are inspiring young people who relish being part of an innovative and challenging academic environment. They want to succeed, be part of their communities and to make a real difference in the world.

As an Academy, the Governors here are committed to ensuring academic success for each student. We also want to protect the values we have here of respect, ambition, giving something back and valuing community and family. As the leading national sustainable Academy, we value and respect the environment and we do all we can to protect our natural resources for future generations. Over one third of our students are actively involved in this core initiative.

I hope you son/daughter will be happy to be part of the unique Ringmer community.

Robert Gibson
Acting Principle


“After looking at other Sixth Form colleges I chose to come to Ringmer, I’m glad I did as the support you get is brilliant."
Bethany Reeeves.

“My son was so excited by Ringmer when he attended the Open Evening. We both were so impressed with the students and the music department."
Parent questionaire.

“My daughter fell in love with the school when visiting. She liked the friendliness and feel of the place.”
Parent questionaire.

School details

Address: Ringmer, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 5RB
Phone: 01273 812220
Head: Robert Gibson
Founded: 1958
Pupils: Main School: 598, Sixth Form: 96
Ages: 11-19
Website: http://www.ringmeracademy.org
Email: admissions@ringmeracademy.org
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus