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. “An Eastbourne College education prepares young people for life,” explained Mr Lawson.

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

The College is an exceptionally open and friendly place where visitors are warmly welcomed by staff and pupils. I look forward to welcoming you to Eastbourne so that you can experience the family feel of the College.

Eastbourne College has a well-deserved reputation for all-round excellence built on 150 years of history and experience. The College has a tradition of innovation, enthusiastically leading UK education in the direction of family-friendly co-education, with day pupils and boarders equally supported. I am honoured to be the custodian of that legacy of success and to lead the College to the next level.

The academic results achieved by boys and girls at Eastbourne are consistently very strong and have been higher than many more selective schools for some time. We recruit children of a wide ability range, confident that we can challenge and develop all those who come to the College. Because our programme is tailored to the skills and aspirations of each individual, we can provide stretch for every pupil. We take great pride in our enviably strong Oxbridge performance and celebrate the success of all our pupils, whichever university destination or career choice they make.

Jessica and I have lived in schools for all our working lives. We believe in putting children's wellbeing first; happy young people are the best learners and amplify the achievements of those around them. An educational community as purposeful and enthusiastic as Eastbourne College imbues pupils with a love of learning. The wellspring of our lifelong commitment to education is a belief that good learning soothes and enthuses, promoting children's happiness, resilience, sophistication and integrity.

Whether in house, on the games field or in the classroom, everything we do at Eastbourne College is informed by our key values: participation, the pursuit of excellence, integrity, courtesy and kindness. We are fortunate to have an historic and inspiring school site which we are developing to provide state-of-the art facilities. Even more importantly, we have a talented and committed body of staff who are expert in nurturing children so they develop the best of themselves.

Do please come and meet us at this college and community - this family - in the heart of Eastbourne and experience the welcome of a happy and successful school.

Tom Lawson, MA (Oxon)


"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)

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


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