The Eastbourne school, St Andrew’s Prep, set in 12 acres of beautiful green space nestled at the foot of the Downs, only moments from the beach, offers pupils the chance to do it all.
“These are the most wonderful years of childhood, we only get one shot at it and want to give these children every opportunity to try it all,” explained Headmaster Gareth Jones.” We give them the time and space to try it all and at the end we hope they will feel genuinely comfortable on all the different stages – be it in a classroom, on a sports field, on a theatrical stage or in a concert.
“You’re only a child once and we help them make the most of it so they have a fulfilling childhood. The children who gain the most from St Andrew’s are ones who throw themselves into school life, who try everything and enjoy it.”
After-school activities and optional Saturday morning activities ensure children learn far more than the key academic subjects. Golf, hockey, shooting, drama, fencing, rocket making, pottery, mountain biking and textiles are just a few things designed to inspire the enthusiastic youngsters. Piglet’s Pantry cookery club is always oversubscribed. St Andrew’s even has its own Scout, Cubs, Beavers, Brownie and Rainbow groups.
Home to 360+ pupils from 12 months to 13 years, St Andrew’s is a non-selective co-educational school whose lively, charming pupils are recognisable by their striking burgundy and green striped blazers. Most are day pupils, but 20 to 30 boarders live at the heart of the school with space for a further 10 flexi boarders, a facility used by a huge number of children over the course of a year.
A unique feature of St Andrew’s is Forest and Beach schools – inspired outdoor learning complementing what the pupils are studying in the classroom.
Nursery and Pre-Prep pupils revel in Forest School once a week. An idyllic setting with diverse wildlife, pond dipping and fire circle where children gather over hot chocolate and marshmallows. In Years 3 and 4 they go to Beach School where the sea is used to inspire writing, pebbles are used for art and the shoreline is just waiting to be explored.
St Andrew’s is about including everyone in everything, whatever their ability or strength. Every child is on a sports team, not just the elite, every child can be in a drama production, everybody takes part in music and the vast majority play an instrument.
A really strong sporting pedigree is aimed at building confidence, nurturing teamwork, camaraderie, competition and fitness. Boys play football, rugby, hockey and cricket. Girls play netball, hockey and rounders. All pupils take part in athletics, swimming, and tennis and have the option of shooting on the school’s own rifle range.
Music features strongly – choirs, wind band, rock band, orchestra and a whole range of musical ensembles cater to every taste. There are 14 music teachers visiting during the course of a week. The joy of distinctly different children coming together as a rock band shows just how inclusive music can be.
St Andrew’s operates a house system so that children do things for themselves but also for the greater good of their house. Nurturing and celebrating the individual whilst promoting teamwork. School is always aiming for children to be confident but not arrogant, to be appreciative of the opportunities they’ve been given and to value those opportunities, to be at ease within themselves.
Good manners and a real sense of right and wrong are evident – happy pupils say hello, hold doors open and interact comfortably with both their peers and elders.
A beautiful late Victorian chapel lies at the heart of the school and is used weekly for assemblies and chapel. Pupils are brought up understanding a Christian culture but St Andrew’s welcomes children of all faiths. Tucked away beside it is the tranquil Memory Garden where pupils can take time to reflect, think and relax.
Founded in 1877 the school is proud of its heritage but always looking to the future – there are currently plans for a brand new sports hall and dance studio.
St Andrew’s most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate report summed it up perfectly – outstanding.